If you've waited until the last minute to get your Christmas gifts, Pittsburgh's Strip District is a one-stop for anyone on your list who likes to eat. To cut down your shopping time, we've made a list of our favorite gift ideas:
1. Bacon of the Month Club — available at the Pittsburgh Public Market, at the Crested Duck counter. A four-month membership provides a pound-and-a-half of artisan bacon each month. Next year's rotation includes "vanilla-infused bourbon" bacon, "Kentucky BBQ bacon" and "Thai Curry and Lemongrass" bacon. Membership comes with a snazzy "I love bacon" T-shirt to wrap and put under the tree. Price: $70.
2. If meat isn't an option, consider Penn Mac's Cheese of the Month Club. The package, delivered to the doorstep, includes two pounds of four different cheeses each month, typically grouped by region or theme such as "A Taste of Spain" or "Hot, Hot, Hot." Sign them up for a three-month try — or go for a longer six-month or full-year commitment. Price: $29.95 per month.
3. There is nothing as heavenly as real hot cocoa. Intelligentsia's single-origin Ghanaian cocoa is, as noted on its website and as I can personally attest, "just pure chocolate goodness." Pick it up at 21st Street Coffee on Smallman Street. (A pound of 21st Street coffee is also a great gift for the coffee addict in your life.) Price: Under $10.
4. Mon Aimee's Chocolates. There are so many choices here, in such a varying range of prices, you're guaranteed to find a suitable, prettily packaged option. Even so, I suggest going straight toward the back to the jars of savory chocolates; some are infused with rosemary, lavender, sea salt and hot chiles. They are perfect stocking-stuffers. Price: sampler packages start at $1.
5. Grab a gift certificate for Enrico's breadmaking class, held on the last Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They'll learn how to make rustic Italian and whole-wheat loaves, plus the class includes a hearty brunch and often a taste of wine from the owner's private stash. Price: $65.