You’ve bought, or chopped down, your Christmas tree and have adorned it with colorful bulbs and lights but now comes the hard part: what do you put underneath it? A few local shops have offered some suggestions for the foodie in your life this holiday season.
Fill the stocking of the cook in your life with Natural Loofah Kitchen Scrubbers ($4.99) from Things Are Cooking (74 N. Main St., Concord, 225-8377, thingsarecooking.com). The eco-friendly, biodegradable dishwashing companions come on a rope for easy storage and can be found in shapes such as ladybug, penguin, flower and tomato. Pot clips ($6.99) are also a new offering at the kitchen shop and give chefs, both professional and amateur, the ability to clip their spoon on to the pot they are using.
“You always wonder where you’re going to put that spoon,” said Diane Beauregard, owner of Things Are Cooking. “Well, there you go.”
Glacier Rocks ($16.99) are one of a handful of booze-friendly stocking stuffers found at Things Are Cooking. The rocks are made of soapstone and can be kept in the freezer, then taken out and used as ice so as not to dilute a good scotch, Beauregard said. The rocks come in packs of six and include a bag for easy storage. For the wine-lover on your Christmas list, the shop sells the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator ($39.99), which helps develop the flavors of wine, and the Corksicle ($23.99), a cork attached to a long icicle-like tube that, when frozen, keeps bottles of white wine cool without diluting it.
Another chilly gift is appropriate for both children and adults. The Zoku Quick Pop Maker ($39.99) makes homemade popsicles in six minutes (the base must be frozen before the ingredients are added). In addition to selling the base, Things Are Cooking sells Zoku character kits, which allow the user to decorate their homemade pops, plus tool kits, extra sticks and a Zoku cookbook.
“A lot of people like the Zoku because they like knowing what their kids’ pops are made of,” Beauregard said.
Big-ticket items for foodies sold at Things Are Cooking this holiday season include the Cuisinart Soup Blender & Cooker ($199.99), which eliminates the messy transfer from the blender to the pot or slow cooker in the soup making process, and Le Creuset Mini Cocottes ($88). The petite individual casserole dishes, complete with their own covers, come in sets of four and are a great gift for your favorite host or hostess: “I love them,” Beauregard said of the 8-ounce ceramic cookware. “They’re just adorable.” The set also comes with a cookbook filled with 25 sweet and savory recipes to create in the cocottes.
Next door at Butter’s Fine Food and Wine (70 N. Main St., Concord, 225-5995, buttersfindfood.com), owner Kristy Stephens Ammann is continuously filling her shelves with new products for the holidays.
For the specialty food lover in your life, Rabitos Royale Chocolate Fig Bonbons ($18.99 a box) from Spain only come around once a year, and that time is now.
“These are amazing,” Ammann said. Other good gifts for the chocolate connoisseur include milk chocolate sardines ($11.99), wrapped in fish-like foil and presented in a metal tin similar to the ones real sardines are packed in, made by French chocolatier Michel Cluizel, and Vosges Haut Chocolat designer bars ($7.99 each). The Chicago-made designer chocolate bars are offered at Butter’s in Blood Orange Caramel (hibiscus flower, blood orange caramel, Campari and dark chocolate), Black Salted Caramel (black Hawaiian sea salt, burnt sugar caramel and dark chocolate) and Barcelona (hickory smoked almond and sea salt).
Rustichella d’Abruzzo has also released its annual line of Panettone, Italian fruitbread, in classic, cherry and chocolate and fig varieties. The cost of the Panettone, which Ammann said “make amazing French toast,” ranges from $30 to $35. Or you can pair many cheeses offered by the pound from the case at Butter’s with Mastering Cheese by Max McCalman and David Gibbons ($40). “It’s a beautiful reference book filled with really interesting information,” Ammann said. “It could be a good side table book.”
For the 21-plus crowd, Butter’s offers a Drink Skinny Margarita gift pack ($30), which features three flavors of the Tilton-made mix: classic, pomegranate blueberry and pineapple mango. “If you cut the pomegranate blueberry mix with red wine it’s like a spiced wine,” Ammann said. The shop also sells Fuller’s Vintage Ale ($12.99), a beer that, like wine, gets better with age.
Looking to add some nostalgia to this holiday season? Give a sweet trip down memory lane in the form of Nancy Adams Nostalgia Candy Mix gift boxes. Each box ($9 at Cupcakes 101, 132 Bedford Center Road, Bedford) is filled with a minimum of 14 treats that were favorites of the decade: 1950s (Necco wafers, Chuckles, Atomic Fireballs, Bit O’ Honey, wax bottles and candy buttons), 1960s (jawbreakers, red hots, wax lips, licorice sticks), 1970s (Blow Pops, Pixy Sticks, Fun Dip, Sour Patch Kids, Pop Rocks, Swedish Fish, Bubbalicious and Rain-Blo gum) and 1980s (Sweetarts, Ring Pops, Runts, Bubble Tape, Laffy Taffy, Starburst). “These bring people back to their childhood,” said Cupcakes 101 co-owner Andy Thibodeau. For an old-time stocking stuffer, Cupcakes 101 sells Sugar Daddies weighing in at one pound, for $12. “They’re ginormous,” Thibodeau said. “No one will ever be able to eat the whole thing.”
For the organic food lover, gardener or farmer in your life, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association is offering gift memberships this season. Individual memberships cost $35 (annually) and include a bumper sticker, quarterly newsletters, discounts on NOFA-NH conferences, workshops, vendor booths, bulk orders and newsletter advertisements, among other things. Visit nofanh.org/membership to apply.