Thanks for taking time to enjoy our second installment of fantastic gifts that hail from Minnesota. These four delicious picks have two things in common: within their respective food or beverage categories, I’d define them as “crave-worthy,” and they claim MN as their home state. So grab a full mug of your favorite blog-reading beverage, and let’s cozy in!
Personally, I’ll be dreaming of sipping on a medium Nordic Miel from the hospitable folks at Grand Marais’ Java Moose. Amazing coffee, and unlimited harbor views are complementary every day of the year.
Last week we launched our 2018 Minn-spired Gift Giveaway with these four stunners. Carson led the way sharing our first installment, which has been loads of fun! And, we’re hosting giveaways galore on Facebook and Instagram. Taking a similar approach this week, three amazing partners generously donated or discounted items to share, because they appreciate YOU. And, we’re adding our favorite holiday baking cookbook for those who love to tinker in the kitchen. Just breathe in all that goodwill – it’s infectious!
So, riding the comfy coffee vibe, time to share a bit about our first partner. If you’ve traveled to Grand Marais, Minnesota – a.k.a. The Coolest Town in America – you’ve likely spotted the city’s landmark coffee shop, Java Moose.
In my humble opinion, Java Moose makes the best latte on the North Shore. I’m pretty much a plain Jane latte drinker, skip the extra flavors and add-ins. Pour this girl a couple power-packed shots of espresso topped with full-fat steamy milk, and I’m a happy camper. When I chatted with co-owner Sarah Jorgenson to learn about their family business, she prepped me on their menu specialties. The signature Nordic Miel (pictured above) is a one-of-a-kind sipper made with all MN-spired ingredients: espresso (of course); sweet Carlin’s Colonies honey from Lanesboro, MN; Nordic Sprinkle (triple blend of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla); and local Wild Country maple syrup. Two words: won over! Plus, their shop is cute and woodsy offering great harbor views and plenty of merchandise to guide an indecisive Santa, such as cozy tees, sweatshirts, hats and drinkware. And, they’ve partnered with Hanna Palma Ceramics to sell custom coffee mugs featuring their moose antler insignia.
This inspiring family-owned and operated business knows how to turn out a great latte, but the secret ingredient to their success happens to be their welcoming vibe. Friendly staff keep the coffee on and the doors open 365 days a year. Their customers – both locals and visitors alike – have come to rely on their shop for almost two decades as a place for good conversation, inviting ambiance and damn good coffee. As Sarah explained, Java Moose loves their customers – and it shows in the way they work tirelessly, side-by-side at their coffee shop and within the Cook County community.
Java Moose operates two locations. The year-round flagship store (pictured above) is located at 218 West Highway 61; the second summertime pop-up is adjacent to the Lake Superior Trading Post. Swing by on your next Grand Marais visit. And, share your thoughts on their Facebook page. Java Moose extended a generous discount on the holiday giveaway including Sarah’s favorite Java Moose 10 oz Hydroflask. She recommends down-sized, thermal coffee cups; that way the coffee stays warm and she can refill in lesser quantities, yet still enjoy piping sips of java. We’re pairing it with the cutest Java Moose hat – topped with a faux fur pom pom – sourced from Ely, MN ♥
Eric and I visited Caribou Cream last September while chasing fall colors. We picked up some of Herb’s Minnesota-made maple syrup which inspired this tasty granola recipe. The only down side…we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Herb in person.
So, last month, we timed things so we could chat with him about his refined process of producing one of our state’s best-tasting maple syrups made right here in Lutsen. We also shared a lot of good laughs…!
Herb pointed out this photo, a throw-back image of what his maple syrup-making set-up looked like when he began tinkering 30 years ago.
Times have changed, and Herb continues to perfect his craft. Today, he snakes 25 miles of tubing to tap 4,000 Maple trees that spans 50 acres of forestland. He produces, sells and ships thousands of bottles of Caribou Cream maple syrup that typically sell out each season.
