1. Forget the Jewelry - It's all about Gem-like Chocolates & Love Nuts - Compartes
And if your recipient is into the hype: Compartes has been featured in Bon Apetit, Food & Wine, LA Times and more.
Buy from: Compartes Chocolatier Organic Truffle Box 20pc $42 Love Nuts (Almond) $10
2. Proof of Divine Design - Macarons
So, those of us who can't always hop over to France (for the treat that has been an institution in Paris since 1862) or New York won't be able to get our fix easily, but what we can get our hands on are 'lette macarons, made Parisian style. Disclaimer: it's not even close to the divine experience that is Laduree, but will satisfy a macaron craving well enough. And it comes in cute packaging.
Paulette macarons gift box of 24 $38
Barnes and Noble: Laduree Sucre $39.95 Laduree Savory $25.24
3. Tea, S'il Vous Plait - Imperial / Mariage Freres
Looking for a more straightforward tea gift? Does tea get any better than Mariage Frere? A company started by the tea-trading Mariage family in France in 1854, their passion and endless pursuit for perfection in the art of teas shines through. My favorite is the Vert Provence, an amazing green tea with layers of floral and fruit notes, which is hard to find in the US, but Dean and Deluca offers their Imperial Wedding tea.
Imperial Tea Court Blossoming Tea Set $40
Dean & Deluca Mariage Freres tea $22.50
Gilt Taste Le Palais des Thes gift set $65.95
4. The Dom Perignon of Champagne Truffles - Teuscher
The lushest and smoothest champagne creme is enveloped in rich but not overwhelmingly dense dark chocolate ganache, then the whole thing is surrounded by a delicate milk chocolate shell rolled in powdered sugar. All I have to say is: perfection.
Buy from: Teuscher 16 pc box $46.50 24 pc box $69.50 Save on shipping - stop by their store in Beverly Hills (yes their store decor is a bit garish, but the champagne truffles are incredibly well made and will make your eyes roll all the way to the back of your head)
5. Local Handcrafted Jams & Preserves - SQIRL
My fav that I got from last year's Artisanal LA show was the Kumquat & Chamomile preserve. Right now at their webstore SQIRL has an amazing sounding preserve called "The Snow Queen Nectarine" made with "a great white fleshed stonefruit of legendary status. So fragile that it melts in your mouth, but not before providing a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, and intense, complex, lingering aromatics and flavor." Apparently the fruit peaks for only a few weeks of the year, so the preserve is only available in limited supply and will make for a nice unique gift.
Get a few jars and make your own gift basket (Cost Plus has some nice sized baskets and get some floral moss from your local flower supply store) for a personal touch.
Buy from: SQIRL online $14 each or gift box of 2 for $25. Stop by their booth at Artisanal LA's Holiday Pop-Up Shop tomorrow December 11th in Pasadena, buy online (and save on shipping by using code "SHIPONSQIRL"), or visit their store in Silverlake!
6. Student of Chocolate - Vosges
I love breakfast any time of day - but especially on Christmas morning. Give the gift of a luxurious breakfast and make it unforgettable with Vosge's original Pancake mix with Mo's Bacon Bar chocolate chunks.
Mix includes chunks of Exotic Candy Bar, which combines Hickory smoked bacon and Alder sea salt with deep milk chocolate.
To make this into a more substantial gift set, put in gift basket with mixing bowl and wooden spoon and/or a bottle of champagne (for mimosas to go with breakfast!).
Buy from: Vosges Haut Chocolate Mo's Bacon Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix $12 Holiday mini-candy bar library $25
[Deal alert: Free standard shipping with orders over $75 - use code "DECFREE"]
7. Just Say Cheese - Murray's Cheese at Gilt Taste
Through Gilt Taste, Murray's has put together a stellar gift pack that features one of my favorite cheeses of all time, Sottocenere - a semi-soft cheese studded with intoxicatingly fragrant black truffle and enrobed in a beautiful edible vegetable ash rind. Other cheeses in the pack include Robiola "swaddled in chestnut leaves is aromatic and drippy", Comte, "nutty and firm", and Bayley Hazen Blue a bright, delicate blue cheese. You get a 1/2 lb of each cheese with the pack.
Buy from: Gilt Taste $75.95
This is just a start. Got any cool edible gift suggestions? Send 'em my way or post in the comments!
For my picks for more durable gifts - see my Top 10 Gift Ideas post here.