Shopping for a fine food fan who has everything? Here are ten locally made and delicious Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank, for the most part:
Whistler Chocolate is in space, literally. Starting in December the snack menu for astronauts on the International Space Station will include Whistler Pocket Chocolate, also known to astronauts as Whistler Rocket Chocolate. The dark chocolate bar is made from 72 per cent cocoa, and for the chocolate purist it’s completely organic, containing just four simple ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla powder. This intergalactic treat would make a special gift for the space nerd in the family and at just $3.99 per bar it’s a steal, www.whistlerchocolate.com.
From the stove of Whistler’s famed Araxi kitchen, the local restaurant’s cookbook provides seasonal recipes that are accessible to the home cook. Executive Chef James Walt has packed this cookbook with regional flavours from the farm, to the ocean and everything in between. Originally published in 2009, this is an oldie but a goodie with positive reviews from Chef Gordon Ramsay, and has won numerous awards. It can be purchased for $45 at www.araxi.com/cookbook.
The Pemberton Distillery is crafting up a new brew for the New Year, Apple Brandy. The apples were harvested in early October from Riley Creek Farm, a family owned organic orchard in Lillooet. Distillery co-owner Lorien Schramm is excited for their first large batch, she professes that aging is key to a nice sipping brandy as time in the cask mellows the spirit and provides additional flavours. The Schramm’s Apple Brandy won’t be available until February, but pre-orders are currently being accepted at $35 per 375ml bottle. The waitlist is filling up fast, order online at www.pembertondistillery.ca or by phone.
For the beginner foodies who need a helping hand with the basics of crafting delicious food, look into Community Kitchen cooking classes organized by Whistler Community Services Society. There are a range of different classes throughout the year, such as raw spaghetti with vegan meatballs course or learn to make pizza from scratch using alternative ingredients like gluten free flour. All classes are $10, ingredients and materials are provided and participants get to eat whatever they create (good or bad). Contact Talya at email@example.com to book your spot.
For the serious cook, the Whistler Cooking School offers gourmet lessons, including “Do it like a chef!” where participants are taught to cook a four course French cuisine, Mediterranean or other types of specialty meals. French-born chef Roland Pfaff teaches the tricks and techniques of the trade with particular attention to plating to impress friends. Pricing for each session is based on a flat rate of $280 for a maximum of four students plus the cost of the ingredients.
Crack in a Box, Purebread’s most addictively delicious product yet is flying off the shelves, just in time for Christmas. It’s a combination of customers’ favourite sweets — outrageous brownies, crack bars and salted caramel bars, packaged all together in a gift box. They retail for $20 and can be purchased in person at Purebread’s Function Junction location.
Mount Currie Coffee Company owner, Chris Ankeny, just opened a second location in Whistler on Main Street where he will be selling Forty Ninth Parallel coffee for $14 to $17 per bag. The Vancouver roasters at Forty Ninth Parallel travel around the world to meet directly with the farmers at their coffee farms in order to develop relationships and inspect the beans personally. They pay a special premium that is above the Fair Trade price standard, ensuring everyone involved is compensated fairly. The 100 per cent Arabica beans are sourced from locations around the world and result in a variety of different blends. They can be purchased from the Mount Currie Coffee Company or online at www.49thparallelroasters.com.
Guilt-free pasta is made possible by the Paderno World Cuisine Spirooli Spiral Vegetable Slicer tool that takes any vegetable and turns it into spiralled, curly pasta-like strands. The three-in-one slicer is a practical way to shred, slice and chip vegetables and fruit. It has been praised by vegans and paleos alike and is a useful gift for a gluten-free friend. It can be purchased from the Caveman Grocer in Function Junction for $44.99 or online at www.cavemangrocer.com.
Nonna Pia's balsamic reduction tastes like it’s straight out of Italy. It’s made from a six year aged 100 per cent balsamic vinegar brewed in Modena Italy. It’s infused with fresh fruits and herbs, thickened naturally without using starches or gums and then bottled, and packaged. Nonna Pia's balsamic reduction comes in six flavors: strawberry and gig infused, rosemary infused, lemon/ginger, cabernet/merlot, chili/lime, and classic balsamic. The gift sampler is available for $22 or they can be bought individually for $13.99 each at www.nonnapias.com.
Want to guarantee a special someone gets their daily dose of fruit and veg? Order an “Inspiration” Harvest Box starting at $20 per week. Certified organic produce and fruit is picked fresh from Pemberton’s Inspired Acres and neatly piled into a box to be picked up in Whistler, Pemberton, or home delivered for $4 more per week. More information and box sizes can be found at www.inspirearthorganics.com.