This holiday season, gift-giving may be more of a challenge; short of a vaccine, what can we get our loved ones that would make this season truly merry?
Luckily, we can still make the foodies in our lives smile, and, with these culinary boxes and other epicurean delights, we’ll be supporting local restaurants and food businesses at the same time.
From hot pot kits to creative chocolate stocking stuffers to artisanal hot sauces and more, here are my recommendations for this season’s standout gourmet gifts to impress the foodies in your life.
F.I.S.H. Seafood Hot Pot Kit
In case you haven’t noticed, hot pot is life in Vancouver—especially during the winter months. Local seafood market and fish bar Fresh Ideas Start Here (F.I.S.H) is offering a brand-new seafood hot pot kit for the holiday season, which is the ultimate foodie gift. It includes a miso-halibut broth, wild B.C. ling cod, fresh local oysters, local Gallo mussels, and East Coast scallops, among other tasty ingredients. The gourmet kit serves two to three people and must be preordered 48 hours in advance online.
Boulevard Holiday Culinary Box
In addition to its impressive holiday to-go meals, Boulevard has brought its refined touch to create several gourmet gifts this year, including this decadent culinary box featuring toasted nori and kombu sea salt, dehydrated oranges, pre-batched Knob Creek Old Fashioned cocktail, De la Abuela olives, la Marquesa truffled Manchego cheese, and more delectable treats. Find it online.
Miss Chen Kaya Jam
Kaya—pandan-flavoured coconut jam—is a staple in most households in Singapore and Malaysia. Miss Chen Kaya was started by a young local entrepreneur, and her products have been a hit around the city. Now Miss Chen has teamed up for the holidays with Damien’s Belgian Waffles in Steveston Village to launch a joint holiday gift package, which includes a jar of kaya and four mini vanilla waffles. These treats are going to be a hot commodity and can be preordered until noon on December 9 online.
Fable Diner Hot Sauces
It never hurts to add a little spice to our meals, and the homemade hot sauces from Vancouver’s iconic Fable Diner are a secret gem. Its hot sauce collection features three different flavours with heat levels that range from mild (Wax-on Hot Sauce) to medium (45% More Kapow) to hot (Dang That’s Hot Sauce). Each bottle costs just $8 and can be refilled for $4. Find them at Fable Diner.
Chocolate Stocking Stuffers
There’s a reason holiday chocolate and confections are traditional gifts and make perfect stocking stuffers. We’re lucky to have so many delicious options in this city, ranging from creative showpieces to well-loved classics.
Who doesn’t love the chocolate Santa and snowman lollies, not to mention the colourful foil-wrapped mini salted caramels from Purdys?
Not to be outdone, Mon Paris Patisserie brings back its line of impressive luxury holiday treats this year, including its chocolate trees with nuts and dried fruit, a breathtaking chocolate poinsettia flower pot, and filigree chocolate ornaments filled with signature truffles.
And this year’s holiday collection from Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory features an adorable milk chocolate snowman, chocolate Christmas tree, and limited-edition assorted boxes.
Cà Phê Coffee House Gift Sets
Specializing in Vietnamese coffee products, the local social enterprise Cà Phê is offering a collection of coffee-themed gift sets that give back this holiday season. With five options featuring various combinations of Cà Phê coffee beans, condensed milk, a coffee server, and phin filter, proceeds from the sale of each gift set will go directly toward education and community programming in the Downtown Eastside. Find them online.
PICA Cooking Classes
Treat your favourite foodie to a culinary experience that will teach them a thing or two about cooking, since they are probably already well-versed in eating. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) is offering holiday-edition cooking classes, including how to make a turkey feast at home. During the four-hour class, students will get some hands-on instruction on how to make roasted turkey breast, stuffed and sous-vide leg, pear and sage bread stuffing, and turkey jus. A Christmas confections class teaching sweet tooths how to make and gift-package festive chocolate bark, fudge, and other treats is also available. Register online.
Legends Haul Holiday Gift Boxes
This home grocery delivery service recently launched its first collection of chef-curated and consciously sourced holiday gift boxes. These delicious “hauls” directly support local families, farmers, small producers, and restaurants—including Livia Bakery, Chambar, DL Chicken Shack, Beta5 Chocolates, the Pie Shoppe, Café Medina, and many more. The hand-picked boxes come in various themes such as the chef at home box, the charcuterie dreams box, the brunch box, and the sugar box. Find them online.
Commissary Connect Holiday Gift Box
Several homegrown food businesses from this local commissary kitchen gathered once again to celebrate the festive season with these holiday gift boxes. Carefully curated, some of the featured products this year include ThirsTea’s Hong Kong–style milk tea, Tayybeh’s Syrian-women-powered culinary creations such as muttabal (smoked eggplant dip), MKS Foods’ traditional Singaporean jerky, Goodly Foods’ soups and stews, the Stubborn Baker’s bespoke sugar cookies, and many more delicious items. Partial proceeds from each box will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The original box sold out quickly, and the vegan box soon followed suit. It might be worth keeping an eye on the commissary’s website, just in case they make more.
Read about what else you might find on your Wishlist this season.