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Gift ideas

I'm feeling a little bah humbug here (perhaps because it's barely mid November?) and just backspaced over my holiday rant. In the interest of not bringing you down, consider yourself spared. Would you please me come up with a list of chowy gifts? Food stuffs. Restaurant or market certificates (bah!) Gift certificates for food stuffs...

In the past we've liked:

France 44 gift certificates
Hells Kitchen peanut butter and bison bread
Golden Fig gift certificates

What else? Anything local or from any place in the metro area, please. Something delicious.


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  1. Golden Fig certs are my #1 gift for anyone in my life who likes food. There is something there for everyone.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NugarifiK

      We love Golden Fig, too, but we've gone to that well too many times, I"m afraid. You know you're in a gift exchange rut when you're giving certificates and receiving gift certicates for the same establishment. (Part of the holiday rant I deleted).

      Are there any particular food items there that are new and interesting that you recommend? (I"ll admit, I haven't been in about a year as G.F. is a nightmare if you're a parent with an excitable toddler...)


    2. GC's for any of the places that have good cooking classes - Cooks of Crocus Hills, Kitchen Window, Kitchen in the Market, etc). Always fun for a foodie.

      1. Heartland Farm Direct Market. Don't know if they have gift certificates (but I bet a restaurant cert will work in the market). Good jams/jelles/preserves/conserves, pickled things, sauces, salsas, chutneys, etc.

        1. Surdyk's. Who doesn't like booze and cheese? Plus truffle butter, duck confit, olives, oils, preserves, chocolates, etc.

          Another suggestion would be seeking out Oregon Truffles online. They aren't as good as the real McCoy's (still very good), but they are one millionth the price.

          1. Does Patisserie 46 or Rustica do gift cards?
            Osseo meat market used to do excellent beef jerky. I haven't had it for years. It's probably a haul for you, but Mackenthuns in St. Boni does a bunch of different jerkys that are great, too.

            Not local, but I am recently addicted and completely crazy for the Barry Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chips from King Arthur. They redefine chocolate chips as you think you know them. Disclaimer: we are a never-without-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies-in-the-freezer household. I think the three pound bag makes a great gift for anyone who bakes. I also love that I can stash them for last minute gifting. KA has 20% off everything right now, too.

            1. I though Local D'Lish had some nice stuff when I went there for a few presents last year. A fair amount of overlap with what Golden Fig has, but not exactly the same things (and more space...).

              1. Penzey's Spice would be another solid option.

                4 Replies
                1. re: semanticantics

                  I second this. My brother loves to grill. We gave him one of their grill packages one year and he almost came unglued. Now, whenever he comes to visit we have to take him to Penzey's. Which is great, except he now orders/buys all the spices he wants himself so that gift is out the window these days. But hey - that one time I was the most awesomest sister ever!

                  1. re: Seige

                    I was so afraid I'd open this thread and see that your recommendation was a gift certificate to Happy Gnome!

                    Penzey's is a good option.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Every year one of my Christmas gifts to my sister is bulk spices. She lives in a small town where fresh dried (can that be right?) herbs and spices are impossible to find.

                      No offense to Penzey's, but for the run of the mill herbs and spices, the coop jars are fresher.

                      This year I am going one better and buying tins she can return next year to get refilled.

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        LOL... well, you could do that too. Have you been back? They do the angus cheeseburger with braised short ribs on top now. It is SO good! I wouldn't lie to you about this. :)

                  2. I love the liquor filled chocolates you can find at some of the Russian or Eastern European grocery stores/delis. I also love some of the jams. I've had some wonderful Hungarian and Ukrainian raspberry jam.

                    I guess it depends how adventurous the receiver of the gift might be.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: shoo bee doo

                      And how about those big beautiful jars of sour cherries you can get there. They make great gifts, great eating.

                      1. re: clepro

                        Can you mention a specific one? Jarred sour cherries are usually Morrello cherries, and I would love to get a hold of some.

