The turkeys are gone and the radio stations have started playing seasonal tunes... The holidays are officially here! If you're looking to gift friends and family with awesome foodie presents and local treats, we've compiled some of our favorites for your perusal. We also enlisted the help of a prominent local chef, Mario LaPosta of Tarry Lodge in Westport, CT who offered his picks.
Here are a few more gifts for your foodie loved ones. [See our Ultimate CT Gift Guide Part I here].
Happy holidays... And happy shopping!
Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil, New Canaan Olive Oil
For that one foodie in your life that seems to already have everything – consider shopping at newly opened New Canaan Olive Oil. Their wide assortment of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Vinegar flavors will entice even the most spoiled cooks, specifically their Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil. Great for salads or sautéing veggies, this seasonal flavor will add a toasty and tangy taste to any dish. And for our beloved bacon lovers, try their Bacon Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil – an easy way to add bacon flavor to almost anything!
In person or online or in person $19.95 375ml / $24.95 500ml bottle
Henri’s Tasting Souree, Henri’s Reserve
We recently had the chance to sample some of the beautiful champagnes from Henri’s Reserve and hear wonderful tasting notes from its founder, Ruth Frantz. Your friends and family members can have that same experience- in the comfort of their own homes! Henri’s offers a tasting kit complete with 3 champagnes, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions so the recipient can host their own get-together. The packaging is beautifully posh; the artwork comes from the sketches of a local artist. The gift transcends the holiday season- it can be used for New Year’s and beyond.
Premium Maple Cream, River’s Edge Sugar House
River’s Edge Sugar House in Ashford, Connecticut has produced sweetly satisfying honey and maple syrup for 20 years. This family owned and operated estate goes one step farther by embracing their healing qualities as well. For centuries, local honey and maple syrup has been attributed with aiding a plethora of bodily ailments – from strengthening the immune system to eliminating allergies. The Premium Maple Cream is a bestseller. This smooth, creamy topping for toasts, muffins, and other baked goodies serves as a tasty alternative to the usual breakfast spreads. River’s Edge Sugar House makes for a fun wintertime family destination, as it offers tours of their property to the public. But if you can’t make the drive, the Sugar House delivers via UPS to anywhere in the country and will even include a gift message if you desire.
In person or online $8 for ½ a jar
90+ Cellars Wine Club
The wines from 90+ Cellars were hits at the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival. This holiday season, you can gift your loved ones with a membership to the 90+ Cellars Wine Club, which will allow them to enjoy an assortment of the brand’s best bottles. Four times a year, they will receive a box of 6 or12 bottles that include greatest hits as well as exclusive releases from 90+ Cellars. You can further tailor it to their palette by selecting white wines, red wines, or a mix of both. Every shipment comes with tasting notes and all members get 15% off all future 90+ purchases. For more information, visit: http://www.ninetypluscellars.com/wine-club/
$400 6 bottles/$800 12 bottles
Spice Gift Set, Penzey’s Spices
Penzey’s Spices embodies its mission in a simple slogan: “Love People; Cook Good Food for them.” They are the place to go for any spice need, from the exotic to basic. They are offering some of their bestselling products in “Kind Heart” gift sets for the holidays. The spice set comes with 8 spices while the seasoning box comes with 8 of Penzey’s popular spice blends.
In stores or online $19.95/set
Willian Sonoma Grill Pan
Winter means snow angels, sledding, and figure skating… but it also means an end to summer barbeques. Fortunately, you can give grill enthusiasts the chance to extend the grilling season with this non-stick pan from Williams Sonoma. The ridges along the bottom simulate the surface of a grill, giving meats nice charred lines. The taller rim ensures a mess-free cooking zone.
$79.95, in stores and online
Spice Jars, Anthropologie
Anthropologie offers a charming collection of storage jars that will add character and practicality to any kitchen. They varying in shapes and sizes and can store anything from spaghetti to sugar cookies. A mini chalkboard embedded on the front of the jar provides a way to creatively label these cute containers. Additionally, the smaller spice storage jars feature a variety of colored tops, adding to the aesthetic appeal.
In person and at their store in Westport $10.00-$36.00, depending on size
Truffle Box, Chocolistic
Chocholistic is a CT-based chocolate company that specializes in adding herbs and superfoods into sugar-free, raw chocolate. Its creator, Kenzie Herrick, came up with the idea of Chocholistic after studying raw nutrition and herbalism on a retreat in Costa Rica back in 2011. Instead of sugar, she uses a sweetener that comes from US-grown, organic birch trees. The chocolate is is also allergen free, and has no additives or preservatives. Every flavor has added herbs and exotic, high-antioxidant supplements to give the chocolate a powerful nutrition boost. For the holidays, Herrick is featuring limited-addition truffle boxes with three different flavors: Lemon Coconut, Lavender Espresso, and Ginger Root Beer. There are nine truffles in a box and three of each flavor. They will be available at Chocholistic.com starting November 29th. For more information, visit http://chocholistic.com/shop/holiday-truffle-sampler/$20/box
And Picks from a top Chef…
Mario LaPosta, head chef at Tarry Lodge Enoteca & Pizzera in Westport, CT, recommens gifting the foodie in your life with a cookbook called Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way by John Besh.
"He's a chef that's getting really popular in New Orleans,” says LaPosta. “It's got lots of great recipes."
He also swears by Cuisinart’s 2 speed hand blender.”
"I received this as a wedding gift, and I love it. It's been extremely useful in the kitchen," he states.
Cookbook available on amazon.com for $20
Blender available at crate and barrel for $59.99
Winter Tea Collection, David’s Tea
Looking for the perfect guiltless gift to satisfy the sweet tooth of those on your list? David’s Tea located in downtown Westport has got you covered. Their Winter Collection comes with five flavors of indulgent antioxidants – Alpine Punch, Coconut Oolong, Coffee Cake, Spiced Fig, and White Chocolate Frost. The package also includes 20 tea filters.
In person or online $27.50.