Holiday hero buys: Great party purchases

The holidays are here.

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be headed to some holiday parties. Wherever you’re headed, make sure to take something special with you!

You certainly don’t want to show up at the party empty handed and there are plenty of things you can take to any get-together from right here in Happy Valley.

Here are a few ideas:


When it comes to fantastic spirits, look no further than Bellefonte and State College. In Bellefonte, you can hit Big Spring Spirits and pick up a bottle of rye whiskey ($40). With a mixer, on the rocks or neat, there’s nothing quite like a bottle of Big Springs rye whiskey. It’s smooth and goes down easy.

Don’t like whiskey? Visit to check out other options.

In State College, Barrel 21 makes a plethora of great liquors. For a friendly gathering, try the 60 proof Limoncello ($18), which is made from a rye mash and first distilled to 190 proof. The fresh zest of lemons are added to macerate over the course of 45 days, lending color and flavor to the spirit. Filtered water and cane sugar are added to bring it down to 60 proof. It should be served cold.

Visit for some other options.


Wine is always welcome at any holiday party. Sure, it’s basic, but basic can be good! And there’s nothing better than a good, local wine. Red or white? Sweet or dry? At one of the local wineries, you’re sure to find something that everyone will enjoy.

At Happy Valley Winery, there are a plethora of wines to choose from. There are dry, fruity whites to oaky full-bodied reds. One of the most popular wines in the Appalachia Red, which is a sweet blend. There’s even an award-winning Ice Wine. Visit

Located just outside of Happy Valley in Spring Mills is Seven Mountains Wine Cellars. No matter what type of wine you prefer, Seven Mountains has it. Check out Willy’s White, a 100 percent un-oaked Chardonnay. Proceeds from the sale of this wine go to the Willis Reed Memorial Fund. Visit for more information.

In Centre Hall, there’s the Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery. An extremely popular local winery, Mount Nittany produces 12,000 to 13,000 gallons of wine each year and harvests 12 to 15 tons of grapes annually. You can’t go wrong with any of their award-winning wines. Check out for more information.


Looking to pick up something simple to take? Check out Wegman’s excellent options. There are several meat and cheese trays available – from a mini snackers tray ($9.99) to a charcuterie snack board ($30). The EZ Delights tray is also a popular option at $20 and includes meat, cheese and fruit. Visit for a complete list of options.


Looking to take a dessert that will be a hit with everyone? Check out Dante’s, Inc. Love the cheesecake from The Deli? Well, now you can get one for the party. The famous cheesecake with the graham cracker crust and sour cream topping is available to go ($37). If cheesecake isn’t your thing, how about the triple chocolate cake? Three layers of cake, chocolate icing and chocolate chips.

If you want one of Dante’s delectable desserts, you’ll need to be thinking ahead. Visit the dessert menu at and then call (814) 234-1344 to place your order.


Want to take something unique to the party? How about some doughnuts? Yes, doughnuts. They’re not just for breakfast anymore. At Peace, Love and Little Donuts in downtown State College, you’ll find a delicious selection of mini-donuts. The salted caramel pretzel donut and cookies and cream donut are our favorites, but be sure to try all of them.  Visit

At Dam Donuts in Bellefonte, you can order anything from a mini plain donut to one of the many specialty donuts, including a “Fish in the Dam” or maple bacon donut. Check out to see all the varieties or to place an order.


Everyone loves cheese! Some of the best local cheese you will find comes from Goot Essa. Whether you like simple cheddar cheese or a special brie, Goot Essa has it. Pick up a pack of the Farm Select, which features blocks of Mountain Valley Sharp Cheddar, Old German Weissa Kase and Mountain Home Woodsmoked Cheddar ($16).

In addition to cheese, Goot Essa also offers holiday packs dipping mustards, holiday jams and apple butter. Our favorite is the County Basket, which includes cheeses, spreads and two small pans of homemade fudge ($43.50).


Although it’s not often thought of for holiday parties, pizza is always a safe bet. Pizza Mia has a wide variety of pizzas that you can pick up on the run and take to a party. There’s a meat-lover’s pizza, a veggie pizza and even a white pizza on the menu. There’s also a 28-inch pizza that’s perfect for parties ($29.99), but you’ll need to give them 24 hours’ notice if you want them to box one of those up for you.

Another crowd favorite are the breadsticks ($8.99) and cinnamon sticks ($8.99). Pizza Mia’s firebread features mozzarella, cheddar and jalapenos ($10.99). Visit for ordering information.




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