Our 2015 Holiday Gourmand Gift-Giving Guide (Part 1)

christmas-ornamentsDeciding what to get your favorite gastronome, home cook, or devoted imbiber this holiday season doesn’t have to be a drag. It also doesn’t have to devour precious time you could be spending decking the halls or roasting chestnuts on an open fire. We’ve collected some gift ideas across a variety of food and drink interests to help you avoid the long checkout lines and holiday shopper scrimmages this year.

For the Loose Tea Adventurer…

Palais des Thes Winter Gardens Tea Collection

Palais de Thes Winter Gardens

With its expertise in creating flavored teas, Palais des Thés has reinvented infusions in an original and evocative way, transporting you to its magical gardens. Palais des Thés drew inspiration from these imaginary gardens to create a collection of unique infusions. These new comforting & delicious Winter Gardens are the completion of our collection which includes Oriental garden and Garden of dreams. I received samples of the Jardin des bois and Jardin oriental blends in order to evaluate this product line and came away more than pleased at the uniqueness of flavor combinations that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred to me. They play well together, each tea’s ingredient striking an elegant and harmonious balance that the tea lover in your life is sure to appreciate.

$27.00 each

Get it: us.palaisdethes.com

For the Outdoorsy Oyster Inhaler…

The Bulls Bay OYRO Cooker

Bulls Bay Oyster Roasts
Image credit: Bulls Bay Oyster Roasts

Wood-fired cooking is a centuries old oyster roasting method, and with oyster season lasting from December-April, this custom-made durable steel construction outdoor cooker makes a great gift. Recent grand prize winner of Garden & Gun Magazine’s “Made in the South Awards”, the handcrafted cooker is the only wood-fired oyster cooker on the market and is quickly becoming a popular item for oyster lovers from Maine to California.

Visit the Bulls Bay Oyster Roasters website for costs and custom options.

For the Beer-Loving Homebody…

Fizzics™ Universal Beer System

Image credit: Brookstone.com

The world’s first personal beer appliance delivers a fresh from the tap experience from any bottle, can or growler. This lightweight and portable, battery operated appliance amplifies the flavor, taste and mouthfeel of users’ favorite beer elevating store-bought beer into draft quality, expertly poured, liquid art.


Get it: Brookstone.com

For the Wine Aficionado Who Cooks…

The Woodbridge Harvest Wine Kitchen Set


This year, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi has created a gift that truly gives back, not just to your Christmas hostess, but also to the community. The limited-edition kitchen set features a matching apron, pot holder and wine tote, with 100% of proceeds benefitting AmpleHarvest.org, a charity working to help fight hunger in America by providing fresh food to those in need. The attractive kitchen set is ideal for Christmas entertaining, serving as the perfect hostess gift he or she will use for years.


Get it (now through the end of 2015): Amazon.com

For the Condiment Connoisseur…

Maille “Black Diamond” Truffle Collection Gift Box


This holiday season, Maille brings the finest “black diamonds” to two luxurious seasonal delicacies that can be purchased individually or as a beautiful gift set complete with engraved wooden mustard tasting spoon and limited-edition gift box decorated with drawings of winter truffles.

  • Maille Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard on Tap: a limited-edition Dijon mustard that celebrates the finest black winter truffles of Provence and renowned Chablis white wine of Burgundy. Available individually in three sizes of refillable stoneware jars: 4.4oz ($43.00), 8.1oz ($68.00), 17.6oz ($118.00)
  • Maille Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Truffle: the latest addition to the Maille range.A precious elixir of extra virgin oil infused with pieces of black winter truffle, with an intense golden color and earthy aroma. This finishing oil is perfect for enhancing salmon, risottos, pastas such as mushroom ravioli, as well as winter salads and vegetable dishes. Available individually in 4-ounce glass bottle for $33.00.


Get it: http://www.maille.com/en_US/truffle-collection-giftbox/GB100083US.html

Maille also offers more than 30 flavored Dijon mustards infused with the highest quality ingredients to create vibrant flavor combinations. Having sampled the first three mustards on the list below, I recommend this product line without hesitation. The White Wine, Fig and Coriander offers subtle sweetness that blends well with the taste coriander that bursts throughout the product’s rustic texture. In the White Wine, Saffron and Isigny Crème Fraîche, I appreciated the creaminess and the taste of the unconventional in its added ingredients. The White Wine, Prune and Armagnac Brandy mustard intrigued with its dried fruit notes and faint suggestions of French brandy, seeming like something to pair with a dessert. These gourmet mustards make for great stocking stuffers and grab bag selections. Or, mix and match varieties to create a personalized and exquisite gift set. Noteworthy flavors include:

  • Mustard with White Wine, Fig and Coriander
  • Mustard with White Wine, Saffron and Isigny Crème Fraîche
  • Mustard with White Wine, Prune and Armagnac Brandy
  • Mustard with White Wine, Parmesan Cheese and Basil
  • Mustard with White Wine and Walnuts

$9.00 per 3.8-ounce jar

Get it: http://www.maille.com/en_US/mustards/gourmet-flavors/

Know a self-professed foodie who seems impossible to impress, try the Sauternes White Wine Vinegar. I received a sample of this one too, and its complexity was evident on first tasting. The Sauternes hints are quiet, but present, and certain to add a level of sophistication to any recipe to which it is introduced. The flavors of this coveted Bordeaux wine blend create a fruity freshness balanced with a hint of hazelnut and a delicate honeyed roundness. Thanks to its fruity touch, this smooth vinegar – made with Sauternes White Wine from the Garonne region in France – beautifully complements festive dishes such as duck breast, foie gras, and oysters. Packaged in a reusable black stoneware bottle with handpainted with vintage Maille label design, it cuts an elegant figure on any table.

$32.00 (10.1-ounce bottle)

Get it: http://www.maille.com/en_US/sauternes-white-wine-vinegar/FV300001US.html

This is only our first round of gift-giving suggestions to take some of the stress out of your holiday season. Check back soon for more ideas sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone you know for whom food and drink are not just sustenance, but a way of life…

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