Food-Themed Holiday Gift Ideas
I first found their Spreadable Fruit, Mustards, and Chutneysat the New Amsterdam Market and fell completely in love with them. Wendy W. Smith, the president of thecompany, was kind enough to talk to me one afternoon about their products andtheir philosophy. To find out moreabout these items and to see some additional photos of their wares, please seemy Product Spotlight post about them. Their products and gift packs will be available at the New Amsterdam Market for the next two weekends as well as at the Brooklyn Flea Gifted market.
This is a family-run enterprise with the most gorgeous arrayof spices and tea blends. One day,I’m going to just throw the budget out the window (must get paying job first!)and buy all the combinations that they offer. In the meantime, I’ll have to sample them sparingly. They have stalls at the Columbus Circleand Union Square holiday markets, and are offering gift sets of tins. Please be aware that they only accept cash payments.
With several locations in Manhattan (Chelsea Market andProvisions down at South Street Seaport) as well as stalls at the holiday markets at Union Square and Columbus Circle, this is a must-stop spot for theolive oil and vinegar lover on your list. Their Blood Orange Olive Oil is fruity and smooth, not at all chemical-ly,which sometimes happens with flavored oils. Their small bottles of Truffle Oil at $10.00 per seemed tome to be a bargain, as this condiment can often be very pricy. They also have blends of salts andherbs for sale, too. The widestselection will be at Chelsea Market, but you can also stop by their stalls toget samples.
A friend of mine and I were wandering through the Bryant Park Holiday Fair on Thursday when we came across this stand. I discovered these dark-chocolatecovered hazelnut beauties when I studied in Italy and have been a fan eversince. Part of the fun of them isto take the slip of paper that has sayings translated on it and see if theywork in each of the languages printed. Sometimes these have been, ahem, ‘transliterated’ rather than translatedexactly. One day, I will get a jobcorrecting these, as well as in making Italian-to-English subtitles make sense.
I first visited this shop during the East Village Eats walkingtour. The chocolate flavorcombinations were really interesting. What grabbed my attention, however, and puts this store on my list isthe unique molded chocolates that they sell. Need enlightenment? Howabout a chocolate Buddha. Feeling alittle more heavy metal? They havechocolate skulls, too.
This was one of the chocolatiers who knocked my socks off atthe Chocolate Show last month. They sell several different gift boxes with different flavor themes thatwould fit perfectly in anyone’s stocking, especially mine! I really loved their White Chocolatewith Sea Salt and Pink Pepper, but they have other delicious-sounding flavorsas well.
Or, if someone really wants to get on my good list, I’lltake some of these. Anotherfavorite of mine from the Chocolate Show. His caramel with sea-salt crunch will change the way your brainprocesses filled chocolates. Otherflavors like gingerbread and cardamom are completely seasonallyappropriate. I still haven’t had achance to make my way down to their shop to see if his boast of the best coffeein NYC holds water.
Jen and Liz make some of the most deliciously, addictivecaramels, candy bars, and flavored popcorn available (ask me about theirBourbon-Coffee-Bacon-Caramel Popcorn). They use locally-sourced seasonal ingredients to produce theirconfectionary wonders. Check outtheir website for updates on locations, as they’ve recently added a bunch of newones.
This was another of my top-ranked finds from the Chocolate Show. I thought the design wasgorgeous and appealing. What wasimportant, however, was the product, which also did not disappoint. The Sake Chocolates would be a goodadult gift to replace those bourbon or rum balls once and for all.
Tomorrow, the New Amsterdam Market will be featuring New York State wines. I’ve recentlybecome a convert to these, especially when there are such great bottles likeBenmarl Winery’s DeChaunac Cabernet Franc to be drunk. I’m planning to stop by their stand topick up another bottle of this delicious wine with Côtes du Rhône flavors sothat I can have some on hand to celebrate the holidays.
I’ve had a couple of opportunities to visit their tastingroom, which I wrote about last month. My favorites in their wine cellar include the BOE 2009 Rosé and the BOE2005 Merlot.
Ever wondered what real, soda-fountain style sodas tastedlike? Well, Anton and Erica are tryingto bring them back to us. I firstmet them and tried a lime-ginger combo when I was at the New Amsterdam Market at the Ice Cream Festival. Mysecond taste of their great product was a seasonally-appropriate Concord GrapeSoda at New York Magazine’s Grub Street-Hester Street Fair. Both of these were clean-tasting andrefreshing without being overly sweet and cloying. Their site lists the markets where you can find them thisseason.
Sheldrake Point Vineyard (www.sheldrakepoint.com)
Ever wanted to delve into the world of home brew making (orknow someone who has)? BrooklynBrew Shop has created several kits to help you get going. I’m interested to try the ChocolateMaple Porter, if anyone whips up a few bottles of that. I saw these at the Union Square Holiday Market, but they are also available locally at Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma in thecity per what they told me.
As I was breezing through the Union Square Holiday Marketearlier this week, this stand made me stop and do a double-take. Hand-crafted in Hungary, these gorgeousand functional olive oil and vinegar cruets would make a wonderful addition toany kitchen. I have one that Ibought in Italy many years ago and have found it to be perfect. The only downside is that mine isglass. These are made of Pyrex, sothey should be much more durable. For the moment, they are available on line and at the Union Square andColumbus Circle holiday markets.
One of the challenges to bringing my lunch each day when Ihave an office job is to figure out what container to put it in. I don’t really like sandwiches, so Iprefer to bring dinner leftovers or to create some type of hot meal. Regular plastic containers just don’tcut it. Bento boxes have been oneoption that I’ve considered. Another is the tiffin concept. This stand at the Bryant Park and Union Square holiday markets mightoffer the solution to my problem.