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Holiday Shopping? Stuff Stockings with Private-Label, Local Products From The Originals

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Why bother with big-box brands and mass-produced goods this holiday season, when the Sarasota-Manatee Originals are offering their own unique gifts for gourmands? A plethora of delectable, original-recipe, private-label products are in stock at Member Restaurants right now, sure to make stellar conversation starters and stocking stuffers.


Pop’s Sunset Grill sells private-label salt and pepper grinders, as well as two private-label hot sauces (a medium-heat Old Florida traditional sauce and a ghost pepper sauce). All of the grinders and hot sauces grace the tables at the Nokomis Beach locale.

“We have found that, even in the humid climate at Pop’s, the quality of these products is really good,” said Stephanie Brown, the general manager at Pop’s. “You can purchase either hot sauce in our BouTiki Gift Shop or online (click here) for $10.95 each, or enjoy them with your food while dining at Pop’s.”

 

Harry’s Continental Kitchens offers a house-made rub called Harry’s Rub, as well as a habanero ketchup.  

“These items are very popular and we sell them onsite in our different storefronts,” said Hal Christensen, the general manager at Harry’s on Longboat Key. “I would say we have been doing them for over 15 years, and we have even shipped them to customers that are not living here in town.” Stop by Harry's Restaurant, Deli or Corner Store to stock up on these distinctive condiments.

ElGreco

The Breakfast Company in Sarasota sells the famous El Greco Greek salad dressing – a family recipe from the beloved El Greco Café that delighted downtowners for decades. It is a signature Greek vinaigrette, and the locale carries it in 16-ounce bottles for $7.50 or 33-ounce portions for $13, according to restaurant co-owner Dmitri Syros.

 

Stevia Sweet BBQ Low Carb Barbecue Sauce from Gold Rush BBQ in Venice will be your family's new favorite (if it isn't already.) Their sugar free barbecue sauce is sweetened with Stevia and contains no artificial sweeteners. It's also low sodium, low-calorioe, fat free, keto and paleo fiendly and gluten free! Stevia Sweet BBQ sauce was chosen as Best All Purpose BBQ Sauce from the editors of Clean Eating magazine. 

The Stevia Sweet BBQ sauce is available in both regular and “with heat” varieties at the restaurant and at many local markets and stores (Find one here.) You can find also order this amazing sauce online at www.steviasweetbbq.com and on Amazon.

And Siesta Key’s Café Gabbiano partners with small wineries throughout Italy, importing bottles for its own private label, said restaurateur Marc Grimaud. 

“We currently have 17 private-label wines. I go to Italy once a year with my importer to meet with winemakers, review their growing practices and winemaking policies, and look for new wines,” Grimaud said. “Sourcing direct allows us to offer a better product at a better cost for our guests.”

Also on the wine front, both Sage and Bijou Garden Café in Sarasota sell an exclusive, custom wine called Lady Sharon, named for one of the restaurant’s owners (Sharon Carole).

“Lady Sharon is a 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Canard Vineyard. The idea came from Executive Chef Christopher Covelli as a gift to his business partner and friend, co-owner of Realm Restaurant Group Sharon Carole,” said Joey Panek, a marketing specialist for the Realm Restaurant Group. “Chef Chris says the wine has a full-bodied Californian feel that is flavorful and robust. Canard Vineyard is well-known to oenophiles and wine collectors but has managed to stay a bit of a secret, as it is not open to the public and produces a very limited number of cases each year.”

Additionally, Michael’s on East carries its own private-label, special-blend wine in Michael’s Wine Cellar, inspired by restaurateur Michael Klauber’s trips with the Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club to the South African Cape Winelands.  

“After much research, Michael convinced the family at Stark-Condé Vineyards in Stellenbosch to produce private-label wines for Michael’s On East,” said Laura Barrow, the marketing manager and executive assistant at Michael’s.

The wines include Michael’s On East Sauvignon Blanc 2022 with its herbaceous flavors and tropical notes of passion fruit and pineapple; Michael’s On East Chardonnay 2022 with citrus, lime, and stone fruit; Michael’s On East Shiraz 2020 with an aroma of licorice and peppery spice; and Michael’s On East Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 with hints of dark cherry and red currant.

Clams cap

Other gift ideas from the Originals include Caps and T-shirts from Chiles Hospitality restaurants that read “All Clams on Deck.” 10% of proceeds from sales of these item benefits All Clams on Deck, whose mission is restoring estuaries and growing coastal economies of Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor.

Other great, unique gifts include various cookbooks by local chefs and authors, including You Don't Have to Be Crazy, But It Helps by Chef Raymond Arpke (former owner of Euphemia Haye); Chef: The Story and Recipes of Chef Paul Mattison by Paul Mattison; and we love The Little Sarasota Dining Book (2023 edition) by writer Larry Hoffman.

So keep it local this holiday season and support the Suncoast culinary scene with “original” presents that promise to please the palate. 

 

 Guest Columnist: Abby Weingarten