Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Bites: Top 12 Gift Ideas for Your Fav Foodie 2015

The holidays are officially upon us again. If you're wondering what to get the food / drink lover in your life, here are some ideas: this year, I'm combining edibles and non-edibles into one master list.

All gifts are under $150, and where scaled options or deals / discounts are available, I have noted them below each product description.

1. For the Holiday Enthusiast (Who Just.Can't.Wait.For.Every.Day.In.December.)

Photo source:
Let them countdown to Christmas...with a daily dose of gourmet chocolate.  Housed in a beautiful keepsake advent calendar table box, with an individual drawer for each day in December til Christmas.  There's also a fun 'secret message' element - flip each drawer after indulging in that day's chocolate, and eventually a holiday greeting will be revealed.  Drawers filled with Caramels, Organic Peanut Butter Bonbons, Toffee and Mini Exotic Chocolate Bars.
The drawers are refillable too of course!  Just contact the Vosges "Chocolate Concierge".  Awesome, right?

Buy from: $135

[Deal Alert: 20% off $100 spend at on Cyber Monday only! No code required.]

Photo source:
2.  For Island Dreamers

Take them to the islands in the thick of winter, with Honolulu Cookie Company's insanely delicious shortbread cookies in the shape of pineapples, often dipped in chocolate.  

Get a sampler assortment like in the keepsake holiday box, which contains 8 cookies featuring 6 flavors: Pineapple Macadamia, Butter Macadamia, Chocolate Dipped Macadamia, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Dark Chocolate Peppermint, and White Chocolate Peppermint.

You can even get the pineapple shaped cookies in a fun clear pineapple shaped ornament, in case they can't get enough of...pineapple.

Buy from:

Photo source: Anthropologie

3.  Fit to a Tea

Fancy a cup and saucer set with some holiday sparkle?

Tea connoisseurs would also raise their pinkies to this floral loose leaf tea from Palais des Thes, in a highly civilized and sophisticated cup and saucer set tinged with holiday sparkle.

For an excellent locally handcrafted tea, check out Art of Tea.  They have the most incredible Egyptian Chamomile herbal tea with actual floral buds in a beautiful tin, or you can go all out and gift the leatherette box with a mix of their most popular teas in tea bags.
Buy from: 

4. For the Constant Caffeinator Concerned with Consistent Temperature

Because needs to be 'smart' nowadays.  This smart mug keeps coffee or tea at the perfect temperature up to 2 hours on the go, or use charging coaster to maintain desired temperature all day

The Ember app then lets them customize their mug with a "name", temperature presets, and notification preferences.

Buy from: / Indiegogo $129

5. For the Star Wars Fanatic
Because this won't just be ANY old holiday this year, it is as you're sure to have heard by now, the #SeasonoftheForce. Don't let your favorite Star Wars enthusiast hyperspace jump into their every day battles without fueling up with Rebel-worthy bites / sips.

Photo source: ThinkGeek
Let R2D2 take over duties for time watch, and precision with a cool measuring cup set that stacks up to the image of the charismatic droid.  Then, break out the Death Star for some Wookie...I mean...cookie containment.  And, give the gift of the best theme party ice breaker with Han Solo in Carbonite ice cubes made with the special shaping tray. And unleash dark forces with the Darth Vader corkscrew and bottle opener.

Buy from:

[Deal alert: sign up to Bed Bath & Beyond emails / texts for offers: often 20% off.  Then go through eBates first for 2%-4% cash back (varies by day), before clicking over to BB&B site and applying coupon.  Also go through eBates for ThinkGeek first to get 2.5% cash back]

6. For the Nostalgic / Luxe Sweettooth

Happy as a kid in a candy store...well now that expression can apply to adults as well, with a new crop of stores that offer upscale experiences and gourmet confections in beautiful packaging.
Photo source: Sugarfina

The first set that I love is Sugarfina and their store in Beverly Hills.  You can get a 'candy bento box' of treats of your selection, without the mess and unsanitary condition of bulk bins.  Gourmet candies like champagne flavored gummy bears and candied apricots in delicately painted chocolate egg shells, come in small plastic squares that can stack into beautiful bentos like a tasty puzzle.  Or, you can grab curated sets with fun themes like "Cocktail Hour" with brut & rose champagne bears, peach bellini gummies (my fav), chocolate "olive" almonds, kir royale cordials, Jamaican Rum snowballs and more, or "Happy Holidays" with pumpkin pie caramels, gingerbread cookies, candy cane caramels, peppermint malt balls and more.

 If you've ventured into either of the major malls in Sherman Oaks or Glendale lately, you might have noticed what looks like an old-timey sweets shop with an elegant old-world / classic European aesthetic.
You'll literally feel like an adult in a candy shop, and may be at risk of whip lash trying to take in all the wonders of sugary confections in every direction at once. 

There are bulk bins of delectable chocolates and candies that you can fill gummy bear shaped glass jars, mason jars or beautifully etched nostalgic tins with.  And designer artisanal often single-origin chocolate bars wrapped in the most gorgeous handmade paper you may have ever seen.  

These aren't run of the mill confections either - you'll see anything from Mr. Stanley Turkish Delights with rose & lemon, champagne mimosa / croissant and almond flavored chocolate bars, Remy Martin Cognac filled bonbons to Harry Potter pez dispensers.

Create your own tin, basket for your favorite sweets loving foodie - then double the order for yourself, as it'll definitely not be easy to part with your selections.  

