Holiday Gifts for the Foodie

Everywhere you look there is something going on with “foodies” and you are bound to have a foodie or two on your gift list this year. Here are some local gift suggestions that will make any foodie on your list smile and go “Yum!” and you don’t need to go outside the city limits for your holiday gift shopping as our local businesses have many gift items to save on your stress and make the holidays for our local businesses brighter!

The Farmers Market is still open at 8:00am on Saturdays and if you recall even in last year’s snow storms many of the vendors still came out no matter the weather. Two of these farmers market stalwarts are Union Street Soapworks and Toigo Orchards: Union Street Soapworks has many wonderful soaps and a few with interesting food themes like cinnamon-orange, coconut and even bacon! At Toigo Orchards they have local honey and a killer Bloody Mary Mix that is getting rave reviews all over town.

We are fortunate to have Penzey’s in our community as people come from all over the area to shop here.  Penzey’s is a delight to walk through and imagine all the great things you can cook with these wonderful spices and seasonings. It can also be overwhelming. Spices may not seem like the best gift, but they are well received and will be well used by anyone who loves to cook. Penzey’s has many gift packs from hot chocolate to peppercorn selections.

Wine and beer seem to be popular gifts this year, but sometimes you can’t decide what would be the right vintage or hop selection, but accessories are always well received. Red, White and Bleu has bottle toppers, wine label removers, and everything a wine or beer lover could want, but I am waiting for the bottle cork trivet assembly kit! You can also look at the décor in Red White and Bleu to discover some helpful hints of what to do with all those bottle corks you’ll accumulate from holiday entertaining.

It never ceases to amaze me the versatility of Brown’s hardware and kitchen utensils are no exception. A simple measuring cup, some tongs and a few items that would cost hundreds more somewhere else can be found on the simple shelves of Brown’s hardware. I love the standby glass measuring cup which you would not be able to find at Williams Sonoma or Pottery Brown. You may find something in cerulean blue from Majorca, but not the standard glass measuring cup with the red marks that is the foundation of anyone’s cooking arsenal. Cast iron skillets, sifters, and meat grinders can be found at Brown’s! I had been looking for a meat grinder and was told they cost over $100, but there on the shelves of Brown’s was exactly what I was looking for – $39.99. I also get my canning supplies at Browns. Good Old Browns!

Cookbooks are a readymade gift idea but sometimes you can’t determine the genre your foodie would like. A favorite cookbook this year is part coffee table book, part cookbook and part chronicle of local food heroes North America. It is  Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by the cofounders of the Edible Communities magazines. The book is a compilation of the local food stories from farmers, growers and ranchers who are preserving local food traditions through family and community operations. Reading the book made me immediately say, “Road Trip!”

If you can’t make it on a road trip or would like local food stories closer to home, you may want to give your foodie and yourself a subscription to Flavor which takes the place of Edible Chesapeake that closed its doors last year. Flavor features restaurants, farms, stores, wineries, organizations and anything else associated with the Capitol region foodshed.

Of course, when all else fails, you can always provide a gift certificate because no matter what kind of foodie is on your list, everyone likes a night out to enjoy great food! Argia’s, Willow, Northside Social, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm and all the restaurants of the Farmer’s Market Chef Program has gift certificates that will certainly please any picky foodie on your holiday gift list!

Bon Appétit! ( yes, Julie & Julia is also a great gift item!)

Click the image to view the slide show.

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By Kathleen Nixon
December 10, 2010 


2 Responses to “Holiday Gifts for the Foodie”

  1. Jim Breiling, North Arlington on December 10th, 2010 5:50 pm

    Thank you, Kathleen, for a most informative and helpful piece.

  2. TFC on December 10th, 2010 7:19 pm

    I love Brown’s. I needed more of the devil clips that hold the screen in my storm door in place. There are 10 gazillion sizes and shapes of those things. They used a huge reference book and ordered the exact ones I needed. Take that Home Depot!

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