Hanukkah is early this year — it starts Nov. 28 — and in many towns (hello White Plains!), holidays decorations are already up. Plus, with all the talk about supply chain issues, there’s more reason than ever this year to shop local and shop early.
We’ve got ideas for the foodies in your life that work for both Hanukkah and Christmas. Most offer online ordering and delivery; some have retail shops, as well.
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The cocoa bomb craze continues and this holiday season, you have your pick of flavors at Chocolatier Matisse in Orangeburg where owner Danielle Hudak is offering milk, dark, white, peppermint, horchata, caramel and/or pretty much any flavor to order in Hanukkah and snowman decorated bombs.
Order: 32 Orangetown Shopping Center, Orangeburg, 845-365-0285, chocolatiermatisse.com
Cocktails and Mixers
A handful of entrepreneurs with Westchester ties are mixing up the cocktail world with ready-made drinks and mixers.
Two standouts include ROOT Crafted Cocktail mixers, by Westchester natives Diane Aemisegeo and Trish Pepe Lauden and Spirits Lab, a majority female-owned distillery specializing in New York made small-batch spirits and bottled craft cocktails, the latter of which simply require adding ice (and maybe a lime).
Aemisegeo and Pepe Lauden, who met on the soccer field but became fast friends over cocktails, launched ROOT Crafted Cocktail Mixers three years ago and like to say they’re “creating a stir” one cocktail at a time. Their six flavors include Lemongrass, Au Pear, The Hound, Granada, Hibi Hibi, and The Cuke. And for the holidays, there’s a ROOT Crafted Cocktail Party Pack with The Lemongrass, Hibi-Hibi, Au Pear, The Granada and an engraved ROOT jigger.
Order: Online at rootcrafted.com
Spirits Lab, owned by Lynn Hason (who grew up in Harrison and now lives in Armonk) and Chappaqua natives Phoenix Kelly-Rappa and Matt Frohman, features core products such as vodka, bourbon, gin and rye as well as ready-made cocktails such as a new winter sangria and a blood orange Old-Fashioned. There’s also a limited edition Bull’s Head Bourbon Maple, a maple-kissed bourbon with a balanced contrast of sweet and heat.
Order: You can find them at select farmers markets as well as at their Newburgh store and tasting room, 105 Ann Street. Many local stores also carry their products so visit them online for details; thespiritslab.com.
Bloodies & Gin
And don’t forget New Rochelle’s Toma Bloody Mary mix or Stray Dog Wild Gin, launched in March 2020 by Armonk resident Johnny Livanos of the Livanos Restaurant Group family fame, with hints of Greece in every sip.
Order: Online at drinktoma.com or straydoggin.com
Who doesn’t love cake? And thanks to two local women, one an Irvington native and one living in Sparkill, you have two choices, both with shippable options.
Cake in a jar
Andie’s Eats Cake Scraps, basically cake in a jar, was created by Irvington native Andie Regan while still a student at Tulane University. Since starting in January 2020, her business is booming. Flavors include salted caramel, cookies and cream, red velvet, S’mores and funfetti as well as seasonal flavors such as pumpkin cheesecake, apple crumble, and carrot cake. For Hannukah, she offers Gold & Gelt, vanilla cake layered with vanilla frosting and topped with blue and yellow sprinkles and Hanukkah gelt. For Christmas, she’ll offer hot chocolate, sugar cookie and eggnog varieties.
Order: Online at andieseats.com, call 914-364-8113, or find her at Bryant Park’s Winter Village shops in Manhattan.
Gluten-free, vegan cakes
In Sparkill, Charlotte Boyle who started Charlotte’s Home Kitchen last August, offers a variety of gluten-free, regular and vegan cakes using vegetables from her garden (or from what she finds locally). The freelance fashion designer turned baker puts a vogue-ish spin on everything, often featuring icings topped with rose petals, pomegranate seeds, lavender or dried raspberries.
Popular holiday cakes include gingerbread (made with beets, ginger, cinnamon and clove and drizzled with a lemon and rose icing), pumpkin cardamom with an orange blossom icing and Harvest Moon, inspired by the Ashmead Kernal apples from Majestic Farms in Sullivan County. New for Christmas expect a traditional cake made of dried fruits.
Order: Boyle is a frequent presence at farmers markets including Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, and Piermont. You can also order online at homekitchenbycharlotte.com. She also ships, does curbside pick up in Sparkill and offers delivery in Rockland and Westchester.
Cookies that matter
Feel good buying cookies from Batter That Matters where a portion of proceeds go to North East Westchester Special Recreation, a community based therapeutic recreation program for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities.
