I am the queen of procrastination. The Queen.
In high school, I told myself I’d do better in college. In college, I was convinced I’d grow out of it. Now, as a mostly functioning adult, I’ve resigned myself to it. It doesn’t matter how many times I find myself in the same anxiety-ridden predicament of rushing against time, I never seem to learn my lesson.
Except this year, I kind of did. This Christmas, I vowed to buy 90 percent of my gifts online in the beginning of November to give everything ample time to get to Hawaii — and I stuck with it. I am so pleased. I silently and gleefully giggle when I hear people woefully discussing everything they still need to get.
There are still a few gifts left on my list, but for that, I am turning to food. I’ve found that some of the best stocking stuffers are edible. Maybe you’re almost done shopping or maybe you haven’t even started, but here are a few locally made treats to consider for those on your Christmas list. (P.S. Be sure to nab a few for yourself, too.)
1. VANILLA NOUGAT
Hawaiian Nougat Company
The first nougat I ever sampled was vanilla-flavored from Hawaiian Nougat Company. Soft and just slightly chewy, I let it slowly dissolve on my tongue before chewing bits of macadamia nut. It took all my mental fortitude to not pop another immediately into my mouth.
Since that day — earlier this year, actually, when Foodland invited me to its Hawaii Kai location to sample a number of local products it has to offer — I’ve raved about it to pretty much everyone. I’ve also used it as gifts, and there’s not one person who hasn’t loved it just as much as I do.
Along with vanilla, Hawaiian Nougat Company also offers Kokoleka chocolate, coffee, pineapple and lilikoi flavors. (Vanilla will always be my favorite, though the lilikoi nougat is a close second.)
Hawaiian Nougat Company products may be found at Whole Foods, Foodland and Red Pineapple, among a few more specialty stores.
2. SWEET & SRIRACHA CEREAL SNACK MIX
Every Christmas, I look forward to the homemade furikake Chex mix baggies someone inevitably passes out as a Christmas gift. My sister is an elementary school teacher and gets a couple of these, which I immediately steal and secretly eat.
Nothing beats homemade, but I’ve found something that will (almost) put it to shame: a Sweet & Sriracha cereal snack mix from Kahala Fresh. You know how there often are a few stray bits of cereal or pretzel or whatever that are missing the sugary, buttery glaze in those homemade baggies? Not the case here, and the sriracha flavoring is light enough to give each bite some heat without being overwhelming.
Also be on the lookout for its Kahala Cake, the company’s “Hawaiian” take on a fruit cake with dried pineapple and apple banana, along with a Hawaiian Pumpkin Spice Granola, muffin and pancake mixes, and more.
Find Kahala Fresh products at Whole Foods, Neiman Marcus, ‘Umeke Market and more.
3. MAGNOLIA BAKERY CHOCOLATE BARS
Admittedly, I have yet to try this last pick. I’m throwing it in as a plea, if you will, so that someone (ahem, boyfriend) gifts this to me, but I will say this: I have gone to Magnolia Bakery a few times since it opened and I have yet to sample something I didn’t absolutely love. (My favorite cupcakes now are Magnolia’s.)
New to its lineup of sweets are six chocolate bars: Lemon Bar, Banana Pudding, Red Velvet, PB&J, Toffee Bar and 72 percent Dark Chocolate. Some of those sound unusual, yes, but my positive experiences with the bakery have me intrigued — especially to try that Lemon Bar and PB&J and … all of them, really.
Find it at Magnolia Bakery and its Caf , both located in the new Ewa Wing at Ala Moana Center.
If you happen to be walking through Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, be on the lookout for pastry chef Nanako Nava-Perez’s display of an edible Christmas wonderland. In it, you’ll find 5-foot Christmas trees made of macarons, a train made of milk and dark chocolate, animals, a gingerbread house and so much more.
You can taste Nava-Perez’s talent, too. Stop in for Afternoon Tea at the Veranda where she’ll be offering seasonally themed pastries, like a spiced pumpkin macaron, chestnut eclair and apple mousse with pistachio tart. P.S. The Veranda also offers a dessert buffet — yes, all-you-can-eat sweets.
For more information, visit moana-surfrider.com.