During the most wonderful time of the year, savor seasonal sweets and treats in Wilmington and its nearby island beaches. This charming coastal destination offers an array of festive flavors, from fruitcakes and fudge to coffee and craft beer, and you’ll want to experience them all this holiday season.
The Sweet Spirit of the Season
Baked from scratch with pure rum, a Cape Fear Rum Cake is perfect as a gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself. In addition to year-round signature flavors, seasonal specialties like gingerbread, eggnog and Mexican hot chocolate are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
A Wilmington mainstay for nearly four decades, Apple Annie’s Bake Shop crafts baked goods loved by locals and visitors alike. During the holiday season, the bakery expands its menu of perennial classics with gingerbread men, holiday spice fruit cake, almond leaf cookies and other custom creations.
Wilmington recently welcomed a new addition to its foodie scene: Little Loaf Bakery & Schoolhouse. Housed in a 1930s-era house that took two years to renovate, the bakery specializes in old world bread and artisanal pastries, including a braided loaf of Hannukah staple challah.
Visit Blue Moon Gift Shops for a stocking-stuffing bag of Heide’s Gourmet Butter Mints. Based on a beloved family recipe, these melt-in-your-mouth butter mints, created by Wrightsville Beach native Heide Hooper, come in signature flavors like key lime and cheesecake.
Next stop: Fudgeboat in Carolina Beach. The Red Velvet Fudge is a holiday favorite, alternating between creamy and rich, velvety layers and topped with crushed chocolate cookies. Treat yourself or someone in your life to a deliciously decadent gift from chocolate-dipped strawberries and fudge turtles to glazed nuts and gourmet popcorn.
End of Days Distillery, Wilmington’s first craft distillery, pairs its award-winning spirits with chocolates during the holiday season. Each Chocolate Dipped Port of Entry Spirit bottle is coated in a custom confection, making for a show-stopping gift.
A Merry Way to Start Your Day
Perk up your morning with a Praline Latte or a Peppermint Rosemary White Mocha at Blue Cup Roastery in the trendy Cargo District. The walk-up coffee spot’s winter menu includes house-made seasonal syrups in festive flavors that complement freshly roasted beans.
While strolling Historic Downtown’s decorated streets, check out Cheeky Monkey Coffee – a family-owned spot where cozy couches and beverages abound. Sip a steaming Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate infused with cinnamon and cookie butter. The winter menu also features the peppermint Polar Espresso and hazelnut Hygge Latte.
Add some holiday spirit to your cup of joe with a seasonal beverage from 24 South Coffee House. Located in the heart of downtown, this friendly coffee shop offers many locally-roasted gourmet coffee options including two specialty holiday lattes: Chocolate Raspberry and White Chocolate Macadamia.
To bring holiday flavor to your at-home morning brew, pick up a bag of Bald Head Coffee, roasted locally in North Carolina and available at Blue Moon Gift Shops. The limited-edition Christmas Cookie whole beans or ground coffee combines flavors of cinnamon, almond and macaroon. For the aroma of chocolate mousse, hazelnut, vanilla and cinnamon, try the Mistletoe beans or grounds.
Discover new festive flavor infusions at Cape Fear Spice Merchant. Among the more than 185 loose-leaf teas available year-round, Spice Merchant offers holiday blends, including Candy Cane Craze Tea and Kris Kringle Delight Tea, as well as Island Roast Coffee blends like Mistletoe Mocha, Spiced Butter Rum and Merry Marzipan.
Jolly Good Craft Brews
Toast the season in Historic Downtown at Front Street Brewery, Wilmington’s original restaurant and brewery. As a winter addition to the usual delicious craft beers on tap, you’ll find Tiny Tim’s Christmas Ale, an imperial vanilla java porter with all the flavor of the holidays.
Wind down with a seasonal brew from Carolina Beach’s Good Hops Brewing. The family-owned and operated small-batch brewery serves up a unique North Carolina Sweet Potato Beer with cranberry and cinnamon as well as a Barley Wine with holiday flavors like caramel, honey and molasses.
Peppermint, gingerbread and chocolate are just a taste of all that Wilmington and Beaches has in store for you this holiday season. Embrace the spirit of the holidays during a coastal visit at the most wonderful – not to mention flavorful – time of the year.