Gifts for Food Geeks

We all have that epicurean in our lives who appreciates an amazing food-related gift. But what if you don’t know anything about food? What if you’re not sure what they like? What if their drawers are full of gadgets they’ve never touched?

Well, kids, buckle on up!  Ditch the strawberry hullers and melon ballers this year and dazzle them this year with these picks for the food geeks in your life!

I picked these specific items for you to purchase individually or several for a gift basket depending on your price point. 

  1.   Coffee

I have two picks for coffee drinkers. Death Wish Coffee boasts the highest caffeine content in the world. This seems like a novelty item, but it’s actually very good. When I saw the packaging I immediately thought it would be an acid reflux, bitter nightmare. It is smooth and flavourful. I am partial to their Valhalla Java Odinforce blend, created in collaboration with guitarist Zakk Wylde. Can’t decide? They have a convenient bundle for $35.98.

 

To bean or not to bean?

Most coffee connoisseurs are likely to own a coffee grinder. Beans are considered the best way to brew coffee. If you’re not sure, go with ground coffee, or give them a grinder with it. Grinders have a variety of uses. I keep a second one for spices such as nutmeg.

If you are shopping for someone more refined you may want to check out Italian Luxury coffee MOGI Caffe. I was excited to see their 8oz can of Deep Blue was only $8. Head’s up: shipping is $15, making it a bit steep for 8 oz of coffee. However, it puts MOGI in a good price range for a really nice gift.

2. Stroopwafels

Breakfast on the go for hipsters. Stroopwafels are thin, crisp waffle wafer-type things, usually filled with honey and spices. Here’s the fun part: you set them on the edge of your coffee cup (or other hot drink) and the steam warms them up, making them this wonderful, soft, gooey treat. These are great gifts as is or bundled with coffee or tea. They come in a variety of flavours and sizes. Rip van Wafels are readily available on sites like Amazon, and are the perfect size. I am partial to the Traditional vanilla, cinnamon and molasses.

3. Pears from Harry & David

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Wait…Harry and David? I’m asking you to trust me. I love pears. I love them so much. I find their gift basket items to be sub-par, but the pears are fantastic. Plus there’s a pretty gold wrapped one in the bunch. And admit it: we all secretly love their Moose Munch.

4. Local honey with the comb

You can find local honey at farmer’s markets, craft shows, and sometimes grocery stores. The comb is waxy,and sweet with a variety of gourmet uses. It pairs particularly well with bleu cheese or roquefort. Pictured above I put honeycomb on Italian bread rounds topped with bleu cheese. This would make a great gift basket or bring to a holiday party to dazzle your friends.

5. Chocolate-good chocolate

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Consumers are inundated with boxed chocolates from Target to Farmer’s Markets. Do us all a favour and put down that box of Godiva. Godiva’s quality has declined at a sharp rate equal to their amount of mass production.

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Fran’s Famous Salted Caramels

One of the best chocolate companies in the US is Seattle-based Fran’s Chocolates. They have an amazing drool-worthy selection from truffles to dipped fruit and world-famous salted caramels. Don’t feel overwhelmed: it’s the gold bars you want. Calling the coconut gold bars the gourmet Mounds Bar is doing it a gross injustice, but it’s basically a gourmet Mounds bar.They are my father’s favourite out of all the fine chocolates we’ve tried from around the globe, and well worth the price of $5 a bar.

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Grocer’s Daughter truffles and honey caramels

You’ve met my Dad’s favourite now meet my Mom’s favourite! I stumbled upon Grocer’s Daughter while searching for the best dairy-free chocolates for my lactose-intolerant mother. Giving these a try was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The truffles immediately shot to the top of the list for everyone who’s tried them. They have a nice collection including spirits, herbals, and the aforementioned dairy-free. My favourites are the Dark Chocolate Maya Truffle and the dairy-free coconut. I will say I did not care for the honey caramels, so my advice is to stick with the truffles! And don’t be put-off by dairy-free: I eat dairy and these are just as good as the others!

NOTE: Grocer’s Daughter is taking Holiday orders up until Dec 18, so get your order in soon!

6. Nut pastes and creams

Foodies love nut pastes and creams for their variety of uses both as a topping and for baking. My personal favorites are chestnut paste (great with shortbread and jelly), pistachio cream (fantastic for pastry toppings and baking) and marzipan (used in baking, cake layers and can be sculpted into adorable figures!)

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I hand-sculpted Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore out of marzipan for the cake toppers

7. Quality baking chocolate

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Baked goods are 100x better with quality chocolate, which is pricey. I love receiving gifts of good quality baking chocolate and cocoa. I once made the same recipe of chocolate custard using Nestle chocolate in one batch and Scharffen Berger in the other. The difference was palpable and worth the price difference. And now all my clients know why my chocolate custard is so expensive.

I have ready several articles on best baking chocolate brands, and I honestly haven’t agreed with any of them. I usually stick with Scharffen Berger so let’s discuss them. Scharffen Berger was the first bean to bar company in the US, blazing forth a trail for the myriad of delectable bean to bar companies now in operation. I am partial to the 62% semisweet bar in the yellow package.

8. Tea tea tea tea

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Saved the best for last: my favourite tea companies! If I had to pick one thing on this list to receive, it would be Mariage Freres Tea! Considered the best tea in the world on many countdowns, it certainly gets my vote!

Mariage Freres has an impressive selection of fine teas, including a special Christmas line sure to please any food-a-holic!

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Mariage Freres’ Marco Polo Black Tea is world-renowned and your best bet if you’re uncertain what to get. For bonus points, add the Marco Polo tea-infused jelly, you won’t regret it! The jelly is outstanding on Ambrosia apples! I also particularly like the Paris-Provence white tea

Mariage Freres also carry music box tea gift sets and I expect someone to give me one.

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After that build-up for Mariage Freres, sorry not sorry to Palais des Thes for having to follow that.

I do love Palais des Thes’ The des Sables, which is a green tea I drink every night. Mariage Freres is a special treat, but Palais des Thes is more affordable and accessible to the US. And don’t dismiss their beautiful packaging, gift sets, and famous No25 Christmas collection.

Loose leaf or bagged? Bagged tea is a nice convenience and generally more expensive. Loose leaf tea is beautiful to look at and usually has nice packaging. As usual, I’v got you covered with my Pinterest board of adorable and geeky tea infusers to add to your loose leaf tea gift!

Wait, only 8? Not 10?

I could flush this out, but I imagine this is probably overwhelming enough! Have fun & comment with ideas or questions!

 

 

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