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Dec 3, 2008 02:25 PM

Food Gifts from St Louis?

I'm going to STL tomorrow thru Mon for a 98th birthday celebration. I'm bringing Virginia peanuts- I hope the birthday girl's teeth can handle them...

So my Q What can I bring back in the way of food gifts from STL? I'm staying in South St Louis near Benton Park, but I'll have my own rental car. I don't plan to check luggage, so no liquids. Last time I visited I brought back pretzels from a place around the corner but they were stale by the time they got to the recipients.

My husband wants a doggy bag from Cunetto's but I'm eating there tomorrow night.



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  1. A block of Provel Cheese? A stale IMO's pizza? A Gooy butter Cake? A St. Paul Sandwich?
    Some Fitz's Root beer?

    Ted Drewes won't travel very well unless you have some dry ice?


    2 Replies
    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

      I asked my cousin about gooey butter cake after seeing the posts here, but she asserted that there were no good bakeries left making the cake. She said home made was the only way to go.

      I was thinking about some kind of sausage?

      My mom and dad grew up there and would reminisce about street corner pretzels, Christmas stollen, and Hodges chili, but they were not foodies. A Wash U alum asked for some Ted Drewes, b/s she said they only shipped overnight for a $90 fee. I can't see lugging all that.

      I just gave a Mark McGuire floor mat to Goodwill from another visit so I'd like to stick to edible gifts.

      1. re: yvetteski

        Your cousin is wrong. Gooeylouiecake I have not been to so cannot say.
        McCarthur's bakery has great ones.
        For sausage, i would say G & W
        Or maybe Volpi. Unsure about them.


    2. Check out the gooey butter cakes at They have lots of flavors and should travel fairly well.Their store front is close to Ted Drewes. Bissinger's Chocolates now offers sugar plums along with their other treats.
      Kakao is another local choice for great chocolates.

      1. How about some boxes of unfried toasted ravioli? There was a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch food section (accessible online at about the best housemade ones at several local restaurants. They won't stay frozen in your bag, but the breading should keep them from sticking together and I can't see them going bad. They can be panfried or deepfried and served up with a little tomato sauce -- a traditional St. Louis specialty.

        1. You might consider Volpi salami from the hill but available @ a lot of grocery stores. If you go by Soulard Market, you may find local cheese( or maybe pecans or other nuts. I'm not sure what is there this time of the year. There was locally made goat cheese this summer.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wekick

            Volpi is the way to go--it has a great, national reputation. You should go to the store on The Hill so that you can sample all of their wares. It's great stuff.

            Volpi Italian Foods Retail
            5258 Daggett Ave, St Louis, MO

            1. re: alan

              I definetly second Volpi's as a matter of fact I love their Italian sausage so much that I'm making a 250 mile trip just to load up on them,while G.W sausage Co is okay It's not as good as Volpi's, while your at the hill check out some of the bakeries they have there don't remember the names of them as I was only there once just know they aren't far awy from the Volpi store.

              1. re: mutti

                Amighetti's is one of the bakeries on the Hill. Good stuff!

          2. If you are going to be staying in the Benton Park area..I suggest some Gus' Pretzels. A St. Louis Tradition...I see you already tried that...but you can buy them frozen and bake at home if you don't want fresh. It's cash only so....go prepared. There is a great cookie company, Dad's Scotch Oatmeal Cookies. They still have their south city location...just a short drive down Broadway off of Chippewa. They even make some great St. Louis gifts like chocolate arches and the what not. Then there is Fitz's. They will even ship for you...just order from the website. As for gooey butter cake...a good number of all the German Bakeries are gone but I guess McCarthars and Luebley's are great places to check out. They are in the county so it will be a short drive down Hwy 55 for you...or since you are in Benton Park I HIGHLY suggest going into Veruca Bakeshop. It's next to Niche on Sidney & Lemp. Mathew Rice makes a gooey butter cookie to die for.

            You can even get Volpi salami at Vincent's Market in Soulard. There is Chauvin coffee that is roasted locally.

            Then there is Vess Soda. A St. Louis tradition...very different from the traditional Coke/Pepsi...lots of fun flavors (my favorite is Whistle...aka orange.) You can get a case for a Vincent's in Soulard on 12th Street just north of Sidney.
            Enjoy your visit!