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Ideas for food gifts from the Bay Area

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We're traveling to Chicago next week to stay with future in-laws in Chicago. I'd like to bring a couple of food gifts that are unique to our area. They keep kosher. I've gotten as far as Blue Bottle coffee beans; any suggestions for other items that will travel well?

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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  1. Rancho Gordo beans and/or popcorn. Blue Chair or June Taylor jams (jams travel just fine if you're checking luggage, just wrap them in bubble wrap and stick them in a sock in a tightly packed bag. Also with the checked bags, local olive oil will work well (you can get them to put it in a box and pack the box in your luggage). Oh, and Reccuiti chocolate or burnt caramel sauce is also a great gift, as are some of their little themed packages of chocolates.

    Rancho Gordo
    1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

    1 Reply
    1. re: JasmineG

      Second Rancho Gordo beans. Seems innocuous enough until you taste them. Mind blowingly good!

      Rancho Gordo
      1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

    2. actually it depends on how they define "kosher". Orthodox Jews will require -- as a minimum -- the seal of approval of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis on the label (which is the letter "U" inside a circle).

      But they'd probably appreciate a few bottles of the Calif Kosher Wines.

      1. local honey. My favorites are from Morganic Hills at the MTV farmers market. The meadowfoam honey has a very unique marshmellow flavor. Any of the jams from the Ferry Plaza or from Borba farms at the MTV market. All travel well.

        1. do they require a heksher? If not, I'd bring them some chocolates from Chocolotier Blue, and the jams listed below would be a good idea. If they do require a heksher, it's a lot tricker. I used to recommend confections from Scharffen Berger's berkeley store, but that is long gone. The wines are a good idea (thought last time I was in Chicago I was completely blown away by the selection of kosher wines in the regular grocery store - they had at least as many as we have in our kosher store!). The Rancho Gordo bean idea is a gerat one; most people will take bulk dried beans without a specific heksher on the package. Oh, do you have access to a meyer lemon tree? Those fruits are divine, and hard to find outside of NorCal.

          Rancho Gordo
          1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

          Scharffen Berger
          1 Ferry, Building San Francisco, CA

          1. Consider Vella Cheese Dry Jack. "We only use vegetable coagulants, and never use animal rennet."

            Vella Cheese Company
            315 2nd St E, Sonoma, CA 95476

            1. California nuts are also a great gift--almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and candies made with them--and they pack well.

              If you do go to Ferry Plaza, Swanton Berry Farms jams are exceptional and much less expensive than June Taylor.

              Swanton Berry Farm
              25 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017