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Last-Minute Food Gifts

No time to bake those cookies? No problem. Local merchants have a variety of gourmet gifts.

My mother always taught me never to show up at a party empty handed. And although it's thoughtful to bring homemade treats, there isn't always time. Thank goodness there are some places around town that cater to the procrastinator in all of us.

Andrea's Bake Shop

Located right in the center of town on Queen Street, this bakery has been a mainstay in Newtown for almost 30 years. And the reasons why are tucked neatly behind the glass counter.

 offers a variety of cookies, which are priced by the pound. The case holds trays of cookies adorned with colored sugar, drizzled with chocolate or rolled in powdered sugar.

Other treasures include traditional breads and cakes. The Yule log cake is a holiday tradition in many households, and you can pick one up (if available) for $24. Strufella ($12), fried dough balls with a honey glaze, and Stollen Bread ($10.99) are other favorites.

Dorazio Sisters

Two sisters formerly of the Bronx opened this new bakery in November. It is located just north of the Monroe border at 365 South Main Street.

This New York-style bakery sells cookies ($9.99/lb.), biscotti and cannoli, and it specializes in cheesecakes. Ranging from mini ($8 plain) to nine inches ($22 plain), cheesecakes can be ordered with toppings such as strawberry, caramel, pineapple and other flavors.

The Meat House

If you can't decide between salty and sweet, , located on South Main Street, has gifts for both tastes. In addition to a full butcher section, this shop has a good selection that would please any foodie.

The cheese case has generous slabs of cheese, including Brie, cheddar and hard Italian cheeses, in addition to some beautiful blues. A variety of crackers, chips and different flavored salsas are also available.

On the sweet side, there are homemade muffins, cookies, pies and chocolates. Dried fruit boxes, chocolate-covered dates and teas line the shelves as well.

U.K. Gourmet

Carrying all things U.K., this shop is a popular spot for its imported products. According to the owner, big sellers are the chocolates, biscuits and Christmas pudding, which is one of my father's favorites. The store even sells the Brandy Butter Sauce that accompanies this traditional English dessert ($27 for pudding and sauce).

Also popular are decorative holiday crackers ($12.25), which are a nice addition to any table and are a real hit with children.

, located near the Bethel border on Route 6, also has a refrigerated case full of cheeses and a freezer of traditional British fare, including sausages, meats and meat pies.

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