Buy from:

[Deal alert: sign up for eBates (free) to get 3% cash back, then click through from the eBates Gilt City page to buy Gilt City voucher $50 for $75 store credit to Sugarfina here (deal ends 12/14)]

7. For the Novice Chef / Home Cooks Strapped for Time

Photo source: Blue Apron
This ready-to-cook-meals-in-a-box-to-your-door subscription service is fantastic: saves the headache of fighting traffic and crowds at the grocery store or planning your meals for the week out to ensure you use up all the ingredients.  Each week that you sign up for a box they send you all the fresh ingredients you need + simple recipe cards to make 3 curated dishes, and they are often very creative ones as well, using ingredients you may not normally encounter or think to use yourself, like finger limes, hominy (for pozole) and tomatillos. The great thing is that you can skip a week or as many weeks as you want in advance, with no penalties or fees.

Again, especially for single eaters - this service prevents food waste as well: they give you exactly the amount of ingredients you need to make the dishes of the week - for example, if your recipe calls for 1 stalk of celery, they will send you just the 1 stalk, so you don't have to buy an entire head that may go to waste if you don't have any use for it outside of that recipe.  And you can save the second portion of each dish for lunch or dinner the next day.

Buy from: Blue Apron $59.95 per week of your selection (for 3 meals x 2 servings per meal = 6 total meals)

[Deal Alert: save 3% + 35% + 25%!!! Do it in this order:

  • eBates - Gilt City (free to sign up) for 3% rebate this weekend (must go through desktop, not mobile) to save $0.94 (3% on paid amount if you follow the steps below, which will be paid by check to you after you accumulate $50 worth of rebates from various shopping within their vast network of partner sites)
  • Buy Gilt City voucher: pay $39 for $60 value to save $21
    • Use code: BLACKOUT25 for extra 25% off the order (ends Nov 28 11:59pm EST) to save $7.80]

Total cost with all 3 steps = $30.26; savings with all 3 steps = $29.74]

8. For the Love of Art

Gift a unique experience to remember: an after hours tour of LACMA galleries with an  art expert, learn about master works based on a theme, then dine after the tour with dishes around that theme (often at Ray's and Stark bar on the terrace of the musuem). Or learn to cook dishes around the theme.  

Previous themes have included Dali and Surrealism, German Art, and in January there is a Spanish Art & Tapas tour.

Photo source:

Buy from: artbites $80 or $110 gift certificates good towards artbites classes

9. For Wine / Spirits Lovers

Wine is always a welcome gift, and the Oremus Tokaji is sure to please even connoisseurs' tastes (afterall, if it's good enough to be served at Chef Curtis Stone's restaurant Maude in Beverly Hills...)

Pinnacle Iced Cider is another dessert wine I loved from our visit to Montreal - still trying to find out how to get a hold of a bottle in the US though - stay tuned!

And, not that anyone would reasonably have any leftovers after opening these wines - but for ahem, future other wines, should there be any remaining, get them a Savino Wine Carafe, an elegant glass cruet that they can not only serve from, but also preserve the wine for up to a week after opening.

Photo source: The Grommet
For Whiskey fans:

From the inventors of Corkcicle, the icicle shaped device that lets you chill your wine quickly, comes The Whiskey Wedge: a silicon form that allows you to create a slanted wedge of ice inside a specially designed tumbler to cool your drink while slowing dilution of flavor —as the ice block melts at a slower pace than regular ice cubes.  Works for whiskey, bourbon.

Buy from: 

10. For DIY Fans

Know someone who loves to add spice to everything?  The DIY Hot Sauce kit with let them create their own unique blend with cayenne, ancho, curry, and chili spice packs, peppers, vinegars, and brown sugar. 

Photo source: Uncommon Goods

      For spirits / cocktail enthusiasts: the absinthe kit has everything they need - besides their favorite high proof neutral spirit - to brew their own "Green Fairy" beloved of 19th century artists and writers (obviously without wormwood or the notorious hallucinogenic neurotoxin). Add complexity with a blend of 11 certified organic botanicals including fennel, anise, licorice, hyssop, angelica, and artemisia. The kit also includes a custom labeled 500ml Tortuga antique green bottle, 4" funnel, natural coffee filter, and  instructions. 

Buy from:

11. For the Breath Obsessed / Those Who Tend to Overindulge in Holiday Spirits

Photo source: Breathometer

Let them check the quality of their breath, and be safe whether for the road (or on a date), with a personal portable smart breathalyzer, as seen on Shark Tank.

Buy from: Indiegogo  $49.99

12. For the Food Styling / Modernist Cuisine / Foodporn Enthusiast
Photo source: Darby Smart

Whether they are creators of food art or just want to style their food like one, this kit gives them all key tools to play with their food in a sophisticated way: includes precision tweezers, fine scissors, scalpel + 2 blades, culinary syringe + 2 syringe tips, oil mister, spatulas

Buy from: darbysmart $45

BONUS: Stocking Stuffer ideas:

Photo source: The Grommet

For Hollywood Bowl Frequenters / Picnic Lovers: the foldable Wine2Go travel plastic bottle is easy to fill with your favorite wine (it holds a full bottle and are BPA free!), much more lightweight to carry than glass, with less risk of breakage.  Just roll up when you're done and it fits easily into your bag.

Buy from: The Grommet $12.99

Pressed Juicery

Photo source: Chalkboard magazine
Regular readers know that Pressed Juicery is one of the only ways I really get my veggies in, and actually enjoy it. Toast to your fav foodie's health with gift cards from Pressed Juicery - take advantage of their annual Black Friday deal to get more for your money too (see deal alert below).

Buy from: Pressed Juicery any denomination

[Deal alert: get 20% off gift cards any denomination, ends 11/29, in-stores only excluding Montecito, Paseo Nuevo, Manhattan Beach]

For any of your other holiday shopping, first check eBates to score any retail rebates available, simply by clicking through the site first (free to sign up).
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

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