Save the Best for Last (Minute)

Whether you’re en route to a party and forgot a hostess gift or just learned that your cousin’s new fiancé is joining your family celebration, the panic of finding yourself in need of a last-minute gift is as much a part of the holiday season as gingerbread.

Fortunately, curating a quick and thoughtful present requires no more than a speedy stop at your local grocery store. Pick up a bottle of Pennsylvania wine — now available in grocery stores across the state — and pair it with a sweet or savory local treat. Find a festive bag (or just a bow!) and just like that, you’re back on top of your gift-giving game. Here are some ideas for stunning seasonal combinations:

Dark Chocolate & Port

Several of the state’s vineyards make port, the fortified wine that’s a cozy companion for a cold winter night. Find a bar of your favorite artisan dark chocolate in the candy aisle (there are a couple excellent Pennsylvania producers including Éclat Chocolate in West Chester and Nathan Miller Chocolate in Chambersburg) and wrap the duo up in a festive bag. Bow optional.

Goat Cheese & Vidal Blanc

There’s no better way to brighten up an evening than a round of funky, grassy, citrusy goat cheese. Well, maybe there is: add a bottle of Pennsylvania-grown Vidal Blanc. This off-dry varietal is a French hybrid that thrives in the cool northeastern climate. It’s the perfect treat for the white wine lover in your life. If you’re thinking local, try a cheese from The Farm at Doe Run or Amazing Acres Goat Dairy.

Artisan Pasta & Chambourcin

Pasta and wine — it’s practically a complete meal. There are several local pasta producers in PA, including Springfield Pasta in Springfield and Vera Pasta Co. in West Chester. Their spaghetti or fusilli puts commercials brands to shame. Pair the package with a bottle of Chambourcin, a varietal that resembles Pinot Noir with cherry, red fruit, and herbaceous notes and is one of Pennsylvania’s signature varietals.

Spicy Salami & Cabernet Franc

How about putting together a little DIY picnic kit for seasonal snacking? This favored French grape has gained a foothold in Pennsylvania. A medium-bodied red, the wine is a crowdpleaser with sweet tobacco aromas and robust tannins. This peppery varietal would pair beautifully with a spicy salami, rich with fat and chili flakes. Throw in a box of crackers, some spiced nuts, and a hunk of your favorite aged cheese, and you’ve got a curated gift basket for the foodie in your life.

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