Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, here are eight gift ideas to put you in everyone’s good books:
1) There’s only one Swiss Master
This year Santa’s helpers have come to town and have left a sleigh-full of goodies: Chocolate Boots brimming with truffles; Adorable small, medium and large chocolate Santas in milk or dark chocolate; Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer is a giant truffle; Sweet keepsakes on milk chocolate circles; Four Piece Chocolate Sets of: Santa, Frosty, Rudolph and a Xmas Tree; Advent Calendars; Duo-Chocolate Truffle Table Settings. There’s a whole array of chocolate truffles from the showcase from seasonal, to stars, to magic mushrooms! It all fills our hearts and bellies. Can’t decide? I love Swiss Master Chocolatier gift certificates too…
2) Question: if an Ooey Gooey Fudge Cookie is gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, kosher and halal…what’s left? I have no idea, but OMG it’s delicious!
Recently I’ve been introduced to Lorelyn. She is a beautiful and bright, health conscious entrepreneur, and I want to know her secret. Lorelyn’s Gourmet Desserts’ individually wrapped, locally baked cakes, cookies, muffins and brownies are school-friendly and kid-approved. Well, I’ll let my two-year-old grandson be the judge. “More cookie,” he smiles, after devouring his Choco-Chia Chip Cookie. For me, I like that the organic coconut flour, organic light buckwheat flour and blended banana puree and apple sauce of the Banana Bonanza Muffin are high in fiber and in nutrition. The new favourite in our office is the chocolatey Brownie Bliss. With its dense, moist texture, we’d never guess it’s nutritional too. These are the perfect grab-to-go snacks for all our varying dietary needs and cravings. They’re currently available at Vince’s Market, Nature’s Emporium, Healthy Foods & More, Fiesta Farms, and coming-soon to Sobey’s and other retailers across Toronto. For more info, or to get some of these treats into your own office, go to Lorelyn’s website: lorelyns.com. And if you get a chance, try one. They really are good. So…what’s left? They’re also guilt free!
3) Shoe Anarchy: A State of Disorder
Something weird has happened to shoes. Reliable sizing and realistic styling have all but disappeared. After hours of fruitless try-ons in a half dozen shops, I chanced upon Ron White Shoes. It was a Eureka moment when I discovered “Rapisardi.” This Italian brand dates back five Tuscan generations with a range of unique shoes and boots made from weatherproof, breathable vegan-based stretch materials, and have a 100% Vegan designation. Rapisardi are members of Animal Free Fashion by LAV, an industry leader in vegan certification. And here’s the best part: I can wear them all day with as much comfort as my favorite slippers.
4) Black Goat: Cozy Comfort and Joy
If you’ve decided to buy only one gift for yourself this season, make it a wardrobe staple. Black Goat Cashmere’s Double Layered Cape. It adds instant glamour to every wardrobe outfit from jeans, coats, suits and dresses to cocktail wear. You’ll wonder how you got along without it all these years. Two layers of 2 ply 100% pure cashmere, elegant and timeless, it will keep you luxuriously warm and terribly smart looking – everywhere and anywhere. Your best friend will want one also. Black Goat Cashmere – 131 Bloor St. W., Toronto Boutique: 416-967-4628
5) Champagne Dressing
Just when I had decided that Piper Heidsick Brut Champagne would be the perfect holiday gift and drink du jour, they surprised me by gift wrapping each bottle in a fashionable red winter coat with a red bow at the neck. I love the classic full-bodied and fruity flavour. Pour the clear golden wine into a flute and it’s bubbles burst to the top immediately creating a joyful promise. Drinkable, pleasing to the palate and always in the best of taste. Ah, the impeccable French style.
6) Loads of Fun—But It’s Not a Game
Your host/hostess rating will go off the charts. Invite your friends over for coffee and you will earn their everlasting praise. Pick up a Caffitaly Latte + Milk Frother and let your imagination soar. Press the appropriate button and this lovely pot makes warm, hot or cold milk froth. Add a drop of vanilla to hot milk froth and cap your coffee. Hot Chocolate gets happy when topped with a dollop of hot foamy milk. Bailey’s, Kaluah or Pina Colada love a cloud of regular cold milk froth. You can even foam a straight glass of milk and make it warm, hot or cold.
7) Meat and Greet: A Gorgeous Selection in an Elegant Package
Would you take meat from a stranger? Yes, when it is Maillard, an online butcher shop from Quebec. The Maillard promise is that their meats come from grain fed animals that are raised without antibiotics or added hormones. My carton of eight items was amazing: lamb chops, a whole seasoned chicken, beef and chicken kabobs, chicken breasts, and more. Each item comes in its own box – it’s like opening a carton of precious gifts. With Maillard’s boxed selections, we can order various themed assortments of exceptional meats chosen by artisan butchers. And we can enjoy their beautifully cut beef, tenderloin steaks, frenched bone-in pork chops, lamb leg roasts, duck, in fact there are 150 products. I can order my selection on-line for next day delivery, vacuum packed and frozen on site, in a cooler with dry ice that keeps the products frozen for at least ten hours. And another amazing fact – the value for money is outstanding. I plan to place an order at least once a month.
8) The Midas Touch: Glazed With Gold
Since opening its doors in 2013, Delysées has become Toronto’s finest artisan bakery with the largest selection of macarons and éclairs in the city. In fact, I attended an éclair making class here last summer in their state of the art kitchen that made me the envy of my friends. I was awestruck by their lavish French pastries, croissants, exotic cakes and exclusive desserts. I wanted to eat
every single item. But now for the holidays, proprietor Fred Naggar has spun pastries into edible gold. Imagine a gold macaron tower: a tray of gold covered éclairs that will set your taste buds spinning! Lavish bridal creations that will make you want to have a wedding all over again. So many beautiful confections – enough to satisfy the most jaded dessert lover.
Happy Chanukah! Merry Christmas! And Happy Festivus for the rest of us!
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.