With the holiday season in full swing, the urge to gift those special people in your life something unique and memorable is only natural. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa...or maybe nothing at all, wrapping up a token of appreciation for a friend or family member is synonymous with December.
We've put together a collection of interesting food and drink items–most of which are available for shipping across Canada–made by a variety of Canadian producers, restaurants and chefs that work perfectly as stocking stuffers, host gifts (if you're allowed to have people over for the holidays, we're jealous) or wrapped up and waiting to be opened under the Christmas tree.
Alchemist Vinegar's small-batch vinegars
This one-of-a-kind line of vinegars was recently launched by Alberta's Tippa Distillery and claims to be the first distillery-produced vinegar in the country. Made out a vinegar mother produced with Tippa's base spirits, there's a number of vinegar types to choose from including apple cider, white wine vinegar and even gin or rum vinegar.
For anyone who loves to experiment in the kitchen–or with their cocktails–these dynamic vinegars will make for a perfect gift. They also can be shipped country-wide and orders over $30 can be delivered free of charge to Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks and High River.
Beaucoup Bakery's Maison Collection chocolates
It's 2020 and sexy-looking bonbons are all the rage, so look no further than great local chocolatiers like Cochu, Jacek, Constance Popp for treats, but there is something extra special in Vancouver this holiday season courtesy of Beaucoup Bakery.
Pastry chef Betty Hung's inaugural line of chocolates draws inspiration from the bakery's most popular baked goods like its raspberry brioche or signature Cinnamon Scroll. Available in boxes of 6 or 12, bonbon flavours like Cardamom Kouign Amann (cardamom, vanilla bean and caramel ganache) and Almond Croissant (almond praliné and brown butter ganache, and almond crunch) are sure to impress this holiday season.
The chocolate sets are available for pre-order now and can also be delivered in the Vancouver city area.
Cà Phê Coffee House's Vietnamese coffee kits
Cà Phê Coffee House recently unveiled a brand-new collection of coffee treats and gift sets that directly support educational and community programming in Vancouver.
Customers can choose from five different gift sets that feature offerings such as the cafe’s extra strong Vietnamese coffee beans, custom phins, coffee chocolate (made with 55 per cent Belgium dark chocolate), coffee scrub (shea butter, coconut oil, Vitamin E), and more.
Orders for nationwide shipping can be made online.
Cafe Medina's coffee and waffle kits
Cafe Medina recently introduced a new line of holiday gift boxes, perfect for both the coffee-lovers and waffle aficionados in your life. The coffee-themed box includes a pound of 49th Parallel Old School Espresso, housemade lavender syrup, and a branded travel tumbler, while their waffle kit comes complete with the eatery’s signature Liege-style waffles, milk chocolate lavender topping, and a Medina waffle-design face mask.
Orders can be made online for pickup on December 23 and 24.
Chef Christie Peters Be Magic tea blends
Saskatoon's premier restaurateur and Food Network Canada personality, Christie Peters is not one to rest on her laurels. The closing of her much-celebrated eatery, The Hollows earlier this year has allowed the chef to expand on her retail line of products that range from her restaurant Primal's signature red sauce to haskap berry mustard and an amazing array of tea blends. Comprised of largely foraged ingredients, the Be Magic line offers up interesting blends like Green Tea (green rooibos, spearmint, sancha green tea), High Tea, Fruity Tea and more.
For the tea lover(s) in your life, you can purchase the Be Magic tea blends directly from Primal or via The Little Market Box. Shipping outside of Saskatchewan is possible, but the restaurant asks that interested parties reach out via email to coordinate.
ChocoSol Traders' holiday chocolate bars
On its website, Toronto’s ChocoSol Traders satirically states that its holiday chocolate bars are not meant for Christmas gifts, but are instead expressions of festive love and joy. However you want to look at it, we’re confident that this gift will impress even the most discerning chocolate enthusiasts.
Available in Merry Mint (sweet chocolate, organic mint, peppermint extract, spice) and Christmas Cranberry (cherry chocolate, tart cranberries, organic apple juice), these two 65 per cent cacao bars can be ordered individually or in mixed packs of seven, depending on how much festive love and joy you want to spread this holiday season.
Cluck 'n' Cleaver's honey mustard and hot sauce
Those that love to dip, sauce and slather with anything tangy and spicy will fall hard for these new products from Calgary's famous fried chicken eatery, Cluck N Cleaver owned by sister duo Nicole and Francine Gomes. The Mother Clucker Hot Sauce is a well-rounded, not-to-hot sauce that makes for a great addition to anything from soups to roasted meats and vegetables. The true, saucy star here, though is the delicious Honey Mustard that Top Chef Canada All Stars champ Nicole Gomes has created. Sweet and tangy with a touch of heat, you'll be surprised to know that butter is one of this sauce's key ingredients.
Edible Adventures spice mixes by chef Aman Dosanj
In an effort to make Indian spices less intimidating and more fun, Kelowna chef Aman Dosanj has created Edible Adventures--a versatile selection of small-batch, non-GMO spice blends that can be used in harmony with an array of dishes.
Each spice mix contains upwards of 20 ingredients that Dosanj employs in her award-winning cuisine, and as is the case with all of Dosanj’s culinary endeavours, a portion of proceeds go toward supporting anti-racism initiatives.
Fable Diner's hot sauces
You don’t garner a reputation as one of the country’s premier diner destinations without knowing a thing or two about hot sauce.
