The Hippo


Dec 15, 2019








For the foodies
Delicious hands-on gift ideas this holiday season

By Matt Ingersoll

 From meal subscriptions to cooking, beer brewing and winemaking classes, there are several local gift options that will give the foodie in your life a holiday to remember.

Meals kits
Meal kits make great gifts if you’re shopping for an adventurous eater or someone who is looking for more healthy options. You can get a subscription from a meal-kit service like Local Baskit (10 Ferry St., Concord, 219-0882,, which offers a variety of plans ranging from $28 to $158 per week. Meals are generally offered in two-, three- or four-week increments.
“We do a whole healthy line of recipes every week, which makes it really nice for gift certificates,” Local Baskit owner Beth Richards said.
Selections vary each week, but always include meat and vegetarian dishes, salads, pastas, soups and more. Certificates are also available for special one-time “Cook Tonight” slow-cooker meals for the holidays, with two-person or four-person options. Meals include vegan roasted red pepper macaroni and cheese, sirloin steaks with mashed root vegetables and bacon, pasta with butternut squash, pancetta and broccoli rabe, and chicken cacciatore.
Richards added that for the first time this year, Local Baskit is partnering with Cherry Bomb Cookie Co. in Exeter to present a poinsettia cookie platter that can be bought in batches of 18 or 36 cookies.
For the craft beer lover, Local Baskit offers “beer cheer” bags, which consist of three 16-ounce cans of New Hampshire craft brews. They include stouts from Henniker Brewing Co. and Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, and IPAs from Able Ebenezer Brewing Co. in Merrimack and Concord Craft Brewing.
If, on the other hand, you’re buying for somebody who’d rather leave all the prep and cooking to the pros, All Real Meal (87 Elm St., Manchester, 782-3014, offers a weekly meal delivery for cooked and ready to eat meals on Tuesdays that features items to reheat like coconut chicken breast with spicy wildflower honey sauce, French onion grass fed meat loaf with mashed potatoes and green beans and more. The minimum cost for order delivery is $39.
Cooking classes
Certificates for cooking classes make great gifts, because they teach skills that can be applied long after the holidays are over.
Kristen Chinosi of The Culinary Playground (16 Manning St., Derry, 339-1664, said certificates are available for various ages and experience.
“People can either buy a certificate for a specific class, or use it to apply toward anything,” Chinosi said.
There are “mini chefs” classes available for kids ages 3 to 6, with certificates available for either $18 apiece or for $23 that include a chef’s hat, apron and flyer all packaged in a pizza box, according to Chinosi. Gift certificates are also popular for date night couples cooking classes, for $160 per class.
Certificates that can be applied to any class are sold in $25 increments, but you can call or email to inquire about another specific amount, Chinosi said. They do not expire once they are purchased.
“[The classes] are accessible for the novice, but we also teach a lot of tips for experienced cooks,” she said.
Other local cooking classes include those at Chez Boucher Culinary Arts Training Center (32 Depot Square, Hampton, 926-2202,, which offers gift certificates for classes that can be made out in any amount. Classes include cooking for couples, one-day cooking and baking workshops, cooking essentials and food fundamentals, baking and pastry basics, cooking with friends, advanced classical international cuisine and more.
Colby Hill Inn (33 The Oaks, Henniker, 428-3281, offers gift certificates for cooking classes. 2018 classes TBA but are usually held on the third Monday of the month from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and cost $115 per person, including wine, dinner and an apron.
Dancing Lion Chocolate (917 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4043, offers a variety of hands-on classes in chocolate-making, zen brownie-making, croissant-making. Most classes cost around $65, and classes are booked through March, but you can purchase gift certificates either for specific classes or for any dollar amount. 
DIY beer
Certificates for classes at Incredibrew (112 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, 891-2477, are also great options, especially because no prior beer or wine-making experience is necessary to participate — and you even get to bring home your own drinks.
“Experience gifts have become very popular,” owner Erik Croswell said. “That’s really where we go with it, instead of just giving someone a boring gift card.”
You can choose the exact amount you want to purchase for a certificate, but there are several suggested amounts proportionate to the actual cost of each class you’re getting it for. For example, suggested amounts for beer brewing classes include $40 (one case of beer for any group event), $125 for a mini kettle beer brewing experience (yields about 24 bottles), or $195 for a full kettle beer brewing class (about 75 bottles).
For winemaking classes, $60 will get you six bottles of wine for any group bottling event, $165 for a four-week sweet or white winemaking experience (about 28 bottles), or $220 for a red winemaking class.
“It’s very good value in terms of what you’re getting,” Croswell said. “If somebody really likes a certain kind of wine, then you’re going to find that making it here is a much better deal than buying it by the bottle.”
Incredibrew also offers custom labels, which make for great gifts of their own, according to Croswell.
“They can either pick from our book or do their own custom design,” he said. “They are printed off site professionally.”
At The HomeBrew Barn (861 Lafayette Road, No. 6, Hampton, 601-2548, you can  gift $50 classes for just $35. Classes include introduction to beer brewing, advanced beer brewing, introduction to champagne making, introduction to hard cider making and more.
If you’d rather make your own brews at home, The HomeBrew Barn also offers beermaking and winemaking starter kits. The cost for beermaking kits ranges from $64.99 to $109.99. The cost for winemaking kits ranges from $37.99 to $92.99. Gift certificates are also available. If you’d rather offers opportunities to gift $50 classes for $35. Classes include introduction to beer brewing, advanced beer brewing, introduction to champagne making, introduction to hard cider making and more.
Jasper’s Homebrew & Winemaking Supply (522 Amherst St., Nashua, 881-3052, offers a home beer making starter equipment kit for $89.99, and winemaking kits for $77.99 for cabernet sauvignon or $74.99 for chardonnay. Gift certificates are also available.
Kettle to Keg (123 Main St., Pembroke, 485-2054, offers several different beermaking and winemaking starter kits, with costs ranging $85.95 to $147.95, depending on the included ingredients. Gift certificates are also available. 

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