Gift Idea Header

Yikes! It’s December 5th and I have yet to purchase A single Christmas gift. I seriously need to get cracking.

Fortunately I have a few ideas, which I’ve listed below. Readers, if you have anything to add to the list — a favorite food-related gift — please let me know and I will add it in the appropriate category. And fellow bloggers, if you have any go-to gift-giving recipes you have posted on your blogs, send me the link and I’ll link back to you.

Happy Shopping!
The Gift of Chocolate

1. Box of chocolate truffles: My favorite chocolate truffles are Éclat’s sea-salt topped, caramel-filled chocolate truffles. Éclat Chocolate:; Vosges Haut Chocolate:; Richart Chocolates: 2. Homemade chocolate truffles and a truffle scoop (#100 scoop), with a printed recipe enclosed. 3. Homemade fudge or ch sauce packaged in a festive box or jar. 4. Homemade chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls with recipe enclosed. (They taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but better.) 5. Homemade hot cocoa mix with instructions and homemade (or store-bought) marshmallows. Package mix in a jar wrapped with a festive bow; package marshmallows in a cellophane bag tied with a bow. 6. Fair Trade chocolate bars. My favorite brand is Chocolove. 7. Gift Certificates to places such as Ritz Carlton Dessert Buffet or Four Seasons Dessert Buffet. (In Philadelphia there is the Naked Chocolate Café … I’m sure your town, wherever you are, has some place similar.)

The Gift of Cheese

8. Tub of quince membrillo with a wedge of Roncal, Manchego, Zamorano or Idiazabal. Contact your local cheesemonger or Whole Foods Market. 9. Artisan Spanish fig cake, made with dried fruit and nut and a wedge of Garroxta. 10. Jar of lavender honey (Williams Sonoma) with a wedge of blue cheese such as Bleu de Basques. 11. Aged balsamic vinegar (A particularly good brand is Villa Mondori sold at Williams Sonoma for $49.95) with a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano. 12. Jar of truffled honey with a wedge of aged Manchego. 13. Slate, wooden or ceramic cheese platter with serving knives. (Any kitchen wares shop). 14. Small wedges of assorted cheeses chosen by country such as France (Brin D’Amour, L’Edel De Cleron, Abbaye de Belloc, Tomme de Savoie, Chaource, Bleu D’auvergne, Bleu des Causses) or America (Humbolt Fog, Birchrun Hills Farm Blue, Berkshire Blue, Grafton Classic Two-Year Cheddar, Jasper Hill Farm Constant Bliss, Jasper Hill Farm Winnemere) or Spain (Ibores, Queso de La Serena, Roncal, Monte Enebro, Cabrales) found at any cheese shop with several boxes of 34º Crackers — best crackers to serve with cheese. I am obsessed.15. Cheese books: Two informative, coffee-table-style books by Max McCalman and David Gibbons: Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best and The Cheese Plate; and an excellent reference by Steven Jenkins: The Cheese Primer 16. Membership to a Cheese of the month club:;;; 17. A ball of local or imported Burrata, box of gray salt, and bottle of Temecula Olive Oil Company extra virgin olive oil.

The Gift of Fruit

18. Jar of homemade quince jam or apple sauce or a block of homemade quince membrillo. 19. Jar of apple butter, pumpkin butter or pear butter. Check a local farmers’ market. 20. A tray of the juiciest, most delectable Florida grapefruits: Pell’s Citrus and Nursery. 21. Box of Royal Riviera pears from Harry and David with a wedge of Stilton.

The Gift of Cheer
(Note: Many of these ideas are Philly specific. I’ve included them on the list anyway hoping they might spark an idea.)

