In order to compile a list of top holiday gifts, we tracked down a group of five Boston-area boutique owners, cheesemongers and even a "resident oyster dude" to find out what's looking fresh at shops all over the city.

Real people, recommending real New England-made products, sold at stores just around the corner from you. We're taking "buy local" to a whole new level this year.

1. Olives & Grace, Sofi Madison, Owner

Sofi Madison
Sofi Madison is the owner of Olives & Grace, a South End shop that features artisan products with the motto "a curtsy to the makers."
Katie Noble

Structure serving boards

“It took me a while to find serving boards that stand out and offer something special. Peter Jackson Hussey, of Boston-based Structure Design and Build, rose to the challenge and started creating serving boards with metal handles for proper balance and presentation.”

Price: $55

Structure cutting boards
The serving boards from Structure are one-of-a-kind, made with locally harvested maple, oak and cherry.
Courtesy of Olives & Grace

Cocoa Santé hot cocoa

“This is my favorite hot cocoa—in particular, the Azteca flavor. The cinnamon and chipotle peppers create a nice spice, so you don't know if it's the heat from the cocoa or from the peppers that you're feeling. A must with our Sweet Lydia's vanilla marshmallows, also locally made and sold at the shop.”

Price: $11

Cocoa Sante
Boston area Cocoa Santé sources organic beans from cooperative farms in the Dominican Republic and South America.
Courtesy of Cocoa Santé LC

Ceramic bowls by Jeremy Ogusky

“Our friend and maker, Jeremy Ogusky, a Boston-based potter, is our go-to for strong and timeless ceramics. Often times, we'll pick up bowls, mugs and decanters at his home studio. He's exactly the type of person you want to support.”

Price: $34

Jeremy Ogusky bowl
These beautiful bowls are timeless pieces to add to any food lover's collection.
Courtesy of

Where to buy: Olives & Grace - 623 Tremont St., Boston, 617.236.4535,

2. Formaggio Kitchen, Julia Hallman, Buyer & Manager

Julia Hallman
Julia Hallman does a little bit of everything at the flagship Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, including meeting with local food producers to pick products for the shop.
Photo: Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

Moxie's sirop de cassis

“From Backstage Farmin Blue Hill, Maine. Elena makes this traditional syrup using black currants grown on her farm. Each batch is handmade once a year when the cassis berries are ripe. This syrup is the perfect addition to any cocktail, and it's wonderful drizzled over ice cream, too.”

Price: $18.95

Moxie Sirop de Cassis
Drizzle this small-batch syrup over desserts or stir some into white wine for a Kir cocktail.
Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

Twig Farm cheeses

“Made by Michael Lee on his farm in West Cornwall, Vermont, these raw milk cheeses from Twig Farm are exceptional. Michael is best known for his natural rind goat cheeses, which provide a balance of both an earthy and savory rind, with a bright, yet creamy paste. Never adhering to any norms, Michael constantly tweaks and revises his recipes, while consistently delivering cheese perfection!”

Price: $24.95/lb

Twig Farm cheese
Twig Farm is one of Julia's favorite local producers of goat's milk cheeses.
Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

Somerville Chocolate

“What began as a chocolate CSA in Somerville—that Formaggio Kitchen was a member of— is now a full-fledged bean-to-bar chocolate making operation. Eric is the man behind this amazing chocolate. He is constantly experimenting and perfecting his craft in a never-ending quest to perfect his already amazing chocolate.”

Price: $9.95-$11.95

You can join the Somerville Chocolate CSA for regular deliveries, or pick up a bar to try at Formaggio Kitchen.
Courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

Where to buy: Formaggio Kitchen - 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617.354.4750,

3. Island Creek Oysters Holiday Pop-Up Shop, CJ Husk, “Resident Oyster Dude”

CJ Husk Island Creek
According to Shore Gregory (partner at Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34), "CJ travels the world spreading the gospel of Island Creek: one bivalve—and usually one beer—at a time."
Courtesy of Island Creek Oysters


“No holiday cocktail hour is complete without everyone standing around the sink taking turns at shucking oysters. Just squeeze a bit of lemon over them and pair with a glass of your favorite sparkling wine."

