’Tis the season of holidays, sparkly and bright, there’s baking and partying well into the night
The children are excited and the adults somewhat stressed, with planning and wrapping and finding the perfect Christmas vest
What shall we get for Aunt Mo or Uncle Buck, it’s hard to decide, we aren’t having much luck
But wait, it’s the Guide, the Holiday Gift Guide! CTbites to the rescue, we exclaimed, we cried!
There’s something for everyone, your foodies and friends, we’ve found several classics, along with a few trends
So wrap them up lovingly with great care and great pride, and present these gifts with a gleam in your eye
How merry, how happy, the recipients will be, and you, the giver, will be brimming with glee!
The Two Oh Three
Happiest Holiday wishes from all of us at CTbites (and happy gift-giving)!
Every CT Foodie loves a good holiday party! This year, bring a hostess gift that they will adore. The Two Oh Three’s Connecticut-themed products and accessories make gift giving easy. This year, they are offering limited edition ‘203 Gift Bundles’ which range in price and variety, bringing you several festive combos to choose from. Each gift bundle has been carefully curated with several of their best-selling products, to bring you easy-to-give hostess gifts that will actually make them feel special this year! Pair a hand- painted ornament with a pack of 203 to-go cups. Combine a set of Connecticut-themed pint glasses with a wooden 203 bottle opener. Throw in a 4-pack of holiday Koozies and call it a day! Can’t decide which ornament you like the best? Grab ‘em both! These gift bundles combine several of their best selling products at a special discounted rate. To top it all off, they come complete with a 203 gift bag, so that all you have to worry about is what you're going to wear to the party! (May we suggest a 203 tee shirt?)
Palmer’s in Darien is an award-winning specialty food market that has been family owned and operated since 1921. Accolades include “Best Caterer”, “Best Bakery”, “Best Gourmet Market” and “Best Gourmet to Go”. Their gourmet gift baskets and exquisite floral designs are always made-to-order and can be completely customized. Their new online shop offers a great selection of both, sure to make anyone say ‘wow’! Check out the floral ‘Box Collections’ made with imported Russian boxes which are all stuffed full of fresh blooms. One favorite is the Macaron Cookie Garden, which is exactly what you would think; French Macarons laid in a bed of fresh florals. More foodie favorites include the Artisan Gift Basket, featuring craft-made specialty food products, many sourced locally. And, for the hottie in your life, you’ve got to check out the ‘Hot & Spicy’ Gift Basket, which not only brings the heat but also the flavor! Looking for something uber-custom? Just call Palmer’s designers and let them know what you’re looking for, from fresh cupcakes, pastries and pies to balloons, plants, candles and more! Shop online or, better yet, stop by the store for some holiday cheer!
AMG Catering Cooking Classes
Ever dreamed of cooking in a state-of-the-art kitchen? Or are you looking for a “doing” gift rather than something that just sits on a shelf? Gather some friends, learn something new, taste some great food, and have a unique time together! This is a gift that will be remembered long after the holiday has passed. Each AMG cooking class is 2 hours long, with a maximum of 16 students-not too many, not too few, just right! The classes will focus on three to five dishes, depending on their complexity and you get to taste as you go. Bring a hearty appetite as well as a hunger for learning and fun. Winter classes include: A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain, Gluten-free Winter Fish, Winter Soups and Salads, Pre-Chinese New Years, Valentine’s Couples Class, Mardi Gras Class (let those good times roll!), 30-Minutes Healthy Comfort Food and more. Make it a date night, a corporate team building night, a girls’ night or something you just do for yourself to shake things up a bit. Life is short-eat well, live well! Why not, right?
Culinary Works combines professional cooking instruction with a casual, hands-on social format that everyone can enjoy. Located in the kitchen design studios at DEANE, Inc. in Stamford and New Canaan, CT, classes are intimate and interactive with seasonal menus and educational and entertaining themes to choose from.
