Foodie Holiday Wishlist: Top 10 from the Bay Area

Thursday, December 10, 2009
It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas! (Longwood Gardens, PA)

It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas! (Longwood Gardens, PA)

All I want for Christmas is … not another pair of toe-socks (no offense, Mom) or body lotion/soap set.

The Bay Area is rife with unique eating experiences, culinary talent, and tasty goods made with lots of love. Why not support local businesses, while giving someone a gift they won’t be re-gifting?

(Ahem, for the record, if you do want to re-gift any of these, I’d gladly accept items 1 through 10).

1. CSA subscription (for the Lazy)

Bay Area: Buy Fresh Buy Local

Bay Area: Buy Fresh Buy Local

I love having my CSA box of fresh, organic, in-season fruits and veggies delivered right to my door every other week. Many are flexible, customizable, and available for convenient delivery to your home or nearby location. A few to get you started on your search:
- Eatwell Farm (includes option for pasture-raised eggs)
- Farm Fresh to You
- Frog Hollow Farm (all fruit; during the winter, supplemented with items from the farm kitchen like granola, dried fruit, and olive oil)
- Full Belly Farm
- Two Small Farms (Mariquita)
- Soul Food Farm (pastured poultry and eggs)
- Terra Firma Farms

2. Socola Chocolatier “Holiday Chocolate Truffle Collection {on a faux bear rug}”, $25 (for the Cheeky)

Socola Chocolatier, holiday collection {on a faux bear rug}

Socola Chocolatier, holiday collection {on a faux bear rug}

This Oakland-based, sister-run chocolate company is modern, sassy, and full of delectable personality. The 12-piece holiday assortment includes the following flavors: Hazelnut Gianduja (a milk chocolate truffle blended with roasted hazelnuts “bundled up in a fashionable nutty parka”), Hot in Hia (a champagne truffle with notes of fruit and honey, named in honor of the bubbly personality of the girls’ grandmother Hia), Le Frog Neat (a smoky confection made with 10-year-old Laphroaig Scotch whisky), and Pumpkin Burnt Caramel (a warm mix of pumpkin pie spices, burnt caramel, Hawaiian sea salt and a splash of brandy).

3. Recchiuti Confections “Creativity Explored III: Toys”, $21 (for the Philanthropic Art-lover)

Recchiuti Confections, Creativity Explored III: Toys

Recchiuti Confections, Creativity Explored III: Toys

These art-adorned chocolates combine Michael Recchiuti’s signature Burnt Caramel chocolate confections, with the work of Vincent Jackson, SF native and long-time artist at the Creativity Explored studio. Creativity Explored is a Bay Area nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell their art. $2 from each sale goes to support Creativity Explored.

4. Jimmyjane Milk Chocolate AFTERGLOW Massage Oil Candle, $28 (for After Hours)

Jimmyjane, Milk Chocolate AFTERGLOW

Jimmyjane, Milk Chocolate AFTERGLOW

If it’s a different kind of chocolate experience you’re after, look no further. When heated, this candle liquefies into high-slip massage oil made with jojoba, shea butter, vitamin E, soy, aloe, and other botanical extracts. Bonus: it comes with a body brush to assist in painting the warm oil onto the skin. Extra Bonus: it smells delicious…like Mexican Chocolate with earthy cinnamon undertones.

5. Boccalone Large Gift Box, $52 (for the Carnivore)

Chris Cosentino, Boccalone

Chris Cosentino, Boccalone

Nothing says Happy Holidays like Tasty Salted Pig Parts. This homage to salumi contains two 8-ounce Boccalone salami (chosen from available flavors like Orange & Wild Fennel Salame, Soppressata di Calabria, Brown Sugar and Fennel Salame, and Salame Pepato), a t-shirt, and one 9-ounce jar of Whole-Grain Mustard. If the whole gift box thing isn’t your style, take your pick of hand-crafted porcine delights from the Boccalone meat locker. I, for one, may or may not be maxing out my luggage weight limit this Christmas flight home on Nduja (“en-DOO-ya”) … so much velvety, spicy Nduja.

6. Jessie Steele Aprons, $30.95-$33.95 (for the Lovely Hostess)

Photo by Jessie Steele, from left to right: Bib Ava Cabbage Rose Apron, Half Audrey Cherry Cupcakes Apron, Bib Gigi French Toil Apron with Terry Towel

Photo by Jessie Steele, from left to right: Bib Ava Cabbage Rose Apron, Half Audrey Cherry Cupcakes Apron, Bib Gigi French Toil Apron with Terry Towel

These vintage 1940′s and 50′s-inspired hostess aprons are so cute and fabu, they just make me want to put on my pearls, bake a cake and drink a martini at the same time.

