50 Food Gifts from 50 States
Whether you're showing off state pride, looking for a nostalgic gift for someone who has crossed state borders, or are just curious about other states' delicacies, we've got you covered. We trolled all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to bring you festive food gifts from across the country.
Alabama: White Sauce
When you think of bbq sauces, you may not think of a white sauce, but when it comes to Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce, you'd be missing out. This peppery secret-recipe sauce has been pleasing diners for nearly 100 years - it was first introduced in 1925 - and enhances the flavors of poultry, pork, seafood and even wild game. It's not just for grilled meats, either; give your coleslaw and potato salad a flavor kick, too.
Alaska: The Finishing Touch
The earthly, spicy-sweet flavor of the birch syrup made near Talkeetna elevates pancakes to another level. But for something really special, try the Birch Caramel Ice Cream Topping to turn a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream into a gourmet dessert. The syrup blends with butter, cream, and sugars to create something out of this world. Try it on fruit, toast, or right out of the jar.
Arizona: Hot Tamale
Each tamale that is made at Tucson Tamale Company is hand-rolled and wrapped in a traditional corn husk. The tamales are also certified gluten-free; and hormone-, antibiotic- and lard-free. What you fill find in the meat, vegetarian, and vegan tamales, though, is loads of flavor, like red and green chiles. For a variety, opt for Happiness in a Box: two packs each of Green Chile Pork and Cheese, Green Chile Chicken, Green Chile & Cheese, and Black Bean & Cheese for a total of 16 tamales.
Arkansas: Ozark Buzz
Giving a nod to the Arkansas official state insect (hello, honeybee!), Allstar Nikki from Fayetteville nominates local honey for a great holiday gift. At Bemis Honey Bee Farm, you can buy 100-pack honey sticks to drizzle into coffee, tea, hot toddies — or whatever your hot holiday drink of choice.
Whether the oenophile in your life prefers red, white, or rosé, there's a sip for every palate in this three-pack of highly-regarded 2018 vintages from estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. To learn more about the wines and to elevate the experience, make reservations for a private virtual tasting with an expert.
Colorado: Sweet Tooth Tempter
Ask a Colorado native for holiday gift suggestions, and Enstrom Candy will likely be on their short-list. For four generations, the Colorado Springs-based candy company has been sweetening up the Centennial State. Give the sweet-tooth on your list a gift of toffee or caramels, or try their classic peppermint cookie bark.
Connecticut: Share a Slice
Legend has it that, in 1705, when the Connecticut town of Colchester experienced an unexpected molasses shortage, not enough to create their beloved pumpkin pie, they postponed Thanksgiving for a week. Norwalk-based Michele's Pies is keeping the pumpkin pie tradition alive in the Constitution State, with 27 national pie championship awards and counting. Give pie-lovers the gift of Michele's maple pumpkin pie with pecan streusel.
Washington D.C.: Chili Out
The unassuming storefront in the city's U Street Corridor has been serving its famous homemade chili to neighbors, celebrities, and even U.S. presidents since opening its doors in 1958. Inside, not much has changed, from the counter, booths and stools, to the secret recipes, which are all original. Enjoy the taste of Ben's at home with a starter pack that includes eight half smokes and a pint of chili sauce to cover them.
Delaware: A Pizza Present
Rehoboth Beach's Nicola Pizza is famous for the Nic-o-Boli, a stromboli/calzone combination that owner Nicholas Caggiano originally whipped up for his employees for an easy shift meal in the '70s, which has since grown into a phenomenon. Share the Italian tradition with Nicola's Gift Pail, including 3 jars of Mama Nicola's Sugo, one pound of pasta, pasta server and towel. Call for pricing.
Florida: Taste of the Sea
Hand-harvested, small batch and 100% pure sea salt from Florida Pure Sea Salt enhances any dish or drink that comes out of the kitchen. Use the natural or infused salts while cooking and baking, as finishing flavors, or even on the rim of a favorite cocktail. Founder and owner Maureen Cacioppo provides serving suggestions and recipes on her social media feeds, along with a card that's included with every order. Mix and match three salts to create your very own Sunshine Wooden Gift Pack.
Georgia: Be a Peach!
What else would you expect from the Peachtree State: "anything with peaches!!!" As might be expected, peach goodies made from around the state make perfect gifts, like peach salsa. Georgia Peach World offers a variety of salsas, including a sweet Vidalia onion and golden peach blend.
