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14 great gifts for Bay Area foodies, travelers and more

14 great gifts for Bay Area foodies, travelers and more

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Twinkling lights are pretty and jingle bells jolly. However even the thought of vacation purchasing induces crowded-mall-level claustrophobia in us. In all probability on account of the crowds. And the department stores.

How a lot lovelier to buy, as an alternative, at little native outlets. To provide drinkable, edible gadgets or books, as an alternative of plastic issues that create muddle. Or experiences, as an alternative of objects. So with that in thoughts, listed here are 14 splendid present concepts for the gourmets, libations lovers and adventurers in your present record.

1 EAT: Cowgirl Creamery’s Truffle Tam Residence Package

Foodies love their umami, and this package’s degree of savory flavors is off the charts. Petaluma-based Cowgirl Creamery has paired its signature, Eight-ounce soft-ripened Mt. Tam cheese, which is constructed from natural, single-herd milk from Straus Household Creamery, with La Rustichella’s basic Tuscan pate that includes recent black truffles, extra-virgin olive oil and salt.

For the umami fanatic in your listing, it doesn’t get higher than Cowgirl Creamery’s Truffle Tam Package, which incorporates a truffle pate from Italy. (Courtesy  Ted Thomas) 

The triple cream cheese has pure hints of white mushrooms, that are a match made in savory heaven, particularly when served atop Cowgirl Creamery’s crispy, natural Sea Salt & Olive Oil Flatbread Crackers. To serve, you’re presupposed to slice a Mt. Tam triple-cream in half, unfold a skinny layer of the pate throughout the center and place the opposite half on prime — however we didn’t make it that far. Simply slice, slather and devour. Get two, one for your favourite foodie and one for your self.

Particulars: $75;

2: DRINK: The Matt Butler Consuming Glasses

Berkeley-based printmaker Matt Butler is the king of snark, from his greeting playing cards — “I heard there were cookies. I mean Merry Christmas! But seriously, cookies …?” — to his one-of-a-kind wall items and cotton canvas tote luggage. However the artist’s line of consuming glasses are really fabulous, and will delight any fanatic, whether or not they choose beer, wine or whiskey.

Manufactured from 100-percent recycled wine bottles, the 12-ounce tumblers function messages like “Drink Up, Buttercup,” “So…Drinks?!,” “Beer on My Side” and “Wine is My Spirit Animal.” Dishwasher protected, in addition. The Matt Butler will not be stocking the glasses, so get ’em when you can.

Particulars: $10. Out there at Nathan & Co, 4025 Piedmont Ave., Oakland and 5636 School Ave., Oakland. The “Whiskey is My Spirit Animal” glass is on the market at

three PLAY: Lonely Planet’s “Ultimate Eats”

We’re not the one travelers who design journeys round meals experiences, are we? Should you’ve acquired a roving gourmand in your present record, Lonely Planet’s foodie bucket record provides 500 of the world’s prime style experiences, from the Cronuts of New York to the smørrebrød of Copenhagen, the baozi of Shanghai and the rolex — the meals, not the watch — of Uganda. (Rolex is Uganda’s reply to the breakfast burrito: an omelet rolled in flatbread and eaten on the go.)

How anybody managed to rank all this deliciousness is a thriller. However debating the relative deserves of Bengal’s candy rasgulla balls (No. 336) versus chili con carne (335) is a part of the enjoyable. So is discovering out what candy ragulla balls are.

Particulars: $30, Lonely Planet Meals; obtainable at native and on-line bookstores

four EAT: Jacques Pepin’s “Menus: A Book for Your Meals and Memories”

Jacques Pépin recounts his dinner events in hand-illustrated journals. (Courtesy Kevin Byrne) 

For almost 50 years, the legendary French-born chef has jotted down all the small print of his dinner events, from the visitors — les invitations — to the aperitifs and entrees, in his hand-illustrated journals. Guide celebrations with duck terrine, Lyonnaise hen and apple galette. Fourth of July 2001 with poached salmon and a berry cake. Birthdays, holidays, boules events and informal get-togethers, all illustrated with Pepin’s watercolors and signed by friends.

Now your favourite foodie can channel Pepin with a journal of his personal, full with Pepin’s illustrations and loads of area to report the visitors and scrumptious particulars from memorable meals. Plus an intro by the chef himself that’s completely charming.

