Every Christmas, I eagerly await the arrival of several food items my parent’s neighbors and friends are known for sending. I’m a big fan of edible Christmas gifts- they won’t clutter your house, they’re pretty easy to give away, and you don’t have to worry if they’re the right size.
What makes a good food gift? I think it must be both delicious and thoughtful. While a gift of local biscuit mix and sausages might be delicious, it might not be the best gift for a vegetarian. While an intricate gingerbread house may be thoughtful, it might taste terrible and ultimately get thrown away. Jokes about alternative uses for fruitcakes exist for a reason.
Here are some of my top pics for edible (and 1 drinkable) Christmas gifts. I have tried nearly every item on this list, and the exceptions came highly recommended by friends. Feel free to add your own suggestions!
1. Loose Leaf Tea
Tea is one of my favorite things to buy when I travel. It lasts much longer than a chocolate bar, and it’s often attractively packaged. Le Palais des Thes has some nice sampler sets and tins. The Cultured Cup, based in Texas, has a good selection of Mariage Freres teas that you can order in bulk.
2. Foreign Foodstuffs
For years, I have been looking for an excuse to order from germandeli.com. They have one of the best selections of Bahlsen Christmas cookies that i’ve seen online. Their Contessas (picture above) are some of my favorite gingerbread cookies. For other (non-German) items, I usually go to local groceries or larger stores like Mistuwa or Cost Plus. Vacations abroad are also good opportunities to pick up unique food gifts.
3. Things in a Tin
Tins are great. Many of them are elegant, colorful, and perfect for toting baked goods to work. Some of my favorite products in tins include Yoku Moku cookies, Enrico Biscotti, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company popcorn, and Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark.
Whether it’s for baking or for eating, chocolate can be an indulgent gift choice. I’ve enjoyed products from Chocosphere, Mon Aimee Chocolat in Pittsburgh, Garrison Confections, Poco Dolce, and Jin Patisserie. If you’re looking for something unusual, check out Bond St. Chocolate’s ‘Divine Collection.’ I’ve heard good things about Bon Bon Bar as well. There are almost too many chocolate retailers to name…
I frequently give people sea salt caramels from Little Flower Candy Company. They’re some of my favorite confections. Bags of brightly colored hard candies from Papabubble would make nice stocking stuffers, as would candies or lollipops from Yummy Earth.
If you can get good preserves from a local store or farmers market, go for it. I occasionally make my own. I also frequently buy it at TJ Maxx, of all places. For a splurge, I am a big fan of preserves from Jin Patisserie, especially tangerine.
8. Temperature Sensitive Things
I know a few people who would really appreciate a Cheesecake for Christmas. Or some gelato. Frozen fruit purees or concentrates are also great for the pastry making set. I mostly included this category because these are things i’d love to have, but am usually unwilling to purchase myself.