Hawaii: Tropical Tastes
What started as a furloughed schoolteacher’s side project has turned into a full-fledged business on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Monkeypod Jam founder and owner Aletha Thomas works with more than 25 Kauai farmers to create to create 55 seasonal preserves that showcase the island's tropical flavors. One of our favorites is the Lilikoi Curd: floral and sweet with just a hint of sour, and a bright faste to add to crepes or cakes.
Idaho: A Spud for a Stud
The potato-shaped Idaho Spud has been a best-seller for Idaho Candy Company since it was invented in 1918. Coated with dark chocolate sprinkled with coconut, the inside is a soft marshmallow center (no potatoes were harmed in the making of the Idaho Spud). Gift a classic Gem State treat with a 24-count box.
Illinois: A Pop of Flavor
No visit to Chicago is complete without a stop at Garrett's for its original Chicago-style popcorn. Its first store opened downtown in 1949, tempting passers-by with the scent of caramel cooking. Today, one of Garrett's fan favorites is the Garrett Mix: a perfect, salty-sweet blend of CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn recipes. Send a tin and share the goodness!
Indiana: Great Grains
Popcorn is such a big deal in Indiana there's even a town named after it (population 42). "Indiana is one of the biggest producers of popcorn in the U.S.," says Tammy, an Allstar from Indianapolis. "Just Pop In is an awesome shop with great flavors ranging from spicy, chocolatey to cheesy, and they offer all kinds of gift boxes and tins. My favorite is the Indy Mix, which is a mix of caramel and cheddar."
Iowa: Candy Corn
Known as a farming state with "the best sweet corn," anything corn-related is still a tried-and-true way to show Iowa pride. Give a nod to the Hawkeye State's harvest with the Heart of Iowa's corn-shaped hazelnut praline candies.
Kansas: Special Sauce
Kansas City's popular slow-smoked grilling BBQ phenomenon is famous for its spice rubs and thick, tomato-based barbecue sauce. While it officially started in its neighboring state of Missouri, the tradition is alive and well throughout the entire region. Joe's Kansas City BBQ Box — a three-pack of meat seasoning, fry seasoning, and, yes, the special sauce — offers a taste of Kansas City BBQ.
Kentucky: Bourbon & Chocolate
Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory began make its sweets in 1919 when the company's namesakes - Rebecca and Ruth - left their teaching jobs and went into business for themselves. The secret recipe that's still used for the Bourbon Ball Chocolate Candy was perfected by Ruth in 1938 and remains a fan favorite: sweet chocolate on the outside, and inside, the smooth, creamy taste of Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
Louisiana: A French Treat
Wherever you travel throughout the Pelican State, you're sure to come across beignets, the official state doughnut of Louisiana. Believed to have been brought to the U.S. by French settlers, the mix offered by Orleans Foods is the owners' signature recipe and an extension of their Creole culture and heritage. Mix up the French treat and bring the taste of NOLA home.
Maine: Spread Joy
Wild blueberries are the official state fruit of Maine, with good reason: The Pine Tree State produces 99 percent of wild blueberries in the country. Send a trio of jams from Bar Harbor, which cultivates local blueberries in small, home-style batches: wild blueberry, blueberry-rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, and raspberry.
Chesapeake Bay has been a popular fishing spot for blue crabs since the mid-1800s, making Maryland a hot spot for all types of crab dishes, from crab cakes to dips to soup. Give those on your gift list a taste of the Free State's bounty with four three-ounce crab cakes from Chesapeake Crab Cakes and More.
Massachusetts: Sweet as Pie
In 1856 Chef M. Sanzian whipped up the first Boston Cream Pie at what is now The Omni Parker House Hotel. All these years later, the dessert is still a favorite, though it's not really a pie but rather a cake filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate. Order one (or more) to be delivered to your doorstep; pies can be refrigerated for up to two days, or frozen for up a month… if they last that long!
Michigan: Cherry Picked
Drive through northern Michigan, and the state's leading agricultural industry becomes obvious: cherries! The Wolverine State produces over 70 percent of the nation's tart cherries, and is home to everything related to these red berries, including cherry BBQ sauce for the barbecue-lover on your shopping list.
Minnesota: Great Grains
Rice might seem like a funny gift item, but you haven't tried Minnesota wild rice, grown in the northern Minnesota's lakes and marshes. The versatile, low-carb, and high-protein rice is used in everything from soups to salads, pancake mixes, and even cookies and desserts; try this a half-pound bag from Native Harvest, which is grown in northern Minnesota.
