Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Thanksgiving is coming and that means it’s the holiday shopping season. For those who are trying to decide what to give to your friends, family, or even co-workers, here are some ideas what to give them:

These items are not listed in any particular order, except by category.

For ease of navigation, here’s the links to jump:
Chocolates, Confections & Baked Goods
Wines & Spirits
Coffee & Tea
Other Items (e.g. cookware & savory food items)

Confections, Chocolates & Baked Goods

Winter Forest Trio Chocolates & Whiskey Ganache Filled Chocolate FigsJohn & Kira’s is a favorite upscale Philly-based chocolate brand here. We love the adorable, pretty, and absolutely delicious chocolates. They use the best chocolate and local ingredients available for their bonbons and fillings. For this holiday season, they released the a Winter Forest Trio collection that reflect the winter scene – snowcap jagged peaks decorated chocolate is that filled with a crunchy hazelnut-almond praline center, snowflakes filled with a refreshing, creamy white chocolate mint ganache, and a beautiful starry night envelopes a vanilla touched dark chocolate ganache. All are enrobed in a 62% Valrhona dark chocolate shell. We absolutely love the chocolate figs. Large, dried organic Calabacita figs stuffed with silky smooth, whiskey infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache. If you love figs and chocolate, this is your confection. Mademoiselle Miel

Mademoiselle Miel is a St. Paul, MN based luxury chocolate brand that utilizes local honey for the dark chocolate honey bonbons that are topped in 23k edible gold leaf. For the holiday season, there’s a warm spice infused collection to the honey bonbons. It truly resonates to the season. When you hold the honey bonbon, it might look small but it packs a flavorful punch.

Black Dinah ChocolatiersBlack Dinah Chocolatiers is an independent chocolate brand founded by Kate and Steve Shaffer in Isle au Haut, Maine. This brand support local agriculture and using local resources, as well as where they source their chocolates like Venezuela. Their seasonal Farm Market truffles are reflective of what they have in season. It includes their incredible, award winning black currant truffe, Cassis de Résistance and Maine Mint truffle. The Golden Pumpkins are precious, lustrous, thumb-sized chocolate filled with delicately spiced pumpkin filling. Both chocolates are delicious and you can’t go wrong gifting this to your host/hostess or share with your friends and family. Chestnut Tart, Pumpkin Tart, Pumpernickel & Dry Fruits, Onion Bread

Maison Kayser has some gorgeous and delicious holiday offerings for the holiday table this Thanksgiving (and help you out on the baking department, especially the breads and desserts).

The pain aux onions is an aromatic, onion-y bread that is savory would go great with almost anything on the Thanksgiving table. The bread of the month – pumpernickel with fruits secs (dried fruit) is a delicious loaf of bread that is both sweet and savory and it’s great on its own.

Pumpkin TartLarge Chestnut Tart
On the dessert spectrum, there are new seasonal tarts on the menu – the Tarte Citrouille (pumpkin tart; shown here serves approx 6 people $35) and Tarte aux Marrons (chestnut tart; largest size, serving approx 8 people $42). The pumpkin tart is composed of an almond and pumpkin cream, milk mousse infused with a sparkling syrup, enrobed with a vibrant orange pumpkin glaze, and topped with gelatin cubes to make it look like crystals set on top.

The chestnut tart is a showstopper (at least in my family since we love chestnuts). Every component of this tart has chestnuts – the mousseline, biscuit, glaze – set on a buttery tart base and covered in smooth milk chocolate glaze and topped with candied chestnuts (the best part, IMO). This tart is for the person who loves to eat chestnuts.