Baker and owner Amanda Palomino is currently working on flavors and packaging for the holidays, but will definitely have cookie boxes for Hanukkah and Christmas. Expect her regular flavors such as Dulce de Leche, Double Chocolate Cookies and Sugar Rush as well as her Fall Collection which includes Carrot Cake Chocolate Chip, Apple Oatmeal, Snickerdoodle and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. Many of her items are vegan and gluten-free. And, since she’s an online baker, she ships nationally.ourbattermatters.com
Order: Online orders only: ourbattermatters.com
Advent cookie calendar
Treat someone to an advent cookie calendar by Bedford-based Sweets by Melissa, available for pick-up or delivery. The idea is to have one each day during the month of December throughout advent to count down the days until Christmas. Melissa Palumbo also offers a smaller set of the “12 days of Christmas,” along with cocoa bombs, breakable reindeer, and a set of three cookies featuring Santa, reindeer and a snowman.
Order: Palumbo delivers in Westchester only; orders available for pick-up (no shipping); sweetsbymelissa.com, or call 914-494-2111
Hand crafted cookies
Sweet n Salty’s Great Cookie Caper in Valley Cottage is a woman-owned business with a range of creative hand crafted cookie choices. What started during the pandemic as a cookie delivery business is now a storefront serving up small batch, locally sourced items such as the OG (a killer chocolate chip), “The Brookie,” a fudge filled brownie topped with OG cookie dough, “Snack Attack,” chocolate caramel pretzel cookie, and The Farmer, oatmeal cookie studded with raisins and white chocolate chips topped with Hudson Valley apple cider glaze. They also do cookie pizzas, cookie towers, cookie pie and cookie baskets.
Order: Delivery to Rockland and parts of Westchester along with pick up at their storefront 495 Kings Hwy, Valley Cottage, 845-535-1438, sweetnsaltys.com. Owners ToniAnn Salvato and MC Dougherty also offer shipping on special request.
Have fun with candy — and with Hanukkah messages like “8 crazy nights” and “get lit”— or go for something like “❤️ you a latke.” With Bedford-based BobbyPop, a new company started by five sisters, you can use what they’ve created or make your own. All messages, customized up to eight characters, are edible and come packaged either in a tall 9-inch reusable acrylic box or a long 12-inch one. Each features a combination of gummies and sour candy from Haribo, Sour Pour and the Candy People though Co-Founder Erin Murphy said they’re looking at adding some new festive candies. Christmas boxes will go live on their site Nov. 26.
Order: Online orders only at shopbobbypop.com
Coffee & Tea
When you order coffee, tea or anything else from Eastchester based The Grl & Co., 20% of sales will be donated to The Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC), a White Plains organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful businesses in the Hudson Valley. For coffee lovers, consider The Bad Moms Coffee Blend, made with beans from Honduras, Uganda, and Brazil (with a portion going to support moms in need) and/or the company’s exclusive bath and body essentials such as the coffee body wash featuring age defying antioxidants.
Tea lovers will enjoy the Equalitea organic tropical green tea where a portion of proceeds go to charitable causes dedicated to LGBTQ rights. Or, try the Partea GRL Green Tea Facial Cleanser or the FLYGRL CBD tea with hibiscus and mint.
There’s more tea to be had at Ricci Tea, a Piermont-based company that sources loose-leaf from tea plantations around world. The start-up, founded by Alexa Ricci in April, features herbs, flowers and other ingredients that can support personal health. Even better: Customers can search teas by wellness effect, everything from sleep to digestion, memory to arthritis.
Order: Online only at thegrlco.com or riccitea.com
And treat yourself
Give yourself a break from cooking with “8 Crazy Nights of Hanukkah” meals from The Greekish Harrison and The Greekish Nyack from Nov. 28 to Dec. 5. Each evening, the meals are available either in-house or at home with to-go boxes feeding four (to-go boxes are $56 each). Details on their website but expect items like pan-roasted salmon, whole butterflied lemon chicken, 24-hour brisket, falafel and quinoa tabbouleh and vegetarian moussaka. All meals include pita, tzatziki, hummus, Greekish salad, dressing, stuffed grape leaves, and a tiny bit of sweet, in addition to the main course of the evening. Just keep in mind: These items are not kosher.
Order: To-go orders must be placed by Nov. 19 or call The Greekish.com Harrison at 914-732-3333 or Nyack 845-353-1200, thegreekish.com for reservations.
Jeanne Muchnick covers food and dining. Click here for her most recent articles and follow her latest dining adventures on Instagram @lohud_food or via the lohudfood newsletter.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Westchester and Rockland foodie gifts for Hanukkah, Christmas