Resident Executive Chef Julia Deane's classes are in high demand in the lower Fairfield County community. Her Seasonal Cooking Classes are held during winter/spring, early summer and fall/holiday. They focus on knife skills and proper cooking techniques while using fresh, in-season food for their menus. These classes are a fun way to learn to cook with the flavors of each season and the best approach for maximum flavor, the freshest produce, and the most soul-satisfying meals. They also offer private cooking parties and corporate team building and corporate entertaining. Summer finds Culinary Works hosting Nantucket Cooking Parties, leveraging the best flavors the island has to offer. Culinary Works has the perfect recipe to create unique, memorable, and delicious events!
People always ask how OnTheMarc came to be. Enter “Beginnings: How the Party Started”, ONTHEMARC’s first cookbook. Beginnings is about firsts: first attempts, first impressions, first bites, first sips and the beginnings of ONTHEMARC as we know it. Sprinkle in some short stories about how the company started, how the company grew and where the company is headed, and you have a colorful history of the first decade of ONTHEMARC. The (hilarious) foreword is written by Rob Burnett, five-time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer, best known for his role as executive producer of The Late Show with David Letterman. ONTHEMARC Catered Events is a contemporary, full-service caterer based in Stamford, CT and founded by Marc Weber, a Westport, CT resident. Marc Weber began his professional career as a Private Chef, curating small elaborate dinner parties for his clients. He is now a seasoned chef and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in the culinary industry. He founded ONTHEMARC in 2006 with a singular focus: to make people happy. Beginnings is as beautiful as it is functional. Replete with gorgeous food photography, this cookbook is designed with the ambitious chef in mind (and every family has one!). Give your pro chef something to cook about this year.
The Secret Ingredient Girls
The Secret Ingredient Girls is an online store founded by two kickass women, Silvia Baldini, a classically trained chef and Chopped Champion on Food Network, and Alina Lawrence, an olive oil sommelier and former owner of Olivette gourmet boutiques.
The girls are on a mission to make the world a tastier and healthier place. They believe that great food, and really everything good in life, begins with wholesome ingredients.
Silvia and Alina have stocked their online store with one-of-a-kind ingredients for the holidays and are featuring two olive oil and balsamic pairings selected especially for CT bites readers. Their Whole Lemon Fused Olive Oil paired with Tangerine Dark Balsamic and Herbs de Provence Olive Oil paired with Rosé Balsamic will help make your favorite holiday recipes shine! Treat yourself or someone you love to one of these exquisite combinations or create your own pairing. You might also consider a membership to the girls' Olive Oil Club-remember not all the oils are created equal! It’s the perfect gift to show year-round appreciation for the one you love most. Explore the girls' website for unique corporate and teacher gifts and contact the girls for any private labeling requests.
Sips Sites & Bites
Join this boutique food and wine lover’s tour and travel to Sicily in April! Limited to 12 people, this intimate tour will introduce you to the tastes and sites of this beautiful Italian island. Headed up by a native Sicilian (who now resides in Ridgefield) and a Wilton resident who is a certified wine educator, you will be in good, knowledgeable hands! This all-inclusive tour includes a trip to Mt. Etna, guided tours of wineries, dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, a hands-on cooking class with an award-winning chef and cookbook author, and guided visits to fabulous historical markets, chocolate and cheese producers, ancient Greek ruins and other historical sites. Bene! Bene! Book by Dec. 31st 2018 and save $500pp.
Aradia Farm Skincare
Aradia Farm began as and is still, primarily, a small meat producing farm raising pastured pork and grass fed beef. In producing their meats and trying to utilize the whole animal, they soon realized that there was a brilliant use for the suet: skincare and creams which make their skin and body fabulous smooth and keep it protected from the harsh New England weather. Their hand made lotions, soaps and balms from their Aradiant Skincare line will be a hit! Brimming with vitamins, essential oils and beneficial oils and butters, your skin will soak it all up like a cookie in a glass of milk. Honestly, who can refuse a product called Stunning Slumber Nighttime Moisturizer or Enchanting Eye Cream?
