With family spread out across the country, we often struggle to find holiday gift ideas. Here is our foodie gift guide with our favorite baskets/gift sets everyone can appreciate:
Men are notoriously difficult to shop for, but most love a good steak. The American Kobe Steak Flight from SNAKE RIVER FARMS (SnakeRiverFarms. com) makes a delectable gift, with two 6-oz sirloins, two 6-oz ribeyes, two 6-oz filet mignons, Espresso Brava Sea Salt and a hat.
Will Harris of WHITE OAK PASTURES (WhiteOakPastures.com) was named Georgia’s 2013 Farmer of the Year for his sustainable agriculture innovations. Their Six-Shooter Gift Pack provides an excellent sampling of grassfed beef, with two 14-oz ribeye, two 12-oz NY strips and two 6-oz filets.
For beef-lovers on a budget, there’s the Tasteful Gift Combo from OMAHA STEAKS (OmahaSteaks.com), with two 5-oz filets, two 5-oz top sirloins, four 4-oz burgers, four stuffed baked potatoes and four caramel apple tartlets, all for $69.99.
There may be women somewhere who don’t drink tea, but we don’t know any. Our favorite brand, NUMI ORGANIC TEA (shop. NumiTea.com), has a new Tea By Mood Gift Set that offers 40 bags in 8 flavors designed to help you Invigorate, Energize, Balance, Focus or Sleep, depending on your mood.
REPUBLIC OF TEA (RepublicofTea.com) offers a Gift of Three Teas customized to suit the recipient’s tastes. We dig their seasonal fare, including Pumpkin Spice Black Tea, Caramel Apple Red Tea and Peppermint Chocolate Red Tea.
We’ve loved seasonings from SPICE LAB (shop.TheSpiceLab. com) for years. Now they’ve entered the tea ring. Their stylish 4-tea sets, in distinctive test tube-style packaging, make for an eye-catching holiday gift.
I’m frugal by nature, but gourmet coffee’s my fave indulgence. Fortunately, this column affords is the opportunity to sample some of the Best Coffee in the World. Connoisseurs will adore A&E COFFEE ROASTERY’S (aeroastery.com) Coffee World Tour, available in 3, 6 or 12-month packages. Ours included citrusy Norma Lara Octepeque from Honduras, sweet NH Morning, and a wonderfully intense Kenya Kiangothe with lush, fruity notes.
Brooklyn’s DRIFT AWAY COFFEE (DriftAway.coffee) offers 2-12 month gift plans, with fresh-roasted bags delivered every two weeks. The first contains a tasting kit of four different coffees (ours had Brazilian, Colombian, Ethiopian and Papua New Guinea varietals), allowing you to choose your favorites.
Want to give a gift that gives back this holiday season? Humanitarian aid organization WORLD VISION (WorldVisionGifts.org) is offering a Fair Trade Coffee Set whose proceeds benefit people in need all around the world. The collection comes with a special Café Campesino whole bean blend of Ethiopian, Sumatran and Costa Rican coffees and a hand-carved Olivewood scoop, both packed inside a gorgeous gift bag hand-sewn from African fabric by local women. Knowing that your purchase is helping a good cause only adds to the soulful benefits of gift-giving.
What coffee is to me– i.e. manna from heaven– chocolate is to my wife and daughter. The folks at SEATTLE CHOCOLATES (SeattleChocolates. com) have assembled a stunning 5-pound Santa Baby Gift Basket that will blow any chocaholic’s mind: two boxes of Truffles, a 5-Chocolate Bar gift box, Candy Banes, Holiday Gourmet Bag and 2 Jcoco bars, all in a glittery package tied with red velvet ribbon.
The Chocolate Cravings Crate from SHARI’S BERRIES (Berries.com) is smaller, but no less scrumptious. The wooden crate is stuffed like Santa’s sack with over a dozen different treats ranging from Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn and Dark Chocolate Covered Pistachios to Cocoa Biscotti Bites and Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops.
Based in Portland, the MOONSTRUCK CHOCOLATE CO (MoonstruckChocolate.com) has become one of our favorite brands thanks to their hand-crafted approach to gourmet chocolates. Their 16-piece Classic Truffle Collection is a best-seller for a reason: Once you try decadent flavors such as French Silk Chocolate Mousse, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Conquistador Hazelnut Praline, you’ll never settle for a Whitman’s Sampler again.
