Foodie Gifts for Christmas
A jaunty fire dances in the hearth, my playlist is set on carols, and there’s fruitcake and stollen keeping me company. It’s the final days before Christmas, and my presents are all wrapped and delivered. I’ve got to admit, it’s been a frantic week shopping and getting organised; but a last-minute decision to focus on an edible theme helped things considerably. Here are six delicious items I’ve picked up on my travels that would to delight any foodie on your list. And no, this is not an advertorial – just food I happen to really love and think you would, too.
Kyklos Olive Oil
My friend Zoe gave me this bottle of extra virgin olive oil from her family’s century-old grove in Greece, and I’ve become addicted. Personal connection aside, this is premium stuff. I’m a bit of an EVOO snob, and what I’m looking for is a pureness of flavour. The Kyklos oil is pressed solely from Koroneiki olives then bottled in a brilliantly designed vessel that shields the oil from light, which can alter taste and destroy antioxidants. If you can’t get to Hamstead Market in the UK, get it delivered: http://kyklosoliveoil.com/
There’s chocolate wafer, and then there’s PIedmontese wafers. This specialty dating back to biblical times from the Italian town of Biella is not your usual childhood treat. A fat layer of dark chocolate is hugged by two crisp waffles with a slightly nutty flavour, not too sweet, not too crumbly, and ever so decadent. They can be found in fine delicatessens across Italy or from their website: http://www.brusa.com/
Germany has given birth to many wondrous things. Volkswagen. Adidas. Heidi Klum. Thankfully, my little nephews have yet to discover any of the above. What they are obsessed with however is Kinder Surprise, the hollow egg-shaped chocolates with a surprise toy inside. It’s an ingenious marketing ploy for any kid, but being a good uncle, I give in. So when I saw this giant meta-Kinder at duty-free, it was a no-brainer.
“Why in the world you give someone granola for Christmas”, my sister scoffs. Well, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I happen to love granola. This company in Malaysia has made terrific strides in trying to incorporate local ingredients into western-style snacks. Hence you’ll find matcha green tea, longans, goji berries mingling with more traditional granola ingredients. The products are now also available in Singapore and Hong Kong. https://www.amazingraze.co
Aunt Sally’s Pralines
Pecans coated in sugar. You just can’t beat it. Pralines are a real southern American treat, perhaps only second to pecan pie. I’ve been buying the candy from Aunt Sally’s since my first visit to New Orleans and continue to include them in food hampers. Pecans also feel particularly apt at Christmas. These days, mail order does the trick, too: http://auntsallys.com/
Marks & Spencer Mince Pies
Nothing says Christmas more than mince pies. Originally made with mincemeat and suet, the modern versions usually contain dried fruit (and sometimes booze). I’m partial to the M&S ones; they use proper butter in the pastry and are pretty generous with the filling. Plus, have you seen their ad campaign this year with a classy Mrs. Claus downing mince pies? Genius.
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