From local CSA boxes to your very own cannoli kit, give the gift of great grub.
This holiday season, it’s more essential than ever to take the shop local ethos seriously. Local restaurants and businesses are looking down the barrel of a tough month — after eight already incredibly tough months — with the state’s new stay-at-home order temporarily banning outdoor dining and requiring residents to stay at home as much as possible.
Here are 20 ideas for locally made food-and-drink gifts, from handmade pasta and Filipino sweets to virtual cooking classes and a cocktail book authored by a local beverage director, proceeds of which will be donated to bar staff impacted by the shutdown. All of these gifts kill two birds with one stone: treat someone you care about while supporting a local business.
And if you’re at a loss, a gift card to your favorite restaurant, or a donation to the 86Fund for struggling Bay Area eateries — or a subscription to your local newspaper! — will always make for an excellent gift with meaningful impact.
The Midwife and the Baker—panettone
Mountain View’s The Midwife and the Baker is making its own, naturally leavened version of panettone, the Italian holiday staple. It’s flavored with orange zest, candied orange and lemon peel, candied lemon peel and raisins. Preorder online by Dec. 19 for pickup on Dec. 22–24, or look for panettone and other holiday specials at the bakery’s local farmers market stands throughout December. (Panettone bonus: This one isn’t on the Peninsula, but you can get it delivered here and it’s just too good to not share: a gelato-filled panettone from Gio Gelati in San Francisco.)
Give the gift of small-batch roasted coffee beans, jarred cold brew or double espresso shots from Fenn Coffee, founded by local triathlete and coffee obsessive Max Fennell. He sources beans from fair trade — and when possible, organic and women-owned — farms around the world. Order online or look for Fenn Coffee at local grocery stores including The Willows Market in Menlo Park, Bianchini’s Market in Portola Valley, Delucchi’s Market in Redwood City, The Market at Edgewood in Palo Alto and Burlingame Market in Burlingame.
BackAYard Caribbean Grill jerk sauces
BackAYard sells bottles of its jerk sauces, which come in original, hot mango, “hell fire” and sweet BBQ flavors.
The sauces are available for purchase at BackAYard restaurants in Menlo Park, San Jose and Campbell; call your preferred location directly to purchase.
The Prolific Oven cake kits
Palo Alto’s beloved The Prolific Oven has revived its cake kits for the holidays: all the ingredients needed to make the bakery’s popular chocolate cake, poppyseed cake and rum cream cheese frosting are available for local pickup and delivery.
There are numerous options for locally made honey, including NFO Bee Co. and Allied Arts Apiaries in Menlo Park, State Street Honey in Redwood City, Dave’s Backyard Bees in Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills and Bay Area Bees in San Mateo.
Look to the Peninsula’s small, independent wineries for bottles, wine club memberships and virtual tastings as gifts. Here’s a list to get you started. Or, support a local wine shop with a gift card — our favorites include Vin Vino Wine and Salvaje in Palo Alto, Vineyard Gate in Millbrae and Table Wine Merchant in Pacifica.
Vina Mercato fresh pasta and sauces
Vina Enoteca’s new Italian market, Vina Mercato, is stocked with edible gift possibilities, from imported olive oil to wine, but the fresh, handmade pastas and sauces — tortellini filled with prosciutto, parmigiana, mortadella and pork loin, anyone? — might be the most alluring. You can also opt for pre-selected gift boxes filled with wine, Baiocchi cookies, Bomba calabrese spread and other Italian goodies. Order online or visit the market at 700 Welch Road #110, Palo Alto. Open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
‘Cocktails for Home: Sheltered in Place’
Eusebio Pozos-Reyes, beverage director at San Agus Cocina Urbana & Cocktails in Palo Alto, authored this book to guide the home mixologist with ideas and recipes. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to local industry bar staff impacted by the COVID-19 closures. “Cocktails for Home” is available at local bookstores, including Books Inc and Kepler’s Books.
Donato Enoteca cooking class
If you give a friend or family member one of Redwood City Italian favorite Donato Enoteca’s virtual cooking classes, consider getting one for yourself so you can cook together, but apart. Learn how to make agnolotti del plin, pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe and zuppa di pesce in upcoming classes (which also happen to be on sale right now). Place order for pick up by the day before the class or for shipping by at least three days before.
El Merkat paella kit
Send a loved one to Spain (sorta) via a paella kit from Telefèric Barcelona’s next-door market, El Merkat, in Palo Alto. The kits come with a paella pan, extra virgin olive oil, Santo Tomas bomba rice, homemade sofrito and paella seasoning. There are two sizes available, one for two people and another for four. While you’re at it, treat yourself with some imported jamón ibérico, tinned fishes and anchovy-stuffed olives for a holiday tapas platter. Order online or visit El Market at 855 El Camino Real #130, Palo Alto. Open Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Local Lady Larder
Peruse As Kneaded Bakery’s online Local Lady Larder for gift ideas from local, women-owned food businesses, like truffles and milk tea brittle from NeoCocoa in Belmont, slow-roasted honey-sesame cashews from Nuts+Nuts in San Mateo and raspberry meringues from Délice Glacé in Redwood City. As Kneaded is run by Palo Alto native Iliana Berkowitz; her bread is available at grocery stores throughout the Peninsula and would also make for a great edible gift.
