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Top 10 Artisan Food Gifts

Guide to Delicious & Beautifully Packaged Small-Batch Artisan Food Gifts

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Make sure your food gift is eaten rather than tucked into a cupboard and forgotten. These artisan-made gift packages and food clubs deliver great taste and beautiful packaging, along with small-batch production. Updated for 2012 holiday gift-giving!

1. Artisan and Small Batch Liquors

Spring 44 Honey Vodka
A bottle of booze is an easy, oft-appreciated gift. It no longer needs to be predictable or unexciting. Artisan distilleries are popping up around the country offering unique creations or craft versions of bar standards. Find out that suits your recipients' tastes here.

2. Back to the Roots Mushrooms

Back to the Roots Kit
Photo © Molly Watson

Okay, growing your own mushrooms may not be for everyone, but it is certainly for everyone who loves mushrooms. This kit from Back to the Roots contains everything (except water) you need to grow mushrooms and it grows them in a medium of used coffee grounds. It's sustainable food from a sustainable business model.

For those who want to take things a bit further, Back to the Roots will be offering a Home Aquaphonics Kit early in 2013 - the fish fertilize the soil for the plants that filter the water for the fish that... you get it. It's a closed-loop system to put on your gift list for next year.

3. Bacon!

Why give bacon when you can give bacon of the month? Each month a pound of artisan bacon will open the recipient’s eyes to the wonders of pork belly and its many permutations – from garlic-flavored to corn-cob smoked.

From $99.

4. Boxed Chocolates

Photo Used With Permission
Chocolates are a classic. Recchiuti makes my favorite chocolates, hands-down. Handmade and beautifully packaged, I can't imagine a more elegant (and, yes, extravagant) gift than these delicate and perfectly balanced creations.

Nine-piece box of Recchiuti's famous burnt caramel chocolates $25, 16-piece fleur de sel caramels $23, the Platinum Collection (88 pieces!) $160 and plenty in between, including both red wine and whiskey pairing sets.

5. Capt'n Mike's Smoked Salmon

Capt'n Mike smokes more than just salmon. Salmon varieties – including Alderwood-smoked King salmon and hot-smoked white salmon – are on offer, as are sablefish, trout, and hard-to-find sturgeon (all sustainably farmed or fished). Possible gift packs even include a fish of the month club.

Gift packs start at $99 ("Sailor's Special") and run up to $750 ("The Entire Ship").

6. Cookbooks

Roots by Diane Morgan
Photo © Molly Watson
These cookbooks will give plenty of inspiration and hands-on recipes to locally-oriented cooks.

7. Cowgirl Creamery Cheeses

Cowgirl Creamery, the stellar cheesemaker and reknowned cheesemonger, offers plenty of tempting cheeses and gift packages (including artisan cheese clubs). Try out a very localized collection with a selection of five cheeses from the Tomales Bay area in Marin County, California.

Assortments/collections start at $35 and run to $275 for the Cowgirl Party Box, which includes cheese, salami, and flatbread for a whole party.

8. Earthy Delights White Oregon Truffles

Some claim they're better than Italian white truffles; they're certainly more intensely flavored. For the foodie on your list, these may be the perfect gift they didn't even know they wanted.

$60 for 3 oz.

9. Salami

These are a definite step-up from the Hickory Farms gift boxes so prevalent during the holidays. Boccalone makes "tasty salted pig parts" and they make them good. Not all of their products are available for shipping, but the "gifts" section has plenty for the salami lover on your list.

Piglet gift box $44, boar gift box $59, salami sampler $55.

10. Tsar Nicouli California Estate Osetra

Tsar Nicouli sustainably farms sturgeon in the Central Valley of California and sources imported caviar from sustainable sources abroad. Their California Estate Osetra comes with a mother-of-pearl spoon and makes a nice introduction to domestic caviar. They also carry a wide range of fun, flavored whitefish roe (wasabi is my favorite for both flavor and crazy bright green color!).

Gift selections start at $123; flavored roe starts at $22 for 2 oz.

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