Danielle Evita pottery
“Half-glazed” pottery in tones of terra cotta and white with clean and modern lines, all the while still remaining homey and warm. Bowls and cups perfect for steaming teas and soups, platters for those colorful veggies and fanciful hors d’oeuvres, small vases for blooms from the garden or for flowers to perk up a cold winter day. Also offering smaller items such as napkin rings (that double as bangles!) or small dishes for rings and jewelry, this dual-colored pottery will warm and enhance your surroundings. Something for everyone on your list. And don’t forget to check out her jewelry! Follow Danielle Evita on Facebook or on Instagram @DanielleEvita.
Dignity Wood Works and Wood Fire Food
Adhering to the notion of supporting local business, fostering art, and bringing nature into your home, Dignity Wood Works creates goods that do just this. With a chef’s eye for creativity and a woodturner’s vision, Arik Bensimon coaxes exclusive and collectible works from reclaimed wood. From vases, bowls and platters made out of perfectly turned woods such as black walnut, spalted maple, and oak, each piece is truly unique. Beyond culinary and home items, Dignity Wood Works has also produced gleaming hat forms, platters and, believe it or not, drums. Dignity happily takes commissioned projects. Look also to Wood Fire Food and chef Dan Sabia, who is creating stunning and unique cutting boards out of maple, pine and oak woods. Heavy, thick, and whimsically striped from the natural wood tones, these boards will grace your kitchen and get your guests talking. Follow him on Instagram @wood_fire_food to see his newest creations or to place your order for a holiday cutting board.
Hop Hollow Beer Soap
Have a brew while you shower. Well, sort of. Wash with it (but don’t eat it)! Created with all natural ingredients, no chemicals or toxins and lots and lots of beer from your favorite area breweries! Lather up with a Crate Chocolate Milk Stout from Purgatory Brewing, Honey by Rapscallion Brewing, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Blue Moon Belgium Witbier and more. In addition to these beery bars smelling great, the hops and plant oils do wonders for your skin, leaving it smooth and supple. Be advised: The beer-lover in your life just increased their shower time.
Jane’s Good Food
Sweet Dill Pickle Chunks, Sweet Dill Pickle Relish, Just Dills, Dilly Beans, Spiced Peaches, Vanilla Pears, Toasted Rosemary Walnuts, Cranberry Tangerine Relish. These are some seriously delightful hostess gifts! All home made from her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes, Jane takes great care in selecting perfectly ripe produce along with the perfect blends of spices. Your snack trays or Bloody Mary’s will never be the same with her Dilly Beans! Ice cream will demand a slathering of Spiced Peaches! Your next poker game will score big with Toasted Rosemary Walnuts next to those cards. This is real food. This is good food. This is, well, really good food. Sold at specialty stores in Fairfield County such as Fleishers, Palmer’s, Walter Stewart in New Canaan and Farmers’ Markets. Check website for details or email for more info.
This quaint store packed with food, candy and design items from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland is a real find, carrying a wide array of hard-to-get goods. You’ll love the discoveries you will make. They bake their own Cardamom and Rugbrod breads, Danish and Swedish meatballs and liver pate. Perfect for stocking stuffers are the oodles of Nordic candy (salted licorice, anyone?) that they sell by the bags and bars. They also stock marvelous pieces of home decor such as tablecloths, runners, vases, tea kettles. For the holiday season, the foodstuffs are delicious and diverse but be sure to order early. Yes to chocolate advent calendars and Glogg! Note: they stock many more items than what appears on their website, so be sure to stop in and check them out in person.
Nestled in Olde Mistick Village, this is the sweet spot for local honeys, infused honeys, honeycomb and maple syrups. Enjoy wandering through their tasting room, nibbling and sampling from their copious flavors of honey. You’ll be intrigued by their flavors, from sweet to savory. Commit to a big jar or grab a few little jars as a great sampler, but it will be tough choosing between the likes of Blackberry, Ginger, Chai, Salted Caramel, Passion Fruit, Nutmeg, Chipotle, or Garlic, to name a few. These make great hostess or business gifts. Sweet gifts, in fact.