Guest Services

Sweet host gifts for the season of parties

'Tis the season of packed calendars, tiny paper plates and holiday-travel small talk. The only sin: Showing up to a party empty-handed.

You could order something elaborate from the holiday menus at Craftsman & Wolves, Le Marais or Charles Chocolates, or bring one of these local gifts:

Spice it up. Stop by Hapax Bread's stand at the VA and Fillmore Farmers' Markets for a sweet loaf of Eleanor McSherry's pain d'épice ($7), a pound cake-like gingerbread, or her cinnamon-chocolate babka ($10), swirled with enough Callebaut to be gloriously messy.

Think inside the box. Poco Dolce's Mint Snowballs ($20 for nine), which melt as readily as their namesake, may be our favorite holiday season chocolate, brightly flavored and dusted with powdered sugar.

Go bubbly. But not that bubbly. Jolie Devoto and Hunter Wade learned to make cider in Spain so they could work with their family's Sonoma orchards. Their Save the Gravenstein cider ($12 for 750 ml at Bi-Rite and Other Avenues) is crisp and floral with enough farmhouse funk to impress the grown-ups.

Make it yourself. A holiday gift from Native Baking Co.'s Jen Nguyen: She has shared the recipe for her amazing Nuts and Chew Bars with us. Sweet–but far from cloying–they're full-frontal buttery, which truly says "Happy Holidays."