It really is better to give than to receive when you find the perfect gift that is warmly appreciated, and you haven’t felt caught up in shopping mall madness. To help you achieve this end, we’ve polled a fine range of independent retailers — the real shopping experts — for suggestions for the foodies in your life. Whether you’re looking for a big present for someone close to your heart, or a small gift for a hostess or your friend at work, here are some new as well as tried-and-true suggestions from the experts. Happy Shopping!
These handcrafted charcuterie boards come from Once Upon A Tree, a Kitchener company committed to using local and sustainably harvested wood. They come in walnut or cherry, and feature a “live edge” that makes each one unique. They work as a cutting board, but offer a stylish way to serve charcuterie, crostini or pizza. $59.99 at Jill’s Table • 115 King St, London • www.jillstable.ca • 519-645-1335
Consumable gifts are always appreciated, especially when they satisfy a sweet tooth! Chocolate Barr’s offers a customized Stackable Gift Basket — items can be substituted or more can be added. A popular choice includes their renowned 1-Pound Assorted Chocolates, a ½-Pound of mixed milk and dark chocolate Minties, and a ½-Pound of Almond Butter Crunch. $42.99 as shown, at Chocolate Barr’s Candies • 55 George St W, Stratford • www.chocolatebarrs.com • 519-272-2828
As seen on Dragon’s Den, the artisans at Wendell Estate carefully select the bees in their apiaries. The result is as white as snow. This creamed, raw, Canadian prairie honey has a smooth, exquisite texture and a world-class taste profile. Wendell Estate Honey is both decadent and delicious. $18 for a 340g jar as shown, at Featherfields • 1570 Hyde Park Rd, London • www.featherfields.com • 519-474-1165
Perfect for the coffee lover, the Porlex Mini-Hand Grinder slips inside the Aeropress Coffee Maker, creating the perfect travel coffee solution. The grinder’s ceramic burrs won’t rust, and stay sharper than metal burrs. Easy to adjust, from Turkish Grind to French Press. Made in Japan. $113 as shown, at Locomotive Espresso • 408 Pall Mall St, London • www.locomotive espresso.com • 519-601-3896
The Zippy Easy Popcorn Maker is a totally new snack-making experience that allows you the creative freedom to invent your own snack recipes. Designed to be fun and easy, you will impress your friends with everything from fluffy popcorn creations to sweet or savory roasted nuts and snacks. Think Chili Lime Cilantro Popcorn, Almond Cherry Granola Popcorn or Toasted Coconut Cashews. Zippy uses less oil and lets you choose the ingredients for healthier, happier snacking. 4-Quart $59.95, 5.5-Quart $69.95 at Bradshaws • 129 Ontario St, Stratford • www.bradshawscanada.com • 519-271-6283
Whether you are buying for friends, family, or corporate events, an independent retailer such as Olive~Me & Co. can help you create unique and delicious gifts and gift baskets. With products ranging from award winning Olive Oils (like Persian Lime and Roasted Garlic) and Balsamic Vinegars (like Fig and White Cranberry Pear) in a variety of sizes and flavours, gift certificates and sample packs, to a tasty selection of tapenades, mustards, dipping oils and spreads, they can help you come up with the perfect gift idea! Price ranges to suit every budget,from as low as $6. $89.99 as shown, at Olive-Me & Co • 1570 Hyde Park Rd, London • www.olivemeco.com • 519-471-6548
Combining quality and functionality in a beautiful classic design, Gastrolux BIOTAN Non-Stick Cookware is ideal for saving energy and making healthier meals. The new BIOTAN non-stick cooking surface lets you cook with little-to-no oil while still keeping food from sticking. It’s also long-lasting and safe because it’s made from bio-minerals with no dangerous chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS. Gastrolux cookware is made in Denmark and suitable for any cooktop, including induction, and for home or professional use. Starting at $140, the entire Gastrolux line is on sale at 25% off for the holidays at Eurohome Appliances • 40550 Amberly Rd, Wingham • www.eurohomes.net • 1-877-543-2437
These petite Le Creuset Espresso Mugs will inject a pop of colour into any kitchen. They are versatile too; perfect for espresso, they also work beautifully for individual desserts. The durable enamelled surface resists staining, chipping and cracking, and is easy to clean. Providing a totally hygienic surface, it will not absorb odours or flavours. Microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. The set of six is even on promo for Christmas. $49.99 (regularly $120) at Kiss the Cook • 551 Richmond St, London • www.kissthecookonline.com • 519-850-5477
Pottery serving, storage and display pieces combine form, function and artistry in unique ways. Literally infused with the creative and personal touch of the potter, each piece stands as a work of art that also serves a practical purpose. Handmade items from local artisans add an extra element of interest and connectivity to this ancient art. Three local potters are represented in this grouping, with just one item identified to indicate their style. SHERRY DRESSER (SD) pottery Raku bird $26, large plate $80, Muskoka plate and bowl set $95, Muskoka mugs $24, turquoise wine cups $21; WANDA DENSMORE (WD) pottery mugs $26, small plates $22, 3-piece tray set $89, largebowl $79, medium bowl $49;EARTH WORKS (EW) pottery wine/water jug $88, alkaline producing wine cups $22, mushroom keepers $44/36, garlic keepers $35/28 at The Rusty Gate • 524 Adelaide St N, London • www.rustygate.ca • 519-434-1838
Handmade in Ontario by nina nina celestina, these flax linen bread bags will keep your loaf of crusty bread fresh better, and a bit longer, than paper or plastic (which tends to make the crust too dry or too damp). They’re made from a tough, sustainable 100% pre-washed, pre-shrunk linen that will get softer with each wash, and with proper care can last a lifetime. In three sizes for all your odd shaped loaves. Available mid-November. $24.99 at Decorator’s Choice Fabrics • 1560 Hyde Park Rd, London • www.decoratorschoicefabrics.com • 519 641 2916
The Pristine Olive Tasting Bar has come up with a charming way to help customers try their products (over 60 flavours of oils and balsamics!). Owner Jamie Griffiths has created six unique Sample Pack Combinations, containing many of his most popular items. Each sample pack holds six individually labeled, 60ml bottles, enclosed in a custom-designed gift box. Perfect for people who wish to try a little bit of everything! $30 (Gourmet Pack $34) at The Pristine Olive • 462 Cheapside St, London • www.thepristineolive.com • 519-433-4444
Here’s an idea for combining your shopping with lunch or dinner overlooking Rondeau Bay on the shores of Lake Erie, just off Highway 3. Bayside Brewing Company has a number of new and exciting Christmas gift ideas for beer lovers. Choose an assorted sampler beer pack of 8 “tall boy” cans, or wrap up a favourite growler and a Bayside glass to quaff it with. Each Holiday Gift Pack is $25. Bayside also offers a line of sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, sweatpants and more. Open daily from 12 noon, and dining reservations are recommended. Bayside Brewing Company • 970 Ross Lane, Erieau • www.baysidebrewing.com • 519.676.8888
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!