Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies
At this time of year, you’re either just starting to think about your holiday shopping list or bragging you’re done. If you’re like me, you started early, but still have shopping left to do. Here are some ideas for a variety of people in your life, organized by interest and/or relationship. The best part? I went ahead and made it 95% local for your shop local enjoyment.
For coffee geeks or anyone with a passion for design, check out the colorful Pantone Universe coffee mugs and espresso cups available at Hyatt’s, located at 910 Main St. in Buffalo and 8565 Main St. in Clarence (starting at $9.75).
Blue Hill Kitchen & Home, located at 1374 Hertel Ave. in Buffalo, offers a plethora of options for the foodies in your life. One newer item that makes a lovely gift — a beautiful Mason Cash mixing bowl ($45 for the size pictured) — has a neat backstory too. Legend has it, the queen used to give them to her servants as Christmas gifts. The company, which has been around since 1800, began as a pottery operation in Church Gresley. If you’re grandma or mom are anything like mine and enjoy baking, they’d love that! To bakers, nothing beats a quality glass mixing bowl.
For a solid gift for the aspiring chef in your life, consider a Le Creuset French [Dutch] oven ($199 for the 4 quart — note how reasonable Blue Hill’s prices are!). I have this exact one (in this color, flame) and it is amazing for cooking risotto and searing meat before slow cooking. I also use it for small batches of soup from time to time.
Have a cookbook lover in mind? Molly Stevens’ “All About Roasting” cookbook ($35) is excellent for anyone looking to master the skill of roasting, especially those who appreciate tutorial style cookbooks and great photography. This cookbook was released late last year, but I’ve picked it up more than any cookbook I purchased this year. Chef Molly provides helpful ingredient explanations, technique tips and relevant personal stories as well. Bonus local element: Chef Molly Stevens is a Buffalo native.
Lastly, the store has dozens of colanders in all colors and sizes (starting at $18.50). Add a cute kitchen towel or two, plus some fun cooking utensils, and you’ve got a fun gift. I love to use items such as bowls or colanders for a basket base for gifts — I stick all the smaller presents right inside and wrap it up nicely.
Room, located at 1400 Hertel Ave. in Buffalo, offers wonderful home goods, including many ideas for food lovers. Some things caught my eye right away, including chic white ceramic pieces aplenty. Roost’s berry basket ($14) is adorable, and resemble the ones I have at home. I love putting my freshly picked berries in them, although I use them for a variety of treats. There’s also a larger basket with a different weave pattern that’s adorable ($25). These would make great gifts, filled with goodies — possibly homemade cookies or candy — for friends or family.
Torre & Tagus has two white ceramic items that caught my eye immediately — a giant bowl that says “Chips” on it ($33) and a smaller one that says “Nuts” ($11). These would make an adorable pair to present to a friend as a holiday gift or for the go to party host(ess) in your life. Also by Torre & Tagus, are several lovely metal bread baskets (the one pictured is $38).
Jonathan Adler is somewhat of a designer icon and I love the salt and pepper shaker sets he designs. Room has several Jonathan Adler home pieces that make great hostess gifts or presents for the more fashion forward and quirky foodies in your life, including the elephant teapot ($118) and elephant salt and pepper shakers ($48). I also enjoyed the mustache salt and pepper shakers ($48), mustache sugar and creamer ($28 each) and mustache mugs ($24).
For craft beer lovers, consider something to accompany their favorite fancy bottle of beer from Village Beer Merchant, such as a nice bottle opener, Silver Street ‘Cheers’ Bottle Opener by Kate Spade ($35). For the beer, try Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde (my dad’s go to choice when he visits VBM, located at 547 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo).
For pastry fiends or those who appreciate fine jam, check out the jams by Christine Ferber, an internationally known Master Patisserie from France ($18). She uses locally grown, extraordinary ingredients, crafting the jams in batches of less than eight pounds of produce at a time. There was a great short article about the jams in the November issue of Saveur.
For cheese lovers, head to Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile, located at 423 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo. Make a basket or fill a gift bag with goodies — choose from jams, crackers, sea salts, pasta, chocolates and candies, oils, coffee, pates, salamis and other pantry essentials. For the more adventurous and hard to buy for because they have everything types, consider a gift certificate for a cheese class.
For the hot sauce advocate, look no further than Lloyd Taco Truck’s Rocket Sauce ($4.99), the locally made, preservative free hot sauce from everyone’s favorite food truck.
Also check out the fun Hot Sauce of the Month Club from Sizzlin Sauces ($56.85 for a three month subscription, $107.70 for a six months, $207.40 for a year).
For the coworker whose name you drew for the holiday gift exchange, get the City Dining Cards ($20). Because it’s a gift that works for anyone!
For the entertainer in your life, check out these Pitchers by Zara (starting at $16.90). I love cool pitchers. I’m one of those people who thinks it’s worth taking the extra step of pouring the Brita into a pitcher and cutting some citrus to toss in when guests are over. Pitchers make a lovely way to present flowers as well. Imagine the delight on a holiday party host’s face when you show up with a beautiful bouquet in a gorgeous vase.
For those who appreciate a philanthropic element when giving and receiving, check out Artisans’ Hands, a new store in Elmwood Village located at 754 Elmwood Ave. Offering handcrafted gifts from artists with unique stories from here and around the world, there is an assortment of gift options. From home accents to jewelry and toys, there are many options — and plenty of things to spice up a tabletop, including beautiful tablecloths and china. On a recent trip there, some of my favorites were this beautiful platter made in the West Bank (pictured, $78). Wouldn’t mom love that?
Also, I adore the linens they have. These gorgeous napkins made in India are available in a variety of colors and patterns ($6/piece).
For a fried chicken fan, Thomas Keller’s ad hoc Fried Chicken Kit is the yummiest thing I’ve ever used from a package ($16.95). I’m not a fan of using starter mixes, but this was delicious.
For gardeners, consider gardening tools or pretty pots from Urban Roots, located at 428 Rhode Island St. in Buffalo (starting around $15) and The 1850-1900 Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Seed Collection ($8.00). (There are fun flower seeds too, starting at $8.00 too.) My gardener father loved all of this last year and he got a kick out of telling me how things were coming along through the spring and summer. Maybe yours will too.
For readers, choose from a number of cookbooks and food reads from Talking Leaves (two locations: 3158 Main St. and 951 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo). One of my favorites this year was “How to Eat a Small Country.” They also carry “Lucky Peach” magazine, a cool quarterly journal of food and writing.
Last minute? Who doesn’t love e-cards and wine? Try City Wine Merchant for e-cards. If you have time to visit their store at 715 Main St. in downtown Buffalo, it’s always a great shopping experience, as is Salut at 658 Main St. in East Aurora (pictured). Salut got me hooked on Sancerre this past year.
Want to bring dessert, but can’t make something yourself? If you have 48 hours or more before you need to place an order, consider the new offering of bakery treats from Elm Street Bakery, located at 72 Elm Street in East Aurora ($7.50-$38.00). Click here to read their selection of cakes and other goodies.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop local for foodies in Western New York? I’d love suggestions for more places to check out soon.
Enjoy and happy local shopping!