The Good Batch cookiesThe Good Batch is a Brooklyn based bakery that started off with the delectable stroopwafel. But over the years, they expanded their repertoire and includes other cookies and cakes to the menu. For the holiday season, one of the collections available is “Anna’s Favorites” (as seen above). This is the founder’s favorite assortment of baked goods. This gift set includes 24 generously sized treats: Gooey Everything Bars, Brooklyn brownies, brown butter salty cookies, ginger molasses cookies, flourless chocolate pecan sandwich cookies and macaroon sandwich cookies. All were delicious and an individual cookie or bar could be split with a friend. Sweet and Savory Canelés

Canelé by Céline, based in New York City, sells amazing canelés (both sweet and savory). The sweet flavors ranges from traditional rum, dark chocolate, pistachio, and caramel. The savory ones are pretty unique like chorizo, truffle, basil pesto, and Parmesan cheese. Both types yield to a deeply caramelized exterior with a creamy crumb. It’s swoon worthy.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

You certainly can’t screw up bringing gorgeous and delicious pies to your holiday table (unless you are truly gluten intolerant). Four & Twenty Blackbirds is one of the best pie makers in NYC and arguably in the U.S. Sure, you would have to head over to Gowanus, Brooklyn to pick up and eat these pies but it’s worth the schlep. These pies sell out quickly especially on Thanksgiving and what they have currently are the signature salted honey (deliciously salty and sweet at the same time!), salted caramel apple pie (and it’s generously filled with apples), and the old fashioned pumpkin pie. All have a wonderfully, flaky crust and the fillings are flavorful and definitely not skimpy.

Little Shop's Holiday Gourmet Foodie Box

Little Shop Artisan Box is a boutique based in San Francisco, CA that specializes in curating wonderful gift boxes filled with local California artisanal goods ranging from small batch, handmade chocolates, candy and other delicious edible goods. The one above is the small Holiday Foodie Box filled with a bag of coffee, jar of rose hip jelly, and a couple of chocolate confections.

Costa NavarinoCosta Navarino is a luxury resort brand based in Greece. They also sell delicious food items that pay homage to the region’s culinary heritage of Greece and do not contain any preservatives, artificial food coloring and additives. Shown above is their 10-item Holiday Wooden Hamper (64 Euros + VAT) contains their nutty and honeyed melomakarona and melt in your mouth kourabiedes cookies; divine Navarino Icons Organic Fig Marmalade; 500ml tin of estate grown extra virgin olive oil; sea salt with rosemary; olive bruschetta spread; and Greek pure honey with honeycomb; Kalamata olives in olive oil; and two sesame bars. These items are delicious on its own and some are great pantry items that would make almost any recipient happy. Costa Navarino products are available at Amazon.com, Whole Foods, Getty Museum – The Getty Villa, Dean & DeLuca, Eli Zabar, Zingerman’s, and Zabar’s. Pecan Pie from Porch PiesApple Crumble Pie from Porch PiesPorch Pies is a pie bakery based near the Los Angeles, CA area. We liked their Southern pies like the Southern pecan and apple crumble pie. Good, buttery crust and the filling is tasty. The best thing is, they ship the freshly baked pies overnight. Wondermade marsmallows

Wondermade is a handcrafted marshmallow brand that mixes childhood nostalgia with their small, fluffy 1-inch cube marshmallows and flavors like sugar cookie and mint (for the holiday season) but incorporate sophisticated adult flavors like Bourbon and Gold Champagne. Eat it solo or make your fancy s’more, it will delight the entire family. (Don’t worry, the booze infused ‘mallows are not alcoholic; it just have the whiff of flavor.)

Ethereal ConfectionsEthereal Confections, based in Woodstock, IL, was launched in 2011 by Mary and Sara Ervin as a result of their shared passion for working with chocolate, a quest for transcendent flavors and years of perfecting the perfect recipe. Some of their delectable holiday items feature chocolate bars infused with candy cane and peppermint, coconut clusters shaped in snowflakes and chocolate bark.

