Spreading cheers

Whether you're picking up a last-minute Christmas gift of buying food and drinks for a New Year's Eve party, we've got you covered

Katu Baumann owns the Verdi Local Distillery.

Katu Baumann owns the Verdi Local Distillery.

Photo/Eric Marks

Buying gifts for the holidays can be complicated, stressful and expensive. And even when Christmas is over, there’s still New Year’s, which means another slew of parties and gatherings. But great food and great booze is almost always a hit regardless of who you’re buying for. Unless, of course, you’re gifting odd-colored jellied fruitcake—does anyone actually like fruitcake?

Buying locally, too, is a great way to impress your out-of-town family members who think Reno’s food scene is limited to casinos and diners (although there are plenty of gems there as well). It helps support small business owners, stimulate the local economy, and ensure that food is grown and produced regionally, which ripples beyond just the economic advantages and into the environmental.

For a one-stop-shop for all things Nevada sourced, the Buy Nevada First Gift Shop and Visitors Center in the Reno Town Mall sells only Nevada-made foods and goods. But if you’re up for a Reno scavenger hunt tracking down the best of the best, we’ve compiled this guide to help get you on your way.

To help jumpstart this for the new year, we’ve rounded up a selection of gift suggestions from local vendors, and we’re categorizing them as eat, treat, drink and imbibe. What’s great is that there are so many awesome places to get local food and drinks that it just wasn’t impossible to include every place in Northern Nevada, but for those of you floundering in last-minute shopping or looking for a stellar post-Christmas gift, this is a good place to start.


Food is a foolproof gift—everyone needs to eat, and most of us enjoy it immensely—but if you’re a little iffy on what food will go over well, try a gift card or a membership to these local haunts.

A membership to the Great Basin Community Food Co-Op is a gift that keeps on giving; members get better prices on everything in the market, and they’ll be member-owners of one of Reno’s few cooperative organizations. Within the co-op, a mix of local and organic goods—some of which are both—can be purchased for gifts.

Both the co-op and the new Reno Provisions (shop.bighornoliveoil.com/) market support for the Distributors of Regional and Organic Produce and Products (DROPP) program, which means they stock produce and goods from local farms. Reno Provisions, which just opened in early December (See 15 Minutes, p. 35), has gift cards available and an assortment of Nevada-made goods stocked on their shelves.

To go all-out on food, consider a Nevada-themed gift box from the Flag Store (www.eventflags.com/) in Sparks. They package Nevada goods—coffee, jam, condiments and more—in a box shaped like the state of Nevada. Since it’s the state 150th anniversary, this makes for a thoughtful gift for a proud Nevadan.

If you want to buy for the chef who has everything, consider giving a condiment that will add to their enjoyment of cooking. Big Horn Olive Oil (http://shop.bighornoliveoil.com/) has regular or infused olive oils starting at $12.95. Truckee-based Sunshine Herbals (sunshineherbals.net) has loose herbs, infusions or sprays available online or in-store.


There’s no shortage of treats around the holiday seasons, but why buy day-old cookies from a grocery store when you can support local bakeries and indulge in decadent, handcrafted day-old desserts?

For chocolate lovers, Dorinda’s Chocolate (dorindaschocolates.com/) at 727 Riverside Drive, offers holiday-themed goodies like Jolly Bark ($12), Pepper Minties ($24) and Eggnog Brandie Truffles ($22).

Rounds Bakery (roundsbakery.com/) on 294 E. Moana Lane. has favorites like donut holes. They also bake seasonal breads for holidays throughout the year. Reno staples Homage (http://homagebakeryreno.weebly.com/) and Josef’s Vienna Bakery (http://josefsvienna.com/) have an array of pastries that make for a great party gift or a special treat.


For your friends and family members who aren’t yet 21 or don’t drink, there’s still plenty of non-alcoholic options to find locally.

For those who love egg nog—spiked or not—a bottle of Francovich Holiday Egg Nog is a quintessential Reno treat. This egg nog is sold seasonally through major stores, but originates locally from the Francovich family, who make it every year and distribute it throughout the area. Sam Francovich is the owner of The Grill restaurant in Reno, and he and his family members recreate a recipe that started in Yugoslavia. Pick up a bottle at many local retailers.

For coffee lovers, nearly every cafe in town has gift cards and locally roasted coffee for sale. Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company (http://woodfireroasted.com/), at 30 Ohm Place in Reno, offers sample coffee kits, brewing apparatuses, and whole bean bags through their website and their storefront. Hub Coffee Roasters (http://hubcoffeeroasters.com) has shelves full of local coffee, as well as mugs and brewing stations. The Roasting House (www.theroastinghouse.com/) micro-roaster in Reno and Virginia City offers 12 oz. roasted coffee starting at $12.

For your 21-and-over friends and family, Reno offers some excellent options for top-notch alcohol. Bringing a bottle of booze is the perfect host gift for a holiday get-together, and is sure to spur some quality bonding.

Verdi Local Distillery (www.verdilocaldistillery.com/), one of Nevada’s few authentic distilleries, offers locally distilled flavored whiskey for $20 a bottle.

Local brewery IMBB—currently fundraising and seeking out a permanent location to set up shop—hosts a Beverage Club, in which members can subscribe to receive a new beer every month. This starts at $16 per month, and you can collaborate with the brewers to make custom beer.

For do-it-yourselfers who love homebrewing, buying ingredients in lieu of ready-to-consume alcohol is sure to be a hit. For these folks, Mike Higdon of DrinkableReno.com recommends a bitters kit from High Desert Botanicals in Carson City (starting at $33). High Desert Botanicals (http://highdesertbotanicals.com/) offers all sorts of ingredients for home brewers, and they even come packaged in beautiful cases. Add to this gift with a ticket to High Desert Botanicals’ and 1864 Tavern’s bitters blending class on Jan. 17. Home brewers will also enjoy supplies or ingredients from the Reno Homebrewer (www.renohomebrewer.com/) store on Dickerson Road, which stocks brewing paraphernalia and kits for more than just beer, such as cheese or bread.

If your favorite restaurant or shop isn’t on this list, be sure to call and see if they offer a gift certificate—or just take your friends out to dinner, on you.