giving: edible gifts

November 18, 2014

Whether you make them yourself, or rely on the experts to make them for you, giving gifts that can be gobbled is a sure-fire way to win over a minimalist’s heart. Heck, it’s a good way to win over just about anyone’s heart.

In a season when there’s a lot of talk about the guilt of indulging in sweets, I think it’s nice to think outside of the usual players and to offer something edible that won’t be greeted with a sigh. Fancified versions of pantry staples like cooking oils and vinegars, flavored salts, dried herb blends, cocktail syrups, and teas can be a little unexpected break from the sugar cookies and quick breads. Not that I personally would say no to a plate of cookies or a quick bread.

In case you’re lacking the time or energy to slave over a hot stove whip something up yourself, here are a few ideas for edible gifts to give this year. (And if you’ve already got your ingredients list drawn up, there are a few ideas for ways to package up what you make yourself, too.)
an edibles gift guide | reading my tea leaves 1. Organic maple syrup in a half-gallon jug should be enough to last even your most gourmand friends through the winter.
2. Killer granola recipe? Pack it up in a Le Parfait canning jars from Kaufmann Mercantile. {PS. I put together a little KM gift guide last week, you can see it right here.}
3. If you go the make-you-own route, scribble the contents of your gift and any directions on a pretty luggage tag and tie it up with twine from Knot & Bow.
4. Designed to hold produce, these organic cotton bags would be a sweet way to pack up a dozen cookies or a loaf of bread. (At your own risk.)
5. Fancy olive oil? The only downside is that the recipient might never be able to go back to the regular stuff.
6. & 7. There’s a long winter ahead, but a mug of tea every day will help cozy things up. Bellocq’s Majorelle Mint or Société-Originale’s Café de Fleurs are two beautiful options.
8. No time to make your own caramel lollies? Consider keeping a bagful on hand for present toppers.
9. Sea salt in any form is one of my go-to housewarming gifts, but black sea salt with a beautiful letterpressed tag? Even better.
10. Warm the cockles of someone’s heart with a bottle of fancy spirits like Sage from Art in the Age of Mechanical Production.
11. Budding home cook on your list? A bag of two of special flour will help them perfect their pizza dough.
12. What to give someone who already has everything? I bet they don’t have dried rose geranium in their spice cabinet.

If you’d rather make something yourself, consider mulling spices, or apple cider syrup and stay tuned for a new recipe later this week.

PS. Share your go-to host(ess) gift for a chance to win a few new treats of your own.

{All product photos were sourced from the shops linked to above!}

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  • Reply Jill November 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I'm gifting infused vinegars this year, but still need to find/make some cute labels. I like those luggage tags and twine..

  • Reply Erin November 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Fun list! A couple of thoughts, though…

    I worry about giving very peculiar ingredients, like rose geranium, unless I know that the recipient has a use for it. Cluttering up someone's pantry is just as bad as cluttering up their bookshelf/closet, isn't it? And, as person who is known to her family and friends as a "big tea drinker", I am the reluctant recipient of all forms of special tea blends, which I inevitably end up re-gifting because, yes, I am a "big tea drinker", but I am also loyal to my favorites (English Breakfast, ginger, and mint) and almost never veer outside of those three.

    Out of curiosity, what does the "At your own risk" mean under #4? Sounds ominous…?

    Thanks for this series – it's motivating me to get started with my holiday planning.

    • Reply Erin November 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I think you can talk yourself out of giving just about anything—fear it will clutter up someone's space, fear they won't like it, fear they already have it! Choosing not to give any gift at all is definitely a possibility, but I think we can also trust that a gift will be received in good spirits! Getting a beautiful jar of rose geranium and finding inventive and delicious ways of using it sounds like a treat to me! And re-gifting speciality teas that don't suit your taste doesn't sound like the worst idea! (Though you might drop hints about those three you love;))

      "At your own risk" just referred to my earlier note about the risk of giving sweet treats in a season full of them;)

      Glad you're enjoying the series!

    • Reply Abby November 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Love these ideas. If I'm giving a specialty ingredient or food, I try to include a pretty handwritten note of ideas for how to use it. That tends to help =)

  • Reply Suzy November 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    My favorite thing to bring to a host w/ children is a little jar of orangettes. They are so cheap and easy to make, and kids are intrigued since they aren't a common candy. (If the parents you roll with are of the "we don't do sugar" variety, however, I wouldn't recommend this route.)

  • Reply Nicole November 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    My favorite hostess gift is to bring something lovely for breakfast the next day- granola and local yogurt, a loaf of bread from a bakery with honey and butter, croissants with a pretty jar of jam etc. I saw the idea on Martha Stewart's website ages ago and decided it was perfect. Just make sure to wrap it in something like cellophane so they know it's perishable since often the hostess doesn't open gifts until the next day.

    • Reply Joan November 19, 2014 at 2:51 am

      Great idea. Now this is my favorite!

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic November 19, 2014 at 5:05 am

    The olive oil looks especially good; it would be even better with really good bread. I love receiving homemade food as gifts; they're better than some of the other gifts I've gotten. Once I was even given a stuffed animal, even though I am in my 30s.

  • Reply Megan RetrofittingVintage November 20, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Homemade baked goods are my go-to hostess gift. A little bag of cookies, a loaf of sweet bread, just a little something to munch later.

  • Reply eggplantandolive November 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I love the idea of gifting fancied-up pantry staples- I just might do this this year!

  • Reply Rylie November 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    This year I'm giving my nearest and dearest homemade pantry goodies, like a signature hot sauce and infused salts and sugars. The salts and sugars are so easy to make, give and use!

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