Holiday Specialty Food Gift Guide 2017

East End Taste

Are you starting to look for those perfect holiday gifts? Send your family and friends some culinary cheer to create a burst of palatable festivities at the table. I hand-selected each of these specialty food brands that each create stand-out gift ideas to add that perfect essence of flavor and fun. From gourmet infused maple syrups and mouthwatering preserves to luxurious olive oil from Turkey and a box of chocolate with an artistic infusion, here are my 15 choices for this year’s Holiday Specialty Food Gift Guide.

Runamok Maple- Infused Maple Syrup and Sampler Gift Box

Leap out of your weekend brunch routine with Runamok Maple’s line of infused maple syrups. From Ginger Root and Cardamom, to more exotic tastes like Makrut Lime-Leaf and Merquén Infused Maple Syrup, your diverse dishes will grow in leaps and bounds as you experiment with each syrup. Pour over cheeses, use on the bbq, and to vinaigrettes, or brush on roasted vegetables or meats.  Add just a half teaspoon in a cocktail for a little kick or use as an ingredient in baked goods ($16.95/each). Their Vermonter’s Collection Sampler Gift Box represents a sampling of some of their favorite smoked, barrel-aged and infused maple syrups, packaged in an elegant gift box. A great stocking stuffer or hostess gift ($29.95). Their maple syrup is certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers.

Runamok Maple

Fischer & Wieser– Holiday Preserves Gift Pack

Fischer & Wieder instantly became a staple in my home after I featured the company more than two months ago. They Holiday Preserves Gift Pack includes Smokey Plum Jam, Bourbon Cranberry Preserves, and Toasted Cinnamon Pear Preserves. Each will instantly add flavorful flair to your loved ones’ holiday table. These items are not only for breakfast toast, they are terrific paired with charcuterie and cheese, or as an accompaniment to a holiday turkey or ham. Plum Jam, for example, is a must-have in our home during the holidays. ($22.95)

The Virginia Diner– Rockwell Tree-Oh! Gift Set and Saturday Evening Post Gift Triplet

In the blink of an eye, you will become unchanged with the ever-tempting array of nut assortments, candies, snacks and more from the ‘Peanut Capital of the World.’ A truly joyful treat is their Rockwell Tree-Oh Gift Set featuring their Norman Rockwell Merry Christmas design. It includes Salted Virginia Peanuts (36 oz. tin), Double-Dipped Chocolate Peanuts (20 oz.), and Dusted Chocolate Toffee Peanuts ($36). Their nostalgic Saturday Evening Post Gift Triplet features three tins, including their 10 oz. tin of Salted Virginia Peanuts, one 11 oz. tin of Celebration Snack Mix, and a 10 oz. tin of their NEW Old-Fashioned Cola Peanuts. ($24) Pair with a cola or hot cocoa and you’re all set to cozy up by the fire.

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Hiç Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Gift Collection

Hiç (pronounced HICH) extra virgin olive oil hails from Urla, Turkey, which has a rich history with olive oil. The bottle is sleek, modern, and so attractive on the dinner table. It is a work of art. The distinct taste of their olives include a grassy aroma, artichoke and fresh almond notes, and a balanced pungent and bitter finish. Their Aegean Pine Honey is 100% raw and pure from Turkey. Use it to sweeten coffee or tea, in addition to drizzling on French toast, hot scones or over yogurt with walnuts. The gift box is so handsome that no wrapping is required. ($30)

Harbor Sweets– Silver Snowflake Box and Dark Horse Chocolate ‘Amando & Onne’ Fabric Box

Based in Massachusetts, Harbor Sweets has created several holiday specialty treats that make for wonderful gifts for Christmas or Chanukah. Their Silver Snowflake Box is presented with an ribbon and includes classic Gift Assortment of Sweet Sloops and dark and milk chocolates such as their Sweet Shells, Sand Dollars and Periwinkles. Their Signature Sweet Sloops are a customer favorite; A sailboat-shaped almond buttercrunch toffee, a mainsail and jib of white chocolate floating in dark chocolate with pecan spindrift washing her sides ($44.95). The Dark Horse Chocolate Box is presented in a luxurious oval fabric box made by Sara’s Hatbox in New Hampshire featuring a painting by Kentucky-based artisan, Jaime Claire Corum, and filled with their equestrian-inspired milk and dark chocolate collections ($36).

