By Joanna Shaw Flamm
Selecting the perfect holiday gift can be tough. While you may be utterly sure that your sister will love that novel you heard about, chances are that it’ll gather dust on a shelf somewhere rather than actually getting read. That sweater you found that will match your brother’s eyes perfectly? Straight into the bottom drawer, never to see the light of day.
The one way you really can’t go wrong? Edible gifts. Who doesn’t like a mind-blowingly good bite of chocolate? Or even better, a bottle of booze? Here are a few suggestions for ‘good’ food and drink gift ideas, organized by neighborhood. At each of these purveyors, you’ll find lots of things that would work equally as well as the one’s we’ve mentioned, when stuffed into a stocking.
Nunu Chocolates: Chocolate Covered Grahams, $20 for box of 12
Don’t bother pretending these are for someone else. Nunu covers graham cracker pieces with 53% chocolate and tops them with a little fleur de sel, creating the closest thing to crack that companies are currently allowed to sell legally. Buy two boxes. Buy ten. It won’t matter–they’ll be gone by tomorrow. Go back the next day and tell the clerk you’re buying them for a friend. They’ll smile and nod as if they believe you.
Nunu Chocolates – 529 Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill. (917) 776-7102
Stinky Bklyn: Cheese of the Month Club, $195 for three months
A gift that keeps on giving for the cheese lover on your list: Stinky Bklyn will put together a monthly shipment of three 1/2-pound chunks of incredible cheese, informational sheets, tasting notes, and fun cheese facts. For an extra $10/month they’ll “Supa-Size It!” and add in an selection of condiments, dried fruits, chocolates, and more paired especially to compliment your cheeses. “What polite, intelligent cheeses you are!” the condiments will say. “The person who purchased you for their friend or relative must have impeccable taste.”
Stinky also has every possible gift basket theme you can imagine, from an Insta-Party to collections of tasty treats for new parents, beer lovers and football fans.
Stinky Bklyn – 215 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. 718-596-CURD (2873)
Court Street Grocers: ‘The Cocktail Maker’ gift basket, $85
The Cocktail Maker is loaded with local and global mixology treats like Bittermans bitters, Morris ginger syrup, Employees Only grenadine, Luxardo cherries, Dimitiris bloody mary seasoning
Court Street Grocers – 485 Court Street, Carroll Gardens. 718.722.7229
Brooklyn Victory Garden: P&H Soda Co. Soda Syrup, $10
Did you get your cousin a SodaStream last year? This year, spice up that seltzer with soda syrups from P&H Soda Co. The syrups, in flavors like Ginger and Hibiscus, are made in Brooklyn with all-natural ingredients (which means there’s actually ginger in the ginger syrup, unlike certain name brand “ginger” ales). Brooklyn Victory Garden usually sells a 12.7oz bottle for $12, but through the end of the month you can get them for $10…which means you’re probably getting both flavors, right?
Brooklyn Victory Garden - 920 Fulton Street in Clinton Hill. (718) 398-9100
Brooklyn Flea at One Hanson: Whimsy & Spice Cardamom Marshmallows, $6/dozen
This is a great gift if you have to fly at the holidays–gotta keep that suitcase under the weight limit! These cardamom marshmallows are just dying to be paired with a box of really good hot cocoa mix. Cardamom doesn’t do it for you? Try the Maple or the Rose Vanilla. But be careful: Whimsy & Spice will only be at the Flea Dec. 16-18 and 22-23, so check your calendar before you go.
Brooklyn Flea – 1 Hanson Place in Fort Greene (weekends)
The Greene Grape: Kings County Distillery Moonshine Corn Whiskey, $22.50 for 200ml
For those who need a bit of extra warmth to make it through the holiday craziness. Made from local organic corn grown upstate, the Moonshine just won “Best in Category” for corn whiskey at the American Distilling Institute’s Craft Spirits Conference. But don’t worry about this gift coming off as pretentious: with Kings County Distillery’s signature screw top bottle and straight-forward label, the person who gets this gift is going to know it’s for drankin’.
The Greene Grape – 765 Fulton Street, Fort Greene. 718.797.9463
Crop to Cup Coffee: Coffee Sampler Gift Basket, $29.99
All those Christmas cookies are going to require some good coffee, and Crop to Cup’s got it covered. This gift basket includes your choice of two bags of their freshly roasted Uganda Bugisu, Uganda Sebei, French Roast or Decaf, as well as a nice thick ceramic mug to keep your coffee toasty warm. Crop to Cup sources their single-origin beans with an eye on sustainability and ethical trade, so this is a gift you can feel doubly good about.
