Combine your passion for local food with gift giving when you visit these upcoming holiday markets featuring Southern California artisans. Look for goodies from honey to hot sauce, jam to beef jerky, candy to coffee, and more.
Unique LA – Dec. 2-3
One of the largest pop-up local marketplaces in the country, Unique LA will showcase more than 400 vendors; previous gatherings saw 50,000 attendees. Perhaps more importantly than its size, Unique LA stands to live up to its name for those looking to buy the most unique local gifts. Chocolate lovers can buy bars from Letterpress Chocolate, which imports beans from Ucayali, a hard-to-reach Amazonian region in Peru. Or try chocolate bars made with goat milk from Wallflower Chocolate Company. Mithaier offers a modern take on Indian sweets that sculpts them into truffle-sized pyramids. For spice addicts, there’s Doublekick, a caffeinated hot sauce. And Delight From Paris offers a French dessert with an intriguing name – voyage cake. It’s intended to be a miniature cake that one can bring on a trip.
California Market Center, 110 E 9th St, Los Angeles, 90079
Grand Central Market Holiday Marketplace – Dec. 2-3
Downtown food stall heaven Grand Central Market is reprising its annual holiday forum. The goal is to overload you with gift ideas, while entertaining you with live music, holiday foods, and ornament-making workshops. Alongside the books, stationery goods, ceramics, and home decor sold in the pop-up village, several local artisans will present food items worthy of impressing your friends, family, and coworkers as holiday gifts. M.Greenwood Jams is a mother-daughter duo that makes small batches of jam. They offer the classics, plus several flavors you probably won’t find at the grocery store: Chipotle Strawberry, Three Pepper Jam, and Salted Bourbon Grapefruit. Morning Glory Confections redefines nut brittle by shaping the pieces into neat rectangles the size of a stick of gum. Interesting ingredients in Morning Glory’s five flavors include Darjeeling tea, cardamon, Mexican oregano, and Fleur de Sel salt. Spread The Love wants to introduce you to a nut butter that easily spreads and drips on food. Thanks to them, you can drizzle peanut and almond butters not just on sandwiches, but also on fruit, salads, pancakes, waffles, and smoothies. One of Santa Monica’s newest shops, Sweet Oak Bakery, will offer potential stocking stuffers – granola, tomato jam, and balsamic butter – with organic ingredients from local farmers markets.
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, 90013 – 213-624-2378
Renegade Craft Fair, Dec. 9-10
The Renegade Craft Fair boasts a large number of vendors and huge crowds. This year, the event is expecting 250 vendors for attendees to peruse. Local marshmallow maker Plush Puffs pushes the boundaries of the classic confection with unique flavors, with this year’s holiday creations coming in cranberry, eggnog, and gingerbread spice. P.O.P. Candy Co. invigorates toffee by adding unexpected ingredients, such as curry and spicy pistachios. P.O.P.’s nut-free toffee option is allergy friendly, made with fennel and seeds. McFaddy Candy also makes toffee, drawing inspiration from strawberries, matcha green tea, and pumpkin spice. And honey purists will appreciate Massey Honey, a company that takes honey directly from the hive, extracts it by hand from the comb, and sells the raw product.
Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 North Spring St, Los Angeles, 90012
Holiday Market at Smorgasburg LA, Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Dec. 17
This regular Sunday bazaar bursts at the seams in December as more local artisans crowd Smorgasburg’s Holiday Market. Choices range from healthy to indulgent to exotic. Calorie-conscious dieters with a sweet tooth may fall in love with Cake Bams, which makes frosted covered rice cakes. Papa Bear’s Kinda Healthy Nut Butter products are big on taste while light on sugar and sweeteners. Their biggest seller is the Churro Butter made with pecans and cinnamon. Santa Monica-based Fat Dog Jams spices up their spreads by pairing fruit with peppers, such as Apple Jalapeno and Pineapple Chili. Get a taste of Laos with jerky infused with Laotian spices from Kohk & Sahk, which fittingly translates as “mortar and pestle.” Copper Cow Coffee offers a kit that allows you to experience Vietnamese coffee at home or on the go. Their portable pour over filter comes with authentic Vietnamese coffee and California-sourced sweetened condensed milk. Just add hot water, then squeeze in the milk.
Smorgasburg LA, 785 Bay St, Los Angeles, 90021 – 718-928-6603