It’s that time of year again when gifts are purchased and given. Make this year a smashing success with a guide to gifts for food obsessives, from beautiful books to sweet treats.
Browse goodies from some of San Francisco’s best local makers, from perfect party food to quirky glassware, wine, and caviar. It’s all made in the Bay Area with the care and attention to detail that its citizens have come to expect — and some of it even benefits non-profits, like the Mission food business incubator La Cocina. And, it’s all been vetted and approved by Eater SF’s team.
Scroll through for all the items, or simply click into the categories below that interest you most. For even more goods that will activate your magnanimous giving spirit (or greed), check out Eater’s national guide for extra ideas.
For the host
Kouign Amann Keychain
Fans of b. Patisserie’s kouign amanns — aka everyone who has tried one — will love showing off their pastry love with this adorable, inedible version of the flaky treat as a keychain. Unlike the real thing, these kouign amanns only come in one flavor (plastic).
Price: $15 (Note: These can only be purchased at B Patisserie, 2821 California St.)
Nana Joe’s Granola
It is possible to get your vegan and gluten-free friend a tasty, edible gift, and the answer is Nana Joe’s granola. Made in San Francisco, these bags of granola just taste extra fresh, nutty, crunchy, and cozy thanks to ample cinnamon and nutmeg. Choose from the sunset blend, with pecans, mulberries, and coconut, or the cluster blend, with dried white peaches and big chunks of oats laced together with cashew butter.
CBD — a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis (or hemp)— is making its way into everything from honey to hand cream, promising relief from anxiety and inflammation. Juna, made by a former fine-dining pastry chef and sommelier, produces a variety of single-origin cannabis oils. From its stylish packaging to subtle taste, the oils are an elegant way to play within the burgeoning recreational marijuana world. They’re great taken by the dropperful (place them under the tongue), or added to cocktails or food for an extra pleasant dinner party.
Buying an assortment of goodies from La Cocina means not only getting top-notch products by local women entrepreneurs, but also supporting one of the Bay Area’s raddest nonprofits. La Cocina offers a few different boxes at different price points, featuring items like Malaysian lavender orange tea from Azalina’s, black sesame seed toffee brittle from Neo Cocoa, buttery Irish shortbread from Clairesquares, and hazelnut caramels enrobed in dark chocolate from Kika’s Treats.
XXL Bacon Steaks
Staying with friends or family during the holidays? Show up with a package of The Baconer’s XXL bacon steaks and you’ll earn a bonanza of bonus points to last through the next year. These Oakland-made beauties are smoked over applewood, seasoned (choose from smoked maple, paprika and garlic, or jalapeño) and then cooked sous vide. They’re a show-stopping meaty treat that probably won’t make it far from the pan. Try their lardons and bacon strips for further porky festivities.
Chef Roy Shvartzapel is the panettone whisperer, perfecting the art of this fluffy holiday bread and even earning the admiration of the gift whisper, Oprah Winfrey. The chef, who has worked chefs like Ferran Adria and Thomas Keller, produces his cult-favorite treats in San Francisco, in flavors like chocolate and banana-caramel-orange. It’s an excellent gift to send, receive, and consume.
Passmore Ranch Caviar
Give the gift of local, sustainable caviar from sturgeons raised at a ranch just outside of Sacramento. Michael Passmore’s fish eggs, which includes several varieties of caviar and roes, are favored by local chefs and aficionados alike. Though more expensive options are available, Passmore’s Circle 41 caviar is an affordably priced entrée into this luxe world. It’s sourced from white sturgeons, with high salinity. Or, to add a pop of color and flavor to the holiday spread, try one of Passmore’s steelhead roes, cured with mirin, truffle, or whisky.
For the drinker
Yumé Boshi Syrups
Oakland’s Ayako Iino makes spreads, vinegars, seasonings, and syrups built around umeboshi — the Japanese pickled plum — with her small food production company Yumé Boshi. The most striking is her red shiso syrup, a mix of sharp, sour ume plums mellowed out by red shiso leaves. It’s delicious served simply with bubbly water and adds a fabulous, nuanced tang to cocktails.
Price: $16.99 (set of two - 4 oz syrups)
The Riddler, owner Jen Pelka’s lady-run Hayes Valley Champagne bar, is known for its excellent wines, and cheeky female-centric details. Now she’s selling some of the very best items to recreate the fun at home. Chambongs (yes, a fun way to chug sparkling wine), gold-plated wine keys, enamel pins with Riddler icons like caviar, lipstick, rosé, and even a bag of their free popcorn are all for sale. But, the crown jewel: reservation plaques for iconic women like Michelle Obama, Oprah, Lady Gaga, RBG, and more.
Brewed in San Francisco, Fort Point and its stylish cans have earned their place among the city’s best beers. In addition to the typical glass growler, the brewery sells a handsome stainless steel version emblazoned with its logo. Buy an empty growler and a gift card to allow loved ones to choose their own adventure, from saison to an SF-style IPA, at their Ferry Building taproom or Mill Valley Beerworks.
Price: $35, stainless steel; $5 glass
Sustainable? Check. Made by talented SF chefs? Check Good with booze? Check. These unique drinks are a collaboration between Render, a company turning chefs visions into products, and chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Duna, Bar Tartine). Bryner is Balla’s savory drink, incorporating spices, vegetables, and pickle brine that’s been repurposed from pickle makers; flavors include smoky tomato chipotle, carrot aji, and beet horseradish. Weyla is Burns’ sparkling version, using fruit juices, spices, and whey recycled from dairies (it’s all about the body); flavors include cranberry ginger hibiscus, strawberry fennel tarragon, and blueberry juniper orange. They’re all non-alcoholic, but are simply dying to be mixed with vodka, gin, or tequila.
