Local Food Gifts that They’ll Love (and Devour) – Coho Market
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Local Food Gifts that They’ll Love (and Devour)

You have plans to celebrate your aunt’s birthday, and as usual, you’re stumped for ideas as to what to buy her. Should you get her a scented candle? A scarf like last year? Maybe another mug? As you run down the list of possible presents, you hit a dead end. Your aunt already has so many things in her life. Your present would be yet another object that she adds to the sad pile of unused gifts in her closet.
In a moment of inspiration, you suddenly think of what you could give her that she would enjoy immensely: gourmet food gifts. Food presents have come a long way since people used to arrive at people’s dinner parties, dutifully bringing a box of ordinary chocolates from the grocery store. Now, local companies offer gourmet products that are unique and of exceptional quality, making them ideal for thoughtful gift-giving to your friends and family. 

Types of Gourmet Food Gifts to Consider 

With such a wide range of gourmet food gifts, you’ll be able to find a product to suit and delight each of the diverse palates in your life. Many local food companies put together sampler packs that make for excellent gifts. Or, if you know your giftee particularly likes a certain flavour of a food product, you can buy a full-size version.
Always popular are food gifts that appeal to people’s sweet tooths, such as sweets, like candy and chocolates, or baked goods, like cookies and squares. Gourmet nuts, often candied or covered in chocolate, can appeal to those who like a combination of sweet and salty. A jar of local honey, jam, or a tasty spread makes for a charming present, perhaps accompanied by some specialty crackers. If you know someone who likes to experiment with different flavours in their cooking, they’ll be thrilled to receive gourmet sauces, seasonings, and salts. And while bottles of wine are always appreciated, non-alcoholic options like specialty teas and coffees will elevate someone’s afternoon breaks.

How to Buy or Order Local Food Gifts

Local food gifts can be found primarily at online and in-person food retailers that champion small artisan producers. Small gift boutiques often carry specialty food items, along with their other non-food selections. While farmers markets have numerous vendors that sell gourmet items, like local fruit preserves, there are other markets, particularly around the holidays, that feature small batch products you probably wouldn’t find at a supermarket. For example, Got Craft? has a regular foodie market, and Make It is a great event for browsing for gourmet goodies. Other smaller local craft fairs are also full of vendors selling food gifts.

Local Brands to Know When Coming Up with Food Gift Ideas 

To make your gift giving easier, here are some local companies producing artisanal products that anyone who loves food would be very happy to receive:

Luv the Grub Chutney and Spread Sampler

This vegan company takes cast aside imperfect fruit and vegetables and transforms them into delectable spreads and chutneys. Their sampler pack consists of three 2 oz jars of their most popular products, offering a range of fruit and spices. The pear walnut chutney with cinnamon, ground ginger, and star anise, and the chai apple spread with cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, star anise, and nutmeg will be especially comforting during the fall and winter months. Meanwhile, the spiced mango chutney with serrano chili peppers will pair wonderfully with curries or samosas.

Luv The Grub

EastVan Bees Honey

For an incredibly local food gift, consider a jar of honey from EastVan bees. All their honey comes from hives located on private homes or community gardens in Vancouver, making this product a true community-minded initiative. The company keeps the honey raw, unheated, and chemical free to ensure that the tastes from each neighbourhood remain intact. Your giftee will be able to appreciate the multi-floral aromas from gardens and flowering trees in the city. Besides jars of neighbourhood honey, EastVan Bees also sell creamed honey with flavours like organic strawberry, as well as specialty honeys, like one infused with bird’s eye chili peppers.

KAAJ Chocolates

Your recipients will be contentedly swooning over bars of Kaaj Chocolates, which combine high quality artisan chocolate with a social conscience. The co-op company’s commitment to bean-to-bar chocolate-making ensures the purity of their products, as well as the ethics of their sourcing. Bars are composed of single origin cacao beans from farms using techniques that are environmentally and socially responsible. For your foodie gift, select a few bars like an 82% dark chocolate bar made from the Nicaraguan O’Payo cacao bean, organically produced by Ingemann Fine Cocoa farms; a 70% dark chocolate bar that uses Trinitario beans from Vietnam’s Dak Lak province; and a 77% dark chocolate bar composed of Trinitario beans from the Hacienda San José plantation in Rio Caribe, Venezuela.