22. Three bottles of wine: One to open now; one to enjoy in five years; and one to savor in 10 years. Consult a local sommelier. 23. From Moore Brothers, (specific to Philly and NYC) the Bon Marche Collection (six whites, six reds $125); or the Courtier Collection (six whites, six reds $175); or the Moore Brothers Six Pack (three whites, three reds $75). Each collection comes with anecdotal and technical tasting notes on each of the wines. 24. Bottle of a special dessert wine such as Aged Port, Madeira, Ice Wine, Sauternes, Sherry 25. Bottle of Single Malt Scotch with a pair of scotch glasses. 26. DVDs: Bottle Shock (2008): Sideways (2004); Mondovino (2004) 27. American Vintage wine biscuits So yummy. 28. Gift certificate to a local wine or beer shop such as Moore Brothers or The Foodery (Philly). 29. Books: Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Jobinson; The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson; What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, and Michael Sofronski; Making Sense of Wine by Matt Kramer; The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver 30. Local spirits or wine such as a bottle of Bluecoat Gin (Philly) or assortment of Chaddsford wines. You may have to do a little research to find a local wine or spirit maker but they exist everywhere. 31. From the Foodery (Philly), a mixed six-pack of festive winter brews or one of several gift sets such as the Hobgoblin gift set ($21.95), Historic Ales From Scotland ($12.95), Val Dieu Gift Set ($23.95), St. Bernardus ($17.95), Christmas in Belgium Gift Set ($29.95), or the Chimay Gift Set ($13.95). 32. From the Foodery or online, a bottle of Mad Elf Ale made by Tröegs ($65.95 for .8 gallons) or a bottle of Samichlaus Bier ($124.95 for 3L). 33. Homemade coasters or trivets made from corks. 34. Built N.Y. BYOB wine or beer tote or a white wine freezer sleeve. 35. Special equipment such as antique ice tongs, Riedel glasses (Target sells a line of reasonably priced Riedel glasses), ice bucket, engraved cocktail shaker. 36. Membership to a wine or beer-of-the-month club. I wish I could recommend one in particular, but alas I have no first-hand knowledge of one specifically.

The Gift of Breakfast Treats

37. Homemade granola. For a nice presentation, fill airtight canisters with the granola and wrap with a festive bow. 38. Tin of McCann’s steel cut oatmeal, a package of medjool dates, and a jar of cinnamon with a recipe attached. 39. Yogurt maker. (Salton yogurt maker on 40. Homemade muesli 41. An eight-inch nonstick pan (the perfect omelet pan), a heat-proof spatula and instructions for “how to make a fines herbes omelet” printed from

Stocking Stuffers
42. A wooden reamer. 43. Kuhn Rikon Peeler ($3.50 to $3.99 — Best peeler ever.) 44. Bench scraper (a great tool both for cleaning cutting boards and cutting dough — any kitchen wares shop) 45. Oxo measuring spoons and measuring cups. Note: The unconventional sizes (2/3, ¾, and 1½ cups) are a nice addition to any collection. 46. Bottle of truffle oil. 47. Homemade spiced nuts or candied pecans. 48. Assorted spices from Penzeys Spices such as Ceylon True Cinnamon; Aleppo Pepper; Szechuan Peppercorns or Punjabi Style Garam Masala. 49. Bottle of Madagascar vanilla and vanilla beans from Penzeys Spices. 50. Assorted hot sauces. (For dangerously hot hot sauces — only for extreme dare devils — contact the owner of Pica Peppers at
The Gift of Sweets

51. Tin of assorted homemade cookies, Bourbon balls, Maris’ Biscotti etc. 52. Jars of the best candied pecans ever, sold at Fork:etc in Philadelphia. These pecans are made in small batches by the mother of Fork’s owner, Ellen Yin. Call before to see if they are still available: (215) 625-9425 / 53. One giant (large) homemade chocolate chip cookie, packaged in a cellophane bag and tied with a festive ribbon. 54. Espresso caramels. 55. Assorted homemade, white chocolate- and dark chocolate-dipped biscotti. 56. Tin of brownies and blondies. 57. Homemade peppermint patties. 58. A tin of Daley Family toffee.

The Gift of Baking

59. A Silpat, an essential tool for bakers. 60. Cookbooks such as Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (an awesome book with simple bread-making recipes) or The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (complex recipes, yet very informative) or Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. 61. From the Baker’s Catalog, 16 oz. bag SAF yeast (to be stored indefinitely in the freezer), assorted flours, Salter digital scale. 62. A giant cupcake/muffin pan such as the “Texas muffin pan” from the Baker’s Catalog.

The Gift of Caffeine

63. Bags of whole bean or ground Fair Trade coffee. 64. Gift certificate to a local, independent coffee house such as Joe Coffee Bar (Philly) 65. French press coffee maker. 66. Nespresso Espresso Machine 67. Nespresso Aeroccino 68. No. 66 and 67 together. 69. Francis Francis Espresso Machine. (For someone you really really really love) 70. Fun espresso cups. 71. Green Tea whisk with box of matcha green tea powder 72. Fun teapot with a funky tea cozy. 73. Homemade chai tea, packaged in glass milk bottle with a recipe attached. 74. “French press” teapot such as the Bodum glass teapot.

For the Gourmand in General:

75. Anything sold at the Temecula Olive Oil Company from the incredibly delicious olive oils and vinegars to the biscotti to the olives and the list goes on. 76. If local to San Diego, homemade pasta or sauces from Delaney’s Culinary Fresh. 77. Assortment of cured meats such as Capicola, Toscano Salami and Saucisson Sec. 78. Gift Certificates to favorite cookware or food shops (Philly: Fante’s, Foster’s, Kitchen Kapers, Williams Sonoma, Claudio’s, DiBruno Brothers, Talluto’s, Gourmet of Old City, Cookbook Stall in Reading Terminal Market) or favorite restaurants, etc. 79. Fun Aprons such as Now Design aprons or dishtowels or fancy French polishing rags. 80. Homemade muffin/cupcake/cake mixes. Simply mix the dry ingredients for a standard recipe, package it in a cellophane bag tied with a festive ribbon and supply a recipe. 81. Mini loaf of pumpkin bread baked in decorative paper loaf pans. 82. The most delicious rosemary shortbread packed in a stationary box with printed recipe attached. (Recipe to be supplied shortly). 83. Assortment of local honeys, maple syrups, and jams. 84. Pizza stone, pizza peel, bag of high-gluten flour. 85. Vintage food or wine calendar. 86. A large cutting board — an essential tool for every kitchen — such as the Boos Edge-Grain Maple Cutting Board, 24″ x 18″, $80.00. 87. Pasta maker, bag of “perfect pasta blend” flour from, and a recipe for homemade ravioli. 88. Invite someone to customize a 100-recipe hardcover cookbook with photos using TasteBook on 89. Recipe binder set from Russell and Hazel. 90. A fancy Williams Sonoma timer. 91. American Tuna — the best canned tuna. AT is the only tuna fishery in the world certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. 92. Basic/essential knife set from 1 classic chef’s knife (From Wüsthof classic series, 9” cook’s knife), large serrated (From Wüsthof classic series, 8” bread knife), paring knife (From Wüsthof classic series, 4” paring knife) 94. From Wüsthof classic series, the two-piece carving set (8” carving knife and 6” straight meat fork) 95. Lodge cast iron grill/griddle pan, spans two burners, reversible or a Staub “cocotte.” 96. Set of plain or chocolate croissants from Williams-Sonoma. 97. Assortment of gourmet SALTs such as Maldon sea salt, Peruvian pink salt, gray salt and Fleur de Sel. ( 98. One-year subscription to a Cooking Magazine: Saveur, Fine Cooking, Cook’s, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Martha Stewart, Cooking Light, Edible Communities or Real Simple. 99. Food Movies: Mostly Martha, Ratatouille, Babette’s Feast, Like Water for Chocolate, Chocolat, Tortilla Soup, Eat Drink Man Woman, Big Night, Tampopo 100. Food Books: Heat, Bill Buford; My Life in France, Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme; The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver or cookbooks to a favorite restaurant such as Zuni Cafe, Tartine or Balthazar.

The Gift of Charity
101. Make a donation to a food-focused charity in someone else’ name: Coffee Kids (; Heifer International (800-422-0474 /; Farm Aid (800-327-6243 /; Share Our Strength (800-969-4767 /; BloggerAid and Philly based: Philabundance (215-339-0900  / and White Dog Community Enterprises (215-386-5211 / Or, host a Drop In And Decorate party and donate your creations to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program, or other community agency serving neighbors in need.