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Hey, Dallas: These 6 great items make the perfect holiday gift basket

One costs just $1.52. How’s that for a deal?

I had so much fun sharing what I put in my holiday gift basket last year that I decided to do it again in 2022.

If you like it, we’ll start calling it a tradition.

I’m keeping the same rhyme as we used last year, because it works. New items, same blueprint.

Here’s how you assemble a great holiday gift basket. Just add ...

Something boozy, something sweet

Something bougie, something cheap...

And a spice would be nice.

For something boozy, I love a wine from Texas Hill Country vineyard William Chris. Their pétillant naturel ($22.99) is bubbly and pink and comes with an amusing disclaimer. “This is a natural, WILD wine!” the bottle says. Five simple rules — all easy stuff, like store it upright and serve extremely cold — tell you what you need to know. It’s among Master Sommelier James Tidwell’s favorite well-priced bottles of bubbles this holiday, and it’s one of my favorite party wines. I know the co-owner of the winery and he’s a smart guy intent upon making great wine in our great state.If your friend does not drink alcohol, there are lots of thoughtful replacements. Go to Fount Board & Table in Uptown and ask them about their non-alcoholic favorites.

See this itty bitty cookie? Get a pack of dozens (or hundreds) of "microchip" cookies from...
See this itty bitty cookie? Get a pack of dozens (or hundreds) of "microchip" cookies from JK Chocolate near Love Field Airport in Dallas. They're one of our favorite sweet treats right now.(Sarah Blaskovich/Staff)

For something sweet, I’ve gotta go with JK Chocolate’s “microchip” cookies. They’re the teeniest cookies I’ve ever seen, each one with a single chocolate chip inside. Beware that these cookies — which I prefer in the Original Chocolate Chip variety — are fairly addicting and a little expensive. But they make for an adorable gift.

For something bougie, I’m going to take a new approach and add something in the basket that is not food. (I wrapped it in cellophane to signal: Don’t eat this!) I first smelled Niven Morgan’s Rue 1807 hand soap (about $25) in the bathroom at Sister, an Italian-inflected restaurant on Greenville Avenue in Dallas. Each time I picked up my water glass, I’d notice the lovely scent. And what do you know, they sell it next door at coffee shop Cafe Duro. Rue 1807 has to be the most expensive bathroom soap I’ve ever bought. It smells like a million-dollar lodge in the middle of the woods: absinthe, bourbon, cypress, moss, vetiver and incense.

For something cheap, you’ve gotta buy H-E-B’s cream of poblano soup ($1.52). I use it in soups and stews anytime a recipe calls for cream or a Cream of Whatever soup. It adds a lovely Southwestern bite but it’s not spicy. It went right into our Green Bean Casserole on Thanksgiving for a jazzy upgrade to a classic. You get bonus points if you include a hand-written recipe in your basket. I’d add the recipe for Crab Bisque with Grilled Corn and Poblano Pepper (credit to Kingsford) and swap the cream for H-E-B soup.

For a spice that would be nice, how about two spices that would be nice(s)? Shug’s Bagels sells hot sauce ($6) at the shop near SMU in Dallas. Get some to add a few dashes of heat to breakfast sandwiches or Tex-Mex dishes. My second spicy product this year is Mike’s Hot Honey ($9.90). Drizzle it on waffles, slather it on a sandwich or squeeze some on a cheese board. The Fried Charcuterie Board at the State Fair of Texas — which we universally loved — featured Mike’s Hot Honey. It’s a chef’s kiss moment, in a bottle.

Just one note

Do not include anything that needs to be refrigerated. (So, no Doña sauce, my favorite condiment. Alas, there are lots of other shelf-stable options.)

Here’s where to buy each item

  • William Chris’ pét-nat is available at Pogo’s, Total Wine and at the winery in Hye, Texas. I found it at Pogo’s for $22.99.
  • JK Chocolate is at 4710 W. Lovers Lane in Dallas. The shop gets busy around the holidays. You can also order online at jkchocolate.com/collections if you think ahead. Microchip cookies come in many flavors and sizes, from little ornaments to jars and tins. Gluten-free options available. The canister above cost $16.
  • Niven Morgan’s Rue 1807 hand soap is available many places online, including at nivenmorgan.com and on Amazon. I bought mine at Cafe Duro, 2804 Greenville Ave., Dallas. $25-$30 for 11 ounces.
  • Cream of Poblano soup is available at H-E-B but not at Central Market stores. D-FW has H-E-Bs in Frisco and Plano, with more opening soon. Soup costs $1.52 per can.
  • Shug’s Bagels is at 3020 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas. Bottles of hot sauce cost $6.
  • Mike’s Hot Honey is available online and at dozens of grocery stores in North Texas. I found it for $9.90 at Eataly.

An important note

Each of these items were hand-selected by The Dallas Morning News simply because we think they’re great. Companies did not ask to participate or pay to be included.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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