‘Tis the season to give…and by that I mean shop! San Antonio, Houston and the surrounding Hill Country have some wonderfully practical destinations for finding good deals on all of the good stuff. It truly is more rewarding to give than to receive, BUT it’s pretty darn cool when you receive a gift that you can enjoy right then and there – something delicious! Gourmet food gifts are always popular for the holidays, plus they’re so easy to send, since you can do it all online! I’ve put together some great ideas to make your gift giving really simple, savory and sweet:
Let’s start with dessert. First, the Goode Company’s famous Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie that comes in the sturdy wooden box. What a presentation, but what a delicious pie! Plus, for a limited time a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this pie will go to the Coastal Conservation Association.
Another of my go-to favorites for holiday gifts is the Tootie Pie Company. Tootie, that’s her real name, started the pie company in 1982 in Medina, Texas waking up at 3 a.m. to take pies to the market before she headed to her ‘real’ day job at a nearby lodge.
I’ve tried several of her pies – they’re all delicious, but my all time favorite is the original apple pie – it weighs about six pounds!! The giant sugar crusted dome makes quite an impression, and the delicious combo of cinnamon, butter, tart apples and that fabulous crust will have you going back for seconds…maybe thirds.
Who doesn’t love chocolate any time of year, but I freely indulge in the delicacy during the holidays. There are some delicious choices starting with Araya Chocolates. I love their beautiful artisan truffles and macarons but also the gift box that includes truffles, chocolate mendiants and a hazelnut spread.
Another wonderful artisan chocolate producer that I’ve discovered is Choicolate. Their truffles are so elegant and so delicious! The Pumpkin Caramel is probably my favorite, but equally mesmerizing are the Mango and Habanero combo and the Ginger and Cinnamon.
Choicolate will also add your company logo to its truffles, which makes the perfect gift for those special professionals on your list.
Neiman Marcus is known for its eclectic holiday gift catalog, but also popular are their rum cakes and famous chocolate chip cookies.
By the way, I have what some say is the ORIGINAL Neiman’s chocolate chip cookie recipe on my website.
And of course, tamales! Texas Tamale has a huge selection and even offers a gluten-free version! You can order online.
Variety is the name of the game. Central Market makes all the right moves with their holiday arrangements; ready to go as well as just about any type of custom basket you can imagine! And priced to fit any budget. The popular “Gourmet Snack” contains everything from dips and relishes like artichoke and eggplant to multiple cheeses, crackers and flat breads for the perfect, healthy spread. There’s so many ways to dress it up for your friends and loved ones!
It’s sold separately, and for good reason! Piatti’s incredibly fresh Dipping Oil returns complex in flavor, with detailed amounts of garlic and balsamic vinegar that combine for a tango with your tastebuds…I love this stuff! Individual bottles come “holiday” wrapped and are quick – and quality – stocking stuffers.
First impressions mean everything and Chef Clark of Paesanos 1604 and his famous spices live up to expectations. “Use Chef Clark’s Seasoning on potatoes, vegetables, pasta, sauces, soups, dressing, chicken, chops, steaks and roasts. Use Chef Clark’s Black and Blue Seasoning on all kinds of seafood, sauces and soups”…and that’s just to demonstrate how versatile they are!
Why not a wonderful cookbook as a gift that will be enjoyed for years–The Junior League of Houston’s Peace Meals. The Peace Meals cookbooks are $32 and available in the Junior League Pantry. The Pantry is at located at 1811 Briar Oaks Lane, Houston TX 77027, call at 713.871.6608 or even simpler…
Order Peace Meals online at www.juniorleaguehouston.org. Click on the Peace Meals icon on the homepage.
Happy Holidays Everyone! For some delicious holiday recipes, wines and cocktails, head to my website Goodtaste.tv. While you’re there sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win a free weekend at the beautiful Riven Rock Ranch Resort in the Texas Hill Country.