Gourmet Food Gift Baskets From the Wine Country of the California Central Coast – Santa Maria Valley

In the Central Coast region of California, gourmet foods and world-class wines abound. You will find a tremendous variety of uniquely delicious foods that are ideal for gift baskets. Anyone who enjoys wine would be delighted to receive one of the many exceptional wines from this area.

On the northern end of Santa Barbara County are the Santa Maria Valley and the city of Santa Maria. This valley has a long history of ranching and agriculture, a part of the economy that now flourishes alongside the burgeoning wine industry. With the ranchers came the Santa Maria Style Barbeque that has become a regional culinary tradition. All along the central coast there is a lively entrepreneurial spirit that has led to the creation of many small artisanal food companies and boutique wineries. The foods are wonderfully varied, and there are many exceptional wines now being produced.

In early California cattle ranching days, America’s first cowboys, the colorful vaqueros, held large beef barbecues following every cattle roundup. This was the beginning of the barbequing tradition in the Santa Maria Valley, and it has continued to the present day.

The Hitching Post Restaurant has been a local favorite for many years. It is known for its California-style barbequing, as well as their superior Pinot Noir Wines. Since the movie ‘Sideways’ their notoriety has expanded worldwide. Many of their foods are available for purchase including their tasty Hitching Post BBQ sauce and their own Hitching Post Pinot Noir wines.

Another outstanding sauce is the Buckshot BBQ Sauce from Cowboy Flavors. They began as a catering business out of Los Alamos, a small town down the road from Santa Maria, and now have their own TV series! They also sell among other items, the excellent Cowboy Flavors all-purpose BBQ seasoning.

Susan Righetti, whose parents own the renowned Far Western Tavern restaurant in nearby Guadalupe, started a Santa Maria company called Susie Q’s Brand. Celebrating their family recipes and Santa Maria style BBQ, they offer recipes, sauces, salsa, the delicious local pinquito beans, and their signature Susie Q’s Brand seasoning.

Any of these items could be combined to make a terrific gift basket for the BBQ cook in the family. Add a superior bottle of Pinot Noir wine, to make it a perfect gift from the Santa Maria Valley on the California Central Coast.