Make every day Taco Tuesday with this gift guide

No matter what your love language is, the taco is the perfect way to express it. You compliment your mom’s cooking, you make your novio his favorite plate of breakfast tacos, you take your best homegirl out and buy her a taco from the food truck, you spoon your esposa just like a tortilla wrapped around carnitas.

If the taco is your love language then be sure to express it this holiday season with this curated gift guide made up of Latinx makers from across the country. We took recommendations from a handful of experts from the International Taco Council for ideas on gifts that are sure to make the taco lover in your life smile. Whether your sister is looking to perfect her homemade tortilla game, you’ve got a foodie primo who flaunts his taco obsession on Instagram, or you’re looking for an activity the whole family can enjoy at the carne asada, we’ve got you covered.

A couple of notes, prices listed are as of Nov. 30, 2021, and due to delays in shipping, keep in mind when placing your orders.

Masienda

La Familia Masa Bundle, $42

Doña Rosa x Masienda Tortilla Press, $95

 

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During pandemic times, some you might have turned to bread-baking to pass the lock-down days. But for many others, quarantine life has meant the pursuit of creating the perfect tortilla, which means using nixtamalized corn. Nixtamalization refers to the pre-Hispanic process of steeping corn kernels with an alkaline ingredient, which softens the corn, imparts calcium and activates essential amino acids and vitamin B3. In other words, it creates a more flavorful, aromatic masa. LA-based Masienda was founded in 2014 by Jorge Gaviria, who traveled to Oaxaca and met local farmers who’ve been cultivating maize for centuries. Today, restaurants across the nation turn to Macienda for masa and now you can, too, with its La Familia masa bundle. Each bundle includes chef-grade masa harina, in four heirloom varietals: Blue Cónico (Estado de México); Yellow Bolita (Oaxaca); White Olotillo (Oaxaca); and Red Mushito (Michoacán). As long as you have the ingredients in hand, you’ll need a proper tortilla press. Masienda partnered with Oaxaqueña Doña Rosa, who’s been selling tortilla presses to locals for ages, to make a limited run of handmade tortilla presses, which are not otherwise available in the United States. (From Elisa Gurule, MI)

Yoli Tortilleria, Sonoran flour tortilla & corn tortilla bundle, $38

 

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Kansas City husband and wife duo Marissa and Mark Gencarelli were disappointed in the selection of store-bought tortillas so, in 2017, they went on a quest to craft their own, using the nixtamal method to process high-quality, ethically-sourced heirloom corn resulting in a beautiful rainbow of tortilla goodness. Yoli tortillas are available in stone-ground corn and Sonoran-style flour (in “peque,” “quesi,” and “burro” sizes). Orders can be picked up locally in KC or online. While you’re scrolling the site, check out Yoli’s t-shirts, stickers, and the Eat Yoli Zines — a series of volumes that explore food with anecdotes and recipes. (From José R. Ralat, TX)

La Guelaguetza, Holiday Mole Bundle, $40.00

 

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Now that the perfect tortilla has been mastered, it’s time to move on to the filling. And for that, we recommend exploring the beauty of mole. There are at least seven varieties of mole that span the country, but arguably the most notable hails from Oaxaca. The process of making mole at home is quite laborious and involves up to dozens of ingredients. La Guelaguetza, the iconic Oaxacan restaurant in LA’s Koreatown, has taken that legwork out of the equation with its line of mole starters (just follow their easy recipe on the site). The Holiday Mole Bundle gives you three varieties: negro, rojo, and coloradito. Each jar makes enough mole for up to 6 people.  Plus, you can have the bundle gift-wrapped in a Oaxacan kitchen cloth (varies in color). (From Serena Maria Daniels, MI)

Salsa Macha Felix, $12

 

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Salsa lovers, rejoice! Those of you craving the oil-based, smoky flavor of salsa matcha are in luck with this artisanal condiment brought to you by Felix Emilio of Houston (his family hails from Veracruz, one region where salsa macha is deeply rooted). When he lost his job as a chef during the pandemic he pivoted, like others in the industry, to create a line of salsa machas based on a family recipe, utilizing a four-chile blend. His brand regularly switches things up, such as collaborating with Mexican vendors like Merci Mercado, which specializes in edible insects like chapulines from Oaxaca, and is known for infusing his recipe with fruit like apricots or even cranberries. It’s incredibly versatile, whether you smother it on your fried eggs, with cheese, and of course atop any taco for a punch of flavor. (From José R. Ralat, TX)

Lola’s Mercadito, Hosting gifts, $16-$75

Of course, every gathering with tacos involved requires those little extra touches of la cultura to complete the vibe. And for that, we turn to Lola’s Mercadito on Esty. The little shop’s collection of gourmet food items and curated chucherías (knick knacks) for the home and kitchen are made in or inspired by Mexico, perfect for hosting and foodies alike. What we love about Lola’s is that a portion of product proceeds supports the advancement of young women in education, business, and leadership. For more information, click here. We are especially fond of the many hand-embroidered table setting accessories, like these coasters, tortilla warmers, and gorgeous aprons. (From Lesley Tellez, NY)