Mississippi: Southern Sip
Warm up your winter evenings with the seasonal Winter Spice Mead from Queen's Reward, Mississippi's first meadery. Each of the meads made in Tupelo use 100% pure Mississippi Honey, and each has its own distinct flavor. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg add a warm kick to Winter Spice. Serve it cold, or heat it up in a mug and serve with a slice of orange for a gluhwein-style drink.
Missouri: The Show-Me Cake
As legend goes, gooey butter cake —a St. Louis tradition— was originally the result of a chef's butter-and-flour mix-up in the 1930s. But one chef's mistake is another's hit, and gooey butter cake — a thin, ultra-sweet flour cake dusted with powdered sugar — has been all the rage ever since. Try Park Avenue Coffee's famous version of this popular favorite, filled with cream cheese.
Montana: Bursting Berries
Give those on your holiday list a Montana breakfast featuring the unofficial state berry: huckleberries! The Big Sky State is loaded with everything huckleberry, from jams to ice cream, even margaritas. The Huckleberry Patch's Breakfast Crate is a perfect gift for a breakfast-lover on your list, including huckleberry-flavored syrup and pancake mix.
Nebraska: Taste of Italy
You may not expect to find old-world, small batch, traditionally-crafted balsamic vinegar in Nebraska, but that's just what you'll find from George Paul Vinegar. George's slow and gentle fermenting process brings out the robust flavors you'd expect from the finest Italian makers. Join chefs from across the U.S. when add a bottle to your pantry.
Nevada: Pick a Peck
Bring a taste of Vegas into your holiday tradition with the Boozy Pickle. Made from Nevada Brining Company, which excels at artisanal "bar accoutrements" like pickles, rubs, brines, and sauces, the barrel-cut original pickles feature six of the Silver State's whisky distilleries, plus chili peppers for an extra kick.
New Hampshire: The Perfect Pair
If you have someone on your list who loves to entertain, surprise them with a cheese-pairing sampler from Wozz! Kitchen Creations, which since opening in Bethlehem in 2013 is quickly racking up annual food awards for the Granite State. Try their six-spread sampler, including balsamic fig, Thai hot pepper jelly, and sticky date chutney.
New Jersey: Pick and Chews
Rainbow cookies are almost too pretty to eat. (Emphasis on the word "almost.") Made of almond cake with raspberry-apricot jam and coated with dark chocolate, rainbow cookies are a staple in the Italian cookie category. Share this classic New Jersey delicacy straight from the famous Hoboken establishment (of Cake Boss fame) Carlo's Bakery.
New Mexico: Red Hot Ring
A generic term for peppers that grow in the Hatch Valley region of New Mexico, Hatch chili peppers are ubiquitous in the Land of Enchantment, spicing up dishes throughout the Southwest. Add New Mexican flair to an old-time holiday tradition with a Hatch chili pepper wreath.
New York: From Tree to Table
Sure, New York City is known for its pizza and bagels, and for good reason. Leave the city behind, though, and you’ll find that the Empire State is second only to Vermont in maple syrup production. Make a holiday brunch to remember with Crown Maple’s Pancake Breakfast that includes pancake mix - with maple sugar pearls that pop! - and a bottle of Crown Maple Amber Color Rich Taste organic maple syrup.
North Carolina: Sugar and Spice
Dewey's incredibly popular cookies, known as the "world's thinnest cookie," are made in the famous Winston-Salem bakery, operating since 1930. The small-batch cookies are available in classic sugar, or try a variety of flavors like apple cider, sugar and ginger spice, and pumpkin spice.
North Dakota: Sticky Sweet
Word on the street is that North Dakota is home to the best caramel rolls, which are like cinnamon rolls, only, well, with gooey caramel — which make a festive holiday tradition. West Fargo's iconic Sandy's Donuts will ship a dozen to anyone on your list just in time for a cozy Christmas morning.
Ohio: Candy Gram
If Ohioans have any say, there is only one peanut butter-and-chocolate candy worth talking about: buckeyes! The mouthwatering treat doesn't just appeal to those from the Buckeye State, though - they're quite a crowdpleaser!
Oklahoma: Nuts About… Nuts
People who are nuts about nuts have their favorites, and a Customized Signature Gift Tin from Miller Pecan Co. makes it easy to give the perfect gift to the nut aficionado in your life. Choose from a variety of candied pecans, peanuts, or almonds - spiced or chocolate-covered - to create the right mix. Or, if it's overwhelming, leave the decision-making to the pros.
Oregon: Berry Special
Blueberries, check. Blackberries, check. But what's a marionberry (besides the state fruit of Oregon)? Apparently he marionberry was developed at Oregon State University in 1945 by crossing a blackberry with a native blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry. Now it's found in jams, syrups, BBQ sauce, and more. The Burnside Berry Gift Basket includes shortbread cookies, licorice, taffy, jam, a brownie mix and pates de fruits.