7. Cookbooks from Bay Area Culinary Greats (for Those Who Can Take the Heat)

Ad hoc at Home

Ad hoc at Home

These cookbooks will be sure to inspire some magic in your home kitchen:
- Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
- Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake by Elizabeth Falkner
- Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville
- Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook by Cindy Pawlcyn
- Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
- Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen
- The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.

Note: you may want to pair this gift with a laminating machine, drool.

8. La Cocina Artisan Gift Box, The Half-Pint, $35 (for the Snack-Happy Do-Gooder)

La Cocina Gift Box, The Half-Pint

La Cocina Gift Box, The Half-Pint

These gift boxes are filled with an assortment of hand-made, sweet and salty snacks from local small food businesses enrolled in La Cocina’s incubator program. Snack to your heart’s content and feel good about supporting local food entrepreneurs.

9. Cooking Classes (for the Ambitious)

Lick My Spoon, Group Cook

Lick My Spoon, Group Cook

Because if you send someone you love to a cooking class, chances are good it will come back ten-fold! There are many options in SF alone, ranging in price, time commitment, and topic. For a more formal school setting, there is the highly regarded Tante Marie’s Cooking School. Urban Kitchen SF hosts affordable, skill/project specific classes and workshops themed around the DIY Slow Food concept (e.g. brewing Kombucha, baking bread, composting), as does CUESA at the Ferry Building. And butchery is hot as ever, as Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats or Tia Harrison of Avedano’s Holly Park Market can tell you. SF Station also has a comprehensive of culinary schools and social cooking classes in the city.

10. Unique Dining Experiences (for the Hungry)

Photo by Outstanding in the Field

Photo by Outstanding in the Field

And finally, you can’t go wrong with a fantastic meal. There is no shortage of phenomenal restaurants in the Bay Area, but if you dig a little, you can also find some interesting out-of-the-box options. Outstanding in the Field offers gift certificates (although, be sure to stay on top of the 2010 schedule once it’s announced because these stunning dinners book up quickly). For something more stealth and mysterious, check out the underground supperclub scene at The Ghetto Gourmet.

So what are you waiting for? Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen…

Happy holidays, happy gift-giving, and happy eating to all.

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Posted by Stephanie at 2:32 am

19 Responses to “Foodie Holiday Wishlist: Top 10 from the Bay Area”

  1. Tara says:

    Great post with really creative ideas! I want them all minus the chocolate stuff. I prefer the salty goods instead.

  2. Great ideas, our CSA is Terra Firma, and I can vouch that they are great. Maraquita Farms is also fantastic, I love the Mystery Boxes.

    All your other ideas are wonderful as well, one more suggestion is My Nepenthe by Romney Steele, a cookbook and memoir of about Life in Big Sur.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Wow! What fantastic gift ideas! I love the looks of that candle, and the chocolates… “Hot in Hia” is such a cute, awesome name for a chocolate :)

  4. What a fantastic list you’ve compiled here! These are all such great ideas–I love the CSA box idea.

  5. foodhoe says:

    those are all most excellent ideas! I am a terra firma farms girl too, they rock. happy holidays spoon girl!

  6. Gudrun says:

    great list! Didn’t know some of them were local (JimmyJane) and fully agree with you about all the chocolate. You could probably get the food books at Omnivore, keeping the money in our local economy. And, cruising Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is a great way to find local food gifts – Rancho Gordo Beans, Massa Almond Butter and Hare Hollow Vinegar and Olive Oils.

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Those chocolates look amazing!

  8. These are great ideas! I especially like the idea of giving a CSA box from your favorite farm.

  9. susan says:

    Great, creative ideas! Love them all! Wish I could give and receive every one of them. Thanks!

  10. Kaethe says:

    Yay! I love my CSA box from Farm Fresh to You… and those Aprons are to-die-for cute… Definitely going for one or more.

  11. Kitchen M says:

    Great ideas! I would love to receive any of these items. I should write these down on my wishlist. ;)
    I didn’t realize how expensive Outstanding in the Field dinner was. Wow…

  12. Great ideas, I can’t believe I never thought to buy someone a CSA membership. I really need someone to buy me a place at an Outstanding in the Field dinner. I’m going to email this post to my husband.

  13. [...] may remember Jimmyjane from my Foodie Holiday Wishlist post when I wrote about their Milk Chocolate AFTERGLOW candle. Similarly, when EMBER is heated, it [...]

  14. [...] more foodie gift-giving ideas, check out Last Year’s Wishlist. Related posts:Friday Freebie: Marianberry [...]

  15. [...] for your shopping convenience, here are links to gift guides from Christmases past here and here, thoughtful hostess gifts, and of course, some great options for last minute DIY Food Gifts.Merry [...]

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