If you are seeking an out-of-the-ordinary gift for your favorite atavistic gourmand, take a stroll uptown to Reid's and talk with Bucky Frick, Jr., in the meat department. Among the wild game he carries are full racks of elk, venison and wild boar. Frick can also order kangaroo or alligator. The meats are sealed in vacuum packs. Game, however, can be pricy. A rack of elk goes for about $20 a pound. Not game? Reid's offers a collection of baskets or you can create your own. Gift baskets may be ordered online, delivered locally or sent nationally. The best advice is to order before Saturday, December 10th.
Reid's Fine Foods, 225 East 6th Street, 704-377-1312. www.reids.com.
At ELIZABETH'S Nofo you can put together a basket or select one of their prepackaged gifts. Of particular note: they can do small cellophane-wrapped baskets for teachers. Some of the local products they package are Crook's grits, Dead Mule Nuts (a.k.a. goobers), Sarah Foster's Pepper Jelly, homemade pound cake or scones and a breakfast basket with an Edward's Virginia ham. (OK, it's not Carolina, but it's close.) NoFo delivers locally and will ship. For the procrastinators among us, manager Michelle Flattum noted that NoFo closes at 3pm on Christmas Eve and will deliver locally until that time.
NoFo on Liz, 1609 Elizabeth Avenue, 704-444-9003.
dean & deluca's collections are hard to beat. In addition to their wonderful coffee and Italian cooking baskets, their spice collection is a winner. The $95 collection has it all: whole allspice, basil, cayenne pepper, stick cinnamon, whole cloves, ground coriander, whole cumin, curry powder blend, fennel seed, fines herbs, herbs de Provence, herbs for fish, herbs for meat, lavender flowers, mustard powder, Greek oregano, black tellicherry peppercorns, white peppercorns, rosemary, French tarragon and thyme. The spices are packaged in vials that sit on a stainless steel rack.
Dean & Deluca, 6903 Phillips Place Court, 704-643-6868.
IF YOU NEED to send a basket to friends or family out of state, what about some moonshine? No, really. Yet it may not be the real stuff or even refer to James Taylor's "Carolina On My Mind." Among the large selection of gift baskets available at A Southern Season, the legendary gourmet shop in Raleigh, is a colorful red tin of Carolina specialty products. These include Moonshine Spring Water and pimento cheese straws -- a kind of state culinary twofer. Also in the tin are roasted peanuts, the ubiquitous barbecue sauce and Chocbilly cookies. These tins are $70, and for ten bucks more they'll throw in a bottle of Biltmore Chardonnay.
A Southern Season, www.southernseason.com, order by phone: 800-253-3663.
NOT aLL HOLIDAy TreaTS are for our two-legged friends. At Canine Café, you can get a holiday gift basket for man's best friend. These baskets are filled with the shop's homemade biscuits and other treats. Or you can get the megabone dog biscuit personalized -- you know, for the discerning, literate dog ($3.50). However, teenage dogs seem to prefer a bag of TJ's pizza treats ($10).
Canine Café Charlotte, 1447 South Tryon Street, 704-588-6347.