Crop to Cup Coffee - 541A 3rd Ave in Gowanus. (917) 531-8754
Eastern District: Seasonal Beer Growlers, $10-$18
There is no one over the age of 21 on your holiday gift list who would be disappointed to see a growler with his or her name on it under the tree. Eastern District has several seasonal brews on tap; pick one up on your way to family dinner in Westchester and see how fast you become the favorite child.
The District has an assortment of gift bags featuring all kinds of locally-made snacks and cheeses as well.
Eastern District - 1053 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. 718-349-1432
Bklyn Larder: Park Slope Gift Box, $49
The Larder has a ton of gift boxes to choose from, but we like this affordable option, which includes McClure’s Pickle Relish, Brooklyn Hard Candy, Liddabit Caramels, a bar of Mast Brothers Chocolate, and an Early Bird Granola bar. Great for a far away foodie looking for a taste of Brooklyn, and for those of us who don’t have $100 to spend on our girlfriend’s parents.
Bklyn Larder - 228 Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope. 718.783.1250
Bitter & Esters: 2.5-gallon Microbrewing Kit, $99.95
Someone in your life has told you they want to learn how to brew beer, and Bitter & Esters is the place to get started. Their Microbrewing Kit includes everything a new brewmaster will require, other than bottles and a large stockpot. Buy a friend a beer, they’ll like you for the evening. Give a friend the tools to make a case of their own beer, they’ll like you for a lifetime.
Bitter & Esters - 700 Washington Ave. in Prospect Heights. 917.596.7261
Bedford Cheese Shop: The Board, $65
It’s nice when food gifts come with a couple things that aren’t edible–as much as everyone loves to eat, it’s nice to have something left behind once the noshing is done. This gift box from Bedford Cheese Shop is a great compromise: it includes a wooden cutting board (handmade in Vermont), a cheese knife, two 1/3 lb wedges of the shop’s cheeses, a jar of fancy mustard, and a box of crackers. Sounds like a great night in front of the fireplace–just add blanket.
Bedford Cheese Shop - 229 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. 888.484.3243
Brooklyn Brewery: The Companion Box Set, $80
This is one of those great “How did you GET that?!” gifts. Stop by the Brooklyn Brewery company store during their public hours (Friday 6pm-11pm, Weekends 12pm-6pm) for The Companion Box Set, which includes a copy of The Oxford Companion to Beer signed by Brewmaster Garrett Oliver (a must-have for beer aficionados) and one 750ml bottle-conditioned version of The Companion Ale, a “wheat wine” brewed by the authors and editors of The Oxford Companion that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
Brooklyn Brewery - 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg. (718) 486-7422
The Brooklyn Kitchen: Le Creuset Demi Teakettle, $50
This is a really flippin’ nice tea kettle. You’ll think you don’t need a tea kettle this nice until you have one, and then you’ll spend entire days rhapsodizing about how much you love it. Oh, normal people don’t do that? Just me? I’ll tell you what: my boyfriend got me a Le Creuset tea kettle for my birthday and now he’s my fiancé. This is a powerful gift. And seriously, $50 for a piece of Le Creuset cookware? That’s a flat out steal: whoever you give this to is going to have it for the rest of their lives.
The Brooklyn Kitchen – 100 Frost Street in Williamsburg. 718.389.2982
Dépanneur – The Hangover Basket, $35
Delicious and practical in the event of the inevitable holiday season overindulgence, Dépanneur’s Hangover Basket includes McClures Bloodymary Mix, McClure’s Pickle Chips, Fentimans Ginger Beer and Ragged Butte Bison Jerky and bacon maple toffee from PureGoodies.
Dépanneur - 242 Wythe Ave in Williamsburg. 347-227-8424
Brooklyn Does Manhattan
There are several familiar Brooklyn food artisans making appearances at the always-crowded-but-oh-so-convenient Union Square Holiday Market. If you find yourself in the area, be on the lookout for Robicelli’s (Hot Toddy cupcakes, anyone?), Liddabit Sweets (the Humbug candy bar is peppermint chocolate nirvana), and Kings County Jerky (everyone needs a little something salty after all those holiday sweets).
What? Too scared to brave the frenzied crowds at your neighborhood shops? The brand-new website With Love From Brooklyn just launched, offering several varieties of themed gift baskets stuffed with locally made treats.
Don’t want to pay for shipping? You don’t have to. For free delivery in Brooklyn and free standard shipping via FedEx Ground everywhere else enter the code: Nona when placing an order.
Want to crowd-source this thing? Tell us some of your Brooklyn gift ideas in the comments.