Particulars: $20, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; out there at native and on-line bookstores

5 DRINK: A DIY Tonic Package

Oaktown Spice Store sells spices and spice blends for residence mixologists, in addition to bakers and cooks. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area Information Group) Laura A. Oda/Bay Area Information Group

Jars of ras-el-hanout, harissa and Tellicherry peppercorns line the cabinets of the East Bay’s Oaktown Spice Store, and present bins tempt with guarantees of barbecue or baking mastery, or entrance to the Skewered World of Kebabs ($36 for 4 spice blends). However that is additionally a great place to seek out gifts for chai lovers, mulled cider followers and these craft cocktail devotees, who make their very own tinctures, bitters and infused syrups.

Oaktown’s Basic DIY Tonic Package ($18) consists of every part it’s essential to make your personal tonic syrup: floor cinchona bark, citric acid, allspice, cubeb pepper and lemongrass. Tuck the package in a present bag together with bottles of soda water and St. George Botanivore or Venus Spirits Gin Mix No. 1 for the last word DIY G&T present. (Psst, Oaktown has elderflower tonic and lavender tonic variations, too, for $22.)

Particulars: Out there at Oaktown at 1224 Solano Ave. in Albany and 546 Grand Ave. in Oakland, and on-line at

6 PLAY: Kayak adventures in Tomales Bay

What’s to not love about skimming throughout the water with only a skinny layer separating you from the aquatic denizens under? On a darkish, moonless night time, bluish-white sparkles seem joined by phosphorescent trails via the water — no particular results, simply nature, within the type of bioluminescent plankton, fish, seals and heron placing on a present.

A Blue Waters Kayaking journey makes a memorable present for any journey seeker. Decide up a present card for the three-hour Bioluminescence Tour ($95), which happens on moonless nights, or a half-day Tomales Bay Exploration Tour ($88) to look for tule elk, bat rays and more. Or go Hog (Island) wild and head to the mouth of the bay the place it opens as much as the Pacific on the full-day tour ($98), which incorporates lunch on a distant seashore.

Particulars: Discover present certificates choices — for particular excursions or greenback values —at

Kayakers paddle throughout Tomales Bay throughout a Blue Waters Kayaking Bioluminescence Tour. (Courtesy Jeff Wang) 

7 EAT: Ginger Elizabeth Goodies

Pay attention up, chocolate lovers. Ginger Elizabeth Hahn grew up in Camino choosing blackberries in the summertime, apples within the fall and reworking them into tempting creations. That devotion to recent, Northern California components could be present in each field of her handcrafted truffles and bonbons, together with this deluxe 24-piece, single layer field.

Assume infused ganaches and enrobed caramels in flavors like Eureka Lemon, Caramelized Milk & Espresso, Buttermilk Lime and the delicately-crunchy Peanut Butter Graham Cracker. $42. Know a scorching cocoa fiend? Ginger Elizabeth’s Basic Scorching Chocolate is made with high-quality couverture chocolate, and yields a creamy, wealthy cup.

Particulars: A 12-ounce tin is $15. Out there at or her new store at 3108 Fillmore St., San Francisco.

Eight EAT: No Child Hungry spatulas

Wanting for the right stocking stuffer for your favourite foodie? (Williams Sonoma) 

Just a little QuestLove paintings for the kitchen? Sure, please. Earlier this yr, Williams-Sonoma requested 15 influential pals, from actors to musicians and cooks, to design silicone spatulas that present a pop of colour within the kitchen whereas doing one thing more necessary: Serving to finish childhood starvation.

Thirty % of the retail worth from these celebrity-designed spatulas — Ina Garten scrawled her autograph in purple, Duff Goldman drew probably the most cute cupcake with hearts for frosting — goes to Share Our Power’s program to feed hungry youngsters in America. The BPA-free silicone is heat-resistant as much as 600 levels and the paintbrush-style beech-wood deal with will make your favourite foodie really feel like an artist with each fold and combine. The right feel-good stocking stuffer.

Particulars: $14 every; out there at Williams-Sonoma shops or on-line at

9 DRINK: Rajat Parr’s “The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste”

Know an aspiring sommelier or wine aficionado? They’d love to seek out this e-book beneath the tree. Along with famous wine skilled Jordan Mackay, somm extraordinaire Rajat Parr reveals the secrets and techniques to understanding and having fun with wines from the Previous World’s most well-known areas. We’re speaking Champagne and Bordeaux to the distinctive villages of Barolo and the seven Grand Crus of Chablis.

In “The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe” (Ten Velocity Press, $40), the James Beard Award profitable authors — who additionally penned 2010’s “Secrets of the Sommelier” — element the intricate variations of style amongst these historic areas, right down to subregions, soils, winemakers and appellations. Mixed with Joe Woodhouse’s beautiful pictures and top-notch blind-tasting ideas, it’s a present the wine fanatic in your life will toast to, once more and once more.

