Most of us enjoy giving. If you’re like me, you find it hard to avoid going overboard. But if you’re trying to stick to a budget, consider home made treats, things to share, printed photos, and tokens of appreciation from local shops. Experiences are fun, too. Here are some of my favourite Christmas gift ideas for around $40.
Bolen Books, Russell Books and Munro’s Books house treasures no food lover can resist. Top picks include…
1. “Cooking with Coconut Oil” by Victoria’s Elizabeth Nyland (her chocolate coconut cake is to die for)
2. “The Sobo Cookbook” by Tofino Restauranteur Lisa Ahier
3. “Cocktail Culture” by locals Shawn Soole & Nate Caudle (for the amateur bartender in your life)
4. “The Smitten Kitchen” Cookbook by Deb Perlman (whose tiny home kitchen is an inspiration)
5. “Craft Beer Revolution” by BC’s Joe Wiebe (info on BC’s newest craft brewers)
6. “Food Artisans” by Vancouver Island’s Don Genova (for tales of small, local food producers)
7. “The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffman (find it at Hey Happy Coffee)
COOKING CLASSES AT “THE LONDON CHEF”
This cafe-pantry-cooking school is the gorgeous backdrop for European-trained Chef Dan Hayes’ cooking classes (from $28.50).
The creative minds behind Victoria-based Smoking Lily are clothing designers who carry items you won’t see elsewhere. Consider yourself warned…it’s hard to leave here without a new dress. Here are my top three favourite items from their Milkman’s Daughter location.
- Screen printed tea towels, napkin sets (from $14)
- Sweet limited-edition denim aprons with screen printed pockets ($39)
- Love My Local BC shaped cheeseboards ($76)
VINTAGE TREASURES AT “PIGEONHOLE HOME STORE”
This sweet new shop is a must visit for any treasure hunter on the prowl for vintage linens, lighting, furniture and other homewares. With many items under $30, you’ll find it easy to stay within your budget. If you find beauty in “the small things”, Pigeonhole is perfect for you.
LOCALLY-PRODUCED, ARTISAN INGREDIENTS
1. The Market on Yates is a family-owned grocery store whose owners love to support local producers. They’re known for carrying many hard-to-find items. If Langford is more convenient, head to The Market on Millstream. Here are a few of my favourite items found on their shelves.
- Amola Salts from Edible Canada, ~$10
- Organic Fair herbs, spices, and soda syrups from Cobble Hill, ~$10
- Venturi-Schulze Balsamic from Cowichan Valley, ~$70 (a worthwhile splurge!)
2. The Root Cellar in Saanich is another great source for local ingredients. If you haven’t been in awhile, know they’ve recently stocked up with plenty of new items. Here’s what I recommend.
- Saltspring Kitchen Co.’s preserves, $10 (amazing on sandwiches)
- Amola Salts and Organic Fair spices
- Avalon Egg Nog, $5.99
VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET, MARKET BUCKS
Victoria Public Market has got it all: restaurants, an olive oil tasting bar, specialty retail shops, Salt Spring Island Cheese, a Silk Road Tea store and more. Buy the foodie in your life a wad of “market bucks”, which can be redeemed at all vendors, and let them explore everything this one-stop-food-lovers-stop has to offer.
ABEEGO FOOD WRAP
CHOCOLATE BARS AND MORE AT “COOK CULTURE”
This gorgeous kitchen store in the Atrium building stocks locally made pantry items, a growing cookbook section and so much more. With dozens of items under $30 and splurge items, like All-Clad Cookware, professional grade knives and Vitamix blenders, you’re guaranteed to find something for the food lover in your life. Sidenote: their chocolate bar selection may be the best in the city.
Aeropress is a fun tool for making coffee in the office or during a winter camping trip. Find them at Discovery Coffee, Hey Happy, Caffe Fantastico and Capital Iron ($35). For reusable filters, head to Caffe Fantastico who also carries Able Brewing products.
SPECIALTY COFFEE BEANS
Because how can you go wrong with a bag of fresh, locally roasted coffee? Here are my top picks right now.
- Discovery Coffee‘s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Konga
- Phil & Sebastian‘s La Folie Guatemala (find it at Hey Happy)
- BowsXArrows‘ Wote Konga Ethiopia Espresso
- Drumroaster Coffee’s Julekaffe
FOOD TOURS WITH “THE PEDALER”
Taste your way through our fine city on a guided bicycle tour. Starting at $79 they have three food and drink focused tours to choose from. Think beer, coffee, pastry and pizza!
I hope you find these gift ideas helpful! Great food is everywhere at this time of year. It’s the perfect time to tackle a recipe that’s caught your eye, make a date at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to experience, treat a friend to a special coffee or learn about a new ingredient. Savour everything.