30 November, 2022, 11:15

Shop Local This Holiday With Over 20 Tucson Food Gifts

Everyone has at least one food-lover on their gift list, and finding a product that they haven’t already discovered can seem near impossible. After all, they are the one always telling you about the hot new restaurant to try or farmer’s market vendor to find.

This year, prepare to shock and awe your foodie friends with a culinary gift that’s not only new to them, but also purchased from a local purveyor. You can even score holiday brownie points by supporting a Tucson charity.

Now the only problem you’ll face is choosing just a few from this list of over 20 Tucson food gifts.

Barrio Bread

Individual Loaves
Barrio Bread at The Coronet

(Credit: Barrio Bread)

The only challenge with Barrio Bread is finding Don Guerra in time to grab a loaf or two before they’re gone. You can pre-order popular flavors like Kalamata Olive, Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin and Rosemary Focaccia for pick-up at various schools around Tucson on Thursday afternoons.

Pair it with a wedge of premium goat’s milk cheese from Fiore di Capra for the perfect host or hostess gift.

Standard loaves run $4 to $6.

For more information, visit barriobread.com.

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Boca Tacos Y Tequila

Jars of Salsa
Salsa jars from Boca Tacos

Salsa jars from Boca Tacos

If you’ve had any of the salsas that come out of Chef Maria Mazon’s kitchen, you’ll know what an enticing offer this is. Boca’s salsas by the jar are custom made to order in any flavor. Simply specify which fruits and vegetables you want to include.

$8.95 for a large jar, $5.95 for small.

For more information, visit bocatacos.com.

Cheri’s Desert Harvest

Prickly Pear Syrup
Cheri's Desert Harvest

(Credit: Cheri’s)

Cheri’s all-natural and organic products are made from fresh fruits and vegetables indigenous to the Sonoran Desert. According to the website, “prickly pear cactus fruit is the largest crop hand-harvested for Cheri’s, [and they] typically harvest about 35 tons (70,000 pounds) of fruit annually.”

These fruits and vegetables are used to make syrups, fresh fruit jelly candy, Cheri’s syrups are even used nationwide in multiple restaurants, resorts and hotels, such as The Ritz Carlton, Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace and Mesa Grill.

For more information, visit cherisdesertharvest.com.

Chilttepica Salsa

Medium Salsa
(Credit: Chilttepica)

(Credit: Chilttepica)

Huemac and Gloria Badilla started Chilttepica Salsa as their financial “Plan B.” Now it’s sold at 13 locations around Tucson, including all three Costco locations, The Food Conspiracy Co-Op, Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market and El Herradero Supermarket. And AJ’s was just added to the list.

According to the website, Chilttepica is a combination of chiltepín, “one of the hottest chiles in the world, and the Spanish word Pica, which translates into English as hot, the kind of ‘hot’ that instantly jumpstarts your tastebuds the way a flame ignites dry paper.”

For more information, visit chilttepica.com.

Exo Roast Co.

Roaster’s Choice Subscription
Fresh roasted beans at Exo Roast

(Credit: Exo Roast)

For $15.99 a month, Exo Roast will deliver freshly-roasted coffee to your favorite caffeine addict weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

The Roaster’s Choice subscription service will even let you specify a particular major growing region: Africa, Asia, Mexico/Central America or South America.

For more information, visit exocoffee.com.

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Fiore di Capra 

Jalapeno Garlic Marinated Chevre
Jalepeno Garlic Marinated Chevre (Credit: Fiore di Capra)

Jalepeno Garlic Marinated Chevre (Credit: Fiore di Capra)

Fiore di Capra has raised dairy goats on their family farm 40 miles southeast of Tucson for over 35 years. Their award-winning Jalepeno Garlic Marinated Chèvre is sure to be the only one of it’s kind at a holiday party.

Find this grade A goat’s milk cheese at the Rillito Park Farmer’s Market on Sundays, New Life Health Foods on Speedway, and the Food Conspiracy Co-op on 4th Avenue.

For more information, visit goatmilkandcheese.com.

Hamilton Distillers

Whiskey del Bac
Whiskey del Bac

(Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Hamilton Distillers, the first small-batch distillery in the Southwest, has quickly established their award-winning whiskey as a state-wide favorite. Both classic unsmoked and the popular mesquite-smoked varieties are available for purchase at AJ’s locations, Feast’s Bottle Shop, Magee Road Liquors, Plaza Liquors, and Total Wine.

