Go Local: Gifts & Room Drops

When tapping into the locavore trend, consider these 12 room drop and speaker gift ideas with local flair.
A poem of remembrance, a gift, a souvenir for you.” —Robert Earl Hayden, American poet
  NORTH CAROLINA The tucked-away town of Asheville, North Carolina, is known for its commitment to local and sustainable business. French Broad Chocolate Lounge, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker which reopened in a new space in downtown Pack Square in late 2014, is no exception, making delectable homemade artisan truffles—including bourbon pecan, lavender honey, chocolate mousse peanut butter and lemon pink peppercorn—with beans imported from sustainable cacao farms in Peru, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Order custom one-, two- or six-piece boxes for room drops, welcome or thank-you gifts and more; or pickup a variety of bars for an afternoon breakout session at the next-door Chocolate & Milk boutique. TENNESSEE Listed as one of the “Top Five Nashville Made Foods,” Sober Dough bread mixes are a delicious take-home for convention visitors. There are many flavors, but the green chile cheddar has the most Southern charm.   ARIZONA Mother-daughter Scottsdale locals Donna Gabrilson and Stacey Barnes created an addictive snack called Goody 2-zels. Pretzels, kettle corn, almonds and chocolate are drizzled with toffee and then… more chocolate.   WASHINGTON Gillian and Jack Mathews have supported Northwest artisans since opening their shop in 1984 at Pike Place Market. The Rainy Day coffee is roasted in Seattle and each bag is signed by the roastmaster.   GEORGIA Next time you’re meeting in this Southern state, treat attendees to a nutty taste with Georgia Grinders peanut butter, launched in January. Started by Jaime Foster, the creamy and crunchy varieties are based off her grandfather’s secret recipe (just two ingredients, peanuts and salt!) and produced from South Georgia peanuts in the family-owned production facility in Chamblee. “With Georgia being the Peanut Capital, we are excited to honor our state nut,” says Foster, who works with groups to create custom-label jars in various sizes as well as food-service quantities.   LOUISIANA A New Orleans must-have is a Mardi Gras basket filled with a mask, beads, Zapp’s potato chips and a bottle of local beer or Big Shot soda. Cajun-shop.com has authentic baskets teeming with spices and Creole goodies, and one is even shaped like a steamboat.   ILLINOIS Based in the Windy City, Vosges Haut-Chocolat makes luxurious, high-end chocolates in unusual flavors. A four-piece favor box of decadent truffles will tempt your Chicago-bound guests.   COLORADO High altitudes and plenty of outdoor activities mean that a tube of rocky mountain sunscreen will be a thoughtful gift for visitors.   MONTANA Welcome guests to Big Sky Country with a true taste of the wild—a carry-on-friendly jar of wild huckleberry honey. Produced in the Flathead Valley region of Montana, the berry only grows in a few spots, making it a hot commodity. They’re also a favorite of grizzly bears.   NEW YORK Celebrate the Big Apple with a selection of vintage-inspired sticky notes packed into a tin. One hundred percent of all sales benefit the City of New York.   TEXAS Featuring images of cherished landmarks like The County Line Legendary Bar-B-Q or Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Austin-centric ceramic coasters from South Austin Gallery make sure no one messes with Texas… tabletops.   FLORIDA Gatorland has been one of Central Florida’s best-known tourist traps since 1949. A gator stapler, featuring the famous reptile, makes for a memento with bite.   READ MORE OF THE MOST CREATIVE GO LOCAL TRENDS FROM HOTELS, VENUES, TEAMBUILDING ACTIVITIES, GIFTS AND ROOM DROPS.  —Contributions by Kathryn Drury Wagner, Stephanie Davis Smith and Kelsey Ogletree