A few foodie must haves for the holidays
While not comprehensive, here is a list of a few items I’ve discovered that I think any foodie could benefit from having around for the holidays. They are great to break out for an impromptu gathering, to give as a host(ess) gift or even to simply enjoy yourself. It’s a busy time of year, so I recommend stocking up with a few of these things so you won’t have to scramble to find something perfect at the last minute.
Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark – $26.50 each/$46.00 for 2
I’ve tried a few peppermint barks, but this is by far the best. One bite and you’ll be addicted. You will be buying it year after year. You can taste the good quality of the ingredients and the flavors are perfectly balanced. It makes a pretty presentation for guests at your home and also makes a lovely holiday/host(ess) gift.
The rest of my mentions you can order through St. Helena Olive Oil Co. They are top of mind as we just sampled them when we at the store last month. Needless to say, we bought a lot; our reusable shopping bag almost burst on the way to the car!
Black Olive Tapenade – $14.00
I’m always a fan of black olive tapenade. This jar is a particularly nice blend. My daughter, Sofie, also loved it. I felt a bit bad giving her 5 sample tastes but she kept begging for more and, well, we already had quite the pile of things we were buying on the counter. So I think we made up for the excessive sampling. It is jarred so it’ll last and will be a great item to have in the pantry. All you need are some crackers, or my preference – bread and you have a nice starter. (Picture from St. Helena Olive Oil Co. website)
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce – $12.00 for a 26oz jar
This sauce is heavenly. It is creamy, sweet and such a cheerful color. If you like butternut squash, you’ll love this. In fact, you’ll want to lick the plate. Pick up (or make!) some fresh pasta to compliment the sauce and you’ll have an easy yet impressive dinner. As an FYI, I also sampled the Red Heirloom pasta sauce but didn’t love it. Their pasta also seemed very cool, we brought a pack home but haven’t cooked it up yet. (Picture from St. Helena Olive Oil Co. website)
Black Button Sage Honey – $12.00
I love honey. I have it every day in my tea and use it often in cooking. I even give it my daughter by the spoonful (toddler sized spoon) when she has a cough. Honey is great. That said, I tend to really only like clover honey. Yes, some may say that is boring as it is probably the mildest of them all, but it is what I like. I find wild flower honey and orange blossom honey have too much going on, that sort of masks the gentle delicious flavor I love. This black button sage honey, however, is a different story. It is really delicious, quite special tasting. I was almost giddy when I sampled it. It is expensive but if you can splurge, I highly recommend you try some or make a foodie friend very happy with this as a gift. I have also seen this brand at Dean and Deluca so you may be able to find it elsewhere too. (Picture from St. Helena Olive Oil Co. website)
Mosto D’Uva Biodynamic Non-alcoholic grape juice – $17.99 for 25oz
If you have any need for a very special non-alcoholic beverage this holiday, this is the one to get. I wanted to stick a straw in the bottle after I sampled it, my daughter also loved it. We brought 2 bottles home. It has a deepness in flavor and silkiness akin to wine but is super smooth and easy to drink. We sampled this at St. Helena Olive Oil company but it looks like they don’t sell it through their online store. You can get it from Purely Organics through Amazon for $17.99 plus shipping, or directly through Purely Organics which offers free US shipping all orders of $75 or more. (Picture from Amazon.com website)
Update (Jan 5, 2011): We opened a bottle last week and while tasty it was very sweet. So I recommend having some sparkling or mineral water on hand to dilute it. This is in fact a good thing, since it will make the bottle of grape juice go further!