Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Great Gifting: Good Eatin'

Self-liquidating gifts are a favorite theme around the holidays. It's so much easier and guilt-free…no need to remember to wear that hideous pendant at family gatherings so Aunt Esther knows how much you appreciate her generosity, or where to place the reindeer-or-is-it-a-deranged-gorilla that little Bobby made in his art class.

No, I believe in the gift that disappears without a trace within a few weeks of the giving, and a nicely chosen food item fits that description to a T. Think of it as a hostess gift for the holidays, whether it's a single jar of picked-at-the-peak-of-ripeness organic berry jam or some exotic spices with the aroma of a magical Mediterranean island. Whether it's given singly or packed in a basket, there's no end of goodness to share.

Here are a few of my favorites. Feel free to vamp on these for the lucky giftees on your list:

Real Good Food: Last year I put together baskets of Jim Dixon's imported olive oil and packets of the most amazingly fragrant oregano, fennel pollen and capers (right) from Pantelleria, a tiny island between the toe of Italy's boot and Tunisia. Jim also has wonderful grains, dried beans and Crystal hot sauce from Louisiana, any combination of which would make a greatly appreciated gift. Find him on at his annual Olive Oil Garage Sale on Fri.-Sat., 12/20-21, from 12-5 and then on Mon., 12/23, from 3-7 pm at his retail location at 833 SE Main, #122, on the corner of SE 9th and Main.

Nostrana: This year Cathy and David are offering specially labeled 375ml bottles of Italian olive oils (top photo). In addition to their house arbequina, they have four kind of olio nuovo, the freshly pressed oil that is loaded with phenolic compounds (i.e. pungency) and that is a greatly anticipated seasonal treat in Italy. Their house oil is $15, and the olio nuovo varies from $30 to $50 per bottle. In addition, they have their famous pizza scissors for $20 a pair should you want to combine them with the oil for a "pizza package" or slide them into a deserving pizzaiolo's stocking.

Ayers Creek: Nothing makes foodie friends happier than giving the best of region's bounty, especially items that are hard to find and that give a real "taste of the place," the terroir of Oregon. I've given baskets brimming with Ayers Creek Farm farmstead polenta and beans packed around a jar of their fabulous jam. You will find Anthony and Carol this Sunday (12/22) at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market, and you can get their jams at Vino on SE 28th and at Pastaworks on Hawthorne.

Read the other posts in this series: Gifts That Give Back, Mad Skills, Kids' Stuff and Bookin' It.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

This is my favorite kind of gift to give and receive. No clutter!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Is that a hint, Michele? (And obviously I totally agree!)

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

Not even a hint, but clutterless gifts are my favorite. Food, cooking classes, tickets to events (to do together) are all winners in my book.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Preach it, sister!