Gift-giving season is here: Whether you find yourself shopping for the perfect present for your favorite foodie or rushing to pick up a last-minute hostess gift, we’ve got you covered.
In a land where there are more restaurants than there are days to try them, nothing beats gift cards to favorite local eateries. Tons of places are offering sweet seasonal deals, like buy $100 get an extra $20 (Tulia and Bar Tulia) or get a 20 percent bonus on top of any amount (Culinary Concepts). While there’s an expiration for most promotions, the cards themselves are available all year long and the appeal never lessens.
I personally love the tasty treats from Trinity Gourmet as well as the personalities who prepare them each holiday season. Click here to read more about the products made from scratch whose proceeds benefit area charities. Volunteers will continue selling them throughout season after Sunday services at Trinity-by-the-Cove in Port Royal. Some of what’s on the menu: cranberry-pear jam, lime-mint jelly, red onion marmalade and, of course, the famous mango chutney—and much more.
Another kind of gift that gives back: A “harvest wine set” of a wine tote, apron, pot holder and bottle of Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi is being sold for $35 on Amazon now through Dec. 31, and all proceeds will be donated to ampleharvest.org.
There’s nothing like cookies at Christmastime. Why not make life a little easier (and tastier)—and keep your baking sheets in rotation well beyond Dec. 25? Norman Love has released a new line of gourmet cookie mixes, sweetly titled “Stir Bake LOVE.” Putting the “good” in baked goods, the four initial flavors like chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin come with all the premium ingredients; you just need to add butter and an egg.
Click here to buy online, or find them in any of the four Norman Love retail stores.
Speaking of quality, if truffles are your most prized gems (the taste! the smell!), boy, do I have a find for you: After years of searching for the perfect product to keep at home, I finally found the most amazingly aromatic shot of liquid gold—5 Diamond Delicacies’ organic extra-virgin, first-pressed olive oil infused with black truffles, white truffles or a mix of the two. Just opening the bottle, the initial whiff is enough alone to satisfy a craving. You can buy them on Amazon by clicking here, or check the company’s Facebook page to see where in South Florida the owner is selling them (he lives on the East Coast and travels to a lot of restaurants and events in the region—it was love at first bite for me when I sampled them at the C.H.E.F. fundraiser in November).
If you’ve got time to build a gift basket, there are many, many restaurants that bottle their own recipes or sell a selection of artisanal products to take home. There’s something for everyone, from Michelbob’s barbecue sauce to Dolce & Salato’s wall of imported Italian coffees, cookies and conchiglie. In fact, the café keeps keep pre-made gift baskets around throughout the year for super-quick shopping, and so too does DeRomo’s in Bonita Springs, which recently added a dedicated gift basket store (click here for more details).