Got a food lover in your life? Yeah you do. This year, I'm trying to focus on local, small businesses, especially those which are women, people of color, or immigrant owned. Or those from companies which donate part of their proceeds to charities. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite food and drink products that I wouldn't mind tearing the wrapping paper off of.
1. Mini Shrub Set from Inna Jam. These are just fantastic. If you haven't tried shrubs before I urge you to do so! Also known as drinking vinegars, they are essentially fruit and sugar preserved in vinegar. When mixed with sparkling or still water, you get a super refreshing sweet tart drink. Great with a splash of booze too! The mini set is a great way to try your choice of flavors, including strawberry, elderberry, hungarian paper, purple tomato, quince, and so many more. Owner Dafna Kory has a great relationship with local Bay Area farms; in fact nearly everything is sourced from organize farmers within 150 miles of her Emeryville kitchen. $28
2. Donut Stack Print from April Walters of Donut Galleria. Local San Francisco artist April Walters has a bit of a thing for donuts. Her obsession is your gain. I love this trio of stacks of donuts prints, available on her Etsy site. She has many many more donut products including prints, postcards, coasters, and a sweet calendar on her site as well. $22.
3. Sake Gumi Membership from Umami Mart. Sake is so delicious and so misunderstood. Get educated while sipping some of the best sakes available stateside with a membership in the Sake Gumi Club. You'll get 2 bottles of sake every month with tasting notes and pairing suggestions from Oakland's premier Japanese foodie shop, Umami Mart. $29 per month. Full year $348
4. Restaurant Gift Certificates supporting SF Marin Food Bank. Gift certificates to local restaurants are one of my absolute favorite gifts. It is such a treat to be able to go out to some of your favorite restaurants with a partial subsidy. Plus you're supporting the local economy and many restaurants employ immigrants. Here in San Francisco, you can buy gift certificates which support the SF Marin Food Bank, which is just doubly awesome. Various restaurants. $50 denominations, $5 of which goes to SF Marin Food Bank, providing 15 meals to those in need!
5. Spices from Penzeys Spices. I've been a big fan of Penzeys for years, even registering for gift certificates for our wedding. They have an amazing selection of spices, salts, and extracts as well as fantastic gift sets. Basically anything you could ever need to spice up your cooking. They also donate a bottle of Penzey's Pepper to a food charity for every bottle purchased. In the lead up to and aftermath of the US Election, they've also been very vocal about their support for politics of inclusion, and have come out against racism, sexism, and homophobia. It is rare for companies to declare their politics so loudly, and for that I'm giving them my support. Range of prices. $4 for small packs.
6. Salumi Calendar by Drywell Art. Yep, one of my own. I just really have a fondness for this ode to hanging cured meats. For each calendar sold, I'm donating $5 to the SF Marin Food Bank, because we all should have a full holiday season. $30 ($5 donation)
7. Bacon Crack from Nosh This. You can't get this in stores, people! Order the addictive, ahem, butter toffee made with Zoe's Meat's Applewood Smoked bacon, local almonds, all dipped in dark chocolate, online only at Nosh This. Made by San Francisco local Kai Kronfield. It's habit-forming. $4 to $15.
8. Classic "So Sweet" Box from La Cocina. La Cocina is just a fantastic organization and the food scene in San Francisco owes them a lot. They are a food business incubator, giving business advice and commercial kitchen space to new food entrepreneurs, especially low-income women and immigrants. This gift basket is a sweet way to support a great organization and also give a tasty treat to someone awesome. Included Clairesquares Butter Shortbread, Neo Cocoa truffles, and Kika's Treats caramels. More great gifts are available on the La Cocina site. $35