Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Shopping for a tailgater

These Notre Dame Domers chocolates, made by the South Bend Chocolate Company, are just one of many good gift options for the tailgaters in your life. (Submitted photo)
These Notre Dame Domers chocolates, made by the South Bend Chocolate Company, are just one of many good gift options for the tailgaters in your life. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

This is the season when we begin to struggle with our shopping lists and invitations, aggravated by December’s iffy weather. We need to remind ourselves that there are people in our lives who are worth this trouble, and people to whom we are worth the same. Think about that tailgater on your list. Remember that person who spends the whole day before preparing for a game-day tailgate party. We’re writing about the guy/gal on your list with a smile almost as broad as his or her heart. The one who is generous to a fault, making sure every guest and even occasional passersby gets something to eat and drink. The tailgater chef deserves something special at Christmas.

There are two ways to shop for a real tailgater. First is the practical way, which is finding some piece of equipment you think he or she wants. Our caution is that often people that don’t tailgate with their gift recipient don’t really know what to buy. For example, we have an unused temperature sensing bar-b-q fork that’s still in its gift box from four years ago. We don’t use it and there are other gifts that have never been used.

The second way to shop is to buy something extravagant that can be enjoyed by any tailgater at any time. I always like the chocolate candy items that are a bit unusual but useful at any time of the year, especially Christmas. Sure one might see them at a tailgate party, but they are great at a Christmas or New Year’s party or any gathering when one wants to serve something special.

The South Bend Chocolate Company has collegiate-licensed chocolate candy for both Notre Dame and IU fans. There are chocolate dome-shaped truffles called Domers. They also have Rocknes, which are chocolates with coconut, almonds and a cherry flavor. They also make chocolate-coated fancy mixed nuts called Nuts for ND, or for Indiana fans, Nuts for IU. They also make a turtle with a peanut butter center on Spanish nuts called Hoosiers. The candies can be bought at close to a dozen stores in Indianapolis and the greater South Bend area. Checkout their website at www.sbchocolate.com for viewing and possibly ordering on line.

Back home during the Christmas season we are featuring some special treat recipes that you can enjoy and make for little gifts for friends. Here is one of our favorites.

Easy Bourbon Balls

(Submitted by a reader from Kentucky)


1 lb. vanilla wafers, crushed

2 cups walnuts, chopped

2 tbs. cocoa

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tbs. light corn syrup

4 oz. bourbon


Mix together crushed wafers, chopped nuts, cocoa and sugar. In a separate bowl mix corn syrup and bourbon together, then gradually add to crumb mixture. Shape into balls the size of small walnuts and roll in confectioners’ sugar, then chill overnight. This recipe will yield up to 5 dozen balls – proceed with caution.