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Nov 30, 2008 01:43 PM

Foodie host gifts

New to chowhound and relatively new to SF (6 months). Lots of Holiday parties coming up. Any suggestions for unique food or beverage host/hostess gift ideas? Between $15 to $40. I don't want to show up with a box of See's Candy! (I've heard locals complain about this all-too-common host gift.)

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  1. How about a small basket of locally produced artisan foods? I've done that myself with great results.

    Examples - The Girl & The Fig preserves, Noyo Mustards, Perfect Pear items, Sparrow Lane vinegars, DaVero olive oil, maybe some Della Fattoria bread and a few wedges of some excellent local cheese (ie Bellwether Carmody or San Andreas, a Cowgirl cheese, Andante, Point Reyes, etc, etc).

    Most of these are Sonoma/Napa, but there are similar items produced all over the Bay Area and Northern California. Make it local, make it delicious, make it memorable for your friends and family.

    1. Very timely topic. Was just discussing this with friends last night.

      All lovely ideas from cmvan. A trip to the Ferry Building on a Saturday or Tuesday will provide you with many wonderful local choices, to be sure. Picked up some great local artisan chocolates at a stand there for a host gift last week. NeoCocoa.

      But let me say that there is absolutely no shame in gifting a box of See's Candy, imho. Obviously I can't speak for all locals, but this native is always thrilled to accept a box of See's.

      Some thoughts on beverages:
      For the coffee lover: Blue Bottle white ceramic dripper adorned with the blue bottle image - available at the cafe on Mint. (I want one!) Throw in a bag of beans. They have Jamaican Blue Mountain at the moment.

      For the beer lover, head to City Beer. Tons to choose from and knowledgeable staff. Bound to find some not-so-common beers for your hosts.

      How about sake instead of wine? This is a nice change for some of us. There's a great store on Hayes in SF. True Sake.

      1. I was at the Ferry Building yesterday with visiting parents when I finally got a chance to try Rechiutti Chocolates & thought what perfect holiday hostess gifts. I was looking for something around $20 when a salesperson suggested kiwi lime apples. One bite and I was sold! Wafer thin slices of oven dried, slightly tart, slightly crisp apples dipped in delicious chocolate (pear didn't taste as good). The other chocolate I enjoyed was their wildly popular Fleur De Sel Caramel. I also bought some olive oil in the Ferry Building as gifts.

        BTW, I recently tasted sugar free almond/peanut clusters at See's & I was pleasantly surprised as to how good they were. In-laws in India had asked me to send some sugar free chocolates/candy, hence my discovery. Of course these are not fat free :(

        1 Reply
        1. re: ceekskat

          I didn't know about the sugar-free almond/peanut clusters. I have tried the sugar-free dark walnut clusters, and they are surprisingly good. They make much-appreciated presents for the growing number of diabetics I know (I'm probably getting there myself), especially in Asia where good sugar-free treats are really hard to find.

          This one more chowhound hostess who'd happily recieve a box of See's (preferably without creams or truffles). In fact, give me See's over Godiva any day!

        2. What location are you looking for?

          XOX truffles have been my never fail gift with people always asking where they can go to buy them.

          If in the East Bay, the new Chocoletier Blue has great chocolates. Much better than any you will find at Ferry Plaza.

          1. Far West Funghi in the Ferry Building used to carry a "truffle sampler" - truffle salt, truffle paste and a truffle, each in 3 small jars - about $25. Other favorite gifts for foodies there is the Truffle Honey ($24 and YUM with goat cheese), or Truffle Salt, about the same price - great on eggs and popcorn!