Missouri is home to some of the best "makers" in the country: artists, craftsmen, chocolatiers, brewers, distillers, winemakers and more. With the holidays quickly approaching, select a made-in-Missouri gift for the special people on your shopping list. Here are some suggestions:
Askinosie Chocolate, Springfield
Shawn Askinosie makes fantastic chocolate and has the accolades to prove it. But his company's mission makes the chocolate even better. Working directly with cocoa farms in Ecuador, Tanzania and the Philippines, Askinosie Chocolate ensures the farmers receive a fair price for their beans and strives to improve living conditions in the surrounding communities. Select from bean-to-bar chocolate, sipping chocolate and chocolate-covered snacks.
Missouri Star Quilt Co., Hamilton
At the urging of her son and daughter, Jenny Doan opened a quilt shop in the small town of Hamilton in 2008. Today, Missouri Star Quilt is one of the largest quilting companies in the United States. Order pre-cut quilt fabric, quilt kits, patterns and books for someone who enjoys quilting or would like to learn how. Be sure to include a link to Doan's popular how-to videos on YouTube.
Charlie Hustle, Kansas City
What's better than giving a Kansas City Chiefs fan a sweatshirt featuring the reigning Super Bowl champions? Giving them a Chiefs sweatshirt made in Kansas City. Charlie Hustle pays tribute to some of the city's favorite things with a variety of designs including the Barbecue Collection, the Brewmasters Collection and the KC Restaurants Collection.
Damhorst Toys, Hermann
Nearly 30 years ago, family-owned Damhorst Toys began making personalized name puzzle stools, patterned after a jigsaw puzzle. The stools became a hit as a fun way for young children to master eye-hand coordination, recognize shapes and learn to spell their name. Today, the company's heirloom-quality, kid-friendly products include wooden puzzles, bookends, chairs and coat racks made with nontoxic paints and finishes.
Arch Apparel, St. Louis
Aaron Park was born in Melbourne, Australia, but he's proud to call St. Louis home. Fourteen years after coming to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student, he created Arch Apparel, a clothing brand that promotes all his city has to offer. Shirts, hats and other items feature St. Louis favorites – hockey, baseball and beer.
Indigo Wild, Kansas City
Goat's milk, botanical extracts and other natural ingredients are transformed into a variety of body care and home products at Indigo Wild's Zum factory – one of the best smelling businesses in Kansas City. Products include soap, lotion, lip balm, aromatherapy sprays and soy candles in dozens of scents, including lemongrass, sandalwood-citrus and lavender-mint.
Noboleis Vineyards, Augusta
Prior to Prohibition, Missouri was the second largest wine-producing state in the U.S. Today, more than 120 wineries across the state produce a selection of fine wines. Chose a bottle from Noboleis Vineyards for your favorite wine lover.
Park Avenue Coffee, St. Louis
In addition to great coffee, Park Ave Coffee serves some of the best gooey butter cake in St. Louis. The sweet treat is made by Ann & Allen Baking Co. Special holiday gift boxes contain premium coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a gooey butter cake or cake mix to bake at home.
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue, Kansas City
Since 1957, Jack Stack Barbecue has been part of Kansas City's rich barbecue history. Send some delicious smoked meat – fully cooked and flash frozen – plus some delectable sides to someone one your holiday list. A variety of packages are available. The Kansas City Tour Taste Plate includes: pork spare ribs, pork burnt ends, beef brisket, hickory pit beans, sauce, and carrot cake or triple chocolate brownies.
Select an original piece of artwork from one of Missouri's many painters, sculptors, woodcarvers, weavers and jewelry makers. Dan Brueggeman, of Henley, began carving decoys more than three decades ago and expanded his focus through the years to include songbirds, game birds, raptors, fish and mammals. Artist Doug Bennett, of Blue Springs, paints a variety of subjects – from athletes to automobiles. Combining scratchboard engraving with watercolors, St. Joseph artist Martiena R. Richter creates detailed wildlife art. Curtis Comer and Tim Woods, owners of the Green Earth Art Company in St. Louis, craft decorative art pieces in concrete and cement. See the work of hundreds more Show-Me State artists at Best of Missouri Hands.
Written by Liz Coleman