As seen in Currents, December 2021

There’s something both archetypal and delightful about stocking stuffers. They reach deep into history and across European cultures. Way before Christianity introduced the story of St. Nicholas filling children’s shoes or stockings, the Vikings had the god Odin. Children would put carrots and straw in their boots for Odin’s flying horse. To reward their kindness, Odin would replace the these with candies and treats.

Simple candies and treats have evolved over the years. Looking for unique stocking stuffers for Christmas 2021? We’ve collected a few culinary gifts – for adults — from around Northeast Ohio.

Candy is de rigueur when stuffing stockings. Sweet Designs Chocolatier of Lakewood, Ohio, makes some of the best chocolates in Northeast Ohio.  Among many choices are soul-warming Hot Cocoa Bombs, a sphere filled with artisan hot cocoa mix and fresh-whipped marshmallows.  Just add hot milk. They’re available in classic milk and dark chocolate as well as peppermint, peanut butter and even vegan dark chocolate! Busy? They ship.

Few places can make real maple syrup. Geauga County, Ohio, has the perfect soil and climate for some of the very best. From adorable 1.75-ounce maple leaf bottles to gallons jugs, you’ll find the sweet stuff available at private homes throughout the area. For guaranteed quality, stop by Richard’s Maple Products in Chardon or order from

The names will sell you. CLE Urban Winery in Cleveland Heights offers Mighty Cuyahoga Merlot and Murray Hill Pinot Grigio as well as Rust Belt Rose. Head Winemaker Dave Mazzone’s holiday shining star is the Cleveland Rocks Christmas Red, a Cabernet Sauvignon spiced with cinnamon, clove and sweet orange peel. It’s the wine alternative to Cleveland’s holiday beers.

Single-origin, single-varietal olive oil is a rare find. In October, Chef Jeremy Umansky of Larder Delicatessen in Cleveland’s Hingetown traveled to Tuscany to help his friend Lorenzo Caponetti, an archaeologist and farmer, harvest olives.  Together pressed olives the ancient way.  In November Umansky imported 50 bottles (500 ml) of the Casa Caponetti olive oil. This is a rare and limited find. For more information visit

Like fine wine, balsamic vinegar from Modena gets better with age. Galluci’s Italian Foods in Cleveland carries a number of luxury, aged balsamic vinegars that range in price from $39.99 to $124.99 for 250 ml.

The Chef’s Garden offers myriad stocking stuffer ideas. Their artisan jams and marmalades, made by Prospect Jam Company of Cincinnati, introduce unique flavor profiles. The Viola & Champagne jelly is topped with dried edible flowers before being jarred and sealed. During packaging, the steam vapor coming off the hot jelly rehydrates the blooms, creating a stunning visual when the jar is opened.

Pope’s Kitchen of Cleveland takes your home-crafted cocktails to a new level. Stuff habanero orange syrup — made with fresh habanero steeped in pure orange juice – in a stocking for your next old-fashioned. Not drinking? Try it as a glaze pork or salmon. Check out Pope’s other cocktail syrups at retail or as

Sports fans and foodies alike appreciate Cleveland’s signature condiment – Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard. What started in Joe Bertman’s garage in 1925 remains the same tasty, old-world style brown mustard almost 100 years late. This legendary Cleveland brown mustard began creating memories at League Park in the late 1920’s and that tradition continues today at Progressive Field and now Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Buy Bertman Original Ball Park, Bertman Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager Beer Mustard and Bertman Original Horseradish Sauce at local retailers, on Amazon or at

When the wrapping paper is cleared away, your favorite tea lover can curl up with a book and a steaming mug made from Storehouse Tea. The Cleveland-based importer and blender works with local and international farmers who follow sustainable practices to source ingredients. These are hand-crafted in small batches by a diverse TEAm of women.  Buy one of 13 blends or order the sampler pack at local retailers or