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'Tis the Season: Gifts for Foodies

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Rachella's Tahini Carrot Cake from "The Tahini Table" cookbook. Photo by Jillian Guyette.

Hungry for some great gift ideas for the foodies on your holiday shopping list? Here are some delicious ideas for satisfying their palates, and they support local restaurants and food establishments too!

For the Cookbook Collector

The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal a new cookbook that focuses on the delicious and nutritious qualities of tahini and the ways to use it in everything from dips to desserts. Written by Amy Zitelman, CEO & co-founder of Soom Foods and Andrew Schloss, prolific cookbook author, the book includes 100 easy-to-make recipes for dishes such as Black Bean Tahini Burgers, Gluten-Free Brownies, Tahini Chicken Schnitzel and great food porn like the photo above.

Tip: The cookbook was just released, increasing the chances that your recipient doesn’t have it yet.


Need a Gift? Planning a Staycation?

100 Things To Do In Philadelphia includes new attractions and hidden gems even long time locals may not know about. Restaurants, entertainment, history, culture, recreation and shopping in the city, suburbs & South Jersey.

Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia tells the sweet & spicy stories behind 90 of the area's best restaurants.

Click here for signed copies of books. Use promo code TheCityPulse for free shipping.

Gran Caffe L'Aquila.

For the Italophile (it’s a word - Google it!)

You won't have any trouble finding something enticing at Gran Caffe L'Aquila. This authentic Italian cafe turned its first floor into an Italian gourmet market stocked with pastas, sauces, olive oils, spices, Italian chocolates and sweets, traditional Italian snacks, speciality desserts and more. You can shop there, order products for pick up, have products delivered (in Philadelphia) or order online for national delivery.

Tip: If you’ve always secretly-coveted the dashing fedoras worn by the staff at Gran Caffe L’Aquila, you can now get one of your own!

For the Francophile

In late September Bibou BYOB, the acclaimed French restaurant, pivoted into a French charcuterie. Bibou BYOB is now Bibou Boutique.

The husband/wife team of Pierre and Charlotte Calmels offer quenelles, Pate en crote, terrines, sausages, breads and other French delicacies that won Bibou nationwide recognition. Plus, French products unavailable anywhere else in Philadelphia -- including traditional French cookies and soaps. Shopping at Bibou may be just as fun as receiving a foodie gift from the boutique.

Tip: Don’t miss the Menu de la Semaine, a 3-course menu available for cooking at home. Changes every Monday.

For Wine Connoisseurs

Photo courtesy of Barcelona Wine Bar.

Barcelona Wine Bar has opened a small but well-curated marketplace with beautifully displayed products. For your wine drinking friend, pick up one of the cleverly named wine packs, like Iconic Reds of Spain, Picnic Pack, Spanish Day Drinking and Women Wine Makers. The products are available in the South Philly restaurant and online.

The store also stocks books, housewares, glassware and other products that can be purchased in person or online, including hand-carved charcuterie boards like the ones used at Barcelona; paella pans, so you can recreate the traditional Valencian communal dish at home; and pantry items, including Maldon Sea Salt, La Dalia Hot Pimentón (Smoked Paprika) and La Boella Olive Oil.

Tip: Check out the Parróns, curvy glass vessels designed to deliver beverages to the mouth without touching. They were first seen in Ancient Egypt, developed by the Romans, made practical by the Catalans and are a signature experience at Barcelona Wine Bar.

For the Health Conscious

Encourage your favorite foodies to be a walking ambassador for their favorite restaurants by wearing a restaurant-themed mask. It'll keep them healthy too. Huda, the new fast casual sandwich shop by Chef Yehuda Sichel who was previously at Abe Fisher, is offering a mask with its logo. Available online.

Tip: Your foodie friends might be impressed that you got to this new sandwich joint before they did.

For Carb Cravers

Gift box from Metropolitan Bakery.

Order a gift basket from Metropolitan Bakery, an iconic Philadelphia bakery that titillates tastebuds with homemade breads, pastries, snacks, and granola made with all-natural products, many sustainable and locally-sourced from farmers and small producers. Metropolitan's granola was named "best in the U.S." by and its breads and snacks have been featured in Oprah's magazine, in Saveur, Gourmet, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living and on The Today Show. Can be ordered online and shipped.

Tip: Get 10% off your first order when you sign up for the email list. And why wouldn't you want to get Metropolitan's emails featuring beautiful (& tasty) breads, baked goods, pantry items, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and specials?!

Use promo code TheCityPulse on for a discount.

For Restaurant Lovers

Give a copy of Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia, which tells the sweet and spicy stories behind 90 Philadelphia area restaurants. Love stories, bungled mob hits, restaurants that survived an earthquake, a fire and even Prohibition plus a list of secret speakeasies and more. (Self-serving to include, perhaps, but it is the perfect gift for foodies!) Can be paired with a restaurant gift certificate so the recipient has something to use now and something lasting.

Tip: Go all out (& save money) by getting the 2 book package - a copy of Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia AND the newly-published second edition of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia, which includes new and lesser-known sights throughout the region and is 20% food-related. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

For more ways to help local restaurants, read my tips here and here.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. For even more tips, visit Planning a staycation? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

Click here for more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including outdoor and virtual holiday activities, a list of socially-distant tours, some of the area's fall weather cocktails, a new hotel near Rittenhouse Square, holiday activities and more.


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