Price: $18 per dozen

Island Creek oyster bag
Bring a sack of Island Creek Oysters to the next holiday party and you'll be more popular than Santa.
Courtesy of Island Creek Oysters

The New England Kitchen Cookbook

“Jeremy [Sewall] is a master of so many cooking techniques—but he really shines when it comes to New England style seafood. If you want to know how to bring the cooking styles of Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 into your home kitchen, this is the book to get.”

Price: $39.95

New England Kitchen
Island Creek Oyster Bar executive chef Jeremy Sewall's Cookbook (co-written by Erin Byers Murray) was nominated for a James Beard Award.
Courtesy of Island Creek Oysters

Premium shucking knife, made by R. Murphy in Ayer, MA

“This is my shucking tool of choice. The polished rosewood wood handle gives a glamorous touch to a knife that is perfect for the novice, or the seasoned pro."

Price: $40

shucking knife
CJ's favorite shucking knife is handmade in Massachusetts and very handsome.
Courtesy of

Where to buy: Island Creek Oysters Holiday Pop-Up Shop - 142 Newbury St., Boston,

4. Central Bottle Wine + Provisions, Molly Hargrove, Cheese Monger

Molly Hargrove Central Bottle
Molly Hargrove (who is expecting her first baby) has worked as a cook and cheesemonger at Central Bottle in Cambridge.
Courtesy of Central Bottle Wine + Provisions

Bobo's Mountain Sugar

“Their motto is ‘a taste of tree’ and this couldn't be more accurate. It is woodsy and delicate and just a whiff of it transports me to Vermont, where it is made.”

Price: $18/$11 for a pint or half-pint

Bobo's Mountain Sugar
Molly's pick for pancakes is this Vermont maple syrup.
Courtesy of Bobo's Mountain Sugar

Overland honey

This is a 100 percent pure honey that our chef drove all the way to Maine to get, and it was well worth the drive. It is rich and floral and made by a small, sustainable beekeeping operation that cares for their bees in the best way possible.

Price: $18 for 12 oz

Overland honey
100 percent pure raw Maine honey from Overland is one sweet gift for your local food lover.
Courtesy of

Songbird Farm cornmeal

“Songbird Farm is run by a couple from Unity, Maine, who travel the country as a bluegrass duo in the off season. Their organic cornmeal is the perfect accompaniment to winter stews and braises.”

Price: $10 for 2lbs

Where to buy: Central Bottle Wine + Provisions - 196 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617.225.0040,

5. Loyal Supply Co., Kimberly Lafoy & Ryan Habbyshaw, Owners

Kimberly LaFoy & Ryan Habbyshaw
Kimberly LaFoy and Ryan Habbyshaw, along with their dog Huckleberry, in their Union Square shop.
Courtesy of Loyal Supply Co.

Bee's Wrap

“We love Vermont. It has been our home and our weekend escape, and many times where we find amazing products. Sarah Kaeck, founder and owner of Bee's Wrap, makes an all natural, reusable alternative to plastic wrap, all from a shop in our hometown of Bristol. Bee's Wraps are made from an organic fabric infused with a combination of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. The result is a slightly stiff wrap that becomes pliable from the warmth of hands.”

Price: $6-$15

Bees Wrap
This eco-friendly food wrap can be washed and reused for up to a year.
Courtesy of Loyal Supply Co.

Cuppow travel mug

“This glass travel mug designed by our friends and neighbors, Cuppow, is perfect for everything from coffee to cocktails. Take it everywhere you go, every day, and enjoy it every time you do.”

Price: $20

Cuppow Travel Mug
The Somerville company Cuppow makes lids that screw onto mason jars. This glass mug also comes with a coozie made from recycled plastic bottles.
Courtesy of Loyal Supply Co.

Bee Raw honey flight

“The four hand-corked 1 oz. vials are sealed in beeswax and packaged with a beautiful American Oak block, in a gift box. There are four varieties: fruit, wildflower, cheese complimentary and Maine blueberry—our personal favorite.”

Price: $46

honey flight
Full disclosure: Maine blueberry might be the only local honey in this bunch (which can include flavors like Colorado sweet clover), but we made an exception for this particularly charming and delicious 4-pack.
Courtesy of Loyal Supply Co.

Where to buy: Loyal Supply Co. - 21 Union Square, Somerville, 617-996-6930,