The Peppermint Bark Mellows are a must-have fan favorite, as they’re only available during the holidays. (Courtesty of Mellows)
Artisanal sweets, classes only fit for foodies, wearable food fashion, and even cannabis — Bay Area makers, artists, and chefs have thoughtful and delicious gifts ready for any food lover in your life.
Here are some of our favorite gift ideas, made and available in the Bay Area.
More Holiday Fun on KQED
This year, give the gift a warm freshly-baked biscuit (without whipping the biscuits together yourself). The Alice Collective in Oakland is offering a frozen dozen of buttermilk biscuits that just need to be popped in the oven before serving. While grabbing a dozen for your loved one, why not grab a dozen for yourself? Who knows how handy they’ll be as a quick and easy holiday dinner side dish.
To try the biscuits fresh and hot, straight from the source, biscuits are offered daily on the Alice Collective menu in sweet and savory options.
This year, grab one of Oprah's Favorite Things: panettone crafted by Oakland’s Roy Shvartzapel. Panettone is a deceptively simple, sweet bread confection that makes fruitcake seem poor by comparison, and the one from Shvartzapel is a decadent treat. Get one before they’re gone.
Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combination for a reason: it works. And that rings true, especially during the holidays. Oakland-based OCHO is offering a seasonal favorite, Peanut Butter Trees! The confection of smooth milk chocolate encases creamy peanut butter. OCHO’s peanut butter-y treats are organic, gluten-free and GMO-free. For those who may have an allergy or prefer something a bit sweeter, there is also a caramel-filled variety of these edible conifers.
Get your orders in for these trees by December 11 to be sure to have enough to stuff your stockings with ‘em.
DIY Tonic Kit
It’s more than just spices at Oakland’s iconic Oaktown Spice!
Consider giving your budding mixologist Oaktown’s tonic water kit, which comes with botanicals and spices (which are obviously going to be good, considering where it’s coming from) and a recipe for a syrup that can be added to soda water.
With their new factory up and running, San Francisco’s chocolate darling Dandelion is offering classes for people to learn more about chocolate: from the sourcing, to the production and even the making of. With a wide variety of classes varying in chocolatey subject matter ranging from one-hour to a four-hour intensive, the lengthier classes give students the chance to even make their own nibs and take-home chocolate.
The hands-on classes are great for chocolate lovers in your life, with a required age of 14 or above. For those who want to skip school, try Dandelion’s holiday offerings including a children’s gift set that includes books and treats, or their annual advent calendar.
Whether you’re planning a fun food-focused outing with friends and family or for a corporate event, BiteUnite has you covered. Opening just last year, BiteUnite — incubator kitchen, event space, and cafe — has already built a long roster of chefs. Their class catalog is diverse and you can learn to cook Thai cuisine, to make dumplings or, more recently, a make mooncakes in a class taught by a chef flown out from their sister kitchen in Hong Kong.
Over the holidays, BiteUnite will be expanding its class offering even more with cheese-making and pie-making classes.
Brew It Yourself
Whether you’re a beer beginner or a beer buff, San Francisco’s Brew It Yourself offers an introductory course and an advanced course in beer-making. Considering both classes are seven and nine hours respectively, that’s a quick gulp for both learning how to make your own beer and getting to take home a six-pack of it as well.
For those who can think ahead far enough and don’t mind an early birthday gift, Brew It Yourself also offers a special class where attendees head to Sonoma in the summer to assist in the harvest of hops.
Taking a class at Civic Kitchen feels like you’re taking a high-end cooking class in your home, while not actually being at home. Thanks to a warm and comforting kitchen aesthetic — a huge cookbook library included — classes are taught by a variety of local chefs teaching a wide range of specialized classes including knife skills, yakitori and Italian baccala.
Gift certificates and a monthly calendar of classes and events are available via the Civic Kitchen site, with holiday classes on the docket including a Japanese Turkey class ahead of Thanksgiving and a cookie swap closer to Christmas.
With the legality and general attitudes towards the recreational use of cannabis changing — not to mention the sheer number of cannabis-related businesses opening — cannabis deserves its own gift-giving category. And while it still may be a newcomer on the market, the Bay Area is in no short supply of cannabis entrepreneurs with a wide variety of ways to use the plant.
Proposition Cocktail Co.
SF-based mocktail company, Proposition Cocktail Co., offers non-alcoholic, ready-to-serve bottled drinks that have the added magic of hemp, an adaptogenic herb that is reported to help the body ease stress and increase mental clarity. Proposition Cocktail Co. flavors come in a Smokey Margarita or a Tumeric Ginger and can be ordered in cases of six 200 mL glass flask bottles straight from their site for bulk gifting or for your next party.
If you’re feeling extra generous, Proposition Cocktail Co. also offers a weekly and monthly subscription.
Helmed by a pair of best friends, Bay Area-based artisanal ingredient company, Potli, makes small-batch hemp-infused concoctions like chili oil, honey and extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle Potli’s products over salads, hummus spreads and even ice cream, and then sit back and enjoy the CBD-afterglow.
For the holidays, Potli is offering two gift sets that come outfitted with a selection of their products as well as gift cards, a branded shot glass, and recipe cards all packed and ready to gift.
For the sweet teeth in your circle of family and friends, San Francisco-based Mellows might be perfect. Their small-batch hand-crafted marshmallows are elevated to bite-size artisanal edibles thanks to a hit of hash oil-infused coconut oil. Low-dose at 5mg of THC per marshmallow, Mellows are an approachable choice for those new and old to edibles.
Mellows will be offering a special holiday peppermint bark Mellow. Want to go classic? Their regular flavors include black sesame, brown butter sage and birthday cake. If you’re feeling inspired, you can even grab their cookbook!
Bay Area’s Om Edibles’ philosophy is that cannabis is a superfood. They’ve included it in a wide range of products including medicated THC and CBD gummies, raw CBD cacao (that you can just add hot water or milk to for sipping) and extra virgin olive oil.
For foodies who want the full-body experience beyond their tastebuds, Om Edibles also offers bath salts outfitted with CBD or THC and essential oils.
Made by Chanamon
A designer at Apple, aspiring illustrator, Chanamon Ratanalert makes absurdly adorable pieces in different mediums including greeting cards, stickers, and ceramics. While not everything Ratanalert makes is food-related, they all include her trademark smile, as seen on her ceramic pear and onigiri pins and Dim Sum Buddies sticker pack.
San Francisco-made Lundy Way aprons have already found their way into the kitchens of star chefs like Sheldon Simeon of Top Chef, Val Cantu of Californios, and Jordan Keao of the former ‘aina. Durable, minimalist, and affordable, Lundy Way aprons are a great professional-grade apron for the home cook.
Currently, they’re available to order straight from their website.
For the bedazzled foodie who is looking to make a statement, look no further than Carolyn Tillie. With a range of food-themed rings that will adorn your fingers with golden-laced cherries and chocolate cake, Tillie also has a line of pins and necklaces showcasing sterling knives.
In addition, Tillie is planning a line of events and trunk shows, where you’ll be able to find her pieces, as well as her new food art book.