This year many of us are looking to do something additional with our gift buying dollars. The items below are all made by people of Color, or benefit organizations that do work to create more equity for people of Color. From sweet condiments to wine to ice cream to coffee, there’s something for everyone on your list.
I am not receiving affiliate income from this gift guide.
Holiday Gift Guide 2020 Supporting BIPOC Businesses
Trade Street Jam Co. is a chef, minority and woman owned business that started in a tiny apartment in North Carolina. They made small batch vegan jams without any added pectin and preservatives, and minimal sugar. They have two cooking processes for their products, either slow cooked to produce a thick, almost buttery spread, or quickly cooked to retain as much color and flavor in the fruit as possible.
Their jam is a little less thick than other commercially produced jams, but the flavors are bonkers. Try Smoked Peach, Plum and Rose, Sour Cherry Ginger, Strawberry Chipotle and Fig, or order an assortment to make someone’s day. Think about the Jam Club as well.
I have become such a fan of honey, and a fan of the bees and the people who make it. When I came across Zach and Zoe, with their beautiful packaging and thoughtful varieties, I knew it had to become part of my honey obsession/collection.
Their story (like most beekeeper’s stories!) is an interesting one – the attraction to honey was generated by a journey to figure out what could help their son’s asthma and allergies, and as pure honey became part of his treatment, they became enamored with the bees and the honey making process and jumped into the fray. The company is named after their two kids. Try a bunch of their interesting flavors: Beetroot, Lavender, Creamed, Wildflower with Ginger Root, Matcha.
Sol Cacao is an artisan “bean to bar” chocolate manufacturer that crafts single origin chocolate bars in the South Bronx. Founded by three brothers, Dominic, Nicholas and Daniel, Sol Cacao works to create the finest chocolate by fine-tuned attention to the entire chocolate manufacturing process from growing the cacao pods to the actual crafting of the chocolate bars.
The Maloney brothers grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, where Cacao and chocolate are staples of the Caribbean culture and were an inherent part of the Maloney family livelihood. Once in the U.S., the brothers decided to bring the quality of chocolate they had grown up with to the U.S.
Sol Cacao offers three chocolate bars that are made only from two simple ingredients: cacao beans and raw cane sugar. The Company prides itself on their sustainable organic farming practices, environmental preservation, and ethical sourcing of raw materials. The packaging is downright gorgeous, and you can choose between 3 dark chocolate bars made from beans grown in Madagascar, Peru and Ecuador.
Sugar Hill Creamery is the only family-owned ice cream shop in Harlem, just three years in business, which they describe as “a love affair between community and food.” But lucky for us you don’t have to live in Harlem to get a taste of their amazing products. They have a combo of seasonal and classic flavors, many of which are inspired by the family’s Caribbean, African American, and Midwestern cultures, as well as Harlem, their neighborhood of close to 15 years.
Ok, onto the flavors, and the creative names! Larry Wilcox (Mint Chip), Jazzy Belle (Berbere Spiced Bourbon Pecan), Tell it to the Block (Cinnamon with Mike’s Hot Honeycomb), and Goddess Pomona (Apple Cider with Vegan Caramel Swirl) are some of them. You can order small groups of pints, assortments or stock up on favorite flavors, or join the ice cream sandwich of the month club (and be surprised!). The perfect gift for the ice cream lover in your life.
Blondery’s distinctive collection of adorable-yet-elegant bite-sized blondies features four rotating seasonal core flavors. At this moment the variety box contains one each of brooklyn blackout (gluten-free), cinnamon sugar, and the OG pecan and salted caramel (the blondie recipe that started Blondery and took 10 years to develop).
Blondery Founder Auzerais Bellary got her professional start in fine dining and then headed off in a more entrepreneurial direction, creating this company to share her love of blondies and their representation of the spirit of generosity. She is using her company to create the supportive workplace she sought in the restaurant world by hiring people of color and empowering them for careers in the restaurant industry.
Part of Dope Coffee’s mission statement reads: “Coffee has a stigma that surrounds it. The focus is put on fancy origins, roasts, and blends — that pretentiousness lends itself to stereotypes about the people who drink it. But that’s not how we roll. We create special products inspired by Black culture for the culture but everyone is invited to the party.”
Their varieties include Organic Guatemalan (notes of apricot and dark chocolate), Tanzania Peaberry (notes of “chocolate from the Motherland”), and Dope Sunrise (for “epic mornings”). You can buy assorts, or a single bag, and choose between whole bean and ground. Check out their other coffee-infused products, too, like a coffee-scented candle.
Looking to drink less alcohol but still have a good drink experience? The Mocktail Club is a line of premium crafted ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails, a result of Pauline Idogho’s quest to find sophisticated and better-for-you alternatives to alcohol. The beverages are made with all-natural ingredients, including superfruits and prebiotics.