                        1. re: Brad Ballinger

                          I get my big jars of sour cherries at Caspian Bistro (my neighborhood Persian deli). I usually find the Bulgarian Zergut brand in light syrup. I drain the syrup, then soak the cherries in Luxardo liqueur for a month (or so) to use in cocktails or over vanilla ice cream

                          Anyone who gave me a jar of these delights would be my friend for life.

                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Yes, clepro, the sour cherries. Of course.

                            AnneInMpls. That's a wonderful idea. I'm going to do that. I love liquored sour cherries.

                            There are also some other tinned or jarred Zergut products that might make interesting gifts.

                            1. re: AnneInMpls

                              Intrigued about the sour cherries. Do they stay red when you soak them?

                              And think they would be good for baking?

                        2. I've given canvas bags of Minnesota-grown popcorn matched with fabulous cocoa mixes from Penzy's and homemade marshmallows. Golden Fig ordered the popcorn in for me.

                          Specialty honeys and honeycombs. I'm a sucker for honeys.

                          Republic of Jam. This is a venture of a former co-worker and fellow knitter, a Minnesotan now in Oregon, with some unusual options. http://republicofjam.bigcartel.com/

                          Ice wine (Isis) or ratafia or their Hastings Reserve port from Alexis Bailly, with local cheeses and crackers.

                          Wild rice pancake mix with bottle of maple syrup and jar of lingonberries.

                          Wild rice and/or smoked trout, of course.

                          Last year I tucked this recipe http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/..., along with the ingredients to make it (including some wonderful smoked paprika), into cazuelas.

                          The Minnesota Ethnic Food Book, published by the MN Historical Society Press, is a fascinating read and good resource, and would make a nice, locally themed gift, especially paired with some local foods. It's where I found the recipe I always use for our Christmas morning Finnish oven pancake. http://discussions.mnhs.org/collectio...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: clepro

                            OK, missie, now we're talking. I love that MN Ethnic FoodBook, but never thought of giving it as a gift!


                            1. re: clepro

                              Republic of Jam is awesome. I was there in August and came home with quite a few of her jams. I've been thinking that I need to put in an order.

                            2. Another fun option for someone who is local is to give them tickets to the Guthrie and a meal at one of the restaurants nearby. For a matinee show a meal at Spoonriver, for an evening show dinner at Sea Change.

                              1. Would you consider cookbooks from local authors or of local cuisines? I've liked "Cooking from the Heart: the Hmong Kitchen in America" and Beth Dooley's "Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland" at least as much for their narrative histories as their recipes. Those might be better gifts for people in the area or near other major metropolitan areas, though.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                  Yes, except that we've already swapped those particular books! HA! Grreat idea though~


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Heh. Great minds and all that...

                                    How about Raghavan Iyer's books? (You've probably already been *there*...)

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I've got 660 Curries, and I have to say that the recipes aren't particularly reliable. It's spotty at best. Just a heads-up.

                                        1. re: gildeddawn

                                          Thanks for the heads-up here....it does seem a stretch for so many recipes to have been thoroughly tested.

                                  2. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                    steve...."Savoring the Seasons....." is by Beth Dooley AND Lucia Watson.....

                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      True enough ... I stand corrected. :-)

                                  3. Something I would love to receive: Just Truffles. Totally local too.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ChillyDog

                                      I gave coffee from local roasters one year that went over well. Especially popular - not for the politics but for the flavor - was the Obama Blend (half Kona, half Kenyan) from J&S Bean Factory in St. Paul.

                                      Also, I just found out that Legacy Chocolate (used to be open on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul) is now back with some items at the Haskell's in Highland Park. I recall they had a good hot cocoa mix and this liquid chocolate stuff that was awesome.

                                    2. Oilerie on Grand Ave in St. Paul has tasty olive oil and balsamic for roughly $15-$20 / 375 ML bottle. They probably offer gift certs too.

                                      1. Here are some excellent gift ideas for local food lovers in your life:


                                        1. The St. Paul/France 44 Cheese Shop does gift baskets - either pre-assembled, or go in and they'll help you choose things. I don't know if you've been, but they've got a fantastic staff and a great selection of cheese, plus some nice oils, vinegars, pastas, and stuff like that.