This is my favorite of my four holiday gift guides, because…food. Who doesn’t enjoy sampling gourmet goodies? Foodie gifts are always in good taste (sorry, couldn’t resist) for everyone from the co-worker whose name you drew in the office gift pool to teacher gifts. We’ve got gifts for the Gourmet, the Dessert Lover, and the Cook. Remember, it never hurts to treat yourself to some delicious food so be sure to add some of these goodies to your Christmas wishlist.
Samples were received but all opinions are my own.
For The Gourmet:
1. Crown Maple Syrup– The holiday season is the perfect time for pancake breakfasts and having a high quality maple syrup makes all the difference. Crown Maple Syrup sets the standard with its certified organic maple products produced on 800 acres of land on the Crown Maple Estate in Dutchess County, New York. What makes Crown Maple Syrup different? All of their products are USDA certified organic, GMO-free and gluten-free. The syrups are available in several varietals, Golden, Amber, or Dark, depending on taste. They also make specialty syrups that are perfect to use in recipes like Applewood Smoked, Cinnamon Infused, and Madagascar Vanilla Infused. For the bourbon lover in your life, pick up a bottle of bourbon barrel aged syrup. You’ll find yourself using these syrups in everything from barbeque to cookie recipes.
A 375 milliliter bottle of Crown Maple Syrup retails for $19.95.
2. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil– Know someone with food allergies? Treat them to the gift of Avocado Oil. It’s perfect for sauteing your favorite veggies (it can be used up to 500 degrees) or using in dressings, dips, or spreads. Basically, you can substitute Avocado Oil for Olive Oil in any recipe. We like to use our avocado oil to make herbed oil for dipping. Just add your favorite fresh herb to a few tablespoons of avocado oil for an instant treat. Some good choices for herbs are rosemary, basil, or oregano. Chosen Foods makes their Avocado Oil using a cold pressed process that preserves shelf life while producing a mild flavor. All of the products are Non-GMO certified by the Non-GMO Project.
A 16.9 ounce bottle of Chosen Foods Avocado Oil retails for $12.95.
3. Bee Lovely Botanicals Infused Honey Gift Set– I admit, I have a sweet spot for honey. Yes, that was another food pun. Sorry. But there is nothing better than the taste of fresh honey on a biscuit, used as a sweetener for a cup of tea or added to a favorite dessert recipe. Bee Lovely Botanicals seeks to raise honey to a gourmet level with their decadent flavor infusions. A small family owned business, Bee Lovely Botanicals was the brainchild of Josh and Jodie Kieliszewski when they discovered a swarm of wild bees on their property. Since then they have expanded to Honey Soap, Beeswax Lip Balm, Beeswax Lotions, and Raw and Infused honey. We received the four pack Infused Honey Gift Set which included Gourmet Orange Zest Infused Honey, Homegrown Lavender Bud Infused Honey, Bourbon Vanilla Bean Infused Honey, and Lemon Zest and Ginger Root Infused Honey. Not only are these flavors delicious, they’re great served with cheese trays during those holiday parties.
The Infused Honey Gift Set Retails for $44.00
4. The Spice Lab– Nothing perks up a meal like gourmet salt and the Spice Lab delivers with their Gourmet Salt Collection #1 that includes four of the best tasting, hard to find salts in the world. The collection includes Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, Hawaiian Alaea Coarse Sea Salt, Fleur de Sel sea salt, and Himalayan Pink Salt. One of my secrets to flavorful green beans everyone comments on is the addition of Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. Another tip: The Fleur de Sel is great used as a topping for chocolate and caramel desserts. If you’re looking for a peaceful night’s sleep, Serenity Tea can help. Made from herbs gathered from Egypt, this is a relaxing hot tea tasting of chamomile. For colds a cup of tea helps soothe sore throats and provide relief. The Cold B Gone tea, made from ingredients from Thailand, has no caffeine and has hints of ginger, apple, and cinnamon. These teas would make great stocking stuffers.
The 4 tube Gourmet Salt Collection #1 retails for $32.00 and a 4 ounce bag of the Cold B-Gone or Serenity Tea retails for $18 each.
5. Giusto Sapore– Know someone who loves Italian food? Surprise them with a gift from Giusto Sapore. Specializing in imported Italian gourmet products, the company name is Italian for “Just The Right Flavor.” Their products range from gourmet coffee to candy. We tried the Antipasto Caper Berries in Vinegar, the Artichoke and Olive Spread, the Italian Pitted Olives, and the Bruschette Traditional. These items can be served at holiday parties, (use the artichoke and olive spread with crostini), mixed into holiday recipes, or as I did with the olives, a blend of Nocellara, Chalkidiki, and Peranzana, served with a simple lunch of sandwiches and chips. All of the products we tried had an excellent flavor.
