Food is love, and for those who are looking to share the love with some favourite foodies this holiday season, there’s no better marketplace than bountiful British Columbia. From handmade chocolates to cutting boards that might upstage even your most sophisticated charcuterie spread, there are goodies galore perfect for holiday gift-giving that can be found right here in Vancouver.
PS: You’ll notice this list is lacking wine or beer. We’ve got some more gift guides rolling out in the coming days that will help you shop for (yourself or) the wine or beer lover on your list.
Whether you’re putting together a gift basket, stuffing stockings, or looking for that perfect food present to ship off or put under a Vancouverite’s tree, here are TK great local gifts for food lovers.
Seafood lovers in Vancouver know Joe Fortes, and one of the many things they’re beloved for is their delicious lobster oil, which is served with balsamic vinegar for bread dipping ahead of your feast. You can purchase bottles of the oil for your own enjoyment at home (try tossing it on some pasta) for $29.95.
There is no meat involved in this “salami” from Angie Quaale of the well-appointed gourmet food shop Well Seasoned in Langley. It’s a traditional treat in Portugal and Italy, and it’s full of bright flavours, like pistachio, orange, and cherry, all in a decadent chocolate roll that looks exactly like a salami.
The Negroni is a classic cocktail enjoying well-deserved appreciation these days. For the Negroni enthusiast on your list, you can get all the essentials (minus the glass, ice, and garnish) for an entirely “made in BC” Negroni with two bottles from local distiller Goodridge & Williams. Grab their Tempo Renovo small batch Gin plus their Bitterhouse Rubato aperitif and they’re well on their way. If vermouth is a must-have, head to Odd Society to pick up a bottle of their beautiful Bittersweet Vermouth.
These incredibly cute magnetic bookmarks can help keep your place in any cookbook or Ruth Reichl memoir. Jumbo bookmarks include adorable bubble tea, cookies and meal, macaron, avocado, coffee, and cereal bowls, or you can get mini sets, like the sushi one.
Local plant-based food writer and chef Erin Ireland makes banana bread that is To Die For, which also happens to be the name of her lifestyle website. Find it around town at some terrific cafes.
Vancouver’s Bittered Sling has released a stunner of a gift pack for holiday 2016, which features six 30mL vials of some of their most popular and award-winning bitters. Included in this terrific new set are Kensington Dry Aromatic, Malagasy Chocolate, Lem-Marrakech, Moondog, Grapefruit & Hops and Plum & Rootbeer.
The mother-daughter duo behind Capilano Tea House have an artful serious of small-batch teas, using local ingredients. Options include flavours like Roots and Chai, Elderberry Green, Khatsalano Beach, and Juniper Rooibos.
Bottled from fruit grown in the Okanagan Valley, these pure juices are like sunshine in a bottle. With flavours like pear, apple, and cherry, they Jobst Hof juices come in cool glass bottles with “schwing” closures.
Hand harvested from the waters off Vancouver Island, these are truly local seasonings. Available in varieties like Smoked Sea Salt, Roasted Garlic Sea Salt, and Orange and Lime Sea Salt (this one is great for seasoning wild BC salmon), this is a great way to spice up a local foodie’s life.
Beta 5’s visually stunning handcrafted chocolates and other treats are glorious any time of year. Their tantalizing 2016 holiday collection includes a chocolate set called “Christmas in Paris” featuring flavours like Crepes Suzette and Vin Chaud. But the whimsical “Lump of Coal” is the perfect stocking stuffer for the nicest naughty person on your list; it’s dark rum caramel, eggnog ganache, spiced pecan praline, in a 63% dark chocolate shell, dusted with a mixture of cocoa powder and coconut ash–and yes, it looks exactly like its name.
Handmade in Squamish, Raven Timberworks makes beautiful cutting boards and serving platters that food lovers will cherish for cooking and setting out stunning charcuterie and cheese plates. You’ll find Raven Timberworks at local farmers’ markets. (You may have seen their work if you’ve dined at Squamish’s elegant new restaurant, The Salted Vine, too.)
The signature turquoise hue of 49th Parallel’s coffee bean bags can be seen at top cafes around Metro Vancouver, and it really endures as one of the city’s standout roasters. For the holidays they’ve got a Holiday Gift Box, which includes a bag of Holiday Espresso, Holiday Blend and a 10.5oz 49th Parallel Mug in classic mint green packaged conveniently in a 49th Parallel gift box. Purchase this set online (49thcoffee.com) or at either of the two 49th Parallel Cafe locations.
A great snack that marries sweet with a hint of salt, Batch’s Salted Caramel Pecan Popcorn is the perfect nibble for a chilly Vancouver day. You can find this goodie at several Vancouver shops, or online; just check their “where to find” list.
From their zingy Hot Mango Jam to their toast-friendly Pink Grapefruit & Rhubarb Jam-a-lade, to their savoury Onion & Thyme Jam, there’s plenty to enjoy from Salt Spring Island’s own SaltSpring Kitchen. With retailers all over BC, including many in the lower mainland, this is one great way to “spread” some joy this holiday season while shopping local.