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Groceries as Gifts

melissa reiss

by Melissa Reiss, Purchasing Assistant

While you are shopping for holiday gifts, don’t forget to take a look at some of the Grocery department’s offerings here at the Co-op—from staple items like coffee and maple syrup, to more unique treats like bacon jam or vegan jerky—there’s surely something for everyone. Giving food as a gift could be as simple as a stocking stuffer or two, a care package to a loved one out of state, or a gift box or basket of hand-picked goodies. Read on for some of our most-giftable groceries.


Gail Ambrosius Five-Piece Salted Caramels

Let’s start things off with one of my personal favorite gifts to give (and receive!). These chocolates are truly out of this world—a perfect balance of sweet and salty, chewy yet melt-in-your-mouth soft. I’ve given these for birthdays, holidays, and thank you gifts. 


Wisconsin Maple Syrup

For a gift that is 100% from Wisconsin, give a taste of the Northwoods: pure maple syrup from Wisconsin. The Co-op carries a few local options; look for the purple local tags. Also try Maple Valley’s Organic Maple Sugar for sprinkling on toast or in hot beverages, or their six-piece maple candy in fun shapes made out of maple syrup and nothing else.


Locally Roasted Coffee

Coffee is a great gift! For a Wisconsin buzz, we have many options from dark to light to decaf. Kickapoo Coffee, Just Coffee, EVP, and Johnson Bros. are all based here in Wisconsin.


Rishi Tea 

For the tea drinker, we have a wide selection of hot teas. Rishi Tea is based in Milwaukee. Their varieties are packaged in tea bags or loose leaf in a reusable tin. Also consider pairing with a mug or an insulated hot beverage travel mug.


Quince & Apple Preserves 

Founded by husband and wife duo Matt and Clare, Quince & Apple creates unique fruits preserves made right here in Madison. According to them, they “love [their] preserves with cheese most of all, but they’re great with pastries, on sandwiches, drizzled over ice cream and mixed into yogurt.” Lots of options to enjoy this special treat!


Doggie Bones 

Don’t forget about the pups! Pet Factory’s knotted bones are made in the USA out of 100% American beefhide. And Pet Factory is a local company to boot!


Carmella’s Bacon Jam

For the bacon lover in your life! This uncommon treat by Carmella’s, an Italian restaurant in Appleton, is sure to be a memorable gift.


Louisville Vegan Jerky 

A great stocking stuffer idea for vegans or vegetarians, especially fans of the outdoors! This Louisville company took the meatless jerky category by storm with its flavorful, satisfying snack line. Choose from a number of varieties!


Some Refrigeration Required 

The following ideas are perishable, so it may take some creativity for gifting as these products needs to stay refrigerated. But they are too good to leave out, so if refrigeration isn’t an issue, consider the following!


Wisconsin Cheese

What’s more Wisconsin than cheese? See our Cheese department staff for guidance in selecting cheese fit for your recipient, or take my suggestion and grab a hunk of Sartori’s Montamoré and a bag (or two) of cheese curds. Truly the gem of Plymouth Wisconsin’s Sartori cheese company, Montamoré is a white block cheese that tastes like a cross between a cheddar and a Parmesan. The texture and the flavor are unbelievable. Great for cheese plates, with fruit, and on grilled cheese sandwiches. Cheese curds are a must for out-of-towners who like cheese but have never sunk their teeth into a squeaky cheese curd. Available as plain curds or tossed with herbs or spicy peppers! 


Growler of NessAlla Kombucha 

NessAlla was our first locally brewed kombucha at the Co-op, and they’ve joined us at many an event slingin’ booch samples to our Owners. Now share the fizzy love and gift a whole growler to your favorite kombucha lover. 


Growler of Cold Brew Coffee from Let It Ride 

For the coffee fans, there is our locally brewed cold brew coffee from Let It Ride. Cold brew coffee isn’t just for the summertime! With a lower acidity and smoother taste than hot brewed coffee, this stuff is refreshing any time of year. Brewed the slow way right on the east side of Madison using only Fair Trade and organic coffee beans.

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