The spread retails for $11.99, Caper berries for $11.99, mixed olives for $18.99.
6. Colavita Sampler Tote Gift Basket-Give someone almost everything they need to create their own Italian dishes! This sampler includes a sturdy Colavita Burlap handle bag with a removable insert for separating glass jars, Premium Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aged White Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Glace, Tomato Basil Sauce, Linguine, and Dal Raccolto Penne Rigate. Just add a salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread and you’re ready for dinner. These are authentic Italian brands, as both the Colavita Olive Oil Company and the Colavita Pasta company are family owned businesses located in the town of their ancestors, Sant’Elia a Pianisi. Today, they are joined by the family owned Colavita USA to bring us the goodness of their traditional Italian foods. This would be a gift enjoyed by anyone, but would be a special treat for an at-home date night.
The Sampler Tote Gift Basket retails for $59.00
7. Fuego Hot Sauce of the Month Club– If you have a family member who loves hot sauce as much as my daughter, you need to check out the Fuego Hot Sauce of the Month Club. Available by individual boxes customized to different heat levels, or by subscriptions of one, six, or twelve months, Fuego ships three bottles of small batch hot sauce directly to your door. We received two boxes; one was the Welcome Addition, or everyone’s first box. It included a 5 ounces bottle of Frankie V’s Spooky White Sauce, a 5 ounces bottle of Born to Hula Ghost of Ancho sauce, and a 5 ounces bottle of Zana Sauce. 3 sample packets of Palo Alto Fire Fighters Hot Sauce and a sample dry spice. We also received a tasting sheet and a card describing the three sauces. Needless to say, the sauces were a little two hot for me, but perfect for my kids. I preferred some of the milder sauces in the November box, the Butterfly Bakery of Vermont Squash, a Fuego Box Exclusive, and the Born to Hula Harvest , another seasonal Thanksgiving sauce. My daughter preferred the extra hot Hoff Southern Stinger, another Fuego Box Exclusive. The included cards in the box give more detail about the sauce and offer suggestions on food pairings. I can’t wait to try my Honey Squash sauce on a grilled cheese sandwich.
A three-bottle one month subscription box retails for $29.95
8. Sia Scotch– was developed by Carin Luna-Ostaseski, the first American woman to create a blended Scotch Whisky Company. Spurred by a breakup, she began collecting Scotch whisky, holding tastings, and learning everything possible about whisky. Her goal was to make a whisky that was “affordable, accessible and absolutely delicious.” If you are a whisky lover, you’ll enjoy the smooth, modern taste of Sia with hints of vanilla, caramel, citrus, honey, and a hint of smoke. Winner of several awards including the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, and Double Gold from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this Scotch can be used for cocktails or sipped. Carin is a firm believer in supporting others and donates a portion of her earnings to charities that help women own and grow their own businesses.
For the Dessert Lover:
9. River Street Sweets: Savannah’s Candy Kitchen– Although I live six hours from Savannah, whenever I am in the area I make a point to stop by River Street Sweets. Family owned by brother and sister team, Jennifer and Tim Strickland, River City Sweets: Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is the oldest candy store in Savannah. They produce those gourmet sweets the South is famous for; luscious pralines, (they’re the largest supplier of pralines in the world!), peanut brittle, divinity, saltwater taffy, and my favorite, Loggerheads, a sweet concoction of chocolate, caramel and pecans. We received their Tin of Assorted Favorites including pralines, chocolate covered peanuts, loggerheads, and glazed pecans. If you are a pecan lover you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted their glazed pecans. Just saying. Also, if you want to “be good” the glazed pecans are great on salads. The tins can be shipped to anywhere in the US and they offer free shipping to all military addresses (APO, FPO etc.).
The Signature Tin of Favorites retails for $35.95
10. J.R. Watkins Extracts– Looking for a hard to find extract for that special holiday recipe? Look no further than J.R. Watkins. They make everything from the usual flavors of almond, vanilla, and rum to the more exotic offerings of root beer, bubble gum, and pistachio. With forty extracts to choose from, you’re sure to find what you need. In business since 1868, all of the J.R. Watkins extracts line are Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Corn Syrup Free, and Kosher. All of their pure extract line use all natural ingredients, along with no artificial colors or flavors. Check out their product listings to see some of the suggested uses for the extracts. You might be surprised to discover where they can be added. Almond extract to add a hint of nutty flavor to baked beans? Who knew?
