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Local Holiday Gifts for Foodies

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks & How To Make Them Your Own.

Hungry for some great gifts for the foodies on your holiday shopping list? Here are some delicious ideas that they'll really eat up whether they like to drink, dine out or cook (or all three).

The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks & How To Make Them Your Own -- The team behind Art of the Age delves into 20 classic drinks. This indispensable guide teaches the fundamentals of how to craft classic cocktails and then how to customize each drink. Written by Steven Grasse and Adam Erace.

Vernick Hot Sauce - You've seen Vernick Hot Sauce on your table at the restaurant and now you can enjoy it at home too. The multipurpose pepper vinegar made from house-dried red chilis is available online or in-person at Vernick Wine. With the shop's excellent selection of wines, you'll find lots of other gift ideas there too.

A Woman's Place Is In the Brewhouse.

A Woman’s Place Is In the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewifes, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs -- This book celebrates female brewers and explores the forces that have erased them from the brewing world. Author Tara Nurin shows readers that women have been - and are once again becoming - relevant in the brewing world.

Pennsylvania General Store -- The PA General Stores in Reading Terminal Market and Elkins Park are full of foods made by local purveyors like John & Kira’s sipping chocolate. The thick, rich sipping chocolate is made from pure Valrhona shaved chocolate and flavored with real peppermint. It comes in three flavors - mocha, dark and mint. Another irresistible local option is Lost Bread Company’s Pretzel Shortbread. What makes it so good? The secret is that crumbs from the bakery’s own sourdough pretzels get mixed into the shortbread dough.

Tahini from Soom Foods -- Tahini is a roasted sesame paste that lends a creamy, nutty richness to savory and sweet dishes. And the best place to get it is from Soom Foods, a Philadelphia-based, sister-owned company that is a leading purveyor of premium tahini for chefs and home cooks. It's a gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, vegan, kosher superfood! And it tastes good in both sweet and savory dishes. Order a jar of traditional tahini or build your own 3-pack choosing from flavors like chocolate, dark chocolate and single vanilla bean tahini. And for ideas on how to use it, get The Tahini Table Cookbook, which has 100 tahini recipes.

Photo courtesy of Elfreth's Alley.

Elfreth’s Alley Tea Towels -- Lauren Lopez is an artist and a volunteer at Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited residential street. She combined her two passions to create tea towels printed with Elfreth’s Alley houses. Available in blue and red. Get them on her 4-year-old company’s website or at the Elfreth’s Alley gift shop.

Sauces from Poi Dog -- Miss Poi Dog? You can still get the former restaurant’s sauces and spices. Better yet, get a set of 3 sauces -- Chili Peppah Water, Maui Lavender Ponzu, Guava Katsu. Each bottle is 5 ounces. Lots of other goodies too. Pick up at Musi, 100 Morris Street, on Thursday through Sunday or ship.

Faceted Pewter Salad Servers - Enjoy your greens in style with these pewter salad servers hand-made by Joy Stember, an award-winning local artist who is known for her Judaica products. All products are made-to-order.

Italian Olive Oil Subscription - Each month the subscriber gets one bottle of artisanal extra virgin olive oil hand-picked by Gran Caffe L'Aquila's Riccardo Longo, along with the history of the growing area, the olives and the producer, and a regional recipe featuring the olive oil. The olive oils will come from a variety of regions - from the northern Italian Riviera down to sun-washed Sicily - enabling the subscriber to learn about how differences in micro-climates and territory can impact olive oil’s flavor and profile. And olive oils aren’t the only crave-worthy gifts in the Italian store at this authentic Abruzzi restaurant.

Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia.

Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia -- Tells the sweet and spicy stories behind 90 of the most fascinating chefs and restaurants in the Philadelphia region. Love stories, bungled mob hits, restaurants that survived fires, earthquakes and even Prohibition. Author Irene Levy Baker reveals where to find the most sinful desserts, where to spot celebrities and how to find and get into the city’s secret speakeasies. Use promo code TheCityPulse for free shipping.

Bassetts Ice Cream - You can give pints, quarts or 2-1/2 gallon tubs of Bassetts Ice Cream as a gift. Pick it up at Reading Terminal Market, get it packed in dry ice and delivered in the city (from river to river, Master to Reed) or have it shipped anywhere in the country. Now there's no reason your favorite foodie can't have a freezer full of Cinnamon, Cherry Vanilla, Pumpkin or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.

Cartrageous - Artist Deanna McLaughlin's shopping cart jewelry is a playful nod to the arc of consumer culture. She makes shopping cart necklaces, bracelets, tie tacks, cuff links and more from her studio in NextFab, a local maker space. As an added bonus, she donates 20% of the profits to a local soup kitchen.

A high-end knife from Pellegrino Cutlery - Steve Pellegrino, a graphic designer with a degree from the School of Visual Arts in NYC and a self-taught bladesmith creates Japanese-inspired cutlery for home cooks and professionals. Each knife comes with a lifetime guarantee (under standard non-commercial use).

Nuts To You - Your favorite foodie will go nuts over the Winter Wonderland tray from this local, family-owned business. The festive looking, non-denominational tray contains dark chocolate almonds, silver Hershey kisses, yogurt-covered snowflake pretzels, roasted & salted mixed nuts, snowflake gummies, dark chocolate nonpareils, and milk chocolate graham star cookies.

For more food-related goodies, shop at these restaurant-based food markets at Tino Wine Shop and Sally in Rittenhouse, Kalaya Thai Market, Barcelona Wine Bar and Bibou Boutique (formerly a restaurant) in South Philly.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Need gifts? Planning a staycation? Visit for signed books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

Click here for more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including a list of restaurants with heated outside dining, rooftop bars, only-in-Philadelphia exhibits and more.

Coming soon: A list of restaurants where you get a bonus gift certificate when you buy a gift certificate.

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