These are a few of our favorite things for the holidays

CAROLINES COFFEE ROASTERS GIFT BASKETS
We drink Carolines Coffee each morning: It is fresh roasted, in-house. But we also adore their gift baskets—filled with coffee, chocolate-covered espresso beans, waffle mix, real maple syrup, local jams, shortbread, English breakfast teas and more. The gourmet items are wrapped in baskets or wooden gift crates, with a festive bow.
128 S.Auburn St., GV, 530-273-6424
CarolinesCoffee.com

NEW SEATS TO WATCH THE STARS
The Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley features star performers, from Joan Baez to Wynton Marsalis, thanks to The Center for the Arts. Now the auditorium has been retrofitted with new stadium seating in the bleachers. The Center installed 483 new seats, equipped with backs and cushions, named after Vets, thanks to generous donations. We were glad to contribute.
TheCenterfortheArts.org

CELLO CHOCOLATE
The chocolate is handcrafted from bean to bar in Nevada City. It is one of about 50 artisan chocolate makers in the United States that buy, roast and grind cocoa beans into chocolate (as opposed to just making confections from a chocolate maker’s products). Examples include the Peru bar, “bright taste with cherry notes”; Venezuela, “traditional chocolate flavor with a hint of almonds”; and salted Ghana, “deep, classic, straightforward cocoa flavor with sea salt.” Cello also offers chocolate making classes. The chocolate is sold at ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City, and Sierra Starr Tasting Room, BriarPatch Co-op, Carolines Coffee Roasters and Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli—all in Grass Valley.
CelloChocolate.com

CIRINO’S BLOODY MARY
Cirino’s at Main Street is popular with locals, and its bottled “Cirino’s-style” Bloody Mary mix is now for sale. The history of the Cirino’s Bloody Mary goes back to 1983, when restaurateur Jerry Cirino created his own version of the famous cocktail. “Using the required fresh ingredients he had available, he approached the drink much like a chef, grabbing a bit of this and a touch of that with a few secret ingredients thrown in — and the ‘Cirino’s-style’ Bloody Mary was born, with a small beer at its side,” according to Cirino’s. The mix is for sale at Cornish Christmas in historic Grass Valley. For more information, call 530-272- MARY or visit CirinosBMM.com.

NICHOLSON BLOWN GLASS
The Auburn hand-blown glassmaker creates exquisite works of art, from commissioned pieces to glass-blown pumpkins and Mandarins. The Nicholson’s glass-blown ornaments make a special holiday gift or “stocking stuffer.” Visit the studios and watch the artists in action.
5555 Bell Rd, Auburn, 530-823-1631
NicholsonBlownGlass.com

CAVIAR & CHAMPAGNE
Beluga caviar and French champagne go famously together. But you can also celebrate with local sparkling wine and local caviar. Sterling Caviar is the pioneer sustainable sturgeon farming and caviar production. Sterling is based in Elverta, near Sacramento. You can get their caviar at places such as Corti Bros. or Ella restaurant in Sacramento or online.
SterlingCaviar.com

SANTA, TRAINS & TOYS AT NEVADA COUNTY NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD MUSEUM
For old-fashioned holiday fun, go to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Nevada City. On December 6, you can ride on a train, see toy rail cars in snowy settings, even visit Santa Claus. The gift shop is a welcome reprieve from the store chains: It offers railroad-related toys, games, puzzles and books.
5 Kidder Ct., Nevada City 530-470-0902
NCNGRRMuseum.org

CIGARS AT TOBACCO REPUBLIC
Now in its 19th year, Tobacco Republic in Loomis is a premier tobacconist with the largest walk-in humidor in Northern California. It is the perfect place for the experienced cigar smoker and the novice alike. Enjoy annual events such as “Leaves & Vines,” an annual dinner, wine and cigars event. This year it was held at Viña Castellano.
TRCigar.com

(Cello Chocolate photo by Karl Landquist)

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