Making Magical Moments This Holiday Season
With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are planning how we will celebrate. Look no further than Something Special from Wisconsin™ (SSfW) for all of your unique gifting needs.
Since 1983, SSfW has been trademarked through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). As you shop the aisles or the web for your holiday gifts, keep an eye out for the yellow and red SSfW sticker. This sticker guarantees that at least half of the product ingredients, production or processing has come from within our state. With more than 400 companies participating in SSfW, there is bound to be something for everyone.
For the sweets lover in your life, chocolates from Confections for Any Occasion are a must. Since 1999, owner Joel Bernhard has been making a variety of sweets by hand, including his own creation called Berry Bogs. He uses a Swiss-style chocolate along with the finest Wisconsin butter, cream and nuts in his confections. Sweet P’s Pantry, an artisan maker of toffee and chocolates using all natural ingredients, is another company to try. Its rosemary salt and pepper pecans are an amazing combination of flavors. If that’s not sweet enough for you, the Ghana-style peanut brittle from Gold Coast Candy is easier to bite into and does not stick to your teeth like traditional brittle. It’s also vegan and gluten free.
SSfW members don’t just make sweet tasting gifts – they also produce some sweet smells. Glen Innish Farm is a small family business that grows lavender, herbs, flowers, and more that are used in products like delectable Christmas morning tea or the wonderful Scottish mist body fragrances. Ambrosia Flame Candles creates hand-poured, clean-burning soy candles that come in scents like blue spruce and Wisconsin old fashioned. To feel good while smelling good, Franciscan Peacemakers is a nonprofit organization whose products are handcrafted by women survivors of sexual exploitation, trauma, and addiction. Their peppermint rosemary lotion is hand mixed and will help your hands endure the harsh Wisconsin winter.
For the book lover in your life, When I Listened to a Farmer shares lyrical stories and photos demonstrating the resilience, reality and reverence of farmers, who the author calls “the caretakers of our souls.” Another option is On a Wisconsin Family Farm. This book contains 31 short stories, along with 70 pictures about pioneer life in rural Wisconsin. You can enjoy a glass of wine from Northleaf Winery while enjoying either book. Northleaf Winery wines have fruit so bold it can't stay bottled up. Enjoy an old-world pomegranate, rare blend cranberry, or any of its other options.
For those who seem impossible to buy for, any number of LuAnn’s Homemade Butters are a wonderful option. From its original honey butter to its newest berry surprise spread, there’s something for everyone. “Boxes of fun” from Christine’s Kitchen’s makes the perfect gift for anybody. These boxes put together items from a variety of SSfW companies with themes such as “snack attack,” “pamper someone,” and the newest version of an advent calendar, the “countdown to Christmas” box, with 24 individually wrapped gifts. The Jake + Jack enduring legacy bank from Small Legacies makes a thoughtful gift for the young people in your life. To promote financial education in young children, its "give, save, spend" model of banks teaches children how to responsibly manage money while providing a lasting product that looks modern and elegant. It even offers personalized engraving.
Members of SSfW also have gift ideas for the health and wellness minded recipient. The goat milk hand soap bars from Honey Down Farms are a pure, nourishing skincare product that hardworking hands deserve. Queen B offers cranberry seeds, which are a complete plant protein and make a healthy addition to yogurt, granola bars, or smoothies. They have recipes online, so the possibilities are endless. The 1800 Full Spectrum CBD from Konopie Natural Wellness is grown, harvested, and crafted in Denmark, Wisconsin. Coming from their certified organic crops, Konopie and its products are “traceable, transparent, and pure.”
As winter nears and activities begin to move indoors, it’s important to have a good supply of snacks on hand. As a first-place blue ribbon winner at the 2022 Wisconsin State Fair, Emmanuel’s Mix is a perfect sweet and salty snack. With corn rice cereal, pretzels and pecans with their unique coating, both the spicy and original mix are deliciously addictive. Slide Gourmet Potato Chips are another fantastic salty treat. Made with Wisconsin potatoes, these thick cut chips come in unique flavors like jalapeño cheddar, pizza, and curry garlic.