Wines & Spirits

  Champagne Ayala: Brut Majeur & Blanc de BlancsChampagne Ayala is one of the longest-established champagne Houses; it has been based in Aÿ, at the heart of the great champagne vineyards in France, since it was founded over 150 years ago. Independent and family-owned, it is still today the archetype of a great and historic House, producing top quality wines which are enjoyed throughout the world for their freshness and elegance. The Brut Majeur is a non-vintage dry sparkler, this Champagne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Lightly aromatic and featuring a very pale straw color, it’s mildly touched with apple and lemon notes, finishing on a dry and lightly bitter note. It is delicious as an aperitif, Brut Majeur is also the perfect wine to serve throughout a meal. It will pair perfectly with sea food, scallops, lobster, crab, fresh or grilled fish, fish terrines, salmon or beef carpaccio, as well as with sushi and Asian cuisine. The Blanc de Blancs 2007 is made from 100% Grand Cru fruit sourced from five of the villages (Avize, Cramant, Oger, Cuis and Vertus), this wine from Ayala exhibits a lively stream of small, delicate bubbles with a bouquet and taste of ripe peaches and lemons, and a dry yet creamy, long-lasting finish. It’s sublime. JL Vergnon Éloquence ChampagneJL Vergnon Champagne is founded by Jean-Louis Vergnon. Mr. Vergnon began producing estate-bottled champagnes in 1985, although the estate has been in existence since 1950, and the family’s roots in the area go back for five generations. Since 2002, Christophe Constant has been in charge of the cellars, and he is in the midst of transforming this estate into one of the finest producers in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. J.L. Vergnon Eloquence Grand Cru Extra Brut NV Éloquence Champagne is a balanced Champagne, offering a lovely mix of savory toasted almond with ripe apricot, floral, lemon zest and vanilla pastry cream notes. Plantation Pineapple Rum Stiggins' Fancy Pisco Portón & La Caravedo Pisco Quebranta by PortónPlantation Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy — recently released by Maison Ferrand (owner of Plantation Rum) and collaborated by revered cocktail historian David Wondrich — named after Reverend Stiggins, an ecclesiastical hypocrite from “The Pickwick Papers” who preached temperance between nips of his beloved pineapple rum. This is a delicious blend of Trinidad brown rums matured in young bourbon casks, infused with Queen Victoria pineapples for three months, and further mixed with a distillate of macerated pineapple rinds and white rum before a final rest in the barrel. This was intended the new liquor as a one-off, something to show off as a novelty. But when he poured some out at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail, the annual liquor convention in New Orleans, bartender reaction was strong. After numerous demands for more, he eventually decided to release it commercially, with a suggested retail price of $30. It is a lush, elegant, sweet tropical fruit on the sip. It starts rich and ripe, then goes clean and crisp in the mid-palate, then shifts again to a long pleasantly warm, rich finish. The pineapple is there, but it’s in the background behind the dark rum itself. It’s a fabulous sipper all by itself – don’t even bother with a cube of ice unless the summer heat suggests it and of course, great mixed in a cocktail. Pisco Portón La Caravedo Pisco Quebranta is the newest expression from the company following overwhelming growth of the company’s flagship brand, Pisco Porton. La Caravedo is a pisco puro, which means it is made from only one of the eight grape varietals allowed by Peruvian law to make pisco. La Caravedo is handcrafted from the Quebranta grape, a non-aromatic varietal from the Peruvian coast known for its body and fullness of flavor. Approximately 8 pounds of grapes are used to make each bottle. The spirit has a floral and semi-fruity with a medium dry mouthfeel. Some peppery notes kick in after a moment, but these are tempered by a nutty and oatmeal-like flavors. Very fresh and evocative. It has a medium long finish with more of the grape character shining through towards the end.

Glen Rarioch Founders Reserve Whiskey, Pierre Ferrand 1st Cru Cognac, Plantation Rum Original Dark

Glen Garioch Founders Reserve Whiskey is the baseline malt for this distillery, and is bottled at the unusual choice of 48% ABV, without chill-filtration, after maturation in ex-bourbon casks. There is no age statement, but it’s probably around 8 years of age.

