Jennefer T. ~ Fall is such a cool time of the year, in more ways than one. I no longer have to worry about wearing my burqa-esque swimsuit cover-up, the kids are back in school, and I finally get to begin planning (without guilt or being mocked) the six-week extravaganza I call the holidays.
With fall also comes the urge to stay in, light fires, buy pumpkins and – despite my knowing it will all come home to roost in January when my cholesterol skyrockets and my pants pop open – eat and drink. What better way to kick off this season than with a few edible, drinkable and servable gifts for surprising your loved ones, party hosts or most importantly, treating yourself!
Heavenly Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough, Sweet Loren, $8/dozen / Wicked Whoopies, $26/dozen / Food Coma Gift Box, Zingerman’s, $39 / Campfire, High West Distillery, $45.50 / Aztec Elixir, Vosges Haut Chocolate, $15 /
Ventura Limoncello, $25 / Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, $21 / MacKenzie-Childs Canister, $73
No.1: Whoopie pies (known in my house as BFOs, or Big Fat Oreos) are part cookie, part cake and 100% delicious. Nobody does them better than Wicked Whoopies. I ordered some last fall for a family treat and I had barely gotten the tape off the box before they were gone. If you want the smell of something fresh-baked wafting through the house, Sweet Loren’s cookie dough and brownie batter tastes like the real deal, and it’s all-natural and preservative-free. Or if savory’s your thing, Zingerman’s is the coolest deli in the world with the absolute funniest catalog (it was featured in the rom-com The Five Year Engagement). My favorite item is their Food Coma Gift Box which includes Roadhouse, Peppered Bacon Farm and Chili Cheddar breads (aka a carb orgy).
No. 2: You know I love my hooch, and fall is the perfect time to deviate from the standard vino and go for something stronger and warmer. So go ahead and gift ingredients for hot toddies, loaded hot chocolate or tea with a kick. The best whiskey for toddies is Campfire from the new and quirky High West Distillery in Park City, Utah (my hometown). For grown-up hot cocoa you need something that will go head-to-head with the liquor, and Vosges Aztec drinking chocolate does just that. Vosges recommends pairing it with Pyrat Dark Rum but I like to go back to my high school days and add peppermint schnapps. If you’re after something a bit more soothing, try a cup of Tipsy Tea: Earl Grey tea with a shot of limoncello. Booze really does make everything better.
No. 3: Talking about food always comes back to the Barefoot Contessa for me (I have a major girl-crush on Ina Garten). Her new cookbook, Foolproof, just came out and it’s packed with recipes for hearty comfort food, making it perfect to pair with your favorite ingredients as a gift. If you are really trying to impress, fill a beautiful MacKenzie-Childs canister with goodies as the perfect fall gift. Ever since living in upstate New York, I have been obsessed with MacKenzie-Childs. Their check pattern is a classic but still conveys that off-kilter funkiness I love.
Whether you decide to treat yourself or someone else this fall, don’t forget the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Happy gifting (and eating)!