For the full experience, treat your lucky recipient to a distillery tour. If he or she has a healthy sense of humor (and serious interest in whiskey), have them bottle their own gift by signing up to join the bottling crew for a shift.

For more information, visit hamiltondistillers.com.

Hub Ice Cream Factory

Holiday Ice Cream Pints
(Credit: Hub Ice Cream Factory)

(Credit: Hub Ice Cream Factory)

Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive a pint of Hub ice cream? Provided that you don’t let it linger too long by the fire, that is.

This year’s holiday flavors include Pink Peppermint, Bourbon Pecan Pie, and more. Cakes, like the 9″ Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting are also available. Order in person or via sarahi@hubicecream.com with 48 hours advance notice.

For more information, visit hubicecream.com.

Incredible Snacks

One of Everything
(Credit: Incredible Snacks)

(Credit: Incredible Snacks)

With dozens of options to choose from, Incredible Snacks has the perfect munchie for anyone. You’ll have to choose from special flavors like Butter Toffee Almonds, Wasabi Peas, and Roasted Garlic Pistachios, to dehydrated Okra Chips, Pineapple Rings and Chile Mangos. In other words, you can’t go wrong.

Incredible Snacks’ products are available for purchase at the Wednesday Green Valley Farmer’s Market, the Friday market at Jesse Owens Park, Saturdays at the Oro Valley market and on Sundays at St. Phillips Plaza.

For more information, visit Incredible Snacks on Facebook.


Pure Date Honey or Date Vinegar
Iskashitaa Refugee Network Harvesting Pumpkins (Photo Credit: Iskashitaa Refugee Network)

Iskashitaa Refugee Network Harvesting Pumpkins (Credit: Iskashitaa Refugee Network)

Iskashitaa is a local non-profit working to help refugees rebuild their lives by fostering community connections, practicing English and teaching new skills. One of their most prominent programs involves harvesting 50 tons of excess fruit and vegetables around Tucson annually. Besides assisting refugee families in need, the harvest provides Iskashitaa with the raw material to create and sell specialty items like honey, vinegar, granola, chutney, pear butter and pomegranate syrup.

The local Date Vinegar ($8/quart) is fermented using only natural date juice with no added flavors making it a unique and healthy addition to your favorite dish. The local Date Honey ($10/quart) is a simple recipe of local dates and water.

For more information, visit iskashitaa.org.

Lerua’s Fine Mexican Foods

Green Corn Tamales
Tamales from Lerua's in Tucson

(Credit: Mark Navarro)

Lerua’s has been making their popular green corn tamales since 1922. Why are they widely considered a contender for best tamales in town? For starters, they own a stone mill to grind the corn from scratch and source their corn from northern Mexico to ensure the specific variety and best quality.

Lerua’s offers prepared or frozen catering and take-out, and will ship anywhere in the country overnight when you pay the freight.

For more info, visit leruasfinemexicanfoods.com.

Maya Tea

Maya Chai
Maya Tea Shot Glass and Chai Concentrate (Credit: Maya Tea)

Maya Tea Shot Glass and Chai Concentrate (Credit: Maya Tea)

Maya Tea’s founder, Manish Shah, started selling his mother’s original chai recipe about fifteen years ago from a farmers market stall. Now, it is offered at coffee shops, restaurants, and even ice creameries.

But you can still grab a bottle of the concentrated formula for yourself. It comes in two varieties, the original recipe and the spicier, less sweet Devi formula. One ounce makes a 12oz beverage with milk, steam or ice.

For more information, visit mayatea.com.

Poblano Hot Sauce, Inc.

(Credit: Acacia Artisans)

(Credit: Acacia Artisans)

The Segura family has been bottling the signature hot sauce since the 1940s, nearly 20 years after they opened one of the first hispanic restaurants in Tucson. This hot sauce is so popular, it even has a fan-run Twitter page promoting it. The four varieties available include Red Jalapeño, Green Jalapeño, Mexican Hot Sauce, and Salsa Ranchero.

You can find bottles of the famous sauce at Food City or purchase it online from Acacia Artisans.

For more information, visit acaciaart.com.

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Presta Coffee Roasters

Leather Mason Jar 
(Credit: Rebecca Hout)

(Credit: Rebecca Hout)

Presta’s leather mason jar is the perfect gift for your hip, stylish friend that simply cannot settle for the same Starbucks tumbler as everyone else.

