A  few weeks back I popped into Olives & Grace in the South End and stumbled upon Sfoglini pastas in the shop. My siblings and I essentially considered everything bagels our main food group for most of our childhood, so I had to grab a bag when I saw they made an everything bagel-flavored pasta. Fast forward to my crawl along the Vermont Cheese Trail a week later when visiting the Cabot tasting room I secured some everything bagel cheddar cheese. It was carb and cheese kismet — frankly it would have been irresponsible not to dream up a way to combine these two everything-bagel-flavored treats.  Sometimes a great idea just presents itself to you, and Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese was one of those great ideas. I modified my usual mac and cheese recipe, and just swapped in the everything bagel flavored ingredients (and just because that wasn’t enough, I crushed up bagel chips in lieu of bread crumbs). I’m a certified crazy person for even thinking something like this up, but oh man was it tasty. (Full disclosure: next time I’d probably hold back on the bagel chips because it tasted a little bit like mac and cheese combined with stuffing due to their texture — not that mac and cheese stuffing sounds like a bad thing). So, there you have it. In case you thought making donuts into s’mores was the fattest idea a person could ever have — I’ve topped myself once again. 20140625-193739-70659660.jpg20140625-193737-70657713.jpg20140625-193740-70660538.jpg20140625-193738-70658704.jpg20140625-193741-70661319.jpg

This year, instead of sharing a week of gift guides I decided to mix things up and think a little more local! All this week I’m sharing interviews with local Boston business owners to get their tips for holiday gift giving and entertaining. Today we’re talking with Sofi, the darling owner of Olives and Grace:  

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K: The holidays mean lots and lots of parties — I’d love to know your advice on what to bring as hostess gift for parties big and small?

OG: I believe the greatest gifts are those that can be shared.  When heading to a party, I suggest bringing a gift box with an assortment of edible gifts that make great additions to a party. Some favorites are locally made Q’s nuts (try the Rosemary and Sea Salt.. perfect compliment to a cheese plate!), Morris Kitchen’s Ginger cocktail syrup (add a splash to a glass of Prosecco), and Lark Cookies of any flavor will be a hit. The Jam Stand has a delicious and unique Blackberry Jalapeño jam that I love, and we just got in a bacon popcorn which I can hardly keep on the shelves.  When you show up with a well-executed foodie-box, you’ll be a treasured guest!

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K: Any good gift ideas for the guys? I have a few tricky men on my list that are tough to buy for! 

OG:  Yes!  The Mason Shaker and Shake, their cocktail recipe book, have been a huge hit this year for men’s gifts.  Guys love a good drink, and now they can play around with muddling, shaking, and mixing up concoctions for at home cocktails.

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K: You have lots of tasty treats in your store — which items to you recommend make it into our baskets for holiday entertaining? 

OG: I get really excited when people buy the Kinfolk Table cookbook, it has about 400 pages of farm to table recipes, shared stories, family traditions, interviews and more.  It is one of my favorite products I’ve ever had the pleasure of carrying in the store.  

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K: What gifts in your shop are you most excited to share with customers this holiday season? Any hot sellers we should be adding to our Christmas shopping lists? 

OG: Tilly Doro jewelry — the designer uses various materials for her pieces, so in one bracelet you might have fabric, brass, and beads. I love all the textures and personalities in her work. Salt Cellars is a husband and wife run company that makes walnut serving boards, we love having them over for demos, and our customers have completely fallen for them. Neighborwoods coasters are another favorite of mine — they make map coasters that have the neighborhoods carved out in cedar.  We carry various cities, and those make incredible gifts.

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Thanks to Sofi for all of her great advice! Don’t forget to #shoplocal on this holiday season!