Holiday shopping can be such a chore… or you can leave it to that ubiquitous home delivery service! But we have a better idea! How about spending your hard-earned dollars with local businesses, artists, and artisans who produce one-of-a-kind, world-class items, many of which can only be found in Mendocino County. This year, make Mendocino your holiday gift inspiration!

No Kidding!

At least they aren’t at Pennyroyal Farm, the delightful farmstead in Boonville where every goat gets a name. Mommas and daughters are named after world cities or rivers or constellations… the list goes on! This holiday season satisfy Dad’s appetite with a gift box full of local cheese and perfectly paired wine.

The Truffle with Chocolate

We understand there are some people who don’t eat chocolate (we can’t imagine why not!). But for the rest of us, the place to stock up on holiday sweets and treats is Mendocino Chocolate Company. The chocolatiers at MCC take their work very seriously, treating candy making as an art. Richard and Julie Keaton’s truffles and toffees are designed to put you in the mood for Mendocino, wherever you are in the world. Easy to order online or stop in at their locations in Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

The Little Pepper that Could!

Begun as an experiment in the Boonville Hotel’s kitchen garden, Piment d’Ville is now Chef Johnny Schmitt’s “third spice… salt, pepper & Piment d’Ville!” Locally grown from seed and hand harvested in Boonville, Piment d’Ville is the same variety of pepper known as Piment D’Espelette, a pepper traditionally produced in the Basque region of Southern France. Use it on a simple roast chicken or in a red chile cream sauce; it also works well with chocolate or on a cocktail glass! Available online, at the Boonville Hotel, and other retailers of fine fare.

Great Things…

often come in small packages! And that’s the case at one of the tiniest shops we’ve found. Coming in at just 85 square feet, My Chic Farmhouse, located in a former apple shed on the grounds of the MacCallum House Inn in Mendocino, has a tasty collection of elegant Italian table linens, tablecloths, pottery, and pashminas sure to please someone special during the holidays!

Turn the Other Page

Who doesn’t love a good book for a gift? Whether a thriller, biography or stunning coffee table art book, there’s something for everyone in a book store. Mendocino County is home to a couple of great independent book sellers — yes, you can use that online service, but the fun is browsing through selections on a rainy afternoon and finding just the right great read. In Ukiah, Mendocino Book Company has been the go-to bookstore for readers for nearly 40 years, while in Mendocino, Gallery Bookstore & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books has provided readers with a place to purchase since 1962.

Gettin’ Sticky with It

Forget those eggs for breakfast during the holidays and head right to the heart of the matter by crunching on some deliciously nutty (and gluten-free!) Joan’s English Toffee! English Toffee differs from most toffees in that it only has dark chocolate on the top rather than each piece being enrobed in chocolate. Joan, the “Toffee Queen” uses large amounts of whole, natural almonds inside the toffee and sliced toasted almonds on top of the chocolate. Purchase online at www.toffeequeen.com or at fine food purveyors around Mendocino County.

Revival Remedies

Founded in 2003 by Lee White, the Mendocino Tea Company‘s tuber tonic has the” perfect beverage elements – a trifecta of compelling taste, a long list of health benefits, and aroma evocative of a perfect Autumn day.” It’s the holidays! It’s crazy! Too much to do and how do you power through? The answer lies in a gift package of Thanksgiving Coffee whose slogan, “Not just a cup, but a just cup” is reason enough to gift friends and family. Part of the “Made in Mendocino” movement since 1972, Paul and Joan Katzeff pride themselves in their (thanks)giving – to employees, the local community, and to our global community. Now you’ve taken care of the inside, turn your attention to some spa-like treatments to cure what ails you. Afterglow Naturals uses using high quality oils, butters, beeswax and essential oils in all their  natural products.

Flavors on First

The scent of cinnamon conjures up visions of The Nutcracker, fresh-cut Christmas trees and love. And all of those are rolled into one sweet package in a jar of Aunt Kathy’s Cinnamon Syrup, available online and at farmers markets around the county. Make a detour in Anderson Valley to the Philo Apple Farm, not only home to cozy lodging but also a farm stand purveying an array of homemade jams, chutneys, and apple juices pressed from the farm’s heritage fruit. You’ve got the turkey and now it’s time for the dressing. Boost the flavor profile with dried herbs from the fields of Potter Valley’s McFadden Farm and while you’re at it, pick up a festive garlic braid or bay leaf wreath for the front door.

Foot Forward

There’s nothing quite like a great pair of socks as a last-minute holiday gift. In Mendocino, the Village Sock Shop is just the place to browse for that perfect pair. The eponymous Pippi’s Longstockings on Fort Bragg’s Laurel Street is a treasure trove of foot coverings, hats, scarves, gloves and gifts for all ages. Be careful when you step into Shoefly & Sox in downtown Ukiah. In addition to a wide array of gift ideas and a wall of socks, shoes and boots await your arrival… have your credit card in hand!