That’s right…you can run, you can hide, but you can’t avoid the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. It’s hardly possible to ignore the fact that radio stations, media, and storefronts have made the complete 180 from Halloween-pushing to full-blown festive paraphernalia. Ugly Santas and cheesy decorations abound, Edmonton.
Speaking of cheese, I’ve got some in this article. If one of your loved ones is a foodie, then you’re in luck. Food lovers are the easiest people to buy for during the holiday season. Just buy them food.
Well…ok. Don’t buy them just any food. Stay away from the horrible Christmas gift staples, such as crackers from Costco, Toffifees, and god-awful chocolate liqueurs. You can give a great foodie gift without breaking the bank; it’s all in thinking outside of the $2 box.
On the other hand, in some cases, it’s obvious. You know someone who loves wine? (And maybe blogs about it? *ahem*) Buy them wine! You know someone who can’t live without coffee? Buy them coffee!
I’ve categorized this list according to the type of foodie you’re buying for. However, if you’re lucky and they’re just an all-around food lover, feel free to mix and match. And don’t worry – I’ve included gifts from a range of prices.
For the Cheese Eater
I love cheese. You love cheese. We all love cheese.
Monogrammed Cheeseboard from Indigo, $19.50
A cheese lover always needs a good cheeseboard. This monogrammed cheeseboard makes a stylish and personalized gift for those friends who love all things cheese. It comes with a monogrammed spreader and a festive green ribbon. If you’re really nice, you’ll give this gift with a nice slab of cheese, too.
www.indigo.ca; also found in select stores.
A Gift Card to Cavern, denominations vary
One of 104 Street’s newest additions, Cavern is a retail cheese store and café/bar. Cheese lovers can relax with a custom-made cheese and charcuterie board paired with their favourite wine, beer, scotch, sherry or port. All cheese can also be bought to take home. It’s the perfect little hole-in-the-wall getaway for cheese lovers.
www.thecavern.ca; 10169 104 Street; (780) 455-1336
A subscription to the Cheese of the Month Club at Everything Cheese, $195 for 3 months (9 cheeses), $375 for 6 months (18 cheeses), $545 for 9 months (27 cheeses)
A new addition to the offerings at Everything Cheese, people can now sign up for 3-, 6-, or 9-month subscriptions to the Cheese of the Month Club. Each month, three selected cheeses will be delivered to your door. Subscribers will receive approximately 750g of cheese, attractively packages and delivered with serving suggestions, drink pairing recommendations, and tips. This gift is a pricier option, but definitely worth the money for cheese fanatics!
www.everythingcheese.ca; 14912 45 Avenue; (780) 757-8532
Jams, Jellies, and Chutneys from Fruits of Sherbrooke, $5 each
Fruits of Sherbrooke is a fruit rescue operation that saves fruits from throughout Edmonton, St. Albert, and Sherwood Park. All fruits are then made into preserves, such as jams, jellies, and chutneys. These are amazing when paired with cheese (I’m a huge fan) and will last for a long time. Flavours include: Spiced Rhubarb Jam, Chocolate Cherry Jelly, Apple Lime Cardamom Jelly, Hot Pepper Rhubarb Spread, Lemon Pepper and Gin Jelly, and Peach, Peppers, and Port Jelly. The Fruits of Sherbrooke booth can be found at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, which is now in City Hall for the winter. All products have at least 60% rescued fruit, with some that are made wholly from rescued local fruit.
For the Wino
Wine lovers like…wine. So buy them some!
A bottle of Domaine Bousquet Grande Reserve Malbec, 2010, <$25
Firstly, this is an excellent wine for those who like malbec – and who doesn’t like malbec? It’s made from organic grapes at an Estate located in Gualtallary, Tupungato, at an altitude of 1200 meters (4000 feet) above sea level, one of the highest points in Mendoza. One of the great things about most Argentinian wines is that the high altitudes reduce the chance of insects, mold, fungi, and grape disease. This means much less pesticides and, in some cases, none at all – yay! The wine is composed of 85% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah.
Several locations throughout the city – use www.liquorconnect.com to find.
Torre and Tagus Wine Rack from Call the Kettle Black, $39.95
I know so many wine lovers who don’t have a good wine rack (or have a hideous old contraption that they’ve inherited from past generations of wine drinkers). Most people don’t drink a bottle a day, so this wine rack—which holds four bottles—is perfect. It has a modern design made from MDF wood and will make a countertop look fabulous.
www.callthekettleblack.com, 12523 102 Avenue; (780) 448-2861 or 444 Riverbend Square; (780) 434-1622
A Monthly Case Sampler of wine from deVine Wines and Spirits, costs vary (approx. $200)
If you really love the person you’re buying for, this is a great gift. deVine puts together 10 to 12 full-sized bottles of wines in their Monthly Case Sampler, allowing you to discover and taste a variety of brands that you might not normally consider. It’s great for the budding wine drinker and established wino alike. It’s also a great way to get that cellar started, if that’s what you’re into.