Throw in a few bags of coffee to go with it – who can resist that packaging?

For more information, visit prestacoffee.com.

RBar Energy

10 Bar Variety Pack
Cranberry Cashew RBars awaiting shipment

(Credit: Adam Lehrman)

RBar’s simple energy bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, vegan, paleo, and naturally sweet with no added sugar. The perfect stocking stuffer for the health-conscious eater on your list.

The 10 bar variety pack is a great introduction to the brand, with all five flavors included for $20: Prickly Pear Pecan, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Lemon Poppyseed and Cranberry Cashew.

For more information, visit rbarenergy.com.

Seven Cups Tea House

Tea Sampler Gift Box
(Credit: Seven Cups)

(Credit: Seven Cups)

Seven Cups Tea House, located on Sixth Street in the Sam Hughes neighborhood, is a unique company that we are privileged to have here in town. They source their traditional, handmade teas directly from the growers and tea masters who make them in China, and offer over a 100 loose leaf varieties in-house.

For $59, the Tea Sampler Gift Box includes eleven varieties of loose-leaf teas, hand-packaged into 10-gram portions. Your lucky recipient will enjoy white, green, yellow, wulong, black, puer, and scented teas.

For more information, visit sevencups.com.

Southern Arizona Wine Tasting Tour

Sonoita Elgin Wine Tasting Tour
Callaghan Vineyards (Credit: Callaghan Vineyards)

(Credit: Callaghan Vineyards)

The Sonoita Elgin Wine Tasting Tour takes a small group to Callaghan Vineyards, Ranch Rossa Vineyards, The Cafe in Sonoita for a lunch prepared by Chef Adam Puckle, Dos Cabezas Wineworks and Charon Vineyards.

The $130 ticket price includes travel to Sonoita, tastings at each winery, tours, lunch and appetizers. The tour takes place each month well into the new year.

For more information, visit southernarizonaguide.com.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

Private label Sogno Toscano Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Tavolino Private Label

(Credit: Tavolino)

Give the gift of authentic Italian olive oil and vinegar with Tavolino’s new private-label line. If these are as good as the foothills restaurant’s authentic cuisine, they are sure to be a hit.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced in Bolgheri, Italy and has “a very intense fruit bouquet with hints of baby artichokes and aromatic herbs, with a gentle spicy aftertaste.”  $19 for a 500ml bottle. The Aceto Balsamic di Modena is $10 for a 250ml bottle.

For more information, visit Tavolino on Facebook.

The Tasteful Kitchen

Cooking Classes
Cooking Classes at The Tasteful Kitchen in Tucson

(Credit: The Tasteful Kitchen)

The Tasteful Kitchen’s Chef Sigret hosts a series of cooking classes each season that range from Vegan cooking basics to holiday-themed lessons. This past Fall, topics included End of Summer Vegetables, Pumpkin Madness and a Thanksgiving-Themed Menu.

While next year’s lineup has not yet been announced, there’s nothing wrong with a homemade certificate promising your giftee a seat in the class of their choice. Classes include a recipe booklet, the cooking demo, and a 3-course lunch for $40.

For more information, visit thetastefulkitchen.com.

Tucson Food Tours

Downtown Food Tour Tickets
Tucson Food Tours The Hub

House-made Pastrami and Corned Beef at The Hub (Credit: Theresa Delaney)

Even your savviest food friends will enjoy a walking (but mostly eating) tour of six popular local restaurants. Owners Brad and Maria Lawrence have created a unique and enjoyable opportunity to try new dishes, learn about Tucson’s cultural history, and spend four hours immersed in downtown’s thriving food scene.

The $49 tours run twice per week from September to May. Read more about our experience on a Tucson Food Tour here.

For more information, visit foodtourstucson.com.

Tucson Tamale Co.

Tamale Gift Package
Thanksgiving Tamales from Tucson Tamale

Thanksgiving Tamales (Credit: Tucson Tamale)

Tamales are a holiday tradition in Tucson, and Tucson Tamale makes it as easy as possible to gift these to family and friends nationwide. Choose from 10 box options, including the Box of Happiness with 16 varieties, the Traditional Christmas with red and green tamales, or the Vegan Delight.

Prices range from $45 to $96.

For more information, visit tucsontamale.com.

Theresa is a copywriter, food explorer and pursuer of all things creative. Find her at theresadelaney.com.