It is elegant and nuanced on the nose. While the aroma is of a classically American oak-matured malt without any of the trappings of cask finishing, there is a lot of depth here. Vanilla in fine balance with lemon peel and a faint fruitiness, like white raspberries. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with a initial hefty rush of tongue burn. The 48% ABV really packs a punch without much sugary sweetness to pad it. Some drying oak tannins, and a pervasive nuttiness. It has a medium length, with some of that vanilla returning in the form of crispy wafer cookies, and the citrus peel in the form of lemon curd. The finish flirts with the edge of bitterness, but resolves instead as lightly wooded and slightly drying. It’s a very good whiskey.

Plantation Rum Original Dark is a blend of rums from Trinidad given the unmistakable Plantation treatment. Double ageing and “dosage”. This rum has recently been re-formulated and re-packaged. It also forms the basis of their much hyped Stiggin’s Fancy which is a Pineapple infused rum (seen above).

When sipped the rum is a little edgy. It is young after all and this is exhibited when you sip the rum. It is sweet on the nose. It’s very sweet but it’s also extremely short and bitter. It leaves a strong aftertaste in the mouth. It doesn’t exhibit a great deal of alcohol burn and there are no oak or aged notes with this one. Initially sweet, short and bitter with a bit of a cloying aftertaste. A sipper this is not and preferred mixed in a cocktail.

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac is one of the youngest expression in a long line of cognacs of this brand. This cognac is designed in both taste in profile for mixing. Rich and creamy, with a great balance of fruit and wood, notes of new leather, sucrose, vanilla, fresh caramel, nougat and dried orange peels.

Crystal Head Vodka and Four Roses Small Batch BourbonCrystal Head Vodka is Dan Akroyd’s premium vodka out of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. It’s quadruple-distilled in a column still from a blend of select Canadian grains and pristine glacial water drawn from a deep underground aquifer. It has a soft, impossibly lightweight body and clean, barely discernible notes of grain. The vodka raises nary a trace of heat as it glides past the palate and disappears into a cool, crisp finish. It’s a top-notch experience from beginning to end marked with delightful hints of anise and grainy sweetness. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is a little more expensive than the regular Four Roses yellow label, and a nicer bottle. I believe Four Roses produces ten different bourbons, and this small batch is a combination of four of them. Get it? Four! So here we go. Four Roses Small Batch has a heavy rye spice, with alcohol burn and some zesty citrus. The taste begins with sweet vanilla and corn. Again, Four Roses Small Batch is peppery from the high rye content on the mash bill. It’s pleasantly smooth yet flavorful at 45%. It’s a pretty straightforward bourbon. Foie a Deux Zinfandel, Qui Tequila, Maker's Mark Whisky, Maker's Mark Cask Strength WhiskyFolie a Deux ‘Dry Creek’ Zinfandel 2013 is a light blend of Petite Sirah to enhance color and mid-palate flavors. Supple and appealing for the jammy fruit, offering notes of black cherry, sweet anise and pepper. Qui Tequila Extra Añejo is one of the very few aged tequilas that are filtered. In this case, the Qui extra anejo is aged for 3.5 years in a combination of American oak and French bordeaux oak barrels–which would would normally provide a depth of color and whiskey-like complexity. Lots of agave on the nose, plus hefty caramel notes. The body is complex and rich, speaking both to the plant and the aging regimen. Here, the caramel takes on more of a butterscotch note, with a pleasant and complex vegetal note beneath it. This isn’t unpleasant but rather adds a savory character to the otherwise fairly sweet spirit, bringing it into balance. Maker’s Mark Whisky is a well known bourbon that’s made with wheat instead of rye in the mash bill which gives it a sweeter taste than most traditional bourbons that use rye (along with corn and malt). Wheated bourbons tend to be softer on the palate, with more bread-and-cake flavors and fewer spicy cinnamon-and-clove flavors. The nose offers warm and sweet notes of caramel, honey and dried orange peel. Loads of cinnamon. You can actually smell the wheat (unless that is just in my head). Nothing earth shattering, but quite alright. It is round and creamy on the palate. Good mouth feel. Not too light, but not to syrupy either (which I sometimes have with bourbon). Sweet on crème brûlée with vanilla and caramel in the lead. Mild hints of nuts as well. Some apple pie? Coconut! Some citrus and cherries. I like it. In the medium long finish it suddenly turns very dry and allows the spices a voice once more. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Whisky (113.2 Proof / 56.6% ABV) has Maker’s Mark’s nose is typically so soft and sweet, it’s a little bit of a surprise to nose Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and be hit by oak. The oak here isn’t overpowering, just much more pronounced than in the standard 90 proof version of Maker’s. The nose on Cask Strength Maker’s also features stronger cinnamon, deeper caramel, and a more pronounced wheat grain. There’s a subtle marzipan note in the nose that is more difficult to pick out in the standard release. Side by side with 90 proof Maker’s, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength makes the standard release seem very tame and restrained. Cask Strength Maker’s is fuller, spicier, and more inviting without being overly fiery. Yobo SojuYobo Soju is a very new soju brand made in New York’s Finger Lakes region and it’s co-owned by husband and wife team, James Kumm and Carolyn Kim. Soju is a traditional Korean spirit that isn’t really loved by Koreans (most brands are harsh with the alcoholic content and too sweet) but it’s drunk because of their social culture. This spirit is made of 100% local grapes and water. No additives, thickening agents, sugars are used during the distilling process. The ingredients are simply grapes, yeast (to ferment), and Finger Lakes water. It’s pure, delicious and smooth and a total game changer for the soju game.