www.devinewines.ca; 10111 104 Street; (780) 421-9463
For the Chocaholic
The Black Tie Truffle Collection from JACEK Chocolate Couture, $43
There’s nothing more decadent than truffles, and JACEK’s Black Tie collection exemplifies everything anti-waistline. All chocolates are made with fresh ingredients, so the shelf life isn’t as long as you might like, but that just means you get to eat more chocolates! Flavours include combinations of mint ganache, chilli, vanilla bean, burnt caramel, cinnamon, white chocolate, and raspberry. Mmm.
www.jacekchocolate.com; 406 Kaska Road, Sherwood Park; (780) 464-5200
Choklat’s Truffle Martini, $59.95
A truffle martini – doesn’t that sound lovely? Choklat, a new addition to Edmonton’s chocolate scene, is an Alberta-based company that produces and creates chocolate confectionaries completely from scratch. This gift set comes with 12 truffles, one Brazilian dark chocolate bar, and one milk chocolate bar, all wrapped up nicely in a fancy martini glass.
www.sochoklat.com; 8111 104 Street; (587) 524-3117
For the Home Cook
For those who love to cook…we salute you!
Evoolution Gift Basket from evoolution, $109
Evoolution’s oils and balsamics are nothing to be sneezed at. If you know someone who shuns the thought of cooking with Pam, get them this chef-inspired gift basket. It comes with the From the Olive Grove cookbook, Fused/Infused Olive Oil, Dark Balsamic Vinegar, White Balsamic Vinegar, Cascina Marchesa Balsamic Extra Jam, and Cascina Marchesa Pesto. Perfect for those who like to cook with the best quality ingredients…because it all comes down to the oil.
www.evoolution.ca; 10130 104 Street; (587) 521-3445
La Cucina (Italian Kitchen) Gift Basket from the Italian Centre Shop, $60 (small), $80 (medium), $100 (large)
The Italian Centre has a range of gift baskets that utilize some of the shop’s greatest ingredients and products. The La Cucina basket provides you with everything you need to cook an authentic Italian meal. You can have the gift set arranged in a colander or basket. Ingredients vary and can include tomato or white pasta sauce, pesto, pasta, canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. What else will you need to cook that perfect Italian meal?
www.italiancentre.ca; 5028 104A Street (with 2 other locations in Edmonton); (780) 989-4869; order 4-7 days in advance and pick up from this location.
For the Food Blogger
A blogger’s toolkit for reviewing restaurants.
Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise, $13
A food blogger’s journey is never complete without reading Reichl’s memoir about her stint as restaurant critic for the New York Times. Amusing and mostly light-hearted, this book will make you rethink how you approach restaurants and how to write a captivating, entertaining review. It’ll probably make you hungry, too.
A Moleskine Passion Journal, $26
Food bloggers are almost always writers at heart. Why not encourage their writerly passions with a Moleskine Passion Journal? These journals are a great way to keep track of, well, whatever you want. Types of journals include: Restaurant Journal/Dining-Out Experiences, Wine Journal, Beer Journal, Chocolate Journal, Recipe Journal, and Dessert Journal. If your foodie friend also happens to be a cat lover, they have a Cat Journal for that, too.
A Gift Card to any of the following restaurants: Corso 32, Tavern 1903, Café Bicyclette, RGE RD, Japonais Bistro.
Yeah, this is pretty self-explanatory. Food bloggers that review restaurants need to actually eat at those restaurants, right?
For the Caffeinated
Give your caffeine-loving friends some of the best coffee in Edmonton!
Iconoclast’s Original Don Coffee, $13 per lb
The Glasshouse Bistro is one of Iconoclast’s clients and a cup of this coffee will seriously make your brunch complete. It’s excellent. The Original Don beans are a blend designed to be available year round and offer a “light and bright” profile. Iconoclast, an Edmonton-based company, prepares and roasts their beans entirely by hand. That dedication to gourmet coffee sure does taste good.
www.iconoclastcoffee.com; 11807B 105 Avenue
Transcend Coffee Subscription, $69 for 3 months
You can get cheese delivered. You can get wine delivered. And now you can get coffee delivered. Transcend offers a Coffee Subscription, delivering you a fresh “coffee of the month” on the second Wednesday of every month. Subscribers receive a new 3/4 lb bag of mystery coffee each month, along with documentation explaining where the coffee was grown, how it was processed, and how it should be brewed. You can sign up for a 3-, 6-, 12-, or 18-month subscription and the best part is that they offer free shipping within Canada.
www.transcendcoffee.ca; 9869 62 Avenue or 8708 109 Street; 1-866-430-9198
I want to hear about your shopping experiences! Did you buy any of the above as a Christmas gift? Did you try some of the items for yourself? Leave a comment below!