He’s extended his product line to include jars of maple sugar, a tasty maple seasoning for grilling meats and seasoning fish, a convenient pancake mix – and more. Nearby, the North Shore Winery features Caribou Cream in its popular Herbie’s Blend variety of Sawtooth Mountain Cider. Yes, it’s named for the sapmaster and CEO himself!
Herb and his friendly crew donated this darling & delicious gift basket as part of next week’s Facebook giveaway: maple syrup, pancake mix, maple sugar sprinkle, a bottle of Herbie’s Blend cider and a cute lumberjack plaid spatula ♥ Be sure to stop at the Sugar Shack, 558 Caribou Trail, next time you’re in the neighborhood. And, consider following these talented makers on Facebook!
With all the holiday hustle, it’s important to find a moment to relax and savor time with those you love the most. Sometimes that means intentionally stepping away from the never ending to-do list. We did so last month with Zach and Evan and enjoyed a warm evening fire and tasty dinner over at Mogul’s Grille & Tap Room. Their Walleye Cakes are one of our all-time favorite apps. And, they often feature weeknight specials – such as all-you-can eat ribs – as well as a balanced selection of entrees, salads, sandwiches and burgers. Gratefully, we’ve had many memorable meals at Mogul’s while staying at 142C, and we appreciate how convenient it is year-round.
I tried their refreshing and festive Fireside sipper: a blend of muddled rosemary, maple syrup, vodka and grapefruit juice. Crystal, Mogul’s master mixologist, was so friendly – she makes a mean cocktail, guaranteed! This would be a tasty beverage to enjoy after testing the runs on Lutsen Mountain. With a ski-in-ski-out convenient option, Mogul’s is located right off of Eagle Mountain’s Bridge Run. When we asked our pals at Caribou Highlands and Mogul’s if they’d contribute a gift card as part of the giveaway, they replied with an enthusiastic, “Of, course!” What that means is there will be a $75 gift card up for grabs soon on Facebook. Meanwhile you can check out their tasty menu on the Mogul’s Facebook page.
Our last gift suggestion and giveaway is the sweet result of years of baking and culinary expertise curated by two Minnesota bakers and makers: Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. This dynamic duo of bread baking fame created a unique process with their Bread in 5 approach to delicious and manageable recipes and step-by-step techniques. We treasure their first book, which is lovingly tattered from many many recipes of use over the years. As an aside, Zach has the pizza dough recipe memorized; grilled ‘zzas are an all-time family fave! And, Eric has baked oodles of loaves over the years – so many that we’ve devoured and those he’s shared with friends, family and neighbors.
That got a little long-winded! You get it, right? We LOVE these cookbooks! I’ve also had the incredible pleasure to get to know Zoë just a bit through other projects, and she is gracious, talented, smart and kind. She also partners on the baking and photography side of things with the ever-talented Sarah Kieffer, another Minnesota baking maven (pan-banging, anyone..?) who has an eloquent blog and best-selling cookbook, too…
When I heard about Zoë’s newest holiday-themed cookbook, I thought it’d be perfect for the giveaway. It’s gotten great reviews from the experts – and the cinnamon rolls we made here were gone in a flash! We’re adding another favorite Zoë recipe to our list to make & share.
We’ll have this giveaway up on Instagram in a week or so – please stay tuned!
To close out the Minn-spired Gift Giveaway – I’d like to thank you for joining in the fun! I’m grateful, too, for all the incredible partners who wanted to give this a try – and for trusting me to help share their stories. I sure do love this tiny blog and the meaning behind it. It’s here to showcase the people, places and things in Minnesota (mostly in and around the North Shore) that we love the very most, and celebrating all the beauty, wonder and wonder-filled moments along the way.
Happy holidays, friends! xo
This post & photos first appeared on From Lutsen with Love on December 14, 2018. All reflections and images are my own. A warm thank you to Mogul’s Grille & Tap Room, Caribou Cream Maple Syrup and Java Moose for donating in-kind items, or discounts, for this giveaway. Please consider supporting them, too!