Tend bar like a mixologist with Tipsy Cherries infused in sweet vermouth, or try the savory stir sticks with pepper, olive, pearl onion, and gherkins. Pre-made and hand-packed in a jar. Great host gift, too.
$8.99 at Ben Lomond Market, 9440 Mill Street, Ben Lomond, 336-3900, benlomondmarket.com
Holiday Deli Platter Ingredients
Make a custom party cheese and charcuterie platter with the finest quality deli items. Ducktrap River of Maine naturally smoked wild salmon (4 ounces for $8.49); Busseto pancetta and prosciutto, slowly air-dried and cured (3 ounces for $3.99); or Norwegian Jarlsbergâ€”perfect for fondue ($10.17/lb). Shopperâ€™s Corner, 22 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1398, shopperscorner.com.
Cooking a turkey is one thing; carving it can be quite another. Avoid YouTubing Julia Child tutorials at the eleventh hour by presenting a Turketta instead. A play on porchetta, seasoned non-GMO turkey thigh and breast meat are rolled and tied together with skin on the outside that crisps to a golden brown, and served with a rich bone broth. Dramatic presentation is assured sans turkey carcass clean up. $8.99/lb at New Leaf Community Markets, various locations, newleaf.com.
GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN PIES
The talented bakers at Staff of Life have produced a selection of gluten-free and vegan pies that will ensure that no one has to miss out on dessert because of a dietary restriction or preference. Choose from apple, olallieberry, cherry, pumpkin, strawberry and chocolate. $15.99 (except olallieberry, which is $16.99) at Staff of Life, 126 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8632, staffoflifemarket.com.
Sweet almond paste takes this pear tart to a delectable level of fall goodness that will have guests ooh-ing and aah-ing. Serves 6-12. $24 at the Farm Bakery Cafe & Gifts, 6790 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 684-0226, thefarmbakerycafe.com.