December 10, 2015

My Gift Guide: Fabulous Foods

I am incapable of showing up to a dinner or a party without some sort of hostess gift in hand… it might be a dozen oranges, or some gorgeous magnolia leaves in a fun vintage vase, but I feel horrible if I don’t arrive with something.

During the Festive Season, with invitations abounding, the search for food-related gifts is on. I have a couple of go-to gifts that work for many occasions.

At Halcyon House Antiques, we stock Bequet Gourmet Caramels which are just the best caramels I’ve ever had. Their Irish Sea Salt Caramels have a slight crunch of sea salt in them, and aren’t so sticky that they’ll pull your fillings out. And of course, I love anything liquorice!image

Confession time: I like to take cookies to parties, but HATE to bake them. So I grab an antique plate, most likely a transfer-ware plate that I’ve found in some thrift shop, yard sale or auction, and throw on a dozen or so chocolate chip cookies from local baker, Otterbein Cookies. Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookies could pass as home-made, but don’t tell anyone!image

For special parties, or a more formal occasion, I like to take along a bottle of bubbles. My go-to champagne is Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. The price is reasonable, and it shows that you know a decent champagne. Put a big pre-made bow on top and you’ve got a very nice present for your hosts. image

Another nice present is a jar or two of lemon, lime or grapefruit curd. Lemon curd that my father made was a present that my parents frequently took to parties. You can find it in stores, including Trader Joe’s, and it often comes in a square jar. I would tie an antique spoon or knife on the jar with a beautiful big ribbon. Maybe tuck in a little card saying what to do with the curd – on toast, on ice cream, or on a spoon! image

If you make the lemon curd – and it’s actually pretty simple – put it in a nice jar, like my favourite Weck Jar. Here’s a recipe that I’ve used.

Of course, chocolates are always much appreciated. We have a chocolatier here in Baltimore that I really like… of course it helps that he’s very attractive. They’re called Kirchmayr and they specialize in European-style chocolates. Just beautiful chocolate, fresh ingredients and lovely packaging. (Not a great picture of Albert!)image

Oh, here’s what the chocolate looks like!image

Do you have a go-to food gift for the holidays or for a hostess present?


  1. We put up a spicy tomato jam in the summer. A jar of that and a block of good Cheddar cheese is my go-to.

  2. we always bring champagne - it's festive! We're LOVING the nuts you brought to our party saturday -YUMMY!

  3. Meg, with such thought put into your gifts, you are more than welcome to drop by my place for a visit anytime.

    The bubbly is a welcome treat and a good gift at this festive time of year. We also subject our poor hosts with pots of homemade marmalade (in the winter) or jams (for summer). I have a particular friend that enjoys Madeleines so I bake those for him when I visit.

  4. The widow's brew is my favourite champagne, although it's not quite so "inexpensive" here - about $150! (for non-vintage).

  5. Thanks for the fantastic ideas. My in-laws don't want any permanent gifts this year, so we went to Kirchmayr on Saturday to pick up some consumables. The chocolate-covered dried cherries that I bought for myself were fabulous. Wonderful service, too. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  6. Love la veuve! She's also my favorite champagne.

  7. My holiday hostess gift is a plate of orange scones with cranberries, walnuts and dark chocolate accompanied by a jar of clotted cream and a tin of tea. I may change my scone recipe and include lemon curd in the future. The caramels sound divine!


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