Look local for holiday treats this year

Steven Howard and Joe Skifter (l-R) offer a variety of chocolate boxes that make great holiday gifts.

This article was written by Connor Cummiskey

While the holidays may be drab this year, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, locally-sourced treats and candy still can brighten up your days.

To begin with Dancing Bear Chocolate, 4367 Thomas, is offering a variety of handmade treats.

“Christmas is our high season, so of course we do a lot of special Christmas, holiday-type items,” said Co-owner Joe Skifter.

The big feature is a handmade, chocolate ornament that is filled with truffles or toffee. They are cast using high-quality molds, which are painted to color the chocolate and give it an extra shine, Skifter said.

Dancing Bear also offers their feature truffles. They make two kinds by hand: coconut and key lime. The other truffles are still made by the chocolateers, but are cast in molds. All the truffles are available in chocolate boxes offered by the company that come in a variety of sizes.

“When we first started out, we had the ability to make all of our truffles by hand,” said Skifter. “All of our truffles were hand dipped, hand scooped and hand garnished from start to finish by hand. We’ve grown to the point where we can no longer do that.”

Another local treat is a peanut brittle that uses peanuts sourced from an Oklahoma farmer – the state that Co-owner Steven Howard grew up in.

The pair also offers options for gift baskets and bags that allow customers to select a variety of items based on their own budget and taste, according to Skifter.

Customers can learn more about Dancing Bear by visiting dancing-bear-chocolate.business.site or calling 612-254-4354.

Also in the Northside is the Thirsty Whale Bakery, 4149 Fremont, which is offering a variety of deals for the holidays. While representatives were unable to speak with this reporter, they did send a list of Thanksgiving-related sales.

Customers can get deals on pies including French silk, pumpkin praline and sweet cherry pies. The bakery also offers six-inch turkey cake and caramel cheesecake mason jar trifles.

As of press time the bakery was unable to provide information on deals they were expecting to offer during the Christmas holidays. Customers can stay up-to-date on the bakery’s offerings at thirstywhalebakery.com or 612-259-7268.

If you’re looking to support an artist and candy maker, Thomasina Petrus is a Minneapolis-based singer and actor who makes her own cashew brittle along with her sister-in-law and partner Leslie.

The pair touts the simple, quality ingredients used in their brittle. Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle started selling in church basements, school craft fairs and farmer’s markets until they were invited to be a vendor in the Minnesota State Fair, according to their website.

The brittle is carried in North Market, according to Leslie. More info can be found at thomasinascashewbrittle.square.site.

And don’t forget you can get sweet treats at North Market, 4414 Humboldt. Stop by or check out mynorthmarket.org/grocery/.