After much deliberation as to what should be the topic of my inaugural post on this site, I had a realization. Anyone who knows me knows that I am, err…..“enthusiastic” (read: obsessive) about new, delicious food items that I discover. If I could buy them for everyone I know and force them to try them, I would. In a decidedly less aggressive (and much cheaper) move, I give you this: a tasty guide that is sure to please the palate of your loved ones – and hopefully make checking off your holiday shopping list a little easier.
- If they believe in four main food groups : candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. Ahhhh, sugar – my raison d’etre. I love it in all its forms, caramelized being no exception. After pain-staking, tireless research, I have found THE BEST caramel corn ever to exist. Everrrr. Maybe you are thinking to yourself, “Eh, I don’t really like caramel corn. Too sweet. [or, insert whatever crazy reason here]”. Well, friends, Z Confections has made a salted caramel corn that will change your mind. It is, for lack of a better word, spectacular. I stumbled across the Cinnamon flavor over a year ago and ate the whole bag in 5 seconds (which, admittedly, is not abnormal behavior for me). But when I tried the Rosemary flavor a few months ago, I realized that the caramel-corn game had been changed forever. It is soooo good. Soooo special. Do one of the awesome people in your life a favor – and stuff their stocking with this. zconfections.bigcartel.com/product/salted-caramel-corn
- They like it really, really hot. And right now they are sweating it. Is your loved one experiencing insomnia, night terrors, and generalized anxiety over the Sriracha factory shutdown? Well, don’t fill their Xanax prescription just yet, because I have found something even better to assault their taste buds (yeah, I said it). SoCal’s very own condiment kings SoNoTrading Company debuted their newest creation a few months ago – a Red Chile Sriracha that tastes good with everything. As an added bonus, they made some of the ingredients organic and left out the preservatives. Place your order now before the rooster-sauce – loving masses find out about it (and throw some of their Hong Kong Habanero mustard in that basket for yourself too). sonotrading.com/shop/red-chile-sriracha/
- A treat for the one you love, who doesn’t love meat. This is one bacon-crazed nation right now – but in a flash of good news for piggies and vegetarians everywhere, Phoney Baloney has come into existence. If you’ve ever had the joy-inducing experience of eating the BLTA at Cafe Gratitude, this is a similar concept to their coconut bacon. It is super tasty and delicious – I put it on salads, sandwiches, and sprinkle it on soups. No, it doesn’t taste exactly like bacon – but for being made of coconut, it’s pretty damn close! And, bacon-eaters, let’s face it: sometimes you want bacon-y goodness in your mouth, but you don’t want to actually make bacon. Boom. phoneybaloneys.com
- For that special someone who loves caffeine (and cute rodent mascots): Coffee is awesome. Much like sunshine, fresh-baked cookies, and Waze, it just makes life better. The clandestine folks at Secret Squirrel know that, which is why they took some organic, fair-trade coffee beans and concentrated them down for your joyful caffeine consumption. Just add water. Or almond milk. Or milk, ice, and condensed milk if you prefer your java à la Vietnam-style. It’s going to be good times no matter how you do it! As an added bonus, I discovered that it helps when you have one of those terrifying “I just made weak coffee” situations. Just pour a little in, and Secret Squirrel saves the day! secretsquirrelcoldbrew.goodsie.com
- For the one random friend you have that doesn’t like peanut butter: Seriously, buy this for them. When they open it, make a sad face, tell them you “forgot”, and then take this glass of goodness home for yourself. (I mean, we all know that you have probably made it on the “Naughty” list anyway, so what the hell). The truth is, there is a lot of crappy, average peanut butter out there. So, be glad that I’m telling you about Big Spoon Roasters’ handcrafted, next-level tastiness . They use simple, delicious ingredients that have been harvested locally in North Carolina . No artificial preservatives – just freshly-harvested wildflower honey in all of their flavors to keep things naturally preserved. I have technically only tried the original Peanut Butter and Peanut Pecan. Which means that the Chai Spice flavor pictured above is on my very own wish list. (Santa, take note). bigspoonroasters.com
- For your very sad, very cold friend living in New York or some other non-tropical state: Send them a little bit of Hawaiian warmth with one of Kauai’s Lotus Fudge treats. I could talk story all day long about how amazing their line of choco-goodness is. They are painstaking about finding the best ingredients Kauai has to offer, like Nioi Chili Peppers, Alaea Red Sea Salt, and Macadamia nuts. If you are at all like me and like creative control of your fudge, order the Fudge Mix and make it at home…you can mix in whatever makes you happy! (My personal fave: toasted pecans and tart cherries). Best of all, the company is owned by some of the raddest people on the planet who put a LOT of love into their chocolate . Rad people + high quality, delicious chocolate = no brainer. lotusfudge.com
So, there you have it – the objects my food affection and obsession compiled into one tasty list for your holiday shopping convenience. Order up, and enjoy!