J.R. Watkins extracts retail from $3.49 to $4.49 for a 2 ounces bottle.
11. Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Coffee Extract– Want to add a special touch to your baked goods? You can’t go wrong with Nielsen-Massey products. All of their products are Gluten-Free Certified as well as All-Natural, Allergen-Free, and GMO-Free, making it easy for me to feel safe using their products for allergy-friendly treats. Their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar is made of a combination of their signature Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract mixed with gourmet baker’s sugar. This is a great topping to sugar cookies or sprinkled over whipped cream in Milkshakes. Of course, it’s good for use in cooking as well. It will give a flavor boost to any dessert recipe. Their Coffee Extract is a flavorful addition to any dessert that lists coffee as an ingredient. 1 teaspoon equals the same as one teaspoon dried espresso powder (for those of us who don’t keep expresso on hand) and 1 teaspoon mixed with 1/4 cup water is the same as 1/4 cup of coffee. I’m a fan of their coffee extract in any of my chocolate mocha recipes. Add a dash to hot chocolate for a gourmet touch.
Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar retails for $23 and Coffee Extract retails for $9.
12. McCrea’s Caramels– Another family-owned company, Jason McCrea, the former chemist turned Chief Caramel Scientist, has one mission; to make the best caramel in the world. These caramels are smooth, rich, and bursting with flavor. His creations range from Classic Vanilla “for the purist” to more exotic flavors like Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt and Single Malt Scotch. I’m a huge fan of his Black Lava Sea Salt Caramels. They combine the buttery flavor of his classic caramels with a touch of salt in each bite. The sweet and savory combination is classic. Want to surprise someone with a gift they won’t forget? McCrea’s offers the Caramel of the Month club with subscriptions of three, six, or twelve months. Each month recipients are treated to three dozen McCrea’s Caramels in the flavor of the month. These hand crafted caramels are a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift.
A 5.5 ounces tube of McCrea’s Caramels retails for $14.95
13. Dancing Deer Bakery- Specializing in “gourmet cookie and brownie gifts for all occasions”, Dancing Deer believes in making goodies without preservatives and using pure, high-quality ingredients. They strive to offer products with a truly superior taste, and they’ve succeeded. Their certified gluten-free line is so good you won’t believe they are actually gluten-free. Whenever my daughter sees a package of the brownies she grabs them and claims them all for herself. This season I tried the Sugar Cane Lime cookies for the first time and they are amazing. It’s a classic soft sugar cookie with a hint of lime that raises the bar on any ordinary sugar cookie. These are cookies you’d be proud to serve on a holiday cookie tray and claim you made yourself. 😉
The Christmas Bakery Gift Basket is $39.99
14. KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn– Began in a home kitchen in 2004, KuKuRuZa (that’s Russian for corn, in case you were wondering) has raised gourmet popcorn to a new level. They now offer fifteen tempting flavors ranging from classics like Caramel and Cheddar to the exotic like Truffle Fromage Porcini. This Holiday season why not gift someone with one of their Christmas flavors? Because they prefer to source locally and use local artisans whenever possible, they’ve teamed up with some of Seattle’s finest to create Eggnog Brandy, Peppermint Cocoa, and Gingerbread Cookie flavors. And, if you have someone in your family with food allergies, the Peppermint Cocoa is vegan! I especially enjoyed the Gingerbread Cookie; a combination of molasses spiced caramel, white chocolate, and chunks of freshly baked ginger molasses cookies from Hello Robin Cookies. Popcorn Subscription Boxes are also available.
The KuKuRuZa Trio Popcorn Gift Pack Retails for $19.99
For the Cook
15. Sunday Suppers by Cynthia Gaurbart – Remember those Sunday Suppers you had at Grandma’s as a child with those delicious classic Southern dishes? Maybe it’s just me but my mouth waters thinking of all those goodies. Since I’m a huge fan of Southern Living Magazine and often use their recipes in my kitchen, I was thrilled to received Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings. Proving yummy meals don’t have to include “too much fuss and muss,” Ms. Gaurbart includes over 50 easy to make main dishes, as well as items for sides, desserts, and even drinks. Think of creamy Fall Chicken Casserole, Hot Bacon Potato Salad, and Fresh Apple Cake. The book is filled with chatty reminisces from best-selling authors and feels like you’re sitting in a friend’s kitchen. Bonus: The recipes are easy enough for beginning cooks.
