Anxious? A holiday gift guide for foodies

If you’re anything like the majority of Canadians, you’re a little afraid of the Holidays.  It’s not the merriment or choruses or hoards of shoppers which scare you (although if they do, I really can’t blame you), it’s the giving of gifts and the expectation of delivering. I mean, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, you don’t want to mess is up, right? But what about the beauty addict who’s almost on a first name basis with every sephora employee at the mall?  the yoga nut who literally already owns half of lululemon? , the sister, mother or aunt who specifically tells you they don’t want anything but you know it’s a lie?  My answer? If you’re a foodie, you might as well give them the gift of food.  It’s probably easiest and as cheesy as it may sound, food-related gifts somehow always manage to please everyone. I’m not saying you should bake everyone a cake, but if you go with one of these – you should be just fine.

For the avid cook:

My mother loves a good kitchen knife and honestly, who doesn’t? With a good kitchen knife in their possession, a cook can feel unstoppable. With a bad one, well, they might as well be hacking away at that steak with a cleaver. Not only that, knives can be beautiful, especially when created in a traditional way like the ones made by Knifewear, a Calgary based company that sells beautiful Japanese knives, accessories & even shave gear for men. It was started by a guy with a kitchen knife addiction to satisfy his personal knife needs so I can only imagine how amazing they are. Prices vary and you can find out more at http://knifewear.com/

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Another great choice for someone who truly loves food is Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, a beautifully written and composed cookbook celebrating the beauty of Israeli and Palestinian food and the etymology of several dishes. Some of my favorite meals have come from this book and I highly recommend all of their recipes, including  homemade felafel and a cake similar to East-European babka. These recipes can be elaborate but many are startlingly simple and the photos are mind blowing. Right now it’s on sale at chapters at a steal of 25$

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For the Beauty Addict:

I love the smell of  ginger and I often think the root gets underrepresented when in competition with it’s sister spice, cinnamon. This gift pack is beautiful, economical and something any beauty junkie would enjoy. The hand lotion, which I already own, smells like something in between a root beer float and gingersnap cookie. It’s deeply moisturizing without being oily and makes my hands glitter for hours with it’s subtle gold tinge. I can only assume that the rest of the collection is just as impressive. You can get it at the body shop for 14$

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Another great gift for a beauty junkie is Lush’s “Fair Trade Honey” shampoo made from 50% honey that smells exactly like it sounds. It’s wonderful for both dry and oily hair as it moisturizes while stripping oil from the scalp. You can get it at any of their locations for 9.95$ and if you ask one of the lovely girls who works there, she’ll gladly add some samples for you to add in the gift as well. As a Bonus, like the name hints, it’s fair trade – so you’ll feel good about buying it.

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For the francophile:

This book is one of my favorites! the chef, David Lebovitz is an American living in Paris with a deep love for pastry and a even deeper sense of humor. He touches on every aspect of living with the French, from their love of skipping lines to their quirky views on cultural appropriation. David writes lovingly and with passion about his amis and the many Parisens and Parisiennes he meets on a daily basis and by the time you’ve read the book, you feel as if you know them too. As a bonus, he also describes several of his favorite recipes, teaching you how to make things like easy Mexican Mole &  île flottante. It’s easy to tell from his comments that he wouldn’t leave Paris for the world.  A must read.  You can get it at Chapters for 11.55$

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For the Health nut:

Every health nut I know, including myself, loves smoothies. Sometimes all a girl really wants in the morning is a dark chocolate almond butter smoothie with raspberries and chia seeds, am I right? If you know they need a blender, buy them a single serve magic bullet. According to many, it’s a life-saver. Easy to use, quick, machine washable and cheap. You can get it at Canadian Tire for 24$, no joke. Then, direct your friend to this website: http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/, whose owner, Kathy Patalsky, has some really amazing smoothie recipes! I  recommend this recipe and to be honest, most of her other ones too : Easy Energy Almond Banana Shake!  

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For the chocoholic:

I am a girl who thrives on cocoa, literally. I dream about the stuff, cook with it, keep it in my bag for snacking and even have secret stashes hidden in my room in various drawers.  Give me a dozen roses and I’ll be impressed but forget about them eventually. Give me a bouquet of quality chocolate roses and I’ll praise you for the rest of time.  If you can, go down to Duchess Provisions on 107’th and 124’th and get a few chocolate goodies, both for yourself and for your family and friends. This beautiful little store devoted to dessert has baking aids, fancy imported ingredients, flours you’ve never heard of or seen before, any kind of baking accessory you could possibly imagine, several cookbooks and most importantly, a bevy of chocolate products from around the world.  It’s adjoining patisserie called “The Duchess”, where all of this magic began,  is equally, if not more so, amazing.  Prices vary on all the products offered and although my current favorite is the “In-nib-itable” by Patric, a 70% cocoa solid Madagascar chocolate bar with crunchy cocoa nibs (8$), I also love the Dolfin “Lavender” (4.25$) and the “Nutcracker Brittle” by Theo (5$). If you know someone who loves Salty-Sweet combinations, I highly recommend Theo’s “Grey Salted Vanilla Caramel” (9,50$). http://duchessprovisions.com/

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