Pennsylvania: In a Twist
Hammond's Pretzels in Lancaster has been making hand-rolled sourdough pretzels since 1931. The family-owned pretzel bakery — started by William Lichty, who partnered with his pretzel-baker grandfather in the middle of the Depression — has been a Keystone State favorite ever since. Try their decorative 1 3/4-pound gift tin that holds about 45 individually-wrapped pretzels.
Rhode Island: The Gift of Buzz
The official drink of the Ocean State is coffee milk, a blend of coffee syrup and cold milk, a tradition that began with Italian immigrants in the early 20th century and continued with diners and soda shops throughout the region. Autocrat has been the leader of the coffee syrup industry since the 1930s.
South Carolina: Kiss My Grits
A longtime Lowcountry favorite is shrimp & grits, and it can sometimes be challenging to replicate restaurant flavors when making at home. Not anymore! This kit from Gullah Gourmet includes fresh yellow stone ground grits and a sauce packet to make the gravy. Add water, sauté shrimp and serve!
South Dakota: Chew on This
In order to perfect their beef jerky recipe when starting out in the 1960s, Sturgis Jerky Company used a captive audience: local schoolchildren (they approved!). Since then, school kids, locals, motorcycle riders passing through for the annual Sturgis event — and, now, customers statewide and beyond — have been enjoying their original, teriyaki and pepper jerky.
Tennessee: Going Goo Goo
In 1912 the first combination candy bar was invented in Nashville when the Standard Candy Company combined caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts, and milk chocolate into a very sweet mound - the Goo Goo Cluster. The same recipe is used today, and to try them all, choose the Variety Pack for a taste of three classic flavors, two each of original, pecan, and peanut butter. Enough to share, or not.
Texas: Go Nuts
Did you know that Texas is the largest producer of native pecans? Several of our Allstars did, including Allstars Adawndria from McKinney and Amy from Lubbock—and they recommended pecan-related presents. Fredericksburg's Texas Pecans and Gifts has you covered with their best-selling Magnificent Seven, including praline, cinnamon, and a variety of chocolate-flavored pecans.
Utah: Craft Chocolate at Its Best
One of the most award-winning chocolate makers in the U.S. is Amano Chocolate in Orem. They're also one of the Beehive State's first craft chocolatiers. One of their best sellers at Caputo's Market & Deli in downtown Salt Lake City is the Madagascar bar; though no flavors are added, the Madagascar bar's natural tasting notes include raisin, citrus, and raspberry. If you're not sure which bar to buy, the Caputo's chocolate experts can guide you in the right direction.
Vermont: Sweet Leaves
It's arguable to find a better way to enjoy Vermont's maple flavor than straight Vermont maple leaf sugar candy, which has one ingredient and one ingredient alone: Vermont maple syrup. The pride of the Green Mountain State, maple syrup made from Vermont accounts for nearly half of the U.S.'s production.
Virginia: Nut Case
Virginia accounts for 15 percent of all peanut production in the U.S., and is known for the large "ballpark peanut." It's not surprising, then, that the state has a long history of peanut production. When you've got peanuts, make peanut brittle! One to try is Virginia Diner's 16-ounce chocolate-covered peanut brittle.
Washington: Smoke Signals
The Pacific Northwest is known for its seafood, and the smoked salmon from SeaBear is not to be missed. Bite into a trio of traditional Northwest salmon straight from the Seabear smokehouse: wild sockeye, wild king, and wild pink.
West Virginia: Roll With It
As legend has it, West Virginia's famous pepperoni rolls started with Italian immigrant Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro, a coal miner whose quest for a non-refrigerated, convenient way to consume Italian staples (pepperoni baked inside soft, white Italian bread) turned into such a popular lunchtime fuel for his fellow miners that he ended up opening Country Club Bakery in 1927, which still stands and ships by the dozen.
Wisconsin: Say Cheese!
It can be overwhelming to try and choose from the 600 varieties of cheese made in the Badger State, but it'd be fun to taste them all! Fortunately, the cheesy experts at Fromagination in Madison are at-the-ready to help. The Social Distancing Cheese Kit is a good start: it includes three 1/3-pound Wisconsin artisan cheeses - cheesemonger's choice - a summer sausage, three jars of Wisconsin-made preserves, organic crackers, a platter, and cheese paper for storing any leftovers; the vegetarian option removes the sausage and adds a fourth 1/3-pound of cheese.