The founder has lived, worked and traveled in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which helped to inspire the rich and sophisticated flavors of Mocktail Club. 1% of Mocktail Club sales goes to support clean water access globally.
The Havana Twist is a lime, cucumber and mint shrub with cardamom, the Bombay Fire is made with pomegranate, tea, agave and chili peppers, and the Capri Sour has is a pomegranate cranberry shrub with lemongrass and apple cider vinegar that provides the tartness. All of these mocktails can also be used as mixers with alcohol if you are looking for a cocktail.
But if you are looking for wine, do check out the offerings from The McBride Sisters. Their back story is kind of wild (against-all-odds reunited sisters who had been raised halfway around the globe from one another, both in wine growing regions), but the company started in 2005 when Robin and Andréa’s found themselves together in California, fueled by a shared passion for all things wine, and a desire to shake up the industry with a blend of old-world elegance and new-world finesse.
In an industry historically dominated by white men, McBride Sisters has grown into what is not only the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States, but one of the most inclusive, accessible, socially aware and sustainable, not to mention female-run.
They have a well-priced range of wines, including The Black Girl Magic collection, Robin and Andrea’s personal ode to their culture and story. Some of the tempting choices: Chardonnay from the Central Coast, Sauvignon Blanc from Marlboro, and a California Black Girl Magic Red Blend (aromas of tobacco and vanilla bean alongside mixed with plum, raspberry, and blackberry, with the chocolate cherry flavors typical of Merlot blend with the peppery spice of Cabernet).
These wines are a bit of a splurge, but they are absolutely delicious, and this year if you have the means to treat the wine lover in your world to something special, it feels like a nice time to make someone’s wine day.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has rich aromas of blackberry, cassis, and mocha and hints of herbs, and the taste is rich and full bodied. The Elevage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot and it has aromas of bright cherry and mocha, with a very textured flavor and a long, balanced finish.
Brazilian born Elizabeth Vianna (whose heritage includes El-Salvadorian, Olmed Indian, Portuguese, and East African) is the head winemaker and General Manager for Chimney Rock wines. She has always believed that wine “needed to be more democratized – for so long it has had the stigma of something that is slightly intimidating.” She credits her parents who believed she could do anything she wanted to do with her success in a white, male dominated field, and also acknowledges that education, extremely hard work, an uncompromising work ethic, and passion play a big role in her achievement. She also says having female mentors in the wine business helped her greatly.
Chimney Rock is located in the Stag’s Leap district of Napa Valley, and the terroir of the winery yields some pretty luscious wines.
Smokey John’s is a family-owned-and-operated BBQ restaurant in Dallas, TX, founded in 1976 by the late John Reaves, affectionately known as “Smokey”. Today, the sons are carrying on the family business and planning for expansion, but they hold tight to the sauce and rub recipes created by their dad.
The BBQ sauce is a perfect blend of tangy and sweet, with hint of heat, and they boast that the sauce has been called “so good you can drink it.” Smokey John’s BBQ Rub is a blend of the highest quality spices that pack a sweet and savory flavor punch.
I’ve actually been to Smokey John’s (can’t decide which was better — the vibe or the food or the gospel music) and can’t wait to get back there, but meanwhile we can all get our Smokey John’s fix.
Holiday Gift Ideas from BIPOC-Owned Businesses: From sweet condiments to wine to ice cream to coffee, there’s something for everyone on your list.Tweet This
If you know a person who needs to get their barbecue on no matter what time of year it is, then an assortment of Lillie’s products makes a terrific gift. It all began in the early 1950’s in a home kitchen in Charleston, SC. The Lillie’s siblings’ dad would cook with his Aunt Lillie, and the Lillie’s of Charleston recipes were born out of his love for barbecue. The sauce was first introduced to the public in 1985 at his restaurant “The Rib Shack”. Now a generation later his kids have turned their dad and aunt’s recipes into a thriving business.
“Hissy Fit” all-purpose hot spice, “Ho-Lotta” spice blend and “Low Country Loco” hot sauce are a few of the choices. They have two gift boxes, one mild one hot, which each contains a bottle of hot sauce, a spice rub and a barbecue sauce of the corresponding heat level.. Their motto is “may you never feel unwanted, unloved or hungry…” which is just the bomb.
Stella Falone reversible cutting boards are beautiful and durable and made from West African Crelicam ebony wood, responsibly sourced in Cameroon, creating steady jobs with living wages. The founders also run The Ebony Project which is engaged in the largest replanting of West African Ebony trees in history. The boards come in 3 sizes, and you know they are serious when you pick one up! Perfect for roasts, hams and turkeys, or graze boards.