Local Gifts for Foodies
Every year, I like to do one of these “gift guide” kinda posts, recommending products I’m currently loving as a foodie. This year, I’ve decided to do a hyper-local version, including only foodie products that are produced here, close to home. I usually do include at least a few locally-produced products, but this year, it’s ALL Local Gifts for Foodies, and nothing but!
Chocolate: A good dark chocolate is my life-blood (next to coffee), and while the Zimt Maple Smoked Salt Rosemary is a must-have this time of the year, I also love the creativity of Mink’s combinations (like “Open in Case of Emergency” which is filled with Bourbon). But if you haven’t tried the Vegan Hawaiian Sea Salt Caramels from Purdy’s yet, you really haven’t lived. They’re just the perfect balance.
Setting a Grown-Up Table: Okay, yes, yes, I’m a grown up. But it feels like all money goes to rent and food. This past year, I’ve started to collect what I like to call “grownup investment pieces.” That means trading in my dollar store wine glasses for some actual, decent ones. But here’s the thing about good wine glasses: they break. And then you’ve paid $50 for an investment that is headed for the garbage. Enter local Vancouver company, Fable Home. Yes, their plates are all just a tiny bit imperfect, and that makes them more lovely, but even better, their glassware is basically unbreakable. Beautiful wine glasses that don’t break? Heck yes. They also have champagne flutes and coupe glasses (again I’ve broken so many of those), as well as water glasses.
In this same category, really beautiful linen napkins that just get softer and better with age, and add a beautiful textural element to the table. These come from local Flax Home, and I want to use them at every meal. They just make the table so special, even if you are just watching Seinfeld reruns over last nights risotto leftovers.
Chili Crisp: Are you familiar with chili crisp? I have no idea which rock I’ve been under my whole life, but I just discovered it. I’m sure you’ve been to Chinese restaurants where they have chili oil on the table to add to your food. Well, chili crisp takes it one step further. It’s onion, garlic, warming spices like cinnamon and star anise, and then chilis. It’s everything: sweet, salty, savoury, spicy and umami. You can basically put it on everything, from rice to ice cream. Chili Crisp is vegan, but the local version you want to seek is called Umami Bomb. They come in a variety of different flavours/heats, and it makes literally everything taste so much better.
Cookbooks: Well, MINE, obvs. But you really should pick up a copy of The Acorn Cookbook, especially if you are, like me, a big fan of the vegetarian restaurant on Main. The Acorn was our first fine-dining veg resto in the city, and the food is not only delicious, but it’s seasonal and beautiful. Chef Brian Luptak finally got around to writing some recipes down.
To Live For Gift Cards: I am so happy for Erin Ireland, who finally opened the doors to her first bricks-and-mortar bakery/cafe on Nanaimo Street just last month. I have gone there, I have sampled, and let me tell you, the croissants will be among the best you will find in the city, and they are vegan. I don’t know how she does it, but I suspect Thibault Champel (formerly of The Rolling Cashew) has something to do with it. Everything here is vegan and delicious, and the cafe itself is so lovely and bright.
Candles: Yes, okay, look. I know. It’s bougie. But I love a good food-scented candle, and vanilla is my absolute fave. Go Naked Essentials out of Mission have a ton of really unique food-scented candles, like Prosecco & Pink Raspberries, Strawberry Macaron & Vanilla Whip, Yuzu & Hinoki.
Sea salt: No cook can be without good quality sea salt. While I will always have a box of Maldon in my home at all times (the smoked version is also indispensable), some local options include Amola (it’s the truffle salt for me), and Vancouver Island Sea Salt (Barrel Smoked Whiskey Sea Salt? YES).
Wine & spirits: We have so many good BC-based wineries and distilleries now! Currently loving the Chronos line from Time out of the Okanagan, and the Gin from Sheringham. Odd Society is doing some really fun stuff, like this Mushroom Whiskey they did this fall (sold out!).
Smoke ’em if you got ’em: Speaking of spirits, you can make yours extra special by adding an element of smoke to your cocktails. You can do that my purchasing one of these kids from Spirits with Smoke.
Those are my Local Gifts for Foodies! What do you want under your tree Christmas morning? Comment and let me know! 👇