Chocolate, lovely chocolate
No stocking would be replete without a nibble or two of chocolate.
Shaman Organic Dark Chocolate Bars
Who wouldn't love a long-savored bite of Extra Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Ruby Raspberries, Dark Chocolate with Coconut, Dark Chocolate with Acai, Lemon and Orange, and Dark Chocolate with Green Tea and Ginger, especially when the chocolate is organic and fair trade certified. Shaman chocolates are decoratively wrapped with photos of Huichol Indians from the Mexican villages that Shaman supports. These are ultra exquisite chocolates with a great cause. Order online at www.ShamanChocolates.com.
Lindt Lindor Truffles
With 10 luscious Lindor truffle varieties to choose from, you can stuff your foodie's stocking with one flavor or build your own bag of flavors at www.LindtLindorTruffles.com. Each bag holds 36 truffles, giving you the ability to mix or match and even order more than one bag with the same flavor assortment. Truffles are individually wrapped; choose from Raspberry, Orange, Mint, Hazelnut, Peanut Butter, White, Dark, Milk, Stracciatella, and Extra Dark Chocolate Lindor flavors. Yum!
Valor Taza To Go Liquid Chocolate
Rich, creamy and deliciously versatile, Taza To Go is the first gourmet liquid drinking
chocolate made with real cocoa selected from the finest harvests. It is an elegant hot cocoa or fabulous fondue, can be generously drizzled over baked goods or ice cream, and makes the most marvelous martinis! Made by Valor Chocolates, one of Spain's most renowned chocolatiers, Taza To Go is packaged in a deep red pouch with a convenient pour spout and is available in gourmet shops, Cost Plus World Market, and online at www.ValorChocolate.com.
Can't-resist kitchen gadgets
People who love cooking can't help but covet kitchen gadgets and they always welcome novel, nifty foodie gifts for Christmas.
For the foodie that has just about everything, the g-Spout is a removable, multi-purpose spout and strainer that helps strain and pour hot cooking oil, grease, batters, soups and sauces out of pots, pans, skillets and bowls. New to the market, this innovative silicone device simply clips onto the side of cookware and even serves as a spoon rest. Even better, it is microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Available at www.g-spout.com.
Fusion Brands Poachpod
Poached eggs are such an elegant addition to brunch and even salads. The Fusion Brands Poachpod is a flexible silicone cooking tool for poaching eggs, baking and molding. The gourmets on your gift list will be able to serve perfectly shaped poached eggs that are much easier to retrieve from simmering water as compared to free-floating eggs. Poachpods come in a set of two, are dishwasher-safe, and can be found at gourmet shops, kitchen stores and online at www.Poachpod.com.
Fusion Brands Drizzlestick
Another silicon kitchen gadget from Fusion Brands, the Drizzlestick is a flexible cone at the end of a stick that delivers the ultimate control in drizzling liquids such as honey, olive oil, sauces, dressings, melted chocolate, melted butter and more. The Drizzlestick cone holds one-and-a-half teaspoons of liquid and effortlessly pivots to reach every last bit of liquid in a jar or bowl. This nifty gadget is dishwasher-safe, heat-resistant and available at gourmet shops, kitchen stores and online at www.FusionBrands.com.
The Open It! is a 4-in-1 kitchen gadget that was designed with women in mind. This do-it-all kitchen tool has a small ring with a pry tab to pop off bottle caps, a lever for opening pull tab cans, a large ring to twist off caps, and a slotted knife blade that pulls small tabs and cuts wraps and seals. Available at www.enjoyZibra.com.
Miniature bottles of wine, liquor and liqueurs and cocktail recipe books are tasty and appreciated stocking stuffers for those that like to sip and savor the holidays.
Spice and Ice
The hottest (literally!) bar trend in cocktails is adding heat and flair with spices, wasabi, chilies, ginger and other fiery flavors. Spice and Ice (Chronicle Books, 2009), penned by food and spirits writer Kara Newman, gives the home mixologist 70 palate-tingling beautifully-photographed mixed drinks, including the Wasabi-tini, Hot Flash, Sangria Scorcher and Blackberry-Poblano Margarita. Even though some of the drinks sound like five alarm fires, Newman also provides tips on keeping the heat to a yummy, tolerable minimum.
