Aside from the classic gift card to any number of amazing Bay Area restaurants for the foodie on your list, here are a list of great local(ish) places from which to procure yummy holiday treats for all the stockings you’re preparing to stuff.
~~STOCKING STUFFERS (SMALLER GIFTS)~~
Touting themselves as “The New America Chocolate“, this locally made and conscientiously sourced chocolate is a delicious treat anytime. For the holidays, they have a few great gift options that are as cute as they are yummy.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate
Ok, you can’t really ever have enough chocolate, right? When we’re talking about local favorites, Scharffen Berger is always another fun one on my list.
If you’re looking for a treat with a bit more pizzazz than plain old chocolate (gasp!), then try a baggie of this SF-made toffee. With just the right ratio of chocolate, nuts, and toffee, and a consistency that’s not too sticky but not too hard, this toffee will surely get an eyebrow raise or two. And rest assured it will be gone quickly — better order an extra bag for yourself. :)
Hudson River Popcorn
Made in Menlo Park in small batches, this new-to-the-scene popcorn has been described as “addictive”. Fine, maybe the company itself said that, but it was still said. Either way, this is a yummy snack that’s sure to be fresh to your Bay Area stocking this year.
Oh, Rustic Bakery! Artisanal, organic fine foods and baked goods!! If you’re not able to enjoy one of their cafes in the Marin area, their goods can be found in many specialty shops and they also have a great website for ordering online.
BBQ Recipe Kit
I know it’s winter time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get ready for summer again. This tiny new company, Bites with Spice, makes a bad-ass BBQ spice mix right here in SF. Gift it now, get a thank you later when it’s time to grill again.
Ok, these aren’t local — they’re made by a relatively giant nationwide company. But, they’re healthy, delicious snacks that I like to eat instead of all the other stuff made of unpronounceable ingredients on the grocery store shelves. And, they make perfect stocking stuffers. :)
~~GIFT WRAP REQUIRED (LARGER GIFTS)~~
Figone’s Olive Oil
There are a variety of local olive oil purveyors, but Figone’s is my favorite. Manufactured in a modest, unassuming facility in the Napa Valley where you can watch the oils being created in the Fall and Winter and taste the offerings anytime, Figone’s is a fun place to visit and a great gift for pretty much everyone.
I particularly recommend the Tuscan Blend Olive Oil ($12 for 100mL), the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar ($18 for 100mL), and for the splurge, the White Truffle Mushroom Olive Oil ($26 for 60mL). They also offer membership in their La Visione Club which delivers two 250mL bottles quarterly, and includes a discount on any other purchases.
Bluxome Street Winery
With vines just up the way in Russian River, Bluxome Street Winery is an old school SF-built winery. I have not myself tried the wines, but the place looks rad, and the wines look pretty schmancy. Plus, it’s fun to buy things that are so proudly made in San Francisco.
Hangar 1 Vodka
This seemingly-innocuous warehouse way out on the tip of Alameda brews some seriously sprightly spirits. Stick with the classic Hangar One Vodka, or branch out to something more exciting by visiting their tasting room…
For the ultimate SF foodie adventure, a guide is always helpful. Take a walk with Avital on one of her food tours of The Mission, North Beach, Union Square, or The Haight. You’ll nibble some of the local neighborhood favorites, listen to tales of all the local legends, and learn a whole heck of a lot more about places you thought you knew.
Happy holidays everyone!