|The Curated Stocking & Honey, Apricot Olive Oil Bark|
I rarely use my blog as an opportunity to promote products. As a general rule, I try to keep this blog recipe-focused, so that you guys NEVER feel like I'm forcing the use of a brand. But I recently made an exception, out of a geniune love for the products and a deep, abiding love for my hometown, Nashville, TN.
When the Music City Marketplace (MCM) contacted me, I was both thrilled and surprised to discover that it aggregates and sells local, gorgeous artisan-made crafts. Nashville is brimming with talented and creative small-business owners, but it can be difficult to find their goods. Music City Marketplace is a selective and beautifully presented shop for just such products, and I was honored to created a "Curated Stocking" from their selection.
Along with other local bloggers, I had a blast choosing LL Balanced-style goodies for my curated stocking, and I found myself setting aside extras to purchase for holiday gifts.
So, what did I choose?!
- Olive & Sinclair 67% Cacao Bar—If you're from 'round these parts, chances are you've seen Olive & Sinclair in your local coffee shop. And for good reason! O&S sources fair-trade, organic cacao beans, which are slow-roasted and stone ground in small batches. The result? Rich, deeply flavorful chocolate with hints of warmth and bitterness. The plain 67% is my favorite, and I love it so much that I had to use it in a recipe...hence, this Honey, Apricot & Olive Oil Bark!
Handmade Studio TN Mini Spice Bowl—It was painful choosing just one product from this company, which "creates modern and functional ceramics for the table and home". Their handcrafted dinnerware pieces manage to feel cozy, unique and full of personality, while also presenting as sophisticated and modern. I chose one of the mini spice bowls, because I think it's fun to offer more than just salt and pepper at dinner: have small bowls of red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds or flavorful, smoky chunky salt.
- Paddywax Alpine Evergreen & Embers Candle—If I weren't already won over by the speckled green cup that houses this candle, its aroma had me swooning! This candle is everything wonderful about holiday scents: a mixture of wintry pine forest and apres-ski with spiced hot toddies! If that's not your jam, though, MCM carries an array of yummy-smelling Paddywax candles. I especially love that these are soy based and free from synthetic chemicals.
- Ceri Hoover Waller Wallet—Ceri Hoover offers a variety of handcrafted, American-made leather goods. Each piece is stunningly beautiful, like Ceri herself, who wants to offer women the perfect compliment to their individual styles. Although it was difficult to choose a piece, I was enamored with her supple, tan-colored wallet, which could also double as a clutch or chic makeup bag. This piece isn't currently available on the Ceri Hoover website, so be sure to grab yours from the MCM!
Consider the Wldflwrs Stick Confetti Stud Earrings in Rose Gold—I own these earrings, and I receive more compliments on them than any other jewelry! Also, I almost never take them off. So this was a very easy pick, and I can't recommend them enough. Consider the Wldflwrs describes their company best as "...an innovative jewelry shop and studio located in Nashville, Tennessee. We aim to lead the restoration of a quality over quantity standard. Quantity means ‘this is what I have’ but quality means ‘this is who I am.’
- Extraordinary Recipes from Nashville Chef's Table—Talk about another easy pick! This lovely book by Stephanie Stewart-Howard is an homage to some of the things I love most: food and Nashville! "With recipes for the home cook from over 50 of the city's most celebrated restaurants and showcasing over 200 full-color photos featuring mouth-watering dishes, famous chefs, and lots of local flavor." If you want to share a taste of Music City for someone not lucky enough to live here, or if you're local and want to recreate restaurant dishes you love, this is an ideal gift.
Hester & Cook Flour Sack Towel in Evergreen—I was immediately smitten with Hester & Cook aprons and towels when I discovered them a few years ago. Each one is slightly different, as they're individually made by American artisans, so you can choose the nuances that speak to you. On a practical level, these towels are highly absorbent, which can be difficult to find. Don't be afraid to use and stain them, despite the gorgeous designs. They're meant to be loved on and hung up to dry in a sunny kitchen!
I hope my Curated Stocking has helped make your holiday shopping a little easier, and that you'll stop by the Music City Marketplace for some of their local goodies. Warning: you'll likely leave with gifts to yourself as well!
To ensure I still have your attention...
I'm not going to share a long explanation about this Honey, Apricot & Olive Oil Chocolate Bark. It is just as it sounds, but even more delicious. It is crunchy, chewy, perfectly sweet with pops of salty and bitter. It is decadent but contains healthy fats, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. What's not to love? Using Olive & Sinclair chocolate completely takes this bark over the top, and it is a surefire present this holiday season!
The incredible local bloggers who also curated stocking:
Beth Sachan of Eat.Drink.Smile
Kelly Henderson of Velvet’s Edge
Landyn Hutchinson of Living With Landyn
Greta Hollar of GretaHollar.com
Mallory Ervin of MalloryErvin.com