‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry, and that can easily extend to the kinds of gifts you give this year. While it’s easy to give food or drink, you can take it one step further and give a food experience; these gifts tend to make lasting impressions, because they make memories and can “keep on giving.”
Even better: Plan to share the experience with your friend, relative, or colleague, and really maximize the joy of giving.
Here are 13 food experiences in Vancouver that would make delicious holiday gifts this season.
If you’re shopping for a beer lover, few things in Vancouver will keep them better connected to the suds they love than a membership to CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia). The non-profit is all about growing and fostering real craft beer in the province, and they offer several classes, which also make great gifts. Learn everything from the History of Beer to Hops 101 to the art of pairing beer with food, as well as all you need to know about beer styles and varieties.
For the burgeoning wine lover on your shopping list, send them to Sunday School for some learning…with a healthy heaping of fun. Courses at the Vancouver Urban Winery are held at the Settlement Building in Railtown, and you can get a gift certificate your favourite wine enthusiast can apply to classes. Buy a gift certificate for $80 to Vancouver Urban Winery (that way they can go with a friend, costs $40 per ticket). To purchase, you can stop by in person or call 604.566.9463. The 2017 calendar gets announced in late January/early February and classes run for the following six months.
Get to know the city through its food via the many delicious food-focused tours run by Vancouver Foodie Tours. Even if you are a longtime local, there’s still so much to taste and see. Eat your way through Gastown or Granville Island Market, or feast at the food trucks. PS: They’re running a gift certificate promo through the end of November.
Food lovers will find a multitude of engaging courses to fit their passion for cooking (and eating) at the Dirty Apron cooking school. From couples’ night to basic knife skills, as well as deep dives into Julia Child’s world of French cuisine, these fun hands-on classes make a great gift. Pick up a gift certificate for the budding chef you’re shopping for this season.
Ever want to learn how to make mead? Or your own yogurt? Root Beer? Maybe you’ve been curious about curing your own beef jerky, or mastering sourdough bread baking–or know someone who wants to learn this, too. Homestead Junction offers numerous workshops throughout the year, from $15 on up to over $100 for multi-day courses.
Sure, you can buy a box of chocolates…but you can also give the gift of making chocolates. Vancouver’s venerable Purdys offers truffle and bark making classes regularly, for groups and individuals. Get in touch with them to arrange for the chocoholic on your list to learn how to make some serious treats.
Kombucha and matcha are super, super, super trendy right now. The drinks each have their legions of devotees, and if you are doing some holiday giving for one such bevvy lover, you may want to send them to the O5 tea shop, where they regularly offer classes on making and enjoying kombucha and matcha.
If you’re shopping for a foodie who is serious about their Instagram game, or who is ready to take their DSLR skills to the next level, consider helping them out with some food photography courses. Though nothing is on the books right now, the Artful Desperado and Slice of Pai are known for their incredible workshops, and perhaps your recipient will appreciate an IOU to get them on the class list. Otherwise, perhaps a general course from Vancouver Photo Workshops would fit the bill.
Head to Long Table distillery for Gin & Tonic Fridays or Cocktail Saturdays to get to know gin and the wonderful ways it can be enjoyed. This would make a great outing kind of gift, so plan a date with your gin-curious loved one or colleague for an evening of tasting and fun.
If whisky is the spirit of choice for someone special in your life, take them to Fets Whisky Kitchen. While you can certainly make a present out of a visit to taste from their impressive collection of hundreds of whiskies from around the world, another option is to book tickets for their whisky dinners. Check their website for upcoming event details.
Learning to grow your own food is an empowering way to connect with nature and be closer to what ends up on your plate. One of Metro Vancouver’s best programs is offered by the Edible Garden Project, who regularly host The GardenSmart Workshop Series in North Van.
Plant-based eating is becoming increasingly popular, either as a complete lifestyle or as an occasional way to cut out the animal products. To learn how to improve your vegan or veggie cooking game, check out courses offered locally by Nourish or Rooted.
Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy offers multi-level pro barista courses, workshops for home baristas, brewing method classes, and more. You can select a holiday gift card to purchase that is expressly designed for giving to the budding bean-iac in your life.