A few days ago, I sat down to write my annual gift guide for the food and travel lover on your list when I thought I’d ask some of my food and travel loving friends what their favourite things to gift and to receive are. These friends just happen to be talented bloggers, food stylists, food photographers, book authors, recipe developers and professional travellers. They came up with some pretty great ideas which, I hope, will inspire you. I couldn’t fit them all in one post so watch for my next post where I’ll be giving you even more ideas, including my own. I’d love to hear what your favourite gift ideas are so don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments below.
Aimee is the founder behind the great family blog Simple Bites. She’s also a talented cookbook author but most of all, she’s a great mom living on a gorgeous homestead in Laval with her three beautiful kids and her handsome husband. I am a city girl through and through but Aimee is the only person who makes me wonder about a life in the country since hers looks so dreamy. Here’s what she had to say about her gift ideas:
“I would gift Squish Candies Process Bears and Sweetapolita Sprinkles FA LA LA LA LUXE Twinkle Sprinkle Medley to girlfriends/bakers. I have and can recommend the Fitbit Alta Slim fitness tracker that reminds me to move. I love the long battery life, call, text and calendar alerts. I also have and would recommend the Super Trekker Laguiole folding knife with leather case.
I would love to be gifted the subscription to “Try the World“, a curated selection of gourmet foods, from a new country every month, which I have tried and loved.”
Check out Aimee’s favourite cookbooks of 2016, which also make great gifts.
Kerrie is a friend of British, Irish and Chinese descent who is a great cook and baker. She also works at the independent bookstore Appetite for Books and has a beautiful Instagram feed where she posts delicious recipes inspired by her interesting cultural mélange. Here are her recommendations:
“For giving: I’m totally biased but I think food/cookbooks are great, especially if you’ve genuinely thought about who you’re giving it to and maybe accompany it with an ingredient. For example, a bread book with a bag of great local flour; a cocktail book with some bitters, etc. However, food/travel magazine or vegetable box/meat subscriptions have been great if I can’t physically give or choose a gift that I’ll need to spend a fortune on international postage!
For receiving: Tableware and linen tablecloths/napkins! With my ceramic art & sculpture background, I always have a soft spot for artisan-made ceramic platters/bowls etc. I’ll also never be disappointed by a good hunk of Stilton cheese, mince pies or a nice bottle of something strong.”
Kerrie’s latest favourite books:
Diana Henry’s Simple (good, wholesome, unpretentious, flavourful), Naomi Pomeroy’s Taste & Technique (for confident cooks looking to improve/step up a level), Jamie Oliver’s Christmas and Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Super Fun Times Holiday Vegan Cookbook (both are nice festive cookbooks, great for seasonal ideas). You can get all of these books at Appetite for Books or your local independent bookstore.
Some of Kerrie’s favourite ceramic makers in and around Montreal:
L’Arbre et la Rivière (these guys with the dreamiest studio are located in Lanaudière!), Atelier Make (they make some really lovely pieces and give classes for those interested) and Looks Like White (Trudy Crane makes some nice (white) tableware).
Katie is the author behind Tasting Rome, one of my favourite books to come out this past year. She was born and raised in New Jersey but has called Rome home for the past 13 years. Her blog is an invaluable source of great addresses to test in and around the Eternal City. Here are her picks:
“For Christmas I am giving the same awesome gift to all my friends: a beautiful, buttery, spongy, naturally leavened panettone by Roy Shvartzapel. The panettoni are made by hand and with gorgeous ingredients so they are delicious and moist and magical unlike the standard industrial junk peddled by Italian supermarkets at home and abroad.
For “bigger gifts” I will also be gifting the Tasting Rome gift basket from Marcelli Formaggi’s Abruzzo pantry. I’m so proud of my friends the Marcellis for their dedication to importing products from their ancestral homeland of Abruzzo. I teamed up with my pals to create a gift basket that includes a copy of Tasting Rome as well as a rich and nutty organic sheep’s milk cheese (the happy sheep graze on more than 120 wild herbs and flowers in the Gran Sasso park). They are adorable. There is also Masciarelli spaghetti, cut from bronze die and slowly dried at low temperatures and extra virgin olive oil.
For the holidays (and year round in fact) the only gift I would ask for is a donation to a local food bank. I support the Food Bank for New York City but there are similar groups working hard across North America.”
Read my review of the Tasting Rome here.
Marie-Ève is the writer being To Europe & Beyond, one of my favourite travel blogs. She publishes great city guides and has a travel shop on her blog. She also happens to be a Montrealer and a friend. Here are her picks:
“Travel Listography: If one of your loved ones is not only a travel expert but also a little bit OCD, this is a great whimsical yet highly practical gift. It can be used in two ways: either to write down places they want to visit in the future, experiences they want to have, or simply to look back on the awe-inspiring things they’ve already done. My highly organized and list-obsessed self would be pleased to get that gift!
Travel Wallet: like to be neat; this has served me quite well as a frequent traveller. 8 years of travel and I haven’t ever lost my passport, foreign currency or boarding pass. This practical travel wallet, hand crafted in the US with smooth Italian leather, is super chic and can be personnalised with initials. At this pricepoint it’s definitly not a stocking stuffer, but high-quality products like these last a lifetime and never go out of style. Me wants!
Check out Marie-Ève’s travel gift guide.
Stay tuned for more ideas in my next blog post!