(1) How great is it to be able to fuel your body with healthful energy bars made in Charlottesville—in flavors like chocolate-peanut butter and almond-cherry. Really great, say the folks at Speedie B’s—a couple of longtime runners who have made it their mission to find the right balance of carbs and protein. The company slogan pretty much says it all: “No genetically modified gunk, no hydrogenated muck, no overrefined crud, just pure all-natural wonderfulness.” How can we quibble with that?
About $3.50 at Ragged Mountain Running Shop, Salt Artisan Market, Gibson’s Grocery, Rebecca’s, and Bellair Farm, in Albemarle/Charlottesville or $19.25 for six at speedieb.com/shop.
(2) “Eventually, I realized how similar chocolate is to coffee in its flavor and experience potential,” says Shark Mountain Coffee owner Jonny Nuckols. “So I decided to delve deep into it.” And deep he went, turning out small-batch, single-origin chocolate bars, roasting the cacao with the same machine he uses for the coffee beans. With this level of control, he’s able to bring out and enhance the natural flavors. Look for bars sourced completely from Uganda, which have notes of strawberry and bubble gum, and ones from Madagascar, which are heavy on raspberry and tropical fruits.
$4 at the Store in Staunton; and Shark Mountain Coffee, JM Stock Provisions, and Mudhouse in Charlottesville.
(3) Even the skinniest of stockings is going to be a great spot for one (or all) of these spice rubs from Oil & Vinegar. With four flavors in easy-to-use shaker-top cans, each is designed to amp up a particular group of ingredients: The Mediterranean rub, for instance, is for fish and veggies; Texan, for steak and barbecue; Portuguese, for chicken and prawns; and Louisiana, for meat and potatoes. Consider yourself amped!
$8.95 each at Oil & Vinegar in Charlottesville.
(4) Inspired by Blue Mountain Brewery and others who are growing hops in the area, Cheryl Huggins began designing hops-centric pewter keychains and jewelry. She clearly has a thing for hops, as she also owns Shenandoah Hops, a craft beer store, with husband John. Cheryl sketches her designs—the one with Swarovski crystals was an homage to the beautiful spectrum of a beer fl ight—and then sends them to friend Gary Harsh in Vesuvius to have them made.
$15 for the single-hop keychain and $20 for the keychain with crystals, at Shenandoah Hops in Staunton and at shenandoahhops.com.