Harbor Sweets MA

Giusto Sapore– Torrone and Panettone

These are two traditional Italian desserts my family have loved and celebrated over for many years. My grandfather was a big fan of Torrone and Panettone that it was required that both always be present in the kitchen or dining room during the Christmas season. Torrone is a soft nougat bar with almonds and hazelnuts. These particular treats are packed with sweet dried fruits, nuts, and or premium chocolate. ($8.99) Made with butter and generous portions of raisins and candied orange peel, Panettone is a dome-shaped Italian sweet bread. Pair with coffee or sweet wine. ($15.99)

Finding Home Farms– Organic Maple Syrup & Pancake Mix Gift Basket

Based in Middletown, NY, Finding Home Farms is a family-owned-and-operated business that offers several housewarming gift ideas including candles, honey, pillows, ornaments, tea towels, and more. This heartwarming Gift Basket is packaged in a berry basket with their 12 oz. certified organic maple syrup and pancake mix with a “Fresh from the Farm” tag. ($25)

The Coquine Cookie

Named “2015’s Cookie of the Year” by Portland Monthly, The Coquine Cookie is made with smoked almonds, salted caramel, brown butter, and delicious chocolate, a unique and delightful  treat for Santa during his Christmas Eve visit as well as a Christmas afternoon dessert paired with a Hot Toddy or Latte! Created by Chef Katy Millard, she holds the cookies to the same strict standards of organic, non-GMO, and fair trade ingredients as everything on her neighborhood restaurant menu in southeast Portland. (from $26 by the dozen)

La Maison du Chocolat– A Starlit Night Gift Box

Impress that special someone this season with Master Chef Nicolas Cloiseau’s dreamy holiday confections. His ‘Starry Night,’ brought to life with the talents of Alex & Marine, encompasses eye-catching stenciled graphics combined with the luxurious taste of five new creations: pure Brazilian ganache, kumquat/kalamansi duo, Mara des bois/orange blossom, chocolate almond paste, and creamy mendiant praliné. The Gift Box filled with 24 ganaches and pralinés and 16 dark and milk almonds. ($72)

Sonoma Syrup Co. 

For that perfect burst of holiday flavor with a comforting essence, add Sonoma Syrup Co.’s gourmet syrups to your holiday drinks and desserts. Their Peppermint syrup is especially delicious in peppermint hot cocoa, mochas, over ice cream, and in cocktails. Add their Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup to desserts, coffee beverages, or pour over ice cream. ($13.95/each)

FattyCakesNY– Old Salt Jars and 18 Pack Cookie Assortment

Get ready to indulge this season! First is FattyCakesNY’s Old Salt Jars that are handcrafted with triple chocolate, sea salt, chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream. Perfect for bringing over to a festive gathering this season. 4 ounce jars, 12 jars per case ($60). Next, their 18 Pack Cookie Assortment includes six each of your choice of three flavors, which may include Dark n Stormy, Bacon Chip, Drunken Piglet, or Original FattyCake, and others ($40).

Endangered Species Chocolate

Give a Snack that Gives Back. Perfect as a nice indulgence to pair with a warm cup of hot cocoa this season, Endangered Species Chocolate includes a wide assortment of milk and dark chocolate bars, dark chocolate bark, and dark chocolate bites. Their chocolate is fair trade, non-GMO, gluten-free, and certified vegan. 10% of net profits from your purchase are donated to support conservation efforts. Shop on Amazon or at your local retailer.

Groundwork Coffee– Colombia AMUCC Organic Coffee

Add even more magic to your Christmas morning with a cup of freshly ground coffee by Groundwork Coffee Co. Groundwork rose from the sands of Venice Beach, CA as a rare and used bookstore that also sold coffee and tea, but as local demand grew, they got out of the book business to roast full time. They were one of the first certified organic coffee roasters in California and are now a certified organic roaster in Portland, OR. Today, Groundwork operates multiple café locations around Los Angeles and in Portland, and distributes its coffees and teas throughout the U.S. Taste the essence of tangerine, red currant, milk chocolate, green apple, and clover honey in a cup of their light roast Colombia Organic Coffee ($13.95/12 oz).

KPOP Hot Sauce

Created with the intention to spread Korean food and flavors to America, this ultimate Korean Chili Sauce with medium heat instantly became a favorite in my home. Use KPOP on burritos, pizza, hot dogs, pork, fish, sushi, and more. You can also use it as a veggie dip or to marinate or glaze on meat, poultry, and fish. ($16.99 + free shipping/2 bottles)

RogersMade– Infused Organic Cane Sugar

Sprinkle a little sugar and spice onto your favorite baked goods and beverages. Siren Spice Co.’s line of artisan sugars include Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread, Café Mocha, Snowflake, and Pink Lemonade. I top my Homemade Gingerbread and Vanilla Lattes with their Gingerbread Infused Cane Sugar. Which one would you try first? ($7.95/each)


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