The stores are tinseled and tarted up, the voracious hordes have elbowed their way through Black Friday, and Fox “News” is raving about the War on Christmas — yes, the heartwarming “holiday season” is in full throttle! Here then, my second annual roundup of gift suggestions for the food lovers in your life. Most are super affordable, so go mad and get several. And if you’re feeling more bah-humbug than merry-merry this year, buy a couple for yourself and cheer up, for heaven’s sakes.
I know, it was on last year’s list, and it will be on next year’s, if there is one. We all know there are health benefits — in fact, it may be the secret to losing ugly belly fat mentioned in those ads on Internet sites, although I haven’t verified this. Anyway, our local chocolatiers keep ratcheting up the deliciousness quotient. Check out the lovely painted bonbons at Christopher Norman Chocolates in Hudson; the beribboned chocolate shoes by Oliver Kita in Rhinebeck; the tangerine chocolate bark at Vasilow’s in Hudson; the all-vegan, organic lusciousness at Lagusta’s Luscious in New Paltz; or the yummies at Krause’s in Saugerties and Commodore Chocolatier in Newburgh (no Web site for Commodore, but you can call them at 845-561-3960). Your average chocoholic would surely like membership in the Chocolate of the Month club from The Chocolate Bar in Hudson.
A breakthrough beverage from Pazdar, the boutique winery near Wallkill, whose proprietors claim on their Web site to be the first to have made it “when others said it couldn’t be done.” Order online and wait a couple of days for UPS to show up. (More on this innovative boozeteria coming soon.)
Cupcakes have been a craze for so long, they’re now an accepted part of the food pyramid. OK, I made that up, but they do make a perfect gift for coworkers, teachers, and anyone who likes cupcakes. Those from Moxie Cupcake in New Paltz were voted best by the discerning editors of Hudson Valley magazine for a good reason. Favs Treatery in Warwick or Florida (next town over, not the renowned retirement state) turns out chocolate mint ones among their colorful selection. (Also lovely lemon tarts, it should be noted.)
Anyone with a pantry would like a selection of flavored olive oils and vinegars, wouldn’t they? You can sample before you choose at Scarborough Fare (in New Paltz or Beacon) or at Pure Mountain Olive Oil in Rhinebeck. Or get a gift certificate from Pure Mountain for an in-home tasting party. Your giftee invites a few friends over, and reps from Pure Mountain come and cook nibbles to demonstrate how the goodies can be deployed. It would be a nice way to brighten up the after-party season.
Warren Kitchen & Cutlery in Rhinebeck is a trove of gizmos and equipment, and they have a zillion kitchen knives from all over the globe. The exotic, super-sharp Japanese Kikuichi knives are beautiful as well as totally awesome, as you young foodies say.
In Sweet Home, Woodland Valley resident Rebecca Miller Ffrench offers common-sense advice about the importance of dessert, along with recipes for her family’s favorites that you can share with your own family, or bake as gifts. The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila explains how to make healthy, tasty staples, including your own cheese and Pop-Tarts. Who knew Pop-Tarts were a staple? True foodies will love it. (Chernila lives in the Berkshires, but only just across the border.)
For Foodies Who Garden
The Hudson Valley Seed Library collects and distributes heirloom and open-pollinated seeds — no hybrids or anything genetically tampered with. The frameable packets alone are worth the price; each is designed by a different local artist. Buy a few packs, or give a gift membership ($25, $55, or $105) and let the recipient choose her own.
For Furry Foodies
Paw Prints & Whiskers Doggie Delight Bakery on Wall Street in Uptown Kingston makes all natural doggie biscotti, Napoleons, and doughnuts so delicious looking, make sure you toss them to your mutt or your guests will be nibbling on them.
» More food gift guide ideas from The Accidental Foodie
» More holiday gift guide ideas from the Hudson Valley Holiday Gift Guide 2012
» More from The Accidental Foodie blog
» Find a Hudson Valley restaurant
» Find a Hudson Valley food & drink retailer