Speaking of Wisconsin potatoes, they also make a wonderful snack. With a variety of ways to prepare them, it’s easy to enjoy this heart-healthy vegetable that is full of vitamins and minerals. One of the best ways to pair them is with other SSfW products. Some potatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dash of original spice blends from Spark Spices pair together perfectly. Spark Spices is veteran owned and family operated, so you can feel good while indulging. For another hearty option, Dalla Terra Pasta is made using traditional Italian methods with whole, locally produced foods, such as organic spinach, Italian sweet peppers, basil, and beets. Pairing their spinach garlic tagliatelle with fresh garlic from BannJoe Farms is a guaranteed delight. BannJoe’s growing process from start to finish is done by hand to ensure the best tasting garlic.
For a sweeter option, you can indulge in one of Olympia Granola’s granola bars. They are all gluten free and use 100% USA honey. Whether on the trail, during meetings, or with your morning cup of coffee, these bars make a great addition. To add your own sweet touch to pancakes, baked goods, or oatmeal, try one of Maple Valley’s organic maple syrup products, including their whiskey barrel-aged maple syrup. They’re sustainably produced by an employee and farmer-owned cooperative in Cashton.
If you prefer to indulge in a drinkable treat, any one of Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters 40 unique flavors will satisfy. Its signature Highlander Grogg has been a fan favorite since its debut in 1993, but its rotating seasonal flavors are sure to keep things fresh. To enjoy a nice cup of expertly crafted tea, look no further than Cultivate Taste Tea Salon. Cultivate Taste does not use flavorings, candy, or sugar in its luxurious teas and herbal infusions, instead using handcrafted, single origin loose leaf teas.
We can’t forget about our four-legged friends and their snacking needs, and Vital Essentials fits the bill. Vital Essentials produces high-quality raw frozen and freeze-dried food, treats, and snacks for dogs and cats. Made from plants grown without herbicides or pesticides, Oak Creek Hemp Company has a wide range of CBD products for you and your pup. Its products are made in small batches for quality control and are third-party tested.
One of my favorite things to prepare during the holidays is a charcuterie board. A cutting board from Jewell Hollow Woodcraft – which specializes in long-lasting, custom wood products – paired with an array of meats, cheeses and other snacks makes for a delicious display.
I like to begin by slicing up a wedge of award-winning gouda from Marieke Gouda, a raw milk farmstead creamery that controls the process from start to finish. I then add spreadable cheeses from Pine River Pre-Pack, which has been crafting award-winning cold pack cheese spreads since 1963. To satiate the cheese lovers with a sweet tooth, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese makes a delectable chocolate mascarpone, which won the 2022 Wisconsin State Fair Grand Master Cheesemaker award. Plus, you can feel good knowing your mascarpone was made sustainably, using renewable energy produced at the Crave Brothers farm.
Cured meats are another charcuterie board staple in my home. I’ve been enjoying Scholze Family Meats’ summer sausage and snack sticks. Its grass-fed beef is raised on its farm from birth, and it’s a delicious option for everyone. A recent addition to my boards is any one of the many bread cheese options made by Carr Valley. They are a fourth-generation company, making cheese for the last 120 years the old-fashioned way with open vats. Heat it up on a grill or air fryer for a fun, sizzling charcuterie addition. I round out my boards with a mixture of nuts and crackers for that satisfying crunch.
If you’re still craving dessert, CTL Foods has been blending and packaging its Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder for more than 48 years. One taste of its malt, and you’ll agree it is the best on the market. Simply add it to ice cream shakes to make it a malt or use it in baking.
By purchasing SSfW products, you are not only supporting local producers and processors – you are supporting Wisconsin by investing those dollars in the local economy. To find more local flavors, visit somethingspecialfromwi.com, and give thanks to our local farmers and agribusinesses all year long. Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.