We are now less than a week away from the big day. While you are making a list and checking it twice, I have some great gift ideas for those who have been nice this year.
For the chef or home cook in your life, Knifewear on Pandosy is a must shop. From beautiful hand-crafted Japanese chef knives to select kitchen tools and chopping blocks, Mark and his crew have the stuff that foodie dreams are made of. This is also the place to find great gifts for the men folk in your life. With James Bond bringing back the sexy old-world art of shaving with a straight razor, Knifewear has a selection of snazzy razors to choose from as well as offering classes on how to use them.
The Lakehouse on Bernard Avenue is loaded with all things cooking as well as offering furniture and decorating ideas for the home. I love the African shopping baskets available there and fun pull carts — perfect to fill with local goodies.
Mission Park’s new Urban Fare grocery store was a beautiful sight to behold for locals who missed shopping their Vancouver digs. Even better than Yaletown’s store, store manager Todd Henry and team have now stacked the store with our amazing local bounty and creations. From Monika’s (Okanagan Grocery) bread, Sandrine’s chocolates and macaroons to local crackers and cheeses, there are endless possibilities to choose from to build a delicious Christmas basket (or purchase one already created).
After your shop, relax in the restaurant with a latte or order a bottle of B.C. wine and a custom cheese plate selection that is paired with the wine you select for only $40. Available for 2-4 people.
Need someone to do the shopping for you? Oliver’s Sandy Summers’ new SOME (South Okanagan Merchandise Emporium) creates baskets that feature goodies from local artisans. Not just baskets, I love her use of colanders and other kitchen items used to hold the delicious treats. Chef Natasha Schooten of Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek exclusively supplies Sandy with jars of her bacon jam. Oh yes, I said bacon jam and it is to die for. You can contact her at 250-485-7674 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other stop and shops down south include Dolci Artisan Fare in Osoyoos. Owners/chefs Jorg and Annina Hoffmeister’s eatery also includes local items as well as in-house creations like: Osoyoos Apple Smoked Paprika, Bacon Salt, Chocolate Covered Cornflakes, Bacon Salted Candy Almonds and for the bacon enthusiast on your list: Bacon Lip Balm.
For a unique and beautiful Okanagan gift, I would recommend the amazing work of Annabel Stanley. Annabel weaves baskets as well as sculptures from grape vine canes and willow.
If you have been to Quails’ Gate Winery, where her husband Grant Stanley is winemaker, you will have seen her works there. The large vine-woven spheres are stunning and make for a beautiful Christmas decoration when wrapped in lights (I have one at my front door). She also creates spheres from the metal wine barrel rings as well as other creations like outdoor light fixtures.
Olive oil from the heavens. Nothing says I love you like a bottle of premium extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy. Local girl Teresa Kuhn has just moved back from Italy with her husband and children and is continuing to provide us with the highest quality oils from small producers in Italy. I also suggest adding a bag of the superior Carnaroli rice (for risotto), the olives and sun-dried tomatoes to that gift bag — that’s amore! You can find out more at www.oliveoilmerchant.com.
A copy of my cookbook, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker — An Okanagan cookbook, is a great gift that becomes a real celebration of the Okanagan when paired with goodies created from the talented chefs, artisans, farmers and winemakers featured in the book.
Available at Mosaic Books, Urban Fare, Hooked on Books in Penticton as well as a large number of shops, wineries and restaurants across the valley. Check out our website www.anokanagancookbook.com for a list of the retailers carrying it.
Jennifer Schell is the editor of B.C. Food and Wine Trails magazine.