Food & Drink

10 SLO County treats perfect for your holiday gift basket

Truffles are among the sweet treats crafted by Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo.
Truffles are among the sweet treats crafted by Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo.

Looking for the perfect present for the foodie in your life?

Forget that boring bottle of wine. Give your loved ones — or yourself — a taste of the Central Coast with these gourmet goodies from San Luis Obispo County companies.

Products are sold in local stores or available for order online. Prices may vary.

Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats salami

This Atascadero company sells seven varieties of hand-crafted Italian-style salami made with all-natural pork. Spice up your antipasto platter with salami sopressata, channel your inner hunter with salami cacciatore, flavored with aromatic juniper berries, or get indulgent with rich, earthy salami al tartufo, made with black summer truffles and white truffle oil

Salami cost $10 to $22, or $50 to $95 for a gift box. Other meaty treats available from Alle-Pia include guanciale, pancetta and fresh sausage.

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Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats in Atascadero company sells seven varieties of hand-crafted Italian-style salami. David Middlecamp

Brown Butter Cookie Co. tea cookies

Chewy yet melt-in-your-mouth delicate, these shortbread cookies sprinkled with sea salt have been crafted in Cayucos for about a decade. Stick with the tried-and-true original — brown butter — or sample almond, cinnamon, cocoa, espresso and spice flavors; there’s also a gluten-free cocoa mint option. A dozen cookies costs $13 to $15.

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Cattaneo Bros. beef jerky

Made in the same San Luis Obispo factory since 1970, Cattaneo Bros. beef jerky is the granddaddy of meaty, chewy satisfying snacks. Stick with the snack that put Catteneo Bros. on the map — thick-cut beef jerky available for $9.35 to $29 a bag in original, black pepper and teriyaki flavors — or try the company’s other offerings, including smoked beef sticks and European-style sausage. There’s even a Jerky of the Month Club for the hopelessly addicted.

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Cattaneo Bros. has been making its signature beef jerky in the same San Luis Obispo factory since 1970. Joe Johnston

Cayucos Hot Sauce

Ride a tasty wave of flavor when you add a few drops of Cayucos Hot Sauce to scrambled eggs, seafood, tri-tip or tacos. (We suggest smoked salmon tacos from Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos.) This tasty condiment, available for $4 to $7 a bottle, is crafted by surfers in the scenic beach town that shares its name.

Cayucos Hot Sauce is crafted in the Central Coast beach town that shares its name. Kat Schuster Coastal Katalyst

Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars

No salad, sauce or side dish is complete without a drizzle of tangy vinegar from this Atascadero company. Featuring garden-fresh flavors such as blackberry, plum basil and pear ginger and wasabi, gourmet basalmic and fruit vinegars cost $12 to $15 a bottle. Also available from Chaparral Gardens are extra-virgin olive oils inflused with basil, garlic, mandarin oranges and jalapeño peppers; bottles retail for $20 apiece.

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Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars in Atascadero sells a variety of basalmic and fruit vinegars. David Middlecamp

HoneyCo Coffee Roasters coffee

Bring home the flavor of your favorite San Luis Obispo coffee shop — Scout Coffee Co., named one of California’s best small businesses of 2017 — with ground coffee from its commercial roasting company. Eight different varieties, featuring beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras and Kenya, cost $12.50 to $14.95 a bag.

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Fans of Scout Coffee Co. in San Luis Obispo can purchase ground coffee via its commercial roasting company, HoneyCo Coffee Roasters. Joe Johnston

Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates

Love means never having to say you’re sorry — for devouring an entire box of Mama Ganache’s detectable truffles yourself. Available for $11.95, they feature such mouth-watering flavors as cardamom ginger, Meyer lemon and maple pecan praline and are just some of the amazing sweets made by the San Luis Obispo company. Other favorites include brandied figs, toffee pistachios and turtles featuring caramel, cashews, peanut butter and brown rice crispies.

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Truffles are among the sweet treats crafted by Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates in San Luis Obispo. Eve Neuhaus

Olea Farm olive oil

From Greek koroneiki to Spanish arbequina, this Templeton farm loves olives. Savor extra-virgin olive oil in its purest form or infused with basil, tarragon, lemon and kumquat. Looking for something more unusual? Grab a bottle of Les Larmes Du Diable, a spicy blend of olive oil, hot peppers and paprika oil whose name translates to “tears of the devil.” Olive oils cost $16 to $30 a bottle; fruit-infused vinegars are $15 a bottle.

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Olea Farm in Templeton offers several varieties of extra-virgin olive oil. David Middlecamp

Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits kumquat liqueur

Locally harvested citrus fruit is transformed into liquid sunshine in this seasonal spirit from Re:Find, part of the popular Paso Robles Distillery Trail. Made with brandy distilled from wine grapes, the sweet-tart liqueur is the perfect addition to any cocktail; it retails for $28 a bottle.

Looking for something less fruity? In addition to limoncello and cucumber-flavored vodka, Re:Find makes gin, rye and vodka, as well as a barrel-finished vodka. (Alas, a second batch of its sold-out California-style bourbon won’t be available until late 2018.)

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Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits in Paso Robles makes bourbon, rye and whiskey as well as gin and vodka. Courtesy of Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits

Root Elixirs ginger beer

As its motto suggests, this San Luis Obispo company specializes in “soda with spirit.”

Mix one of Root Elixirs’ nonalcoholic flavored sodas — ginger beer, grapefruit jalapeno or strawberry lavender — with your favorite liquor for an unforgettable cocktail. (A fourth flavor, cucumber elderflower, will be released in December.) We recommend pairing the sodas, which cost $5 a bottle, with small-batch artisinal bitters from SLO Bitter Co., also based in San Luis Obispo, for delicious results.

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Dominique Gonzales adds Root Elixirs ginger beer soda to her Winter Mule cocktail. Joe Johnston

Sarah Linn: 805-781-7907, @shelikestowatch

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