Austin’s DELYSIA CHOCOLATIER (Delysia.com) got our attention earlier this year with a Chocolate Insect Collection that included truffles made from crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms. Their beautifully designed Winter Collection and Spirits Collection are better suited for less adventurous palates: The former indulges with rich seasonal flavors such as Eggnog and Gingerbread Truffles, while the latter features truffles made with Bourbon, Rum and Scotch.
If you’ve never had Macarons in France, Atlanta’s MACARON QUEEN (MacaronQueen.com) is the next best thing. The Paristrained pastry chef customized her recipe to reduce calories, fat and sugar, creating an exceptional guilt-free treat available in 30+ flavors. I loved the 16-oz PreAssorted Package we sampled so much, I’ve asked my wife to get me another for Xmas.
MCCREA’S CANDIES (McCreasCandies. com) takes a similarly innovative approach to Caramels, creating foodie-friendly flavors nothing like those Brach’s you had as a kid. Their Gift Box includes three 5.5oz tubes, including Black Lava Sea Salt, Vanilla and “Flavor Family” (which includes Roasted Mocha, Rosemary Truffle, Highland Scotch and more).
Ever since getting her braces off earlier this year my daughter is obsessed with caramels. ANNIE B’s POPCORN & CARAMELS (AnnieBsCandy.com) is proof that not all caramels are made equal. The family-owned Minnesota company’s small batch, slow-cooked confections come in seasonal flavors such as peppermint, cinnamon, pumpkin and caramel apple. One taste and it’s easy to understand why Oprah named them one of her “favorite things.”
There’s nothing like spirits to help people into the holiday spirit, but gifting booze requires a flair for gourmet flavors. Our favorites this holiday season include RUM DIPLOMÁTICO (RonDiplomatico.com), a boutique rum blend from Venezuela with sweetly sublime notes of toffee, maple syrup, orange and brown sugar; WYOMING WHISKEY (WyomingWhiskey.com), a small-batch bourbon made in the Big Horn Basin, which has sweet, fruity hints of vanilla, caramel and oak; and USQUAEBACH (Usquaebach.com), whose Premium Reserve Highland Scotch has been dubbed the “King of Blended Whiskey.”
MANHATTAN FRUITIER (ManhattanFruitier.com) is known for their upscale gift baskets. Their elegant Cortland Hamper boasts 14 pieces of fresh seasonal fruit– including apples, pears, pomegranate and more– and one accompanying snack, all packaged in a gorgeous basket that’s clearly designed to impress.
We discovered CREMINELLI FINE MEATS (Creminelli.com) at the Atlanta Cheese Festival a few years ago. Their Grand Selection Mix is a meat-lover’s dream– six handcrafted salamis that sing with organic spices, including Barolo w/Red Wine, Wild Boar and Tartufo w/Black Truffles.
Serious gourmands tend to focus on quality over quantity, with presentation almost as important as palate-pleasing. For upscale foodies, the Truffle Collection Giftbox from MAILLE (Maille.com) makes for an elegant holiday offering. It comes with Black Truffle & Chablis Mustard (in a beautiful black and gold stoneware jar), a complementary bottle of Truffle Olive Oil and an engraved Mustard Tasting Spoon, all inside a sleek, stylish package that suggests you care enough to give the very best.
Popcorn has been a traditional gift in my family since I was a kid. But the Deluxe Popcorn & Seasonings Gift Box from DELL COVE (DellCoveSpices.com) is a cut above the rest, allowing you to mix and match 8 different kinds of popcorn and 8 seasonings in fantastic flavors such as Sweet BBQ, Hot Wings, Amish Caramel & Pumpkin Pie.
If you’ve ever tried to make Indian food at home, one of the biggest challenges is getting the spices right. Indian For Everyone author Anupy Singla makes it easier with her Custom Blend Spice Set from INDIAN AS APPLE PIE (IndianAsApplePie.com). The gift box includes six different spice blends, including traditional favorites such as Tandoori Masala, Sambhar Powder and Chaat Masala.
Recent news that over-indulgence in cured meats may be bad for your health has done nothing to dim our cultural fascination with bacon. THE BACON JAMS (TheBaconJams.com) unabashedly celebrates the popular pork product with their cracker-ready Bacon Spreads. Their 3-pack samples includes all three savory flavors, including All Original, Black Pepper and spicy Red Chile & Garlic.