Vancouver’s Fable Diner has developed its own line of delicious housemade sauces that traverse the scoville spectrum from mild (Wax-on Hot Sauce made with local Hungarian wax peppers), to medium (45% More Kapow made with serrano peppers, garlic, and cumin), to hot (Dang that’s HOT SAUCE made with wax peppers, habaneros, kung pow peppers, ginger).
Flora & Farmer preserves
If you didn’t quite master the art of preserving and fermenting this past fall, but you still want to enjoy the bounty of summer for months to come, Winnipeg’s Flora & Farmer is the option for you.
The Prairie-based purveyors have assembled an expansive lineup of preserves that ranges from rye and rosemary pickled apples to szechuan sesame beans, to mojito gin pickles.
Kin + Pod's caramel chocolate bars
This Calgary-based chocolatier has developed a reputation throughout the province for its exceptional, ethically-sourced bean-to-bar chocolates. Although Kin + Pod carry an array of delectable offerings on their online shop, the two that stand out the most to us are the gluten-free caramel milk chocolate bar (44 per cent) and the vegan toasted sea salt almond bar (74 per cent).
KVAS Fine Beverage Company's Muskoka cranberry rosemary simple syrup
When it comes to festive sips during the holiday season, having a versatile simple syrup to diversify your drink options can go a long way, and Niagara’s Kvas Fine Beverage Company have recently released just that.
The Muskoka Cranberry Rosemary simple syrup uses cranberries harvested from Musoka, fresh rosemary, and Niagara clover honey, making it ideal for anything from cosmos and sangria to a sweet vermouth substitute in a Negroni.
Les Spiritueux Iberville's Miele (amaretto)
Quebec’s Spiritueux Iberville has hit the mark this holiday season with a liquid libation that is both incredibly unique and helps to support a great cause.
In addition to allocating revenue from each sale toward the Miel Montreal cooperative, Spiritueux Iberville’s Miele is also the first amaretto in the world to use organic Quebec honey in its recipe. Produced by bees from the hives of Miele d’Anicet in the Laurentides, Miele offers a unique richness with sweet and fresh notes of almond, pear, camomile, ginger, and grilled sesame.
Trust use when we say that you've never tasted an amaretto like this before.
Meadow Vista Honey Wines
Meadow Vista Honey Wines have assembled an assortment of gift packages featuring festive products made at their Kelowna meadery. From honey and pollen produced at their 110 hive apiary to teas, candles, cookware, and sparkling meads, there is no shortage of sweet stocking stuffers at this shop.
Orders for nationwide shipping can be made online.
Meuwly's spice mixes
Looking to kickstart the creative drive of the aspiring chef in your life? No kitchen is complete without a go-to spice rub, and Meuwly’s selection of spices covers all the bases.
In addition to carrying over 100 locally-made products at their Edmonton market, Meuwly’s has also developed a lineup of housemade spice rubs that include essential varietals such as BBQ, cajun, and aromatic salt.
Road Coffee's Snow Day roast
Sourced and handcrafted from Costa Rica, Peru, and Brazil, Road Coffee Co.’s SnowDay Blend is the perfect gift for the outdoorsman in your life. Whether skating, skiing, or sledding, this roast combines the flavours of chocolate truffle, cinnamon, sweet almond, and cherries to help you stay warm, cozy, and comfy throughout the holiday season.
Scout Canning's preserved seafoods
Since their products became available across North America last summer, Scout’s lineup of sustainability-focused, artisanal canned seafood has been a must-have in our kitchens. Available in various pack sizes, Scout’s current collection includes Atlantic lobster, P.E.I. mussels, rainbow trout, and its two latest additions, wild albacore tuna with either organic olive oil or garden herb pesto.
For the holiday season, Scout has also put together an assortment of “seacuterie” tools, a “seacuterie” board, and a bundle package complete with a bit of everything. In addition to providing the gift of delicious, chef-driven seafood dishes, Scout also reinvests profits into climate action projects that help protect our oceans, so your gift will keep on giving beyond the holiday season.
Stumbletown Distilling's Maté Amaro
This Maté Amaro by Stumbletown Distilling is an absolute must-add to anyone's liquor collection that fancies themselves an avid home barkeep. One of the most unique micro-distilled spirits on the Canadian market, this spin on a classic amaro sees yerba maté tea, cardamon and other warming spices used in the distilling process. Perfectly rewarding to sip by itself, this amaro also finds its stride when added to mulled wine, chai lattes and more.
Teatro x Bridgeland Distillery's Bottled Negroni
This collaboration between one of Calgary's longest running fine dining restaurants and new(ish) distillery, Bridgeland Distillery is as striking to look at in the bottle as it is to sip on.
Zoe Ford JewelBox Brownie
If you're on the hunt for Canada's best brownie, look no further than Montreal. The ultimate brownie–in our opinion–is baked up at Top Chef Canada alum Jo Notkin's catering company, Zoe Ford Catering and lucky for all of you brownie lovers out there, her brownie boxes ship country-wide.
Deliciously dense, studded with dark chocolate chunks and topped with her signature "jewels" (candied orange peel, candied hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and cocoa nibs), Notkin's JewelBox Brownie has been described as the best brownie the Top Chef Canada judges (Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini and Mark McEwan) have ever had in their lives. If that's not a ringing endorsement, we're not sure what is.