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The holidays are here! While you’re scrambling to fill out your gift list for the loved ones in your life, you may find yourself in a bit of a bind. If you need inspiration for what to get a friend—or rather, that friend who you know is a connoisseur of excellent food—we may have some answers. We’ve pulled together a guide to what you can gift to them, from pastries to lobster rolls, and if they don’t happen to live in the Boston area, these gifts are sure to remind them of the flavors of New England. Scroll down to take a peek at our list, and see if you’re able to check off any items.
Famed television chef Jason Santos (“Hell’s Kitchen” fans, take note!) is set to release his second cookbook, “Simple Fancy: A Chef’s Big-Flavor Recipes for Easy Weeknight Cooking” on Dec. 13. The book explains how to make restaurant quality dishes from your home kitchen, for those who want standout dishes without the hassle. Inside, the Buttermilk & Bourbon chef serves up recipes for pan-seared sea scallops, Cajun rotisserie chicken dip, Mama Le’s egg rolls, and hot honey chicken mac ‘n’ cheese. For your friend and aspiring chef looking to make a splash in the dining room, this could be the perfect gift. $22.31 pre-order
Is your friend longing for the classic Bostonian flavors of Mike’s Pastry? Now you can make their iconic cannolis at home with this easy-to-use kit. It comes with 10 cannoli shells, your choice of plain ricotta cheese or chocolate ricotta cheese filling, chocolate chips, pistachio nuts, and confectioner’s sugar. For the baker that you know, they’ll be whipping up one-of-a-kind treats as if they live and work in the North End. Indulge them in sweets from the historic shop that’s frequented by locals and visitors from faraway alike. $55
Petrova Chocolates, the Boston-based company that makes beautifully painted, artisan candies, is releasing its very own advent calendar for the second year. Featuring 25 bonbons with 12 seasonal flavors, you can count the days until Christmas by marking each one with a chocolate. Flavors include mint chocolate chip cookie, halva, pistachio praline, holiday spice caramel, winter white truffle, and more. The bonbons are handmade in small batches, shiny and intricately designed. Buy a box of chocolates, and delight a friend. $89
Summer may seem far away, but for a faraway friend who misses the cuisine of New England, a lobster roll kit from Legal Seafoods could remind them of warm weather in Boston. The package comes with eight mini brioche rolls and one pound of fresh, cooked lobster meat, a combination of knuckle and claw. The meat can be mixed with mayo, before being used as filling to stuff the buns. If you wish, you may add your own chopped green onions, diced celery, and lemon juice, to taste. Order a lobster roll kit, and share the quintessential Massachusetts dish with a friend. $115
This delicatessen specializing in modern Jewish bites is offering a deli brunch kit for the holiday season. Inside the package, you’ll find sliced Samaki Nova lox, whitefish salad, six hand rolled bagels, scallion cream cheese, a loaf of Babka, cheese blintzes, and seedless raspberry jam. Your friend will have fun dining on these delicious eats, while supporting a local business. $150
This Belgian waffle gift box was named one of Oprah’s “favorite things” last year, and if it’s good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for mere mortals. Co-founded by Boston restaurateur Garrett Harker (Branch Line, Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar), Eastern Standard Provisions put together a breakfast-ready box featuring eight Liège Belgian waffles, dark chocolate fudge sauce, peanut butter caramel sauce, strawberries and cream topper, and French toast sugar. The waffles are ready to heat and eat upon opening — a perfect Christmas morning present, perhaps. $68.99
Shopping for the seafood-lover in your life? Row 34 chef Jeremy Sewall released his latest cookbook in October 2021, a beautifully photographed collection of more than 120 recipes that celebrate the neighborhood oyster bar. Delve into chapters about sauces, smoked and cured preparations, and oyster essentials, along with recipes for saison-steamed littlenecks, Acadian redfish ceviche, and corn pancakes with smoked salmon and caviar. The cookbook also pays homage to the people who make it all happen, featuring profiles of fishmongers and fishermen. By the end of the book, readers will be able to build their own raw bar platter (and perfectly shuck an oyster, of course). $24.99
There’s plenty of buzz around chef Karen Akunowicz’s Southie restaurant, Fox & the Knife, a rustic and vibrant Italian eatery. But if you can’t snag a dinner reservation, try ordering a gift basket and prepare your meal at home. Now available on Goldbelly, the gift basket comes with three pounds of pasta, including bucatini and rigatoni, along with three sauces: tomato basil, amatriciana, and wild boar bolognese. It’s the ideal gift for the culinary enthusiast in your life and might even beat eating out. $134.95
Inspired by his Jamaican roots, Kamaal Jarrett launched Hillside Harvest in 2019, a Caribbean American sauce and condiment company that features sauces with bold and unique flavors. From classic sauces, such as the sun-kissed tomato hot sauce and the pineapple fresno hot sauce, to marinades like the Jamaican jerk, Hillside provides flavors and the right amount of heat that pair with dishes from breakfast to dinner. Starting at $8.99
Nussli 118 offers up handcrafted, plant-based savory snacks, desserts, and gifts that are plant powered and delicious. This Cambridge-based shop is on a mission to provide healthy foods that taste good, are good for you, and don’t compromise the important nutrients derived from raw ingredients. The Ultimate Dessert gift box comes with rich chocolate brownies, dark chocolate coconut rounds, chocolate pecan squares, and more. It also makes a perfect housewarming or host gift. $130
Enjoy life’s sweeter moments with treats from Clarke’s Cakes & Cookies, a vegan baked goods company that doesn’t compromise taste or texture. The shop prides itself on being a new generation bakery with good old-fashioned taste. Sweets range from classic chocolate chip cookies chock full of semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate, organic sugar, and a touch of molasses to frosted carrot cake, made with vegan “cream cheese” icing. $15.75
Who doesn’t love coffee? Freshly roasted organic and free trade Arabica coffee from Framingham-based Happy Beans Roaster is the best of the best. The varied blends are sourced from many countries in Africa, Asian and Latin America, and are available in light, medium, and dark varietals. Starting at $16.90
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