Iacopi Farms heirloom beans
The local answer to cult-bean-favorite Rancho Gordo: Iacopi Farms. The Half Moon Bay farm makes some of the highest quality heirloom legumes, from Italian butter beans to Prim Manteca, a variety from Chile. Order online or pick up a couple bags of dried beans from Iacopi’s stands at local farmers markets (including Mountain View and Burlingame on Sundays and College of San Mateo on Saturdays).
Taverna holiday bag
Palo Alto’s Taverna has put together holiday bags full of Greek goods, from Vlahotiri farmer’s sheep milk cheese and wild oregano to the restaurant’s housemade olive oil. You can also purchase individual items from Taverna’s online to-go market.
Noodle in a Haystack mala sauce
During the shutdown Clint and Yoko Tan, the masterminds behind Daly City ramen pop-up Noodle in a Haystack, started selling their wonderfully spicy mala sauce, which they like to describe as a hybrid of chili oil and Chinese XO sauce that can be used like a hot sauce or for cooking. It’s a blend of several kinds of chile, Szechuan pepper, kelp, hemp, tamari smoked fish, garlic, scallion and sesame. The mala sauce, as well as their “vejigrette” (a vegan and gluten-free salad dressing made from carrots, sweet peppers, onions, olives, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar) are available through Fishmonger Don’s website. Do also follow Noodle in a Haystack on Instagram, where the couple posts when they’re selling Yoko’s pillowy Japanese milk bread and other homemade goods.
Binka Bites bibingka
I’d gladly wake up to a box of Binka Bites’ bibingka on my doorstep any day. The South San Francisco bakery’s coconut and rice flour cupcakes are inspired by Filipino bibingka, a baked rice cake, and come in flavors like ube flan (topped with ube cream cheese frosting and leche flan) and mango cream (filled with mango and topped with vanilla whipped cream frosting and graham cracker crumbs). Order online for pickup or delivery. For pickup, orders must be placed at least three days prior to your requested date.
The Milk Pail
The Milk Pail drive-thru market has numerous holiday specials available, including a duck confit and cassoulet kit, frozen cannelloni from Osteria Toscana in Palo Alto, tamales from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, bûche de Noël from Douce France Bakery in Palo Alto and three kinds of panettone. Order online for pickup in Mountain View on Saturday, Dec. 17, or Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Gourmet Haus Staudt imported German goods
Gourmet Haus Staudt’s Redwood City market is full of gift-friendly German and European goods, from spätzle mixes, bratwurst and Milka chocolate bars to rum stollen. Plus, of course, an excellent imported and local beer selection. The store is at 2615 Broadway St., Redwood City. Open Monday noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Romolo’s cannoli kit
Romolo’s has been making stellar cannoli in San Mateo since 1968 using a secret family recipe. Sigona’s is partnering with the family-owned business to offer cannoli kits for the holidays. It comes with three plain and three chocolate cannoli shells, garnishes (chocolate chips, chopped pistachios and glazed cherries) and cream to fill the cannoli. The kit has about a two-week shelf life. You can send it to someone through Sigona’s home delivery platform; order here. Or, call the store to pick one up in person.
A local CSA box subscription
Give a friend the gift of fresh produce — and support a local farm — with a community supported agriculture (CSA) box subscription. Oya Organic Farm, which is based in Hollister but run by a Palo Alto resident, offers boxes with seven to nine different varieties of organic produce available for local pickup on a weekly or monthly basis. Or, gift your entire neighborhood by teaming up for a CSA box pickup — if you have at least five people interested in picking up at your house or workplace, reach out to the farm.
Or, check out Luna Vez Farm, whose CSA boxes feature rotating, seasonal produce from the Los Altos Hills farm as well as lesser known farms run by people of color. For the holidays, Luna Vez is also making chili wreaths and preserves baskets with locally made jam, salsa, marinara, canned tomatoes and honey. Delivery is available for Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents; others can pick up boxes at the farm on Wednesdays. People interested in purchasing the CSA boxes or other items can email [email protected].
Support Ada’s Cafe, the Palo Alto nonprofit-cafe that employs people with disabilities, by buying their homemade jam, granola or hot cocoa mix as gifts. To order, email [email protected].
Give someone the gift of ringing in 2021 wearing this vote 2020 T-shirt from Manresa Bread, featuring a masked croissant. While you’re at it, Manresa Bread’s house-milled whole wheat chocolate chip cookie mix, whole grain waffle mix and enormous Breton-style kougin amann are all available for national (and local) shipping.
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