Since we're entering the holiday homestretch here, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of local(ish) gift items that someone whose really into food would be happy to receive. Some of the items on here also make great host/hostess gifts. If there's something I've missed that you'd like to add to the list, leave it below! Cheers!
1. Cookbooks. This seems like such an obvious gift but for someone who is into cooking, they can never get enough.
2. Nightshift Brewery Barrel Society Membership - Comes in three different levels ranging from $150 - $450, this gives someone a fun way to try out new beers on a regal basis. Unfortunately they can't ship so make sure the recipient is local to their Everette, MA taproom. For more details, go here.
3. Dirty Old Boston - Not necessarily a food gift but still has a place on this list because it preserves food institutions and the everyday life of Boston through the decades via gorgeous photos. A must for every Bostonian's coffee table. (Published by Union Park Press). You can read more about this project here. And buy the book, amongst other great books like Crafty Bastards (yes, about craft beer!) here.
4. Custom Cheese Board from Wasik's - I hate to play favorites with cheese shops but this one is tops with me. Family owned and operated, these guys are so knowledgable and their passion for cheese shows in their excitement. They do custom cheese boards that range from small to large and vary in price from $80 to $165. For more information, go here. Gift baskets and classes are also available if a big plate of cheese doesn't do the trick.
5. Private Cooking Classes - While I'm partial to my company for obvious reasons, there are several personal chefs that offer private cooking classes in your home. Giving the gift of cooking truly is the best gift that keeps on giving!
6. Group Cooking Classes - There are several places throughout the city where one can learn to cook. The Boston Center of Adult Education offers regular cooking classes and several restaurants in town offer classes as well. Here's a list of restaurants that currently offer classes. Also, my alma mater, The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts offers recreational classes on the weekends that are great for people of all levels. Here's a calendar of upcoming events.
7. Moody's - Who wouldn't want some meat for the holidays? A nice charcuterie plate would make any meat enthusiast happy. Or, if you're having some people over for the holidays, you could have Moody's cater it. You won't regret it (as long as you get the pastrami). More info here.
8. Craft Beer Celler Belmont - They have it all and then some. Also, you can make your own six packs, which is really fun! Visit them here.
9. TAZA - Because, who doesn't like to get chocolate as a gift? Taza chocolate is locally made and has such a unique texture to it, it's a great treat, especially for someone that may not have had it before. They come in a variety of flavors and are available in most stores, or you can visit the factory itself. More info here.
10. Follow the honey - This store is dangerous for me because every time I'm in there, I can't help myself. They have honey from literal all over the world and you can sample most of them which is a mind blowing experience if all your honey comes in a bear shaped plastic container. Buy some fun honey and pair it with some tea and a cute mug and you've got yourself a gift. More info here.
11. Salt and Olive - Located in Harvard Square, the olive oil and vinegar infusions are very pure. They also have very fun flavors like lavender, green chili and mushroom flavored oils. Grab an olive oil, a balsamic and a baguette to make the perfect gift for a host/hostess. Read about them here.
12. Urban Grape - With two locations, one in Chestnut Hill and the second in the South End, Urban Grape has an excellent selection of wines, beers and spirits. And they are very helpful with the selection process. More info here.
13. Private Dinner Party - Give the gift of relation with a gift certificate to a private dinner party. There are many great chefs in the area that are available for an evening and who wouldn't love for someone to show up with all of the groceries and cook a meal? Of course, you could also call me :).
14. Commonwealth Ice Cream - Since true New Englanders know that ice cream doesn't have a season, the ice cream at Commonwealth offers unique, seasonal flavors. If you're traveling too far, try hitting up the market to see what other goodies are available to make your own basket of treats. Website here.
15. Boston Shaker - So many options here, you could either put together a fun gift pack including bitters, a cocktail glass and shaker (I particularly love this) or you could enroll that special someone in a cocktail class (info here). Can't decide? Get a gift certificate and call it a day.
16. MEM Tea - Local importers of specialty tea and accessories. Best yet? It doesn't even require a trip to the store - you can shop online here.
17. OpenTable Gift Certificate - Give the gift of a night out. By giving an OpenTable gift certificate, you give the recipient a lot of freedom in where they'd like to cash it in. Availble for purchase here.
18. Hopster's - For the beer enthusiast, let them make their own beer at Hopster's. They've got trained experts who will people create, bottle and package your own beer. Learn more here.