Que Rico T-Shirt Co., Tacos Y’all T-shirt, $24

 

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BFFs Roman Flores and Isaac Padilla are the creative minds behind Que Rico T-Shirt Co. From tacos, chicle or piñatas, tamales, and more, the pair’s designs mix humor and Latino pop culture with influences from their upbringing in Abilene, Texas. Their collection is vast enough to dress the whole family with taco and taco-adjacent gear, but we love the simplicity and wink at Texas culture of this T-shirt. (From Serena Maria Daniels, MI) https://www.instagram.com/p/CUn_4G7loMy/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Two and a Half Street, Tacos Every Damn Day T-shirt, $30

This one goes out to all the chingonas out there. This Latina-owned online shop based in Mission, TX, celebrates mujeres of all walks through its line of T-shirts adorned with empowering messages and imagery – all inspired by creator Haley J. Escamilla’s upbringing. This T, in particular, is perfect for your girls who live by the motto, tacos before vatos. After all, love comes and goes, but tacos are here for you every day. (From Isidro Salas, CO)

Cristocat, Bob Hot Sauce Black Tee, $15.99-$17.99

 

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The apparel line at Cristocat is that perfect blend of cholo, rockabilly, and satire that us elder millennials who grew up in the 90s can appreciate. We dig this Los Smiths riff on the Patagonia label, this cholita Selena tie-dye, and especially this Bob Hot Sauce T that combines our love for La Bamba and Tapatío salsa… Órale homes. (From Steven Alvarez, NY)

The Designing Chica, Hay Frijoles en la Casa greeting cards, $9.79

 

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Veteran visual Susana Sanchez-Young, la Chica in Jefe, has been designing newspaper pages and creating graphics and photo illustrations for 22 years. During her first pregnancy, she had an epiphany that she couldn’t find nursery artwork that fit her style and culture. Drawing from her Guatemalan-Nicaraguan-American identity and current events, The Designing Chica was born. Her wall art (I’ve got several of her works hanging on my walls), stickers, coloring books, and greeting cards celebrate the wins of powerful women and embrace Latinidad. We love the Hay Frijoles en la Casa greeting cards (they come in packs of three). It’s a subtle nod to what our mothers have inevitably shouted when we complained there was nothing to eat. (From Serena Maria Daniels, MI)

Eva M. Sanchez, Limited Edition Print of “The Morning After: Plan A”, $125

Eva Marengo Sanchez of San Antonio is a painter with an obsession with food, using still life and food as a way to talk about cultural identity. While other art students may fixate on painting bowls of fruit, Sanchez is a master of the art of pan dulce, mangonadas, salsa, and more. Among the murals she’s created in her hometown is “The Morning After: Plan A,” an homage to that takeout meal you’re bound to chow down on after a long night out (we all can relate). Now, your favorite loca can hang this in her home with this limited-run 20×16 print available on Sanchez’s Etsy page. (Lesley Tellez, NY)

Mando Rayo and Suzanne García-Mateus, Vitamina T for Tacos, $13.99-$18.99

It’s important to educate the little ones early on to the significance of the taco. Vitamina T for Tacos (co-authored by Mando Rayo and Suzanne García-Mateus) is part alphabet book, part taco dictionary, exploring nuestra comida, cultura, and places  – highlighting everything from barbacoa and huevos con chorizo, taquerias and food trucks, and cultural references to encourage children to embrace their Latinidad. Hardcovers go for $18.99 and softcovers for $13.99.

Millennial Loteria, Prices vary

So you’ve got the backyard full of primos and need a family-friendly activity aside from shots of tequila. How about Millennial Loteria? Founder Mike Alfaro takes a modern twist on the classic Mexican Bingo, who first took to Instagram to showcase his own take on the old-school game, switching out cards like “La Sirena” for “La Selfie” and “El Sol” for “El Global Warming.” On top of the popular loteria game, Alfaro has branched out to puzzles and tarot cards, and most recently partnered with Disney to create a line of illustrations based on the new Disney film Encanto. PG-13 friendly versions of Millennial Loteria can be found at Target (online and in stores), 18-plus and other versions (as well as a novelty book) are available on Amazon. Follow the Linktree above for all purchasing options. (From Serena Maria Daniels, MI)

Of course, you can’t go wrong with treating your people to their favorite neighborhood taqueria, where you know ingredients are made made with amor each and everyday.

Tell us, who are your favorite makers who are creating all the taco essentials? Share with us, and we’ll add it to the list!

This article was made possible by the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund, a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, that’s working to increase quality journalism and help better inform communities.

Serena Maria Daniels

Author: Serena Maria Daniels

Serena Maria Daniels is the co-founder and head chingona of Tostada Magazine. She is an award-winning journalist based in Detroit and specializes on the intersection of food, identity, and culture.

Find her on Twitter and Instagram @serenamaria36!

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