Yup, it's that time of year. And if you're anything like us, then you're looking down the barrel of a lengthy holiday gift list with little to no idea where to start.
Well, lucky for you we've done some of the browsing. So for all the local food lovers, cocktail enthusiasts, wine drinkers, and home chefs on your must-buy list, look no further than our handy gift guide.
Arizona Rose Tote Bag from Hayden Flour Mills
$15, available online
Featuring a design from a vintage flour sack from the 1930's, this 100 percent organic cotton tote bag is an ideal companion for grocery runs and farmers market trips. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can also stuff it with freshly-milled, locally-grown heritage grain flour. Just sayin'.
If you've got a chocolate lover on your hands this Christmas, introduce him or her to Zak's Chocolate and you're sure to make the nice list for life. This artisan chocolate factory produces bean-to-bar, single origin chocolate bars and confections including handmade truffles. While you can order bars, truffles, and even cacao nibs online, we suggest making the trip the Scottsdale storefront so you can meet the owners and see the micro-chocolate factory for yourself.
Gift card from Phoenix Knife House
Price varies, available at retail store
Every chef — be that home or professional — needs a reliable chef's knife, and there's no better place to find the perfect blade than at Phoenix Knife House. The shop, a favorite of Valley industry folks, specializes in Japanese cutlery and also sells accessories such as knife rolls, sharpening stones, utensils, and books.
Whiskey Del Bac Dorado from Hamilton Distillers
$46, available at Total Wine and Top's Liquor
Whiskey and scotch lovers will be thrilled to find a bottle of this uniquely Southwestern spirit under the tree. To achieve the award-winning whiskey's unique flavor, the distillers dry their malt over mesquite wood (rather than peat), which gives the spirit a scotch-like smokiness that's also tinged with sweet and spicy notes. Each sip will transport you to an Arizona campfire, making this a perfect spirit for sipping throughout the cooler season.
If you're a frequent visitor to Valley farmers markets, then you probably recognize the name Chow Locally. Well, recently the well-known local CSA merged with Blue Sky Organic Farms, and, under the new name, will continue making fresh, local produce as accessible as possible. Shares range from $16 to $32 per box and can be picked up at dozens of locations around town — seriously, everywhere from your neighborhood Whole Foods or farmers market to various office buildings and YMCAs. You can even arrange to have the share delivered right to the recipient's door.
Coffeemaker from Chemex
Starts at $38.90, available online or at Cartel Coffee
Every coffee geek worth his or her salt should probably own one of these coffeemakers. Easy to use and damn good lookin' on a shelf, the Chemex will (hypothetically — as in, if you do it right) allow you to brew the perfect cup of coffee. For bonus points you'll probably also want to include some filters and a bag of Cartel coffee beans.
Meal delivery from Purple Carrot
Starts at $68 a week, available online
Ever since food writer Mark Bittman joined the team at Purple Carrot, giving it immediate foodie cred, the vegan meal delivery service has been able to separate itself from the ever-growing number of similar health food delivery services. The company started delivering to the West coast (including right here in Arizona) in early November, which means lazy but health-conscious eaters can now have all the pre-measured, pre-chopped ingredients for whole food, plant-based dinner delivered to their door along with instructions on how to turn them into a delicious meal quickly. Of course, convenience doesn't come cheap; three meals a week for two people costs $68 — but hey, that's why it makes such a lovely gift.
Making your own pickles sounds romantic and all, but have you ever actually tried to do it? Well, it takes a lot of time and equipment and, frankly, know-how to be sure you don't make anyone sick. But that's what makes Kraut Source so great. This stainless steel contraption fits onto wide-mouthed mason jars and makes it easy and simple to ferment your own live culture foods including kimchee, sauerkraut, and more.
This James Beard Award-winning book is a must-have for any home cook. Because while recipes are great, creativity in the kitchen is the real key to stepping up your culinary game. The Flavor Bible takes wisdom from some of the country's best chefs and distills it down to lists of compatible flavors for just about every ingredient you can imagine. Got carrots? Flip to the right page and this book will list dozens of flavors and ingredients that pair well with what you've have to use. It's inspiration on every page.
Recipe box from Rifle Paper Co.