Kaaj Chocolates

Le Meadow’s Pantry Jams and Marmalades 

There’s something about a jar of locally-made jam that’s particularly heart-warming. Le Meadow’s Pantry specializes in hand-crafted jams and marmalades, cooked in French copper preserving pans in small batches. They sell a variety of elegant gift sets, including three mini jams (strawberry and balsamic, blueberry and honey, and raspberry rose) and a breakfast gift box with their orange marmalade, grapefruit and smoked sea salt marmalade, raspberry and rose jam, a Take a Fancy chocolate bar, and a wooden knife from Atelier La Louve.

Vancouver Best Cookies Master Sampler

Who doesn’t adore getting cookies, especially a baker’s dozen with a wide assortment for your giftee to choose from? If they’re feeling generous, they could share some of the cookies with others – or they could keep them for themselves. Vancouver Best Cookies keeps their baking all natural, offering just-out-of-the-oven comfort. The sampler box, with twelve cookies and one included for free, is comprised of flavours made fresh at the bakery daily, such as macadamia and white chocolate, classic chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin. Gluten free and vegan options are available.  

Vancouver Best Cookies

Sassy Frass Kitchenary Seasonings

A spoonful or often just a pinch of seasoning will definitely make meals tastier. These gorgeously packaged seasonings are made for gifting to a friend or family member who adores cooking, or just wants a new way to spice up their dinners. Sassy Frasser Kitchenary produces a range of handy seasonings that use organic ingredients, and are kosher and additive free. Options include Herbs de Provence with lavender and a blend of other herbs, such as thyme and rosemary; Saltry Glance, which features pink Himalayan salt with roasted garlic, parsley, and rosemary; and Pizza Friday!, a blend of herbs and chili flakes for an Italian night at home. Or, for a really impressive gourmet gift, buy them the Flagship Five, which comes with all of the company’s offerings.

BOBASAUR DIY Bubble Tea Drink Kit

If you’re seeking a fun gourmet gift, the Nguyen brothers, owners of BOBASAUR, have the perfect idea. They’ve assembled a cute DIY Bubble Tea Drink Kit that your giftees can use to create bubble tea in only five minutes. The kit includes bags of roasted milk tea, brown sugar pearls, compostable straws, a mason jar, a measuring scoop, and even a recipe booklet for becoming the ultimate boba-rista. Your present makes five customized bubble tea servings and equips your giftee with the skills to make more boba in the future.

Bobasaur Bubble Tea Kit

Justo’s Craft Dips

Justin Kopetzki (aka Justo) and his friends Adam Conlin and Eric Taccogna first started selling paper cups full of homemade dips via an Instagram account. Since then, their socially-minded enterprise has grown to produce a range of plant-based dips, sold in beautifully designed jars, that would make for great food gifts. The dips come in delicious gourmet flavours, like hummus with white truffle oil, a roasted garlic and tahini hummus, and a mango jalapeño salsa. Each jar also goes toward feeding someone at a food shelter, with the donation doubled after the return of their reusable jars. In addition, the company limits their environmental impact by sourcing excess local crops and repurposing the aquafaba from cooking their chickpeas.

Flaming Chocolates Choco Nuts

It won’t take long for your giftee to untie the ribbon and dig into these gourmet choco nuts. Flaming Chocolates nuts are a lovely food gift for discerning chocolate fans. The company only sources sustainable chocolate for exceptionally high-quality products. They caramelize and lightly salt almonds before they coat them in 70% dark chocolate from Vietnam.

Flaming Chocolates Choconuts 

Food Gift Ideas for Loved Ones – and for Yourself 

As is often the case with gift giving, you might also consider treating yourself with one of these local artisan products as you shop for friends and family. These gourmet products are crafted with such attention to quality and ethical sourcing, they truly are a lovely way to show you care.

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