Organic, Shaken and Stirred
Another growing -- and staying -- bar trend is cocktails made with organic, natural spirits and mixers. In his cutting-edge cocktail book Organic, Shaken and Stirred (Harvard Common Press, 2009), Paul Abercrombie delivers dozens of eco-friendly mixed drink recipes and information on producers of organic spirits to give readers an enlightened view of "drinking green." Novel ingredients, such as tangelos, tamarind, lavender, purple basil, acai, aloe vera and more become impressive party drinks that will win over those most skeptical of the green movement.
Mount Gay Rum
A miniature bottle of Mount Gay Rum is inspiration for a spirited holiday toast on Christmas Day. Considered "the rum that invented rum", award-winning Mount Gay has been produced in Barbados since the late 1700s, making it the perfect gift for the traditionalist.
Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Made by hand for 130 years, Dalmore is described as a drink that combines the delicious delights of indulgence and decadence, with one sip releasing a full assault on the senses delivering not just a myriad of fruits, spices and mellow perfumes but taking the drinker into a world of hedonistic delight, where the myths, legends and history of this single malt can be experienced. That alone should be reason enough to put a miniature bottle of this fine liquor in every stocking on the mantel (for adults only, of course).
Visit your local wine and spirits retailer or gourmet store and stock up on a variety of miniature bottles of Champagne, red and white wines, and liquor. Include a mixed selection of spirits in stockings or ribboned together as part of a larger gift.
Eco-friendly shopping bags
Give the eco-conscious foodies on your gift list reusable shopping bags to assist them on their many gourmet market or grocery store visits.
Bag the Habit Luxe Tote
These eco-luxe reusable shopping bags feature premium recycled fabric, padded handles and a sewn-in carrying pouch that doubles as an interior pocket. The Luxe Totes are super popular for their chic, comfortable design, affordability, and extra large carrying capacity. Choose from a colorful array of colors and styles; Luxe Totes can be ordered online at www.BagtheHabit.com.
Bag the Habit Produce Bags
Along with the Luxe Tote, include a few reusable produce bags made of un-dyed, 100 percent recycled polyester. Bag the Habit Produce Bags come in two sizes and can transport a variety of fruits, vegetables, dried goods, coffee beans, bakery treats and more. Bags are machine washable and are available in sets of two or four at www.BagtheHabit.com.
Food and beauty fusion
For the gourmets who like food to have a place in all aspects of their life, beauty products made with fruits, herbs and other ingredients are a lovely treat.
Eos Lip Balm Smooth Spheres
Honeysuckle Honeydew, Summer Fruit and Sweet Mint -- the scrumptious flavors of the new line of lip balms by Eos. Not only do these uniquely designed spheres of lip smoothing balms hydrate and moisturize lips, they are made with organic, all natural ingredients and innovatively keep lips germ-free. Eos Lip Balm Smooth Spheres are available nationwide at Rite Aid and Walgreens.
Arcona Pumpkin Lotion
A luscious lotion aromatically made with pumpkin extract, Arcona's Pumpkin Lotion is the perfect gift for the foodie beauty goddess who uses all natural skin care products. This highly active restorative body lotion feels decadent, improves tonal quality and elasticity of the skin, and deliciously repairs sun damaged skin. The pumpkin essence makes this yummy skin soother a perfect holiday gift. Available at www.Beauty.com.
Arcona Wine Hydrating Mask
In addition to a glass of wine being good for the heart, vinotherapy is also the new rage in health and beauty. The vinophile on your gift list will love Arcona's Wine Hydrating Mask, with its moisture-binding qualities that nourish and replenish dry, dehydrated, depleted skin. Made with grape seed, wine extracts and reserveratrol, this foodie beauty product reduces wrinkles, firms and smoothes skin, and accelerates the skin's natural defenses. (Glass of wine and relaxing 20-minute wine mask, anyone?) Available at www.Beauty.com.
Get Fresh Starfruit Pear Skinny Dip Bath Soak
Not only are pears delectably in season and famous in the Twelve Days of Christmas "partridge in a pear tree," they are also a hot ingredient in skin care. Ripe with vitamins, minerals and anti-aging antioxidants, pears boost the luxuriousness of Get Fresh's Starfruit Pear Skinny Dip Bath Soak. Encourage the beauty foodie on your gift list to light some pear-scented candles and nibble on bits of fresh pear all while soaking her body in a fresh, fruit-essenced bath. Available at www.GetFresh.com.
More Christmas stocking stuffers