Coffee & Tea

  Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters: Columbia Popayan & Toasty Hearty BlendShearwater Organic Coffee Roasters is the first and only USDA certified Organic Coffee Roaster in all of Fairfield County, CT. Shearwater is also Fair Trade USA certified and sells only ethically traded coffee. This small batch coffee roaster is located in Trumbull, CT. Their single origin and blended coffees (we tried Columbia and Toasty Hearth) were splendid. Batdorf & Bronson Coffee RoastersBatdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters based in Olympia, WA, has been handcrafting excellent coffee since 1986. They strive to meet the challenge of sustainability; offer Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Bird-Friendly and Shade Grown coffees. Coava Coffee RoastersCoava Coffee Roasters began in Matt Higgins’ garage in 2008. Matt sourced (and still is sourcing) excellent coava (unroasted, green coffee beans). He was a pioneer in single origin coffees and laid a solid foundation to long lasting partnerships in the coffee industry. He brought great coffees to the Pacific Northwest and eventually opened a brew bar and roastery. To this day, they focus on quality, complexity, and balance in every cup. They provide award winning, highest scoring coffees to their customers. We tried the Ramon Pablo (Guatemala), Flor de Concepcion (Guatemala) and Meaza (Ethiopia) coffees were fantastic. If I had to pick one the Meaza is my favorite, as I prefer the brighter, delicate flavor profiles of African coffee beans. Mystic Monk CoffeeMystic Monk Coffee roasts rich, delicious coffee but you also support a Carmelite monastery in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. This coffee, roasted to perfection by the monks in a cloistered community, will delight even the most discriminating palette. With several smooth and aromatic varieties, there is something to suit every taste. Their Mexican coffee yields a fruity, slightly woody, dark chocolate notes floral tones cup. The Cowboy Blend is a bold, dark roast coffee blend that certainly wake you up with flavors of cocoa, caramel, vanilla and a hint of aromatic herbs. Their Fair Trade Ethiopian is wonderful. Red Rooster CoffeeRed Rooster Coffee is based out in Floyd, VA and Fair Trade, organic coffee roastery. Their Breakfast Blend is a combination of seasonal coffees from around the world, a three-bean blend of the freshest, brightest coffee they can find. The Honduran “La Bicicleta” has big flavor of dark red ripe plum is balanced with creamy almond and rich caramel. The Ethiopia Hambela Natural is a light-medium roast coffee with notes of ripe fruit sweetness, rum raisins, chocolate and red wine. This coffee is sourced from METAD Agricultural Development PLC, a family owned business that operates the Hambela Coffee Estate. METAD strives to strengthen the local community with employment opportunities (such as a workforce that is seventy percent women), educational opportunities (including sponsorship for a state-of-the art elementary school with more than three hundred students and healthcare for employees), and medical support (featuring a partnership with Grounds for Health to implement cervical cancer screening for women in the community). METAD provides technical assistance and shares modern farming equipment with other local farmers.

