Ideas for those who love to cook, eat or drink!
Every autumn, I work to compile a select list of items to offer a little gift-giving inspiration. With more people spending time at home and in the kitchen these days, chances are many of the people on your gift list would appreciate something fun or useful to help them in their culinary endeavours. For additional ideas, you can also check out my 2020 cookbook gift guide or my Ottawa At Home 2020 Gift Guide for Food Lovers
Made in Canada cheese making kits
This past year has seen a huge resurgence in home baking, canning, gardening and other DIY endeavours, fuelled in part by many people staying home much more than in the past. Why not add cheese making to someone’s arsenal of rediscovered domestic arts? This Canadian company offers a variety of cheese kits that require only a few basic pieces of kitchen equipment to easily transform ordinary milk into seriously tasty cheese. Choose from Cheddar, Feta, Mozzarella/Ricotta or Poutine Curds; all ingredients except the milk are included in the kits, along with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions. In some cases the cheese is ready to eat in as little as one hour; others will require aging to achieve their characteristic flavour. Their website offers lots of interesting reading on the science and how-to of cheesemaking for those who want to become immersed in this deliciously fascinating subject. Visit makecheese.ca for details, stockists or to order online.
Simplehuman rechargeable liquid sensor soap pump
With ‘wash your hands’ a mantra for everyone now, this touchless soap dispenser is the perfect gift for the kitchen (or – because it can also be used to dispense hand sanitizer – any room in the house). Not only can it run for up to 3 months on a full charge (no batteries required), it also offers a variable dispense volume control, meaning you control how much soap you get just by where you place your hands; the father away from the spout, the more you get. As a bonus, these new pumps are waterproof, making it easier to rinse to keep them looking great. I love having one by the kitchen sink for those times when I am up to my elbows in squash seeds or bread dough and don’t want to have to touch anything to start the cleanup process. The simplehuman brand is well-known for not only the quality and durability of its products, but also its excellent customer service. I have several of their older, battery-powered soap dispensers that I have been using daily for 15 years and they still work really well so while this pump may appear pricy, it offers good value. Available at simplehuman.ca and select retailers.
Vodkow Cream Liquor
Almonte, Ontario’s Dairy Distillery burst onto the craft spirits scene almost two years ago with its pioneering technology that transforms unused milk sugar – a product typically discarded by the dairy processing industry – into a sustainable and delicious vodka called Vodkow. I became instantly smitten with the flavour of their product the very first time I tasted it and have been eagerly watching to see what their third act would be (the second was mass-producing gel and liquid hand sanitizer to help meet the urgent pandemic-influenced need; they also donated heaps of those products to front-line workers, in keeping with their community-focused philosophy.) Now, the company has launched Vodkow Cream, a rich and flavourful cream liquor that, while made from dairy products, is actually lactose-free. Blending fresh Canadian cream with Vodkow vodka creates a delicious cream liquor without added flavouring or colour. Less sweet than traditional cream liquors, it’s fantastic on its own, drizzled over ice cream, shaken into cocktails or swirled into coffee. You can purchase directly from their Almonte production facility and shop, or order online for shipping across Canada at dairydistillery.com. Vodkow Cream and regular Vodkow are also available at select LCBO locations in Ontario.
For the folks on my gift list that I won’t be able to see until who knows when, I’m looking into gifts I can purchase and have shipped directly to them. Thankfully, those with a sweet tooth will benefit from the fact that Canadians can now shop for GODIVA’s best sellers online at GODIVA.ca. Popular choices include their legendary truffles as well as the newly redesigned Gold Collection, which has been a steady favourite – especially for gifting – since the brand was founded in Belgium in 1926. The Gold Collection includes an assortment of velvety ganaches, creamy caramels, luscious pralines and delicious nuts and fruits in milk, dark and white chocolate. You can even add a personalized message to your gift for that extra-special touch.
Elle Chef online sourdough bread making class
Having attended one of Elle Crevits’ in-person classes last winter (the bread pictured is the very first loaf I made after the class and became officially obsessed), I can confirm that she’s your go-to guru for all things sourdough. Her virtual classes and online community attract participants from far and wide and she’s now offering lovely gift baskets which include a banneton (bread basket), dehydrated sourdough starter, and a sourdough making class gift card. Individual baskets, packages of starter and class gift cards are also available; find them at ellechef.com.
Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Sure Crisp Air Fryer Toaster Oven
With its unique roll top door that makes it easy to insert and remove food, this oven is a great multitasker and can take the place of several appliances since you can use it to toast, bake, broil and airfry. It has a generous capacity, with room for 6 slices of toast, a 12″ pizza, or a 9″ x 11″ baking pan. It comes with a metal mesh basket for air frying, baking pan, broiling rack and easy-to-clean slide out crumb tray. Get all the details at hamiltonbeach.ca and look for this product at Walmart, in stores and online.