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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?

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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.

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    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!

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      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.

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          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."

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            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.

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              Swanton Berry Farm
              25 Swanton Rd, Davenport, CA 95017