Gift box of Ippodo Green Tea Bag

Ippodo is three century old Japanese tea brand based in Kyoto. This year, you may give the convenience of having their delicious teas at home with the Tea Bag Set (30 bags) of three types of green teas – gyokuro, sencha, and hojicha.

MatchaBar Modern Matcha Tea Set and breakfastThe hip, Brooklyn-based MatchaBar has matcha tea gift sets for the matcha drinker in your life. We liked their Modern Starter Kit that contains a 30 gram tin of ceremonial grade matcha tea, an electric whisk (Aerolatte), bamboo matcha scoop and matcha beverage recipes. It consistently makes a frothy cup of matcha tea. Palais de Thés Holiday TeasThe luxury French tea brand Palais de Thés has a holiday themed tea collection for the tea drinkers who want the flavors of the festive holiday season. The No. 25 tea blends (name referring to Christmas) comes in black, green or white tea blends. While the difference in flavors are generally distinct, they all have the warm spice flavors (like ginger, clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg) that evoke the feeling of the holidays. This collection is available for a limited period of time (from the beginning of November until the end of January).

Other Items: Savory Foods, Cookware & Electronics

Fresh Burgundy Winter TruffleFresh White Alba TruffleGourmet Attitude is a fresh truffle importer, launched in April 2003 by Céline Labaune. We are fans of the brand’s truffles for a long time and they still keep a high standard of this amazing delicacy. If you want to impress the gourmand in your life, you may gift him/her fresh, musky, aromatic Burgundy winter truffle or the white Alba truffle. Truffles are rare. The white ones are only available a couple of months of the year, almost exclusively from one part of Italy, where they must be foraged by special pigs, and there are fewer of them, and of lesser quality, every year. They are, in short, the perfect luxury commodity, precious and getting more so all the time. Black Opal CaviarBlack Opal Caviar by Healthy Earth is a sustainably produced black sturgeon caviar at the renowned Mote Aquaculture Park in Sarasota, Florida. It is this science that makes possible Black Opal Caviar’s remarkably consistent flavor and texture in each and every small single-fish batch, with the knowledge that one can choose the best without compromising the environment. Their caviar provides the same experience as the esteemed Russian sturgeon caviar and it tastes great. Mangalitsa salumi: Coppa Calabrese, Hot Sopressata, Cacciatorini

Mangalista by Mosefund Farms is a delicious salumi that is solely made with one of the best of the heritage pig breeds – the curly, woolly Mangalitsa pig. These rare pigs is locally raised in New Jersey and the different in its quality and flavor are quite noticeable.

The Coppa Calabrese is wonderfully silky when sliced thinly. The gentle sweet heat from its cure emphasize the Mangalista’s delicate flavor. The sweet sopressata is a delectably savory-sweet salami made with imported Calabrian peppers. The cacciatorini are small salami, originally from Umbria. It’s a tasty and toothsome that it’s hard to eat only a few slices of these salumi.

Their ‘nduja (not pictured) is how I would describe it as “spicy meat butter.” It’s made from the fatty jowls and shoulder of the Mangalitsa and ground with sweet and hot Calabrian chili. Then it’s fermented, smoked and dry cured for 3 months. You could slather the ‘nduja on slices of crusty bread and it would be phenomenal or top it on pizza.

