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Local food gifts with a boozy twist

Finding a great gift that wows adults in your life is a challenge. A nice bottle of wine, spirits or better beer does the trick, but can be hard to carry or ship. Cooking to the rescue!

Shopping for kids is pretty easy, but finding a great gift that wows adults in your life is a tougher challenge. A nice bottle of wine, spirits or better beer does the trick, but can be hard to carry or ship. Cooking to the rescue!

Several area breweries, bakeries, chocolatiers and gourmet groceries have found ways to work beer and liquor into easily handled treats and snacks.

Pick up or place an order for one of these spiked food gifts, and give friends, family or the host of the party a taste of local flavor and a delicious way to eat their booze this holiday.

No syrup is necessary for the pre-caramelized Belgian waffles individually packed and shipped from the West Chester bakery run by Penn grads Brian and Andrea Polizzi. Newest in their line of ready-to-heat desserts is "Sweet & Stormy," a waffle that has Victory Storm King imperial stout, chocolate and lavender blended into the dough. Waffles are baked and shipped to order, and stay good for a week or up to six months in the freezer ($44.99 per 12-pack).

The Downingtown brewery has recently gotten involved in several food partnerships, and this trio makes a good package for avowed savory snackers. West Chester beef wranglers Righteous Felon infused Storm King into Victorious B.I.G. jerky ($7.99), Delaware's Crisp & Co soaks Pint Pickles with thyme, dill, coriander, chile and the finishing kick of Prima Pils ($12), and Kutztown's Homesweet Homegrown fires up Storm King with locally grown ghost peppers for a chia seed-based Punch Drunk hot sauce ($6). Products are available online or at select local groceries.

Philadelphia chocolatiers John Doyle and Kira Baker-Doyle have been crafting sustainable sweets for more than a decade now, and two of their best-seller just happen to be spiked with spirits. Calabacita figs are imported from a family farm in Spain, filled with whiskey-infused Valrhona chocolate ganache, then hand-dipped in a finishing chocolate shell (12 for $38.50). Chocolate Covered Cherries will erase disappointing memories of similarly named cordials, with a rich chocolate-brandy ganache center and hand-colored shell (nine for $29.95).

In 2012, native Pennsylvanians Danny Scott and Brent Wertz of All-N-Food partnered with the veteran Pottsville brewery on a line of sauces made with the famous lager. Barbecue comes in four flavors — Traditional, Hickory-Smoked, Honey Barbecue and new Bacon Barbecue ($4.99) — and wing sauce is available hot, medium or mild ($4.99). Brand new and only available in limited quantity are Utz potato chips coated with powder made from that wing sauce, for a Pa. match made in snacking heaven.

The 75-year-old gourmet food specialist imports panettone from Abruzzo, Italy, where an old family recipe calls for dough to be studded with orange liqueur-soaked raisins. Their boozy-sweet aroma spreads throughout the fluffy, sweet loaf, making it nearly impossible to stop eating — house rules are no more than one slice per hour ($24.99). Also available at all outposts of the grocery is the Occelli cheese line, a group of four cheeses given extra flavor with coatings of whiskey, grappa or wine ($39.99-$49.99/lb).

Beer and brats is a natural pairing, which must be why the beer-saturated links made in partnership with this Delaware brewery are so incredibly good. Look for four flavors, including Greek Feta Chicken with Midas Touch ale or Traditional Pork with Raison D'Etre Belgian dark ($6.99 per four-pack). Pair those sausages with crisp rounds of Hop Pickles, jarred by Brooklyn Brine with 60 Minute IPA and cascade hops ($8) and a bowl of Hard Tack Chowder, also made with 60 Minute following a recipe from Herman Melville's Moby Dick ($4). Brats are available in stores only, others are available both locally and online.

These whiskey-soaked sweets aren't made in our region, but they're sold at Adam and Andrew Erace's boutique Philadelphia markets, so when you buy them, you'll be supporting a local small biz. Raw sugar is saturated with smoke from bourbon barrel staves to create Bourbon Smoked Sugar ($13), but you won't need any for the outstanding Woodford Reserve Cherries, which have just enough kick to keep them from being too sweet ($17). Head to the Grays Ferry outpost and you can also pick up a pack of fortified wine-infused Cranberry Spodee Marshmallows, made in house ($7).

Caramel-coated popcorn snacks from Wendy Smith Born and James Barrett's bakeshop come in three flavors, two of which get a boost from booze. In one, stout beer coats the kernels that mingle with smoked almonds, while another, nut-free version is infused with bourbon and caramel. Also on offer is spiced peanut butter popcorn, and all are available at local Metro storefronts and online to ship nationwide ($7.25).