Holiday Gifts for Hudson Valley Foodies in 2013
The third annual roundup of (mostly) locally produced treats
Did 2013 have fewer months than other years? Seems like it was just Labor Day, and now, ready or not, it’s beginning to look a lot like... time for my annual lineup of gifts for foodies — or anyone who eats and drinks. The lists from past Christmases are still in effect if you’d like more ideas.
Nothing gladdens the heart like knowing local chocolatiers are multiplying. Hudson Chocolates in Poughkeepsie, a relative newcomer that I just discovered, creates striking, wonderful confections inspired by the Hudson Valley, says chocolatier Francisco Migoya. Even jaded foodies will be surprised by yummies like candied olives, or the Japanese citrus Yuzu bar with layers of lemon verbena ganache and candied almond nougantine. Mmmm. www.hudsonchocolates.com
Jams and Jellies
If you didn’t have time to make your own, the ones from Shady Acres, an organic farm in Middletown, have homemade appeal. Their new gooseberry-currant jam went down well this year. www.shadyacresorganic.com
John King, proprietor of Hudson Valley Homestead in Craryville, Columbia County, has been making organic herbal vinegars, mustards, and barbecue sauces for decades now, supplying Big City outlets like Balducci’s as well as local shops. He’s a charmingly old-fashioned purveyor so check the product list online, and then call, fax or mail in your order. www.hudsonvalleyhomestead.com
Tea Time Treats
The Tea Shop of Woodstock carries a number of blends from Harney in Millerton (see 2011’s list), as well as many of their own, along with pretty and quirky teapots, kettles, canisters, brew-mugs, thermoses and so on. www.woodstockteashop.com
A Wild Cookbook
Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi, noted Valley forager and herbalist, offers 100 tasty recipes using wild plants (like lemon-balm blackberry custard), so it’s a boon for any gardener-cook who may know a weed is edible, but doesn’t know how to use it. Wendy Hollender’s lovely botanical illustrations make the book coffee-table worthy. www.foragingandfeasting.com
Here’s a fact: Every cook needs a mandoline. When I was shopping for one several years back, a famous local chef (hello, Peter Kelly!) recommended the Japanese Benriner model, which comes with three different blades and a plastic finger-guard thing. Instructions are in Japanese, but it’s easy to figure out.
Natural, house-smoked goodies from Mountain Products Smokehouse in LaGrangeville include cheeses, bacon, and sausages. Or give a membership to their Food of the Month Club: $493 will give your grateful recipient up to four items a month, delivered to their door. www.mountainproductssmokehouse.com
The guys at Samaki in Port Jervis are true artisans when it comes to smoking fresh fish — their smoked salmon is the one raved about at Manhattan’s Russ & Daughters. Lemon pepper smoked salmon, pastrami smoked salmon, Vodka-dill smoked salmon, smoked trout — any of the dozen or so choices is a delicacy. Check the Web site, then call 845-858-1012 and a nice human being will take your order. www.samakismokedfish.com
Brandy and Cigars
Forget the cigars, they’ll kill you, but the Apple Jack from Black Dirt Distillery is a healthy tonic, I’m willing to bet. The distillery, an offshoot of the Warwick Valley Winery, ages its apple brandy in oak barrels for four years until it’s smooth. The latest batch, released in September, has light honey-spice notes and beats that famous stuff from France, if you ask me. It’s available at a few local liquor stores, or check blackdirtdistillery.com.
For Furry Friends
The cookies and cakes at Beacon Barkery will get any pooch drooling, and contain no sugar or other canine no-nos. You’ll also find fishy treats for the meow crowd. www.beaconbarkery.com
Happy holidays, everyone!