‘Tis the season for dinner parties and get-togethers! No one wants to arrive empty-handed, but coming up with a thoughtful hostess gift can be time consuming and expensive. And while there’s nothing wrong with a nice Merlot, it never hurts to think outside the bottle. That’s why I’ve rounded up these unique and beautiful gifts that every host will love. Bonus - each one of these gifts is handmade by local Pittsburgh artisans!
Champagne Inspired Candle
Brewed2Burn is an independent, Pittsburgh-based candle business dedicated to crafting bespoke, hand-poured, beer-inspired candles. And they recently released a champagne-inspired line, Bubbly2Burn! This Holiday Edition Champagne Inspired Candle pairs balsam fir and cinnamon with tart berries and plum, making it the perfect scent for the holidays.
Local, Gourmet Cheese
Located in Washington County, Emerald Valley Artisans specializes in farm-to-table artisan cheeses, charcuterie trays and gift boxes, all locally made from all natural ingredients. I’m personally obsessed with their Black Jack Monterey and their Orange Cranberry Apple Fromage Blanc (which makes an incredible cheesecake!) Emerald Valley Artisans offers a variety of Gourmet Gift Boxes that any host is sure to love.
Starting at $30; www.emeraldvalleyartisans.com
Eat, Drink & Be Cozy Campfire Mug
Victoria of Oh Joyful Day is a local artist and calligrapher who specializes in fun and whimsical hand-lettering. On top of creating beautiful custom invitations and prints (she created one of my favorite pieces of art in my home) she also sells shirts and these adorable mugs!
Steel City Salt Company offers a variety of specialty salts, like Pink Himalayan and their ever-popular Sriracha Salt, as well as unique spice blends like their Steeltown Garlic & Herb and the Black & Gold Blend. Any one of their creations is sure delight the foodie in your life!
Prices vary; www.steelcitysalt.com
These stunning ornaments are created by local jewelry designer, Audra Azoury. From the Cathedral of Learning to Pittsburgh Sports Teams logos to every single Pittsburgh bridge, they are the perfect representations of all your favorite iconic Pittsburgh places.
Starting at $11; www.audraazoury.com
Artisan Ceramic Serving Tray
Reiko Yamamoto makes modern, versatile and functional pottery for everyday use. Each and every piece is designed, made and fired in her Lawrenceville studio. These trays are not only works of art, but functional as well.
Staring at $25; www.reikoyamamoto.com
Maureen Tomko of Arbor House Soaps specializes in small batch handcrafted soaps that are inspired by nature. many of her products are vegan and all of them are made with organic oils and butters. She offers a variety of scents PLUS, she welcomes custom orders if there’s a particular scent you’re after.
Drew Hine began his glassblowing career in 1998. After graduation, he studied and worked for several artists before he began the construction of his own studio, Vessel Studio Glass, with his wife Jeannine. I absolutely love their ornaments (I have at least 5 on my tree) and they also make beautiful hand-blown pumpkins and snowmen. You can catch them this year at the Holiday Market in downtown Pittsburgh.
Prices vary; www.vesselstudio.net
Coffee with a cause
La Prima is hands-down my favorite local coffee roaster and my must-visit place in the Strip. Their beans come from all over the world, including locations like Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. But they also offer a special “Hero” blend that helps out a great cause. One dollar of every pound sold support 412 Food Rescue, which works to eliminate hunger and promote a healthy environment by rescuing surplus food about to go to waste and redirecting to nonprofits that serve those who are food insecure.