Lots to sample

Pie & chocolate-covered bacon, oh my! 5 don't miss food items at the Nutcracker Market

5 don't miss, mouth-watering food items at the Nutcracker Market

13 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Don't miss the frozen toffee at Susie's Photo by Eric Sandler
Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Bear Creek Smokehouse offers chocolate covered bacon and savory selections. Photo by Eric Sandler
12 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Pie in the Sky sells the best thing CultureMap sampled at the Nutcracker Market.  Photo by Eric Sandler
10 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
In addition to food, there are accessories like this gourmet picnic basket.  Photo by Eric Sandler
6 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Shoppers can purchase all manner of dips and spreads.  Photo by Eric Sandler
16 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
These gingersnaps benefit The Center.  Photo by Eric Sandler
3 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Spicy cheese, anyone? Photo by Eric Sandler
2 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
This gingerbread house isn't for sale, but it does look pretty awesome.  Photo by Eric Sandler
13 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
12 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
10 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
6 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
16 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
3 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013
2 Nutcracker Market preview party foodie review November 2013

Amid the various interpretations of "cocktail attire" on display at Wednesday night's Nutcracker Market VIP preview, I wandered the halls looking for this year's best food options. Vendors from all the country show up to sell their wares. While there are lots of prepackaged soups and more dips/sauces/spreads than I cared to count, a few items did stand out as being particularly worthy of attention.

Pie In The Sky - 1331

Simply put, the Pie in the Sky's pumpkin and chocolate pecan pies were the best things I tasted during my visit to the market. They have a nice flaky crust and flavorful fillings. Also, at two 6-inch pies for $20, they're reasonably priced enough to make excellent surprise gifts for pie-loving friends. Or eat one on the drive home and keep one for later. I'm not here to judge.  

Bear Creek Smokehouse - 235

Since most of the food vendors at the market offer sweets, Bear Creek Smokehouse stands out with a variety of savory offerings. Sure, they're also peddling fudge and chocolate-covered bacon, but the brisket, ham and chili all tasted good. With everything available to sample, it's easy to pick out the right meat for an upcoming holiday meal.   

Texas Tamale Company - 1855

Looking for an easy, filling meal on a cold night? Thaw one package of Texas Tamale Company's pork-filled treats and top with the company's chili con queso and chipotle pepper sauce. The result is a one-two punch of creamy and spicy that's hard to beat.  

Gingersnaps/The Center/Willow River Farms - 1556

This booth's pitch is simple: buy treats that benefit The Center, a non-profit agency of The United Way that helps people with mental retardation. Given how closely associated all things gingerbread are with the holiday season, it's a win-win. 

Susie's South Forty Confections - 224

Lots of places sell toffee, but Susie's toffee can be eaten straight from the freezer. As with Girl Scout cookies, it turns out that cold toffee is the best toffee. Consider it your new favorite midnight snack.

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