Edible gifts from Martha's Vineyard: Something for everyone
File photo by Ralph Stewart
As Beth Larsen from The Net Result proclaims, "Food, you can give to someone who has everything."
Really, who doesn't eat? Edible treats are perfect for the aunt who insists she doesn't need anything and no, darling, don't bother. Great for the pulls-out-all-the-stops host or hostess. Wonderful for that special boy or girl who deserves an extra little something.
Of course it's a little more difficult buying edible gifts now than it used to be. We all know someone who is vegan or diabetic or gluten-free or practices other dietary restrictions – either mandated or by choice. Yet, Martha's Vineyard – already famous for its eats – is chock-a-block with edible gifts and presents victual possibilities for everyone on the list.
There are far too many stores and products to cover in one article, but here are some highlights.
If you don't find gifts on-Island for those of the sweet-tooth persuasion, you're really not trying. Island made chocolate has become so popular, it may soon begin to rival home construction as an economic factor.
Anne Bennett's Vineyard Sweets – home-made confections that have developed their own following – can be found at M.V. Florist and Gifts in Edgartown, and at the M.V. Hospital gift shop. Also, check out the display next to the counter at Rainy Day in Vineyard Haven. Hers are the festive red boxes with the gold labels. Her goods are also available online at vineyardsweetsmv.com.
By the way, Rainy Day also boasts a very neat crop of chocolate pops decorated with Hannukah themes.
For sheer nostalgia, pop into Good Ship Lollipop at the top of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Head past the aisles loaded with what used to be called "penny candy," to the display of chocolate pops in the back. The shop's owner seems to have cornered the market on lollipop molds. Besides the Santas and snowmen and other holiday themes, the white, milk, and dark chocolate confections-on-a-stick are available in dozens of different objects and characters, including one shaped like the Island.
One only has to pass by Chilmark Chocolates during the summer to realize how popular their candies are. As the grand doyene of chocolate makers on the Island, their quality is superb and they famously support the Island denizens who would otherwise be underserved. However, they are absolutely slammed with orders during the holidays and if you haven't already gotten your order in, you probably can't count on sending a pound or two to Uncle Mortimer on the mainland.
Fear not! There's a new bakery/confectionary in Vineyard Haven and they have chocolate down! Not Your Sugar Mamas is tucked back in the Tisbury Market Place. Besides being drop-dead yummy, their products are ethically sourced, organic, handmade, produced with local ingredients whenever possible, and most are gluten, dairy, and sugar-free. A word of caution, however: don't try to eat one of their chocolate bars (or any of their other products) while doing something else. They are THAT distracting.
What more can be said about Murdick's Fudge? The only thing better than receiving a package of the melt-in-your-mouth stuff as a gift is to walk into their Edgartown store and inhale the aromas while it's being slathered onto one of those marble slabs. While most of the other shops and vendors will gladly ship items anywhere in the U.S. and usually Canada, Murdick's will ship anywhere in the world.
Another source for Island-made fudge is Mardell's on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Robin's Homemade Fudge of Martha's Vineyard is running a special – buy two pounds, get one-half pound free. That means you can treat two friends to the fresh confections and enjoy the bonus half yourself.
For sweets that are more on the baked side, pop into Cronig's for a package of petite diamond-shaped treats. Georgia Thoutsis, under the name Vineyard Delights Baklava, produces these traditional pastries from a generations old recipe. And while you're on the road, pick up one of those famous pies from Eileen Blake's State Road shop in West Tisbury (call in your order first), or keep going to State Road Restaurant. Their chocolate bars make great stocking-stuffers and hostess gifts.
Enchanted Chocolates, a family run business in Oak Bluffs, has a wide variety of delicious chocolate goodies that make great gifts during the holidays, as well as year round. Located at 4 Chapman Avenue, across from Our Market, Kathleen Cowley's chocolate shop features almond butter crunch, peppermint bark, turtles, non-pareils, fudge, and more. Also find Enchanted Chocolates at Cronig's Market, Alley's, and Morrice Florist. For more information on the Island made chocolates, visit newmoonmagick.net.
For one stop sugary indulgence shopping, venture off Main at Spring Street in Vineyard Haven and visit the Vineyard Holiday Gift Shop. All products are Island-produced and includes the famous jams, jellies, and savories by New Lane Sundries; high-test candy apples and other confections by Linnsational Chocolates; shelves full of local honey by Martha's Vineyard Honey Company, and even some cleverly packaged homemade dog biscuits by Knick Knack Paddy Whack for the dogs on your list.
Finally, you'll have to convince your giftee to bite into the IncrEdible Scenes in Chocolate by Safe Harbor available at LeRoux at Home, on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. They are as clever as they are tasty.
What do you buy for the person who is dedicated to "Occupy the Couch?" Something to eat while guffawing at "The Big Bang Theory" or losing at Resident Evil 6. Truck into LeRoux at Home, past the oils and vinegars (more about them later), and look for the shelves of gourmet popcorn and toppings, tinned sardines, and Walkers Shortbread. Only a few feet away stands another shelf unit filled with canned nuts. Next to that, a plethora of mixes for hot chocolate. This is truly a bonanza for those who need to gift the horizontally inclined.
Recently moved to the old digs of Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Midnight Farm hosts a small but deliberate collection of munchies on the far end of the counter. And don't forget The Black Dog for their own made granola, dog treats, and more.
LeRoux in Vineyard Haven is Mecca to the Island's foodies. Whole sections are dedicated to sea salts and gourmet peppercorns, and spices and condiments of every ilk. The best, though, are the LeRoux-labelled oils and vinegars right inside the entrance to the store. Plan to spend some time tasting. Then pick up two or four or eight to send to a foodie friend.
Another collection of great foodie foods can be found at Edgartown Meat and Fish Market. There's a section of spices with colorful labels from all over the world that would give your more experimental amateur chef heart palpitations. Continue past that to the meat case. You'll find yourself salivating like Pavlov's dog over the magazine-page worthy cuts of beef and pork. They'll also ship their packaged meats anywhere in the country.
It's an open secret that The Net Result will overnight ship their fresh, tasty seafood all over the U.S. Their most commonly gifted items are lobsters (live or boiled and chilled), bay scallops, and smoked fish. But did you know they can put together a custom mini-clambake? What better gift for the seasonal visitor than a mid-winter taste of the Island? Visit mvseafood.com to order.