The Sunday Suppers Cookbook retails for $19.95
16. Planches Labell Boards Serving Board– I am impressed with this company’s mission. They use premium Canadian recovered or recycled hardwoods to create paddle boards, butcher blocks, and utility boards. With over 90 different styles available, you’re sure to find something that matches your personal style. Not only do I love the design on my board, I like how easy it is to clean. Just wash it with soap and water, rinse, and dry. It also needs an occasional coat of mineral oil to maintain its finish. All of the boards are naturally antibacterial, Eco friendly and non-toxic. This would make a wonderful hostess gift.
The Plances Labell Serving Board retails for $21.99 Canadian dollars.
17. Sabatier® Edgekeeper® Forged Knives– Every cook knows that having a good knife makes cooking so much easier. It’s frustrating trying to cut with a dull knife. Sabatier has found a solution with their Edgekeeper line. Each knife is enclosed in a sheath that is designed to sharpen the knife with each use. The knives are made from stainless steel and have an excellent price point. Be sure to place the knife in the sheath after first opening the package to prepare it for use. The knives we received (an 8 inch Chef Knife, a 3.5 inch paring knife, and a 7 inch Santoku knife) are perfect for everyday cooking chores and have a nice feel and balance when I am holding them. Note: The knives are not dishwasher safe. They need to be washed by hand and dried immediately.
18. Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry™ Slow Cooker– What can be better than the gift of time? The Crock-Pot Programmable Cook & Carry allows us to save time by adding a meal to the crock-pot and having dinner waiting for us when we arrive home. But this Crock-Pot does even more. Remember how difficult it is to take hot dishes to another location? I’ve had my share of spills in my car when the lid got knocked off. This Crock-Pot solves this dilemma with hinged locking lids. And no need to worry about grabbing something that’s too hot and burning myself because the Crock Pot has carrying handles. The programmable option allows me to program the Slow Cooker with a time range of 30 minutes to 20 hours. Plus, once the cooking time is complete, the Crock-Pot automatically switches over to warming mode, meaning no overcooked food. It’s a great gift for the person who is always on the go.
The Crock-Pot Cook & Carry retails for $49.99
19. Faberware Food Huggers– If you love your food, give it a hug. That’s Faberware’s motto with their new food savers. These nifty little objects are designed to fit perfectly over the cut ends of fruits and vegetables. You know that half of onion that’s in a storage bag in the fridge? It can be covered with one of these food-safe, bpa-free silicone huggers. They’re also designed to fit over the lids of cans so they can be stored with spillage. Because they are reusable, you’ll be cutting down on wasteful material like plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe. This is a good stocking stuffer for someone who always has a few half used veggies lying around, like my kids.
The 4 set of Farberware Huggers retails for $9.99
20. Julia Aroma Diffuser– Sleek and modern, this Julia Aroma Diffuser will blend seamlessly into the kitchen decor. It’s easy to use. Just fill the bottom portion with water and add two to three drops of essential oil. Note: Do NOT use essential oils that contain alcohol. One of my favorite features of this diffuser is the interval setting, allowing it to run for up to 54 hours. If you use the diffuser at night the LED lights on the device can be dimmed or completely turned off. It’s a great way to get rid of those pesky cooking odors and make your kitchen smell fresh. And, isn’t that always important when you’re having guests for the holidays?
The Julia Aroma Diffuser is available for $79.99
21. Lucid Candles– Know someone who enjoys taper candles with beautiful designs but doesn’t enjoy melted wax? That’s the one reason I rarely use tapers. My problem was solved with Lucid Dinner Candles. These candles are made with a polymer that never burns down. Instead, the top of the candle is removed and filled with Lucid Liquid Paraffin, which is sold separately. The candle is then lit like a traditional taper candle and will burn six hours before needing to be refilled. The Natural Fork & Knife Dinner Candle is perfect for dinner parties throughout the year. It’s a classic white candle with a silver fork design on one side and a silver knife design on the other. Holiday designs, like the adorable Candy Canes Natural Dinner Candle are also available. These candles are designed to fit in any traditional candle holder, although I did have some trouble getting it to stay in an antique candle holder. In my modern day candle holders, they fit perfectly. The pillar candles would lovely in centerpieces and used in tablescapes.
The Fork&Knife Dinner Candle and The Candy Canes Natural Dinner Candle are $40. The Lucid Liquid Paraffin is $13.50 and contains enough fluid to burn 200 hours.
Do you know someone who needs a foodie gift? Which would you like to receive in your stocking?
You Might Like These Posts: