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December 5, 2019

10 Great Holiday Food Gifts for 2019

by Anne Paddock

Holidays are all about enjoying food so there is no better time to give a palate pleaser than now.  Not everyone is a foodie but nearly everyone appreciates wholesome, delicious food like pure maple syrup, colossal roasted cashews, creamy, rich peanut butter cups or almond cups, award winning crispy potato chips made with extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate mint meltaways, fresh fruit, and chewy, sweet dates. To wash all that down, consider Fever Tree drinks:  tonic, club soda, or ginger ale.

Maple Syrup

There’s nothing quite like warm maple syrup poured over a fresh stack of pancakes or waffles, especially on a cold winter day.  Escuminac makes some of the most delicious maple syrup on the market and appeals to so many people because they make three types:  light golden, amber, and dark harvest.  All three are delicious and vary in maple intensity from light (light golden) to intense (dark harvest).  Gift pack samplers (three 200 ml bottles for $39.95 or three 500 ml bottles for $59.95) with free shipping make for a beautiful and delicious gift sure to please everyone. www.escuminacmaplesyrup.com

Cashews

No one sells colossal roasted cashews like Koeze’s, a Michigan-based purveyor of the freshest, highest quality nuts (especially cashews, which put them on the map). Delicious out of the jar but also fantastic sprinkled over a stir-fry, Koeze’s Colossal Cashews are the cashews of cashews. Sold in boxes (10 ounces for $19.50), tins (14 ounce for $25.75) and glass (reusable) decanters (20 ounces for $34.75 or 30 ounces for $49.50).  www.koeze.com

Peanut Butter Cups/Almond Butter Cups

The best peanut butter cups (and most pure) are made in Brooklyn, New York by a company called Eat Chic Chocolates. Made with the purest of ingredients, Eat Chic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups with Maldon Sea Salt or the Almond Butter Cups with Sea Salt make fantastic stocking stuffers (4 cups per box for $7.95). Or, if you’re a member of the “I can’t just eat 4,” then consider a gift box of 16 for $37.95.  www.eatchicchocolates.comPotato Chips

Before you question whether potato chips are a worthy gift, you need to understand the potato chips made by the famous Spanish chef, José Andrés are not ordinary potato chips. They are truly special. Made with three ingredients:  potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and Himalayan sea salt, these potato chips are the Rolls Royce of potato chips (without the price tag). A 6.7 ounce bag is $5.95. Order a case of 10 for your favorite potato chip fan.  www.tienda.com Dark Chocolate Mint Meltaways

One of my two favorite chocolatiers in the US is EH Chocolatiers in Cambridge, Mass. Two incredible women started this business about 10 years ago with a quest for perfection and they are overachievers.  For the holidays, EH Chocolatier is making Dark Chocolate Mint Meltaways:  pure peppermint oil blended with dark chocolate and organic coconut oil make for a delicious dairy-free holiday treat. A 5-piece pack is $13.50 and makes a great stocking stuffer (if you’re not tempted to devour them before the holidays).  www.ehchocolatier.com

Fresh Fruit

When it comes to fruit I am all for buying local as long as the quality is top notch: meaning organic and flavorful.  When I can’t find these qualities in the fruit in grocery stores or if I want to send a special gift to someone during off-season, then I turn to Frog Hollow Farm in California. They actually grow the fruit (and it’s organic, sweet, and delicious) and sell single or mixed fruit boxes of seasonal fruit. In December, pears, apples, persimmons, kiwi, avocados, pomegranates, mangos, and oranges are available in small or large gift boxes from $31.  www.froghollow.com 

Dates

Dates are often referred to as “nature’s candy” for good reason:  these sweet, chewy fruit are delicious as is – no sweetener ever needed.  As with most fruit, the quality of dates varies so choose wisely.  Shields Date Garden in Indio, California sells the most succulent organic medjool dates right from their own date groves in Coachella Valley (yes, this area is also the place where the famous summer concerts are held). Although Shields offers a variety of sizes (1 pound-11 pounds) and types of dates, the 3-pound tub of organic Super Jumbo Medjool dates for $43 makes a fantastic gift.  www.shieldsdategarden.com

Fever Tree 

For years, the standard go to for tonic, club soda, and ginger ale was made with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial sweeteners but a few years ago a company called Fever Tree decided to raise the standards and produce soft drinks made with superior ingredients.  Fever Tree tonics, sodas, and ales are an essential part of a stocked bar so consider giving a case (24 glass bottles for about $25-$30) to your favorite bartender. www.amazon.com

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