‘Tis the season of giving and this year we plan to make up for last year in every way we can. Now that we’re getting more comfortable with meeting up with friends and family we have some gift ideas suitable for the festive season. Food related gifts are always welcomed amongst my friends and family and there are endless options — but we’ve decided to focus on Canadian made including hyperlocal purveyors in the Toronto and surrounding areas for this year’s foodie gift guide.
For a unique desserts we look at JellyBean Cake. Located mid-town Toronto, this boutique pastry shop creates stunning cakes as well as Japanese and Korean specialties. Exquisitely designed Nerikiri and Song Pyeon rice cakes are real treasures and all made in-house. Makes for perfect host gifts. Pre-orders are a must.
This incredible kit is a nod to classic speakeasy cocktails created by local BarFromAfar is a great gift idea or if you’re entertaining –we’ve even offered it to guests before or after dinner to create them and your festivities. All the ingredients needed to concoct holiday bliss like a pro mixologist are in the kit — just not the glassware but you can order them as well! Options are available for the number of cocktails to make. The Holiday Spiced Rum kit comes with four cheery and delicious festive recipes! All well-balanced and fun to created.
If you’ve tried Charles A. Neale ice cream flavours (first in Trinidad) you may have been excited to learn that his family brought his ice cream recipes here to Toronto in the past few years. Sweet n’ Nice Ice Cream selection holds the secrets of the most delicious scoops of Rum ‘n Raisin, Mango, Coconut just to name a few. You can order pints as a gift subscription! But NEW this year is the local company has brought in traditional Black Cake just in time for the holiday season. The festive traditional rum soaked cake made with love and goodness. Sweet N’ Nice Rum and Black Cakes are made by head baker Latisha Brown who grew up watching her mother prepare Jamaican Black Cake for their holiday celebrations. Beginning with a robust blend of fruit, wine, rum and warm spices the recipes — Sweet N’ Nice has created both cake and cupcake variations of the dessert as well as a Classic Caribbean Vanilla Rum Cake.
Sugar and spice and everything nice is what you’ll find with this season’s holiday offerings with Butter Baker. A favourite delivery for family, friends, coworkers and clients. Baked goods are made fresh daily in the GTA and packaged well. Aside from their daily pastries, cakes, cookies, and gingerbread houses, the local bakery also features other high quality and unique holiday gift artisans (Candles, tea sets, etc) to compliment their seasonal offerings. Gift boxes finish off the season of giving so you won’t have to think twice!
For the tea lovers, YUM CHA Soulful Tea Blends by Tea Squared 1 and Chef Trevor Lui is a must. This 3-pack includes customer favourites Aged Pu-Erh, Ti Kwan Yin, and Pure Energy with unique benefits in each blend. All high grade, sustainably sourced and non-GMO.
Send Noods! Ramen lovers (aka Ramenheads) won’t need to venture out into the cold this winter with Crafty Ramen’s DIY at home kits. Fresh, brothy and delicious noodles like Spicy Tan Tan Mein and the Norther Warmer are easy to prep with all the right ingredients specially assembled for the most enjoyable meal at home.
The long standing chinatown favourite Yeuh Tung Restaurant has been a go-to for many years. If you’re a fan of their famous Hakka style Chinese chili chicken and others you’ll want to bring the flavours home. The restaurant won’t give their secret recipes away but you can order their Vooka (means family) sauces just in time for the holidays!
For the cookie exchange friends, we’ve been checking out the Amarula’s National Cookie Exchange Recipes all created and shared by 16 of the country’s most beloved bakers, chefs, food writers and influencers. If you’re all about the DIY, the Amarula Biscotti recipe by Rodney Alleguede (Gouter) is amazing and very gift-worthy. This and other recipes can be found here. Also, if you have a cookie recipe to share, the company will be donating $5 to the charity Feed Ontario. More details on their site.
For the experienced and newbie bakers on your list, check out Le Dolci Bakery & Studio not just for the most wonderful desserts of the season but check out their holiday workshops and classes – great “experiential” gifts available for in-person or virtual.
We have a few bubble tea lovers on our lists and recently ordered bubble tea kits from Bauble Boba, a local small business here Toronto. Choose from a variety of black, green and fruity teas. Options for milky or not. Comes with the bubbles (tapioca balls) all in a perfectly presentable gift box. Bubble teas takes merely 5 minutes to make. Instructions included.
Bruce County Nut and Fudge is a well-loved for their small batch sweets. Their caramel chocolatey covered apple assortments and their fudge variety are addictive. All made with traditional methods and recipes but there are also a few updated versions for everyone sweet tooth on your list.
The Grand Order of Sweets always delights with their dessert creations. If you have a Harry Potter or Star Trek fan you’ll want to check out their site. For stocking stuffers we love their Chocolate Smash Ornaments. Each one is filled with sprinkles and their Salted Exploding Caramels. Comes in three sizes.
SiLLiBake cupcake set is a smart and very handy silicone based molds created by a GTA baker. Growing up in an Italian household and surrounded by family who loved to bake, founder, Nini P, tells us she learned that quality of the bakeware was equally as important as the ingredients she used. As she searched high and low for the perfect cupcake moulds that would be better for the environment in the long run, she was disappointed with what was in the marketplace. So, with her entrepreneurial spirit she decided to create her own. The result is an affordable set of cupcake moulds that are pretty as well as functional. Little handles on each mould is brilliant. Easy to use and easy to clean. Comes in pretty shades of violet.
Handfuel: founder Cole Richman started his snack company in his Toronto kitchen when he created his much loved family recipe for Lemon Marcona almonds. They since have expanded the healthy good line adding new nuts, fruits, and season combinations while continuing to use quality, clean, non-GMO ingredients to create a seriously addictive snack that you can feel good about. Sweet Chili Nut Mix includes almonds, cashews and pecans, perfectly spiced with sweet chilli. Incredible nutty-rich tastes and satisfying crunch offers the kind of fuel that gets you in gear.
Bon Bon Candies: created by Francesca Abony, a Toronto-based Culinary Nutritionist & Food Consultant focused on Healthy Eating. At the start of the pandemic, Francesca tried her hand at creating all-natural superfood candies made with 100% organic ingredients designed to offer nutrient-dense bite-size snacks with every serving. She substituted the bad for the good and made her childhood favourite treats into healthy gut-healing, good-for-you gummies. The immune boosting candies are great for stocking stuffers.
Ripe Nutrition: is the creation of Certified Health and Wellness Coach Alexandra Baird. By combining holistic nutrition with practical cooking skills, Ripe Nutrition offers unique products tailored completely to your health needs. Raw Heat Superfood Powder is a fan favourite. This adaptogenic blends aids in hormonal health, adrenal support + increased libido. Organic Cacao, Maca, Lucuma, Cayenne, Pink Sea Salt. Designed with emphasis on hormonal health, adrenal support + increasing metabolism & libido. It is like a sexy hot chocolate — add it into smoothies and coffee. It’s also can be used in baked goods.
Galerie au Chocolat from Quebec is has a delicious assortment of festive holiday bars and morsels ideal for stocking stuffers or even secret Santa gifts with friends and coworkers. The caramel sea salt bar is perfectly sized for those on the go. Candy cane chocolate and a variety of barks and bars also available. Fun offerings include sweets in holiday ornament shapes that can be used on the tree or a finishing touch on the fireplace mantel.