I have always been a cheerleader for shopping locally whenever possible and Christmas is an excellent time for supporting your local shopkeepers and artisans while checking names off your list. What better way to do so than at a holiday bazaar? One-stop shopping AND you get to meet and learn about the people who will be the recipients of the hard-earned dollars you’re spending!
Emily Cahill of Yelp Hartford hosted a Holiday Bazaar at the New Britain Museum of American Art on Saturday and I was lucky enough to be on the guest list for this fabulous event! I welcomed the opportunity to browse the museum for the first time (I know, that’s sad–I’ve lived in this state my entire life and I’ve never been to the New Britain Museum of American Art!) while putting some good cheer into my season.
Vendors were spread throughout the museum, providing ample opportunities to check out the exhibits. Have someone on your list who loves jewelry? Then Kate Stephen Jewelry has you covered. Does your pup deserve a little something special? Dogology is the place for you. Want a little something sweet but don’t have a sweet tooth? Poor & Pretty cupcake soaps and jars of frosting (whipped soap) are just what you need. From vintage clothing to gorgeous wooden cutting boards, eco-friendly t-shirts to hand-made pottery, there was so much to browse and enjoy! I had to restrain myself–I was there to shop for gifts, not for myself!
In addition to the feast for the eyes was the feast for the body–food samples scattered throughout the museum. There could have been more savory choices, but I really enjoyed the chili I was able to scoop up from the Agave Grill/Wood N Tap table and the French bread from Hartford Baking Company close by. (Actually, I could have eaten that bread all night–but we already know that I’m addicted to carbs.) I had a bite of Original Aruna Blend chocolate–a raw chocolate from Aruna Chocolates with cacao, honey, maca, spirulina, chlorella, cayenne, Himalayan sea salt, “and love”–and shared a moment over our same names (Kerry, meet Carrie). Divine is too weak of a word to describe what I ate. I broke my rule and bought some hot chocolate for me. We’ll just call it health food and move on.
What do you follow up an experience like that with? A car bomb cupcake from NoRa Cupcake Company, of course. Literally the icing on the cake. And all over my fingers. But that was perfectly okay; I licked it off.
It’s not a party without some spirit–or spirits. And Connecticut is home to many wonderful companies who hope to make your spirit bright this season. I saw the guys from Ripe Bar Juices again (they were at A Taste in Simsbury in August) and had a chat with them. Their rum punch? I think I’ll make it for Christmas this year. Maybe I’ll share it.
Next to them was the Tanduay table where you could get a taste of a gingerbread syrup-based cocktail with this tasty Asian rum. It was pretty wonderful and the guy pouring the drinks was a riot. His mirth was infectious–you couldn’t resist smiling even when hearing him from across the room.
I found Onyx Moonshine, where they were mixing drinks with DRY Soda (I had one mixed with Vanilla Bean, an unusual yet refreshing drink). I use Onyx in just about any drink that calls for vodka. In fact, my last batch of homemade vanilla extract was made using their moonshine.
I discovered Peel Liqueurs, which was totally new to me. They make all-natural fine Italian liqueurs, offering 3 flavors: Limoncello, Cremencello, and Bananacello. I sampled the Limoncello, which was tangy and delicious. Sadly, I did not win the monstrous flask they were giving away as a prize, but I’m sure the winner is having a good time with it now.
My favorite, favorite, favorite brewer was there: Olde Burnside Brewing. I tried to be unobtrusive in snapping a shot of their display, but was teased out of hiding and stepped up to the table for a better shot–and a great conversation. Father Christmas Highland Ale was being poured, their best selection, albeit a seasonal one. Sadly, no bottles were sent to Torrington this time, but I have the inside scoop on where to find them–and that the packaging has changed. The old blue bottles are no more–look for the 2-pack boxes instead.
Eventually, the night had to end, and for me that was earlier than the event was over. I missed the music, for which I’ve heard much praise since, but I couldn’t stay. Kudos to Emily Cahill on an event well-done! Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar was all I imagined it would be… and more!
Disclosure: Admission to Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar was free with a $10 donation to the New Britain Museum of American Art. I was not compensated for this post.