Scrumptious Holiday Gifts
Flavored Whipped Honeys From Adagio
I had a chance to try samples recently of these thick, spreadable honeys. The Matcha is sweet with a slightly astringent and grassy note that lingers. The Chocolate is quite floral from the honey, which dominates, with the chocolate, itself, more a background player. Ooh, the Cinnamon is like a Red Hot, spicy on the palate with a pronounced cinnamon warmth.
The Matcha is a fun way to sweeten a matcha latte. The Chocolate can be drizzled over pancakes, waffles or marble pound cake. The cinnamon is delicious in any black tea. Or heavenly in a batch of these Honey Madeleines by Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming. The cinnamon taste in the madeleines will end up fairly subtle unless you add more oomph with a pinch or two of ground cinnamon to the batter. For a final touch, enjoy the warm madeleines dribbled with more of the Cinnamon Whipped Honey.
A 4-ounce jar of any of the flavors is $10; a 12-ounce jar is $19.
Onsuri Extra-Virgin Olive Oils From Jordan
When you think of quality extra-virgin olive oils, the countries of Spain, Italy, and Greece readily spring to mind, along with the Golden State of California.
But Ziad Bilbeisi wants you to get to know olive oil from his native Jordan.
Starting from scratch in a desolate, high-desert area of his native Jordan, he has created the largest family-owned olive estate in that country that includes a state-of-the-art, solar-powered boutique olive oil company, Onsuri.
All the olive oils are graded “extra-premium,” a distinction few olive oils in the world have, according to Bilbeisi. It means they contain less than a 0.3 percent level of unstable fatty acids, and are extremely high in polyphenol compounds, which are powerful antioxidants.
They are also stylishly packaged. The Discovery Set includes four bottles (1.01 fluid ounces each) of four different olive oils to taste and enjoy. The bottles are heavy-weight, coated glass that look as glam as expensive men’s cologne. The Arbequina is buttery with prominent tomato-leaf fragrance and taste. The Arbosana is very rich tasting, with a full body and plenty of green leaf taste. The Koroneiki is the boldest, with a nutty taste and a long peppery finish. The Sensory Blend is smooth, leafy and well balanced.
The Discovery Set is Â£45 or about $60. The olive oils also come in a larger, more economical metal tin, done up with bold graphics, for Â£29 or about $38.70. Through Dec. 5, take Â£15 (about $20) all purchases Â£75 and above. At checkout, just use the code: SHOPSMALL.
Shared Notes Coffee & Mug Set
The name Pisoni is synonymous with dedication to farming excellence, particularly when it comes to vineyards, with the Pisoni Vineyard famed for producing some of the finest Pinot Noirs in California.
Jeff Pisoni and his wife Bibiana Pisoni carry on that legacy, crafting wines with their Shared Notes winery. But now, they’ve added coffee to the venture, too.
Their Shared Notes coffee is dedicated to spotlighting single-origin beans from Colombia, Bibiana’s native country.
Their Shared Notes Coffee & Mug Set ($35) makes a delicious gift. It includes a cute enamel logo mug plus 12 ounces of whole coffee beans from select small farms in Colombia.
I made a pot of French Press from a sample recently. The medium-roast beans taste of caramel and maple syrup with a moderate amount of acidity. Even for someone like myself who usually gravitates toward very dark roasts, this coffee proved a wonderful change of pace.
My “East Bay Cooks” Cookbook
OK, shameless plug coming: But I couldn’t resist mentioning that my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1) because is a gift that keeps on giving.
It’s packed with recipes from 41 restaurant in the East Bay, along with their stories. In a past couple of years that have been filled with unprecedented challenges for the restaurant industry, this book salutes all that they do best to make our lives more joyful and special.
Find recipes for everything from soups to entrees to baked goods to cocktails, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free ones.