'Nduja Artisans‘Nduja Artisans is a salumi producer based in the Chicago area who have brought their family’s passion for spicy, spreadable pork sausage to the world. The brand uses pork shoulder from Berkshire hogs along with plenty of fatback and chilies in their ‘ndjua to get that creaminess. Their other salumi like the delicious spicy sopressata; the herbaceous anise-y finocchiona (fennel speckled sausage); a spicy cacciatorini that does wake up the palate; and a very special Wagyu beef salami seasoned with black pepper and fresh thyme, and Cabernet wine. The Nostrano salami is arguably the most delicate and sweetest salami of the bunch we had. All are great simply served at room temperature with crusty slices of bread since all of the wonderful flavors shouldn’t be hindered by other condiments. Ends Meat SalumiEnds Meat is a whole animal salumeria in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The whole animals we use are responsibly raised on family farms in New York and New Jersey. They create exquisite dry cured meats inspired by traditional Italian styles and methods. The best part (from the consumer aspect) is that the salumi does not require any fancy slicing machines to slice the meat. It’s not too hard or dry to have a sharp knife to cut to the desired thickness. We adored all of their salumi. The Finocchiona is made from pork and seasoned with fennel pollen and fennel seed. The ground sausage is stuffed into pork casing and then aged for more than three months. The cacciatorini is made of with pork and simply seasoned with Tellicherry peppercorn. Spiced cacciatorini has cayenne pepper, clove, and coriander. Both cacciatorini are stuffed into pork casing and then aged for more than two months. Chorizo Seco is their Spanish-inspired salami. We season ground pork with cumin and pimentón (smoked paprika). The Saucisson Sec is the French-inspired salami; seasoned ground pork with fresh garlic and Tellicherry peppercorn. Maille Black truffle and Chablis mustard on tap & Black truffle oilThe legendary French condiment brand Maille released a Truffle Collection for the winter/holiday season. (Photo above shows the Truffle Collection Box). The black truffle and Chablis mustard is delicious on almost every savory dish (and it could be a great marinade). The truffle oil is an aromatic, tasty finishing ingredient. Broad white breasted female turkey

Honest Chops is an artisanal halal meat shop in East Village, New York City. This shop was founded by three friends – Russell, Bassam and Khalid – out of the frustration of not finding a good butcher who can source halal meats that are well-sourced, ethically-raised (as in no steroids, growth hormones, arsenics, or antibiotics) in New York City.

Since Thanksgiving is coming very soon (less than four days, people!), Honest Chops is selling beautiful female Broad Breast turkeys. Besides selling high quality turkeys, they are giving back to the community by giving a discount (15% off) to anyone who buys two turkeys – one for yourself, and one for a family that otherwise wouldn’t have one. They will be working with local food pantries and social service organizations to make sure these great tasting birds get to the tables of our city’s under-served.

Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Roasting Pan & Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel 5-Quart Covered SauteAnolon one of the very dependable cookware brands since 1984, who arguably the first to create hard-anodized nonstick cookware collections, one for the home chef, one for the more experienced cook. Their Tri-Ply roasting pan will be fantastic to roast the traditional Thanksgiving turkey (or any bird). The Tri-Ply Clad stainless steel 5-quart covered saute will be great to simmer your turkey or chicken stock for the various dishes you’d be cooking up for the holiday season.

Awesome birthday gift - Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Mobile Phone

For something a bit out of the norm, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge mobile phone is a gorgeous phone for any tech person in your life.

The display is crystal clear and vibrant. Its unique shape pops, giving it plenty of in-hand appeal. The phone feels aggressively slim, yet balanced, and the sharper sides provide a surprisingly solid grip.

The phone takes beautiful photos and videos that you may share it on social media channels and friends and family. The call quality is great and a very good battery life.

To view more photos of the items featured on this guide, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for the full photo set):
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I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.