Particulars: $40, Ten Velocity Press; out there at native and on-line bookstores

10 PLAY: Culinary Institute of America at Copia present card

Deal with your self to The Restaurant at CIA Copia, and be sure you take a look at the culinary delights on the Copia meals corridor. (Victor M. Samuel Images) 

Anybody captivated with meals and wine is aware of there’s all the time more to pattern and study. Copia, downtown Napa’s epicenter of culinary experience, matches that invoice completely. A go to to Copia’s culinary arts museum, in depth gardens and giant “food as art” mural is free. However the lineup of hands-on courses, wine explorations, interactive demonstrations and occasions are so particular, you’ll need to give your favourite foodie a present card to take all of it in. (Psst, that present card can be utilized at Copia’s open-kitchen restaurant, the place the seasonal menu boasts incredible, recent fare and handcrafted cocktails.)

Particulars: The CIA at Copia is open day by day at 500 First St., Napa; Order present playing cards at

11 EAT: Guittard Eureka Works chocolate

San Francisco’s Guittard Chocolate household is celebrating the corporate’s 150th anniversary this yr within the sweetest method attainable — with a commemorative chocolate bar that pays homage to Guittard’s first manufacturing unit and earliest taste profile. (Plus recipes from Alice Medrich, Chris Cosentino and different Bay Area cooks!)

Eureka Works 62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate celebrates Guittard’s 150th anniversary. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area Information Group)

In the event you’ve ever finished a single-origin chocolate tasting, you realize that terroir impacts the flavour of chocolate, simply because it does wine. When Etienne Guittard opened his first chocolate manufacturing unit — Eureka Works — in 1868, the younger Frenchman utilized his European chocolate methods to the cacao he might supply from San Francisco in these pre-Panama Canal days. This commemorative bar is made with cacao from Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia and — to re-create the flavour profile Etienne would have sourced from Samoa — Hawaii. And a portion of the proceeds goes to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund, which makes the 500-gram chocolate bar each a feel-good and taste-good present concept.

Particulars: $30, obtainable in a present field from now and in Williams Sonoma shops starting Nov. 23. Discover the recipes at

12 PLAY: Joanna Cooke’s “The Sequoia Lives On”

For many Bay Area households, the trek to Yosemite Nationwide Park is a cherished custom, if solely to observe their littlest environmentalists gaze up on the Sierra Nevada’s big sequoias in awe.

Within the new youngsters’s guide, “The Sequoia Lives On” (Yosemite Conservancy), writer Joanna Cooke conveys with easy language and startling details the majesty of a few of our planet’s oldest dwelling issues: That they start life as a seed no greater than an ant, but can develop as tall as three blue whales stacked chin to tail; or that their trunks are so thick, it might take more than 20 youngsters holding palms to wrap their arms round one.

Cooke spent 10 years dwelling within the Sierra, working as an environmental educator and a Nationwide Park Service ranger, so she is aware of the way to convey to youngsters not solely the sequoias’ grandeur, however our crucial position in defending them. Coupled with illustrator Fiona Hsieh’s glowing illustrations, that is the right present for budding arborists, ages four to 7, and younger Yosemite guests.

Particulars: $18;

13 EAT: Silicon Valley tea towels

Tuck one in every of these colourful linens by Los Gatos-based designer Nina Kulick in your tea tray, or body it for your kitchen? You may go both means with this whimsical paintings from Gooseberry Designs that pay homage to the Bay Area, from Silicon Valley to the East Bay, Marin, Tahoe and past.

Mountain Vineyard and Stevens Creek County Park get shout-outs on the Los Gatos-Saratoga graphics. The solar illuminates the UC Berkeley Campanile, Chabot Area and Science Middle and more on the East Bay design. And the Yosemite tea towel depicts each iconic landmark, from Half Dome to the lodge previously referred to as the Ahwahnee.

Particulars: $16, obtainable at Bay Area boutiques and on-line via Gooseberry Designs; 

14 PLAY: Filoli Historic Home & Backyard tickets

Downton Abbey in Woodside? Not fairly, however Filoli makes its personal grand assertion with a 56-room historic Georgian Revival nation residence and 16 acres of formal gardens, surrounded by a 654-acre property. It’s all open to the general public, together with the Quail’s Nest Café and Clock Tower Store to reinforce the expertise. There’s one thing for all ages to take pleasure in, from the ever-changing English backyard to a nature protect, afternoon tea and loads of historical past.

Particulars: E-book tickets ($11-$22) and excursions ($5) on-line at Higher but? Make it a date — with you! — and embrace afternoon tea ($30 for two) on the cafe. Open Tuesday-Sunday at 86 Canada Street in Woodside.

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