Gift Ideas for the Foodies in Your Life

The "Mash Bill'' collection of truffles from Vosge Haut Chocolate. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

For the Spirits and Beer Aficionado Who Also Covets Chocolate

Leave it to Vosges Haut Chocolate of Chicago to come up with a specialty box of truffles all about whiskey, bourbon, scotch and stout.

The “Mash Bill” is a nine-piece collection of dark- and milk-chocolate truffles, each of which incorporates Rogue Chocolate Stout, Templeton Rye Whiskey, Four Rose’s Single Barrel Bourbon and Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scotch in the ganache filling.

Even teetotalers can enjoy them because none of them are burningly boozy. Instead, they’re fairly subtle, with the alcohol adding a back note of complexity. Indeed, this truffle collection contains less than 5 percent alcohol.

The whiskey one, covered in dark chocolate, tastes of vivid cherries with smoke and earth. The scotch one, enrobed in deep milk chocolate, may just be my favorite because it’s so darn buttery and almost caramel-tasting.

The $26 box should be consumed within 10 days of delivery. But I’m sure that won’t be a problem for any lucky recipient.

For the Tea Drinker Who Likes Unique Brews

Toronto’s David’s Tea is expanding into the United States, opening in New York last year, and in San Francisco earlier this year for its first West Coast location. That was followed in rapid succession by two more San Francisco locales, as well as one in Burlingame.

The "Sleigh Ride'' infusion from David's Tea. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The tea shop sells loose teas by the ounce or to-go by the cup, either hot or iced. They’re especially known for their creative blends such as “Bubbly” (green tea with candied pineapple and mullein blossoms), “Chocolate Cake” (black tea, carob, white chocolate sprinkles, white chocolate pieces, cocoa and stevia) and “Sleigh Ride” (apple, hisbiscus blossoms, candied pineapple, candied papaya, beetroot pieces, cinnamon stick, raisins, coconut, roasted almonds, and popped rice). The latter is a powerhouse of fragrance and taste. It smells like mulled cider in tea form and tastes a bit sweet, a little earthy and just a tad tangy.

The teas start at $6 for 50g and go on up, depending upon the variety. Add a mug, tea pot or fun ball-like tea tin that looks like a Christmas ornament to surprise the tea drinker in your life.

For Mexican Food Lovers Who Want to Support A Good Cause

The Secrets of Salsa‘ is a very special little cookbook.

The bilingual cookbook is filled with 31 salsa recipes from Mexican-American women of the Anderson Valley. And all proceeds from the $14.95 spiral-bound book benefit “English as a Second Language” classes at the Anderson Valley Adult School.

There’s also a companion documentary DVD that looks at the lives of these immigrant women as they attend classes for the first time and how their subsequent education helped empower them. Proceeds from the $10 DVD also benefit the literacy classes at the school.

Find recipes for everything from Mango Cucumber Salsa to Seafood Salsa to Roasted Three Chili Salsa, as well as personal stories from the women who contributed the recipes.

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