Just a little something to appeal to the people on your gift list that appreciate a touch of magic in their food. These gifts can make a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift—or make a big statement. That’s up to you.
I came across this booth at the Union Square Park Holiday Market while hurrying across town. So glad I stopped when I saw the word truffle and got a taste of all the goodies. From their HQ in Long Island City, NY come a honey, mustard, salt, and olive oil all done in small-batch infusions of that intoxicating mushroom. They offer a handsome gift set in a wooden crate for $65. along with other gift selections on the website.
The pièce de résistance at the booth, though, was the Flagship Truffle Butter—the most truffle-concentrated butter on the market made with a ratio of 1 pound of truffles to 5 pounds of butter with no other added flavor. Just a sniff of this brings you to Nirvana. The milk is sourced locally from grass-fed cows at the Kriemhild Meadow. Worth every penny! $40. truffleist.com
Maille + Smoking Goose Sausages
Maille mustards from Dijon can add a lot of zip to a myriad of dishes, and go especially nice with a better sausage. Smoking Goose offers an upscale selection of sausages that can appeal to every palate. They partner with small, family farms who raise animals as nature intended—with access to pastures, are antibiotic and growth hormone free, and fed a 100% vegetarian diet. I recommend the White Dog or the Kitchen Sink Sausages to pair with Maille’s Mustard with Whiskey and Smoked Pepper. Their freshly pumped mustard comes housed in a handsome black stoneware jar, $61 for 8.8 oz. Notes: Woody and peated scents in a smooth mustard with crunchy pieces of pepper. Also recommended for enhancing a salmon filet, ribs, or Roquefort cheese.
Smoking Goose Salame + Maille Gift Set
The gorgeous color of the Smoking Goose Stagberry Salame comes from a combination of elk, a little pork, and a mass of dried blueberries that were macerated in dry mead. $13.50 for 8 oz. Match this with Maille’s Arts De La Table Collection Dijon Mustard Gift Box, which includes 3 flavored Dijon mustards and a sophisticated tea towel bearing the Maille coat of arms. $65. for the set. us.maille.com
Cooking Classes at Sur La Table
This is the gift to give those looking to expand their culinary horizons. Sur La Table offers cooking classes in locations around the US. Their NYC location, at 306 West 57th (betw 8th/9th Ave) offers up some intriguing upcoming classes on the roster: Incredible Risotto; Mastering Seafood; Date Nights: Cooking with Wine. Classes are limited to 16 people, where you will work in a group of 4. Prices range from $39 to $90 for a 2 to 2.5 hour class. Those attending will receive 10% off in-store purchases the day of class. surlatable.com Photo courtesy of Sur La Table
Horseshoe Brand Hot Sauce
For those pals who crave heat in their dishes there is a line of hot sauces that add a tasty punch. All Horseshoe Brand’s sauces get their heat from only the highest quality peppers from around the world—not by adding pepper extracts.
Located in the Hudson Valley, NY, they rate each sauce on a 1 to 5 scale, and though the Peach Hot Sauce was only rated 2, it still packed a pretty good kick, causing my mouth and tongue to tingle. Rated at 5 is the XXXtra Hot Sauce, which I did not have the guts to sample, but it was nicely reviewed on the website (watch the video by Bill Moore).
They offer a nice variety of flavors, like Kiwi Jalapeño, Chipotle, Mango Fatalii, and more, plus a couple of BBQ sauces. Think about including a recipe with your gift. The Kiwi Jalapeño can be used to marinate shrimp, the Peach mixes with mustard and honey to form the perfect wing coating. $6.99 to 7.95 for 8 oz. horseshoebrand.com
Noshi Edible Food Paint
Now you can demand that kids play with their food. These edible paints are actually organic fruit purees in the flavors of strawberry, peach, and blueberry, packed in recyclable tubes sized for small hands. Think of these accompanying pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt, bread, or ice cream. These edible paints are the brainstorm of stay-at-home dad Tomo Delaney, who befriended an artist and grandmother, Pegi Gorelick. They both felt that this was a cool way to get kids to eat more healthy. They purees are organic with no added sugar, salt or preservatives. $6.99 for three tubes. Available online at amazon.com noshiforkids.com
This family has been growing olives in the Calabria region of southern Italy for generations. Recently, cousins who came to the US in 1970, discussed how they could avoid selling their family’s fantastic olive oil to large companies who often diluted it olive oil with lesser-quality oils. This is how Tre Olive was born.
The pride in growing the olives shows in all their products. For those who love a seriously mean olive oil, choose Black which is an incredibly intense extra virgin olive oil with a nice kick. $29.99 for 500ml. In addition to oils you can gift a jar of Calabrian Olives, made in the traditional Calabrian way, pitted & crushed. $12.99, or in the Tre Calabresi gift set you can select three of four of their robustly flavored spreads—Olive Tapenade, Chili Pepper Spread, Bruschetta Calabrese and Pesto Genovese. $29.99
If you want to make a true commitment to this centuries-old orchard, then make the gift of adopting an olive tree for a year. The recipient will receive an adoption certificate, welcome letter, and a photo of the tree tagged with their name. Best of all your recipients with receive six 500ml tins of the oil pressed from their tree. $79.99 treolive.com
Minerva Dairy Amish Butter
I tasted the whole line of these butters at the Fancy Food show and honestly could not pick a favorite. For dessert lovers there are the sweet infusions of Cinnamon Honey, another with Maple Syrup, and one with Pumpkin Spice. The savory category has a Garlic Herb, Sea Salt, and the one shown here, Smoked Maple Wood. I suggest a pairing with steamed lobster for a dinner to remember. Available in NYC at Key Foods and Morton William stores. Online at goldbelly.com you can get a gift set of 6 butters for $59. minervadairy.com
Legal Sea Foods
To go along with that smoky butter, a steamed lobster makes a nice pairing. Choose to send a little surprise to your seafood loving friends. Legal Sea Foods ships live lobsters that are unparalleled for their quality, freshness, sustainability, and flavor. Only the best, hard-shell prime lobsters from cold Atlantic waters are selected. They are handled with care and are packaged with state-of-the-art technology to ensure they arrive in perfect condition. A 1.25 lb lobster dinner for 2 will run you $68. They can also pre-cook it for you for the same price. Twin Lobster Tails, frozen at the peak of sweetness, $32. shop.legalseafoods.com
Tea Forte Matcha Gift Set
For the tea lover in your life, why not offer a beautifully boxed set of superlative teas. Tea Forte offers a line of Matcha teas infused with other flavors, including Chocolate, Chai, Coconut, Ginger and Pure Matcha. Their matchas are spring harvested, shade grown, and stone-ground. I just adore the bright green color when mixed with milk or creamer.
The Single Steeps Sampler comes with 15 individual packets of tea, $35. For a grander gesture, go for the Matcha Gift Set with Accessories, which comes with 2 boxes of the single steeps, and in keeping with ceremony, a pretty white ceramic tea bowl, measuring ladle, and bamboo whisk, $128. teaforte.com
[See more ideas for after dinner drinks at this link]
Runamok Maple Syrup
This is the way to get a little sweetness in your life, and makes the perfect gift for the person with a bit of a sweet tooth. In the pristine forests of northern Vermont, Runamok Maple has a devoted team that hand taps 81,000 maple trees, producing an elixir worth savoring. Devoted to energy saving, they filter their sap through a reverse osmosis machine, removing up to 90% of the water before boiling, thereby using only 1/8 of the fuel required.
Runamok produces a drool-worthy pure maple syrup plus a collection of super-creative infused, smoked and barrel-aged maple syrups. Seen here is the Merquen Infused, which is a smoked chili pepper from Chile. When infused, the heat, smokiness and rich pepper taste are magnified by the caramel tones of the maple. Recommended uses: drizzle over cheddar cheese, serve with bbq, add it to a salad dressing, or serve with roasted vegetables and meats. Just half a teaspoon in a cocktail will give the drink a bit of spice and mystery. $16.95 for 250ml.
For something a little more special, choose a Gift Box of Barrel-Aged and Infused Maple Syrups. Choose from one of four collections that include 3 bottles of syrups. $69.95 Or create a Custom Gift Box, $74.95 shop.runamokmaple.com