Gift two gifts at once with this animal-heavy tiki mug from SF’s newest tropical disco, Bon Voyage. From Muntiki Imports, its covered with jungle animals and holds a healthy amount of crushed ice and rum. Best of all, 100 percent of the proceeds from mug sales go towards Scholar Match, a non-profit helping students navigate their way to college.
Price: $40 (Available only at Bon Voyage, 584 Valencia St.)
Bag O’ Fun
Sommelier Allegra Angelo has long been on the quest to keep wine fun, starting with her pop-up at a nail salon, called Bottlecoat, featuring curated wines and manicures. Now she and her partner are curating bags of fun via her new company WineBop. The selection will soon expand but for now snag the Beach Vacation bag, a fun tote filled with the best accessories for an afternoon on the sand. Includes a bottle of 2016 Muscadet “Saint-Fiacre” by Pierre-Henri Gadais, chapstick from Bitchstix, a Turkish towel, two cans of Lorenza Spritz Rosé, a Korean facemask, and most importantly: a wine key.
Sixth Course Dessert Boutique produces some of the city’s most beautiful confections, from caramels to gorgeous cakes to gelato. It’s owned by partners Bridget Labus and Gianina Serrano, both of whom spent years in the kitchens of high-end restaurants and hotels before striking out on their own. That expertise shows in their caramels sampler, which includes rosemary, smoked salt, Ceylon cinnamon, chai tea, lemon verbena, and passion fruit-filled gems. Check out their full selection of holiday treats, from peppermint bark to chocolate mix.
For the kitchen explorer
Healdsburg’s SHED is the destination for local, artisanal pantry items. Their trios of powders, spices, and herbs are an exciting gift for any adventurous home cook — or even a way to elevate a non-adventurous cook’s dishes with just a sprinkle. Powders have long been professional chefs’ secret sauce: now try dashes of tarragon caper, Nicoise olive, or smoked onion powders in everything from yogurt to potato dishes.
The world is a stressful place these days. Give someone a new way to cope, with a product they may not normally purchase for themselves: adaptogen powder. TL;DR adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt (and fight against) stress. Goldmine, created by local nutritionist Rachael Gorjestani, blends reishi, chaga, cordyceps, astragalus, and ashwagandha to support immunity, physical and mental stamina, hormonal balance, lung health, and overall wellbeing. Blend it into a smoothie, coffee, tea, or whatever your heart desires.
Oakland writer Nik Sharma’s first cookbook. Season, is a beautiful collection of recipes and photographs that tell the story of his journey through life: leaving India, and finding love as a gay man in America. His recipes are full of flavor and verve, giving cooks and readers new recipes to keep in regular rotation, and joyful dishes to share with loved ones, like deviled eggs with tahini and za’atar, and apple masala chai cake.
Hayes Valley restaurant Rich Table’s new book is a spin through the restaurant’s signature dishes, including those famous porcini doughnuts with raclette sauce. Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich’s recipes are friendly to the home cook, using NorCal ingredients and channelling the pair’s respective upbringings in Louisiana and New Jersey.
Disclosure: Carolyn Alburger, the Cities Director for Eater, is a co-author of Rich Table’s cookbook. She has recused herself from involvement in any Rich Table coverage on Eater.
San Francisco-based Nomiku was started by CEO Lisa Fetterman to bring high-quality cooking into the home kitchen. Now the company is selling both its machines and high-quality meals to go along with them, including rotating collaborations with local chefs like Preeti Mistry (Juhu Beach Club), and restaurants like Aina (try the Huli Huli chicken). Give the machine, and a gift card for easy-to-prepare meals along with it: Just drop the frozen meal into a hot water bath and your meal is done under an hour. Perfect for families with new babies, non-cooks, or just someone who deserves a great meal.
For the sweet tooth
Little Apple Treats
All of the caramels by Little Apple Treats start with heirloom apples, grown on the owners’ big orchard in Sebastopol and then pressed into cider. While these extra gooey caramels come in different flavors — spiced apple pie, apple cider with brandy and walnuts, cider with rose petals and cocoa nibs — the dominant flavor is always deliriously warm, spiced, buttery apples, dusted with vanilla sea salt and packaged up into a cute and highly giftable rose-gold foiled box. Their modern mulling spices are also a gorgeous gift, featuring dried rose petals, apples, hibiscus blossoms, and spices like green cardamom pods, cloves, and allspice. Heat it to cider or wine for a warming holiday treat.
This rich, dark syrup is certainly sweet, but its depth of flavor comes from the medjool dates with which it is made. Sylvie Charles, MD started the company to use the sweet flavors she’d grown up eating in her family’s chutneys to create a healthy alternative to refined sugar. Take a bottle to every gathering: it’s great in coffee, tea, and smoothies, but also an unctuous addition to waffles, toast, or, well, anything.
Price: $16 for two bottles
Stylish Hot Chocolate
Decadent hot chocolate from Dandelion is perfect for sipping on foggy days in SF or colder evenings in chillier climes. The locally-based chocolatier has basically perfected the recipe, with 70 percent Camino Verde Ecuadorian chocolate. For bonus points, their mix is also stored handsomely in a resalable glass bottle that’s well worth keeping after its four servings of hot chocolate are spent.
Price: $18 for 5.5 ounces
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