$34, available online or at Frances
Designer Anna Rifle Bond's playful, vintage-inspired designs have earned her a devout following of fans, and whether you know it or not, you've probably seen her stationary and other products are various markets and boutiques around town. For food lovers, the ultimate gift will be one of the tin recipe boxes, which come in various floral pattens along with letter pressed dividers and two dozen recipe cards.
If you've ever sipped a glass of sangria on the patio at Ingo's Tasty Food, then you've already be introduced to these affordable, unbreakable wine glasses. Lightweight, BPA-free, and made in the USA, these are the perfect wine glasses for outdoor dining and patio drinks. And at under $25 for four 16-ounce glasses, they're budget-friendly, too.
Tea towel from Counter Couture
$12, various designs available online
This Denver-based company makes whimsical, durable tea towels in designs that are sure to appeal to use about every taste. We're partial to the Butcher Cow and Butcher Pig varieties, though there's certainly appeal in the declarative Grow Your Own Food design. For a little bit of Ariozna pride, opt for the Map Tea Towel — which you can also find at Frances right here in town.
Brew Day at O.H.S.O.
Lots of people love the idea of brewing their own beer, but when it comes to actually knowing how to do so...well, the number of capable people tends to dwindle. So for the wanna-be home brewer on your Christmas list, nab a spot at one of O.H.S.O.'s brewing events. From "Brew Your Own Saison" to "Brew Your Own Black IPA," the events allow parties of up to six people brew their own beer under the supervision of the nanobrewery's knowledgable staff. To sign up, you'll have to download the O.H.S.O. app, and keep an eye on the events page since the brewing events fill up fast.
You can't cook — at least, not well — without salt. And when it comes to fancy schmacy salts in the Valley, you've got to look to go lb. salt. From simple fleur de sel to Italian fennel pollen salt, this company has just the thing for your food loving friend. If you're not sure what type of salt to go with the company offers packs of 1- or 2-ounce samples of various types of salts. The Foodie Fun package costs $24 and includes eight varieties of salts, while The Gourmand sample pack includes four types of finishing salts.
Membership from Red Goat Wine
$19 per month, available at Bodega Market
You don't have to turn to some faceless online service to get wine suggestions. For $19 a month Red Goat Wine, based in Scottsdale, will send you weekly emails with a curated selection of wines available at discounted prices. Then, all you have to do to get your hands on the next-big-thing in the vino world, is place your order and pick it up at Bodega Market, next to FnB.
Not only is this candle made from 100 percent soy right here in Tempe, it's also got a clean citrus-based scent that's perfect for clearing out those lingering kitchen smells. We love the fact that the sweetness of the black current prevents this citrus candle from being overly astringent, plus when the candle burns down, you're left with a handy ceramic container.
Say what you will, but a gift card that can be used at any of the dozen Fox Restaurant Concepts here in town is pretty much a fail-safe gift. Families and even the pickiest of diners will be able to find an opportunity to spend some cash at concepts ranging from Little Cleo's Seafood Legend to Juby True juice bar.
Anyone can do a quick internet search, find a cocktail recipe, and shake up something decent. But for those home bartenders who want to really understand the fundamentals of making great cocktails, this book is indispensable. Author, bartender, and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler breaks things down by ingredient and individual concept — think, juicing then garnishing, even carbonating, stirring, and shaking — to help anyone up their cocktail game.
Box O' Beans from Native Seeds Search
$26, available online
Locavores will love this gift box, which includes four types of beans from Native Seeds Search, the non-profit organization that focuses on seed security in the Southwest. The box includes four 1-pound bags of beans. Varies may include Black Turtle, Anasazi, Moon, Four Corners Gold, Mortgage Lifters and any of these from Rancho Gordo: Cranberry, Mayocoba, Moro, Ayocote Morado, Rebosero, or Scarlet Runners.
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Before you freak out: Tickets don't go on sale until to the public until next month. But if there's one gift that any Valley food lover is sure to appreciate, it's a ticket to the biggest event on the local culinary calendar, the Devoured Culinary Classic. The two-day festival has become the don't-miss event for Phoenix foodies, and tickets tend to sell out fast. Tickets go on sale to Phoenix Art Museum and Local First Arizona members on December 7, and ticket sales open to the public on December 14.