I visited ‘the mall’ in hopes that I would find a long list of ‘must buy’ gifts for this article. After 2 fruitless hours, I am back at my screen now shopping online. What to get? What to give? This is the never ending question as the holiday season ramps up. Is it getting harder to find a gift for those hard-to-buy-for-people on your list? I agree!
Drumroll please…here are my top gifts for 2016. Hopefully by the time you read this they are not all sold out!
For the Foodie…
GIFT IDEA: Spice of the Month Club
The brainchild of Jodi Samis, owner of Cardamon and Cloves mails to you on the 15th of each month an assortment of three different freshly ground spice blends along with recipes using each spice. Each package includes recipes for the featured spices. Three month subscription ($8 per month), six months ($7.50 per month) and 12 months ($7 per month). http://cardamomandcloves.com/monthly-spice-subscription
For the Cook…
GIFT IDEA: Ottawa Cooks
They may already have stacks of cookbooks, but the hottest new cookbook in town is Ottawa Cooks written by food writer and restaurant critic Ann DesBrisay. This stunning cookbook is a testament that Ottawa has talented chefs with varying styles of cuisine. Each of the 41 chefs provided two recipes that have been tested by Ann, her sisters and friends in their home kitchen to make sure that all secrets have been revealed.
This book is worth picking up to see how Supply & Demand Food & Raw Bar makes their famous Kale Salad that I always order! Purchase at the featured restaurants, book shops and online.
For any Whisky Lover …
GIFT IDEA: Lagavulin 8 year old Single Malt
To commemorate its 200th anniversary, Lagavulin has released a limited edition 8 year old single malt. Never been done before – look for it at the LCBO $99 for 750mL bottle.
This just-released whisky commemorates Alfred Barnard, the first ever whisky journalist back in the late 1800s. The lore is that he sampled an 8 year old Lagavulin during a visit to Islay, Scotland. He described it as ‘exceptionally fine’ and went on the declare Lagavulin to be ‘one of the rare distilleries that could produce single malt of quality.’
Remarkably a pale colour with easy drinking personality, soothing texture and well balanced. A combination of apricot with smoke, then hints of dark chocolate, mint & sea salt with each sip. Dry & light, it is a whisky that any beginner or collector would enjoy to receive as a gift under the tree.
For the Wine Lover …
GIFT IDEA: Assortment of Sommelier taste tested wines.
The LCBO stocks their shelves extra high during the holiday season. Mesmerized by all of the bottles, it is far too easy to pick up a pre-made gift pack. Instead, buy wines recommended in our ‘If I had a $100, I would buy at Vintages’ blog. This shopping list has our Savvy Sommeliers’ top picks after tasting countless bottles before they go on the shelves in Vintages. Grab a basket, cool tote or a wooden crate and pack up your picks. TIP: periodically Vintages has used wooden crates at the cash for $5 (that will be donated to a local charity).
The latest list of our top picks is at savvycompany.ca/category/if-i-only-had-100/
For the Cheese Lover…
GIFT IDEA: Cheese of the Month Club
This is a gift that is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face. Like wine and beer clubs, the monthly deliveries contain chunks, wedges and rounds of artisan cheeses that are not readily available at grocery stores. There are two cheese clubs to consider:
Jacobson’s Fine Foods features cheeses from around the world and delivers them to homes in Ottawa. www.jacobsons.ca/products/cheese-of-the-month Subscription is $60 per month plus delivery
Savvy Cool Curds offers monthly subscriptions or one-off shipments containing a variety of Canadian artisan cheeses. To be delivered to a home or work address across Canada. www.savvycoolcurds.ca Holiday subscription special $55 per month plus delivery
For the Entire Family…
GIFT IDEA: Museum Membership
Did you know that Ottawa has a museum all about food? Located on the Experimental Farm, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum has neat exhibits, special events and family activities year round. In November they are hosting “For the Love of Cheese” with special programming for all ages. In addition, food themed events and exhibits include Baconpalooza, Taking Care of Beesness, A Piece of Cake & Food Preservation an countless hands on kids weekend programs, this museum is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Family membership starts at $90 & includes membership to Canada Science & Technology Museum as well as Canada Aviation & Space Museum!
Now let’s get shopping.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Savvy Company!
This article appears in the November – December 2016 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine