15 Gift Ideas for Foodies and Drink Lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area

Think unusual spirits, fiery spices and trendy wine glasses, all from local businesses.

Everyone loves to eat, so food and drink-themed gifts are almost always a great idea. Fortunately, the Bay Area is full of options in this department, whether it’s silky milk jam from a bakery, terrific chili oil from a pop-up, or fancy glassware from a bodega.

Many of these gifts are consumable (read: ideal for the friend in the smallest apartment in San Francisco), while some are ready to aid in said consumption (think cracked ceramic mugs). Others are wearable, like a shirt that proclaims to the world how much bread is loved.

Here are 15 local food and drink ideas for your loved ones, each curated by someone on The Chronicle’s Food and Wine staff. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our picks for the best cookbooks of the year.

an instant party

Porrón from the Spanish Table

The porrón has been around for a long time, perhaps dating back to the 14th century, but this year the Spanish drinking vessel became one of the most popular accessories in Bay Area natural wine bars. On any given night, at hot spots like El Chato, Shuggie’s Trash Pie, and Snail Bar, you’re likely to see a waiter standing in front of a gaping customer, tilting the vessel so that the wine flows out of its sharp spout, flowing directly into the recipient’s mouth. Now it’s time to bring the party back to your house. Pick up your own porrón ($25 for 1-liter size) from Spanish Table, which has locations in San Francisco and Berkeley. While you’re there, grab a bottle of Spanish white wine (the traditional choice is the slightly fizzy, low-alcohol Basque wine called Txakoli) and you’ve got yourself a complete gift set.

hello garlic

Anne’s toum

This is an especially nice gift for the vegans and meatless peeps in your life. Created by Walnut Creek couple Katia Berberi and Steve Drapeau, Anne’s Toum is a potent (but not delicious) Lebanese seasoning made by emulsifying garlic with sunflower oil and lemon juice. The result is a sauce with the texture of marshmallow fluff that is the perfect complement to the toasty and savory flavors. Although typically paired with grilled chicken, toum works great as a dip for crispy brussels sprouts, breakfast sandwiches, or even just with a bag of chips. Prices will vary depending on where you go, but Williams Sonoma sells a set of two for $24.95 online for nationwide shipping.

minnow pride

Anchovy Bar Anchovy Tote

For the canned fish lover in your life, gift her this adorable tote bag ($18) from Anchovy Bar, the seafood-focused spin-off from the owners of San Francisco’s acclaimed State Bird Provisions. It’s big enough to carry a laptop, but can also be used as a shoulder bag, perhaps filled with a selection of tinned delights. Or go all out with the Anchovy Bar Kit ($75), which bundles the tote with the essentials to recreate the restaurant’s anchovy toast at home: anchovies, homemade tomato vinaigrette and colatura-flavored butter, homemade Italian fish sauce. with anchovies. Plus, temporary anchovy tattoos inspired by co-owner Nicole Krasinki’s ode to the fish—her own permanent tattoo.

Sweet and spicy caffeine

Calaca Coffee Pot Coffee Kits

Earlier this year, Calaca Coffee, a pop-up coffee shop formerly based in Crockett, switched to selling café de olla cold-brew kits ($32). Typically, this spicy Mexican coffee comes hot, preferably in a clay cup, but Calaca adjusts the technique for slow, cold extraction. Each kit comes with two bags of spiced coffee, totaling about a gallon of coffee, and comes with a QR code that takes you to clear video instructions, so your gift recipient doesn’t need to be an expert. in coffee preparation to appreciate this. It’s as easy as soaking the bags and letting them sit. The coffee tastes like cinnamon, the cold brew method softens the acid, and a little sugar awakens the spices.

An unusual liquor

Pekut & Carwick Ume Liqueur

Drinks made from ume, the spicy Japanese stone fruit, are having a moment in the Bay Area. Many producers here are putting their own proprietary twists on umeshu, the traditional Japanese liquor many home cooks make. Among the best local efforts is Berkeley’s Pekut & Carwick ($32.25), whose Prunus Mume (the official Latin name for ume) is made by macerating the fruit, while it’s still green and unripe, with sugar and neutral alcohol. The result is a nice balance of sweet and sour, with a sharply tart bite reminiscent of a mouth-puckering confection. Gift it to a friend who likes to experiment with cocktails at home; tell them to try it on the rocks first, or turn it into a simple highball by adding sparkling water and a hint of citrus.

rice art

Food posters from Cut Fruit Collective

This year, your holiday gift can help support the community work of the Bay Area Cut Fruit Collective, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of local artists in response to the enormous financial and social impact of the pandemic in the neighborhood. Oakland Chinese. Consequently, the merchandise of the organization is really attractive. There are colorful, museum-quality posters in two sizes ($22-$28) illustrating the many rice porridge from various AAPI cultures, such as Filipino lelut manok and Keralan kanji payar. For a subtle Chinatown twist, check out clothing decorated with cute sticker renderings of fruit extolling the virtues of icons like durian and persimmon ($37-$50).

hip drinking glasses

Broc Cellars Glassware

This stunning hand-blown glassware ($55) from Berkeley’s natural winery Broc Cellars makes drinking a Pinot Grigio next to skin that much more fun. Wine professionals have been known to tirelessly debate the merits of wine glass shape and size, but Broc teamed up with a local designer and glass-blowing studio to create something that defies stifling glass conventions. The result is stemless, sturdy, and low-profile – a beautiful yet accessible drinking vessel that won’t break easily. He keeps the focus on enjoying the wine and the moment, not meticulously sniffing, stirring and figuring out the nuances of the wine. To complete the collection, add the Broc Pitcher ($150).

Not your average jam

Craftsman & Wolves Matcha Milk Jam

Instead of giving the sweet tooth in your life another box of chocolates, check out the shelf-stable jarred treats on the shelf at San Francisco’s popular Craftsman & Wolves bakery. The French-inspired patisserie cooks up organic Straus milk, sugar, and grassy matcha tea for its matcha milk jam ($12.50), ideal for spreading on a thick slice of toasted milk bread with a touch of flaky sea salt. Or go for the similar Confiture Cafe au Lait ($12.50), which swaps the green tea for espresso. Both are intensely creamy, more like a thick custard than a typical jam. For something spicier, Passion Olive Oil Curd ($12.50) also shakes up the routine, employing a browned passion fruit bulb in place of lemon juice and local extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter.

For the spice cabinet

Ethiopian spices from Brundo Spice Co.

Brundo Spice Co., the heirloom spice division of Ethiopian restaurant Café Colucci, recently opened a store in Oakland. There, you can pick up a few jars of spice mixes like berbere ($9) or mitmite ($9), a hellish mix of ground Thai bird chilies, black cardamom, nigella seed, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Mitmita is a great treat for lovers of heat, while berbere is a quieter alternative, essential in many Ethiopian dishes like doro wat.

wine country love

Prints of John Donohue’s Napa Restaurant

These prints ($55-$95) are a wonderful way to commemorate a memorable meal or visit to the Wine Country—an anniversary dinner at the French Laundry perhaps? – and are guaranteed to elicit a “How thoughtful!” response. Famous for his “All the Restaurants” series featuring hundreds of sketches of New York City’s beloved eateries, illustrator John Donohue flew to Napa Valley earlier this year to sketch more than 70 local eateries. The collection includes icons like Gott’s Roadside, Mustards Grill and Model Bakery, and lesser-known local spots like La Luna Market and Ana’s Cantina nightclub.

handmade pottery

earthen cups

Drinking hot coffee or tea from a magnificent locally made mug is one of life’s great pleasures. Head to Earthen in San Francisco, where ceramicist Julia Lemke hand-shapes crisp mugs ($42) that evoke the wandering roots of a tree or a constellation of stars in the sky. No two cups are exactly alike here, which is part of her joy. While you’re at the Lower Haight store, pick up some masala chai tea to complete the recipient’s morning ritual.

portable egg tarts

Baba’s House Food Pins

Asian snack shop and event space Baba’s House in Oakland is full of fun gift ideas, but the most adorable are enamel pins. The selection varies, but you can count on seeing colorful representations of nostalgic treats like Chinese egg tarts, fortune cookies, and Haw Flakes. Others combine food with adorable creatures to great effect, like a cat-topped gooey drink with a second kitty eating gooey inside the cup. Great for stocking stuffers or as a low commitment gift, I’m just thinking of you, these pins won’t break the bank at $10-$13 each.

non-alcoholic fun

All the Bitter Non-Alcoholic Bitters

For the curious and sober friend, these non-alcoholic bitters will set you up for the best dry January ever. While there are plenty of zero-proof liqueurs on the market, a couple of former French Laundry sommeliers pointed to the need for a non-alcoholic alternative to this key cocktail ingredient. Made with organic botanicals, All the Bitter sells three styles of bitters, sold individually ($26.50) or as a set ($33-$79.50).

carb merchandise

All My Friends are Bread Shirt by Manresa Bread

If you know someone who spends most of their waking hours thinking about sourdough, rising times, and hot bread, buy them this Manresa Bread T-shirt ($22). It’s a soft and cozy declaration of love for bread from one of the Bay Area’s leading carb experts, the popular bakery spin-off of the Michelin-starred Manresa restaurant. (While you’re there, you can also treat yourself to a yeast bread made with freshly ground flour, or one of Manresa Bread’s excellent pastries.) The shirt is available to purchase in person at Manresa Bread’s Los Gatos, Los Altos, Campbell, Palo Alto and Santa Cruz stores.

a little spark

Dough ball macha sauce

Bolita Masa’s macha sauce ($15) has become a pantry staple in many Bay Area homes in recent years. It’s a quick way to add incredible heat, smoke, and rich depth to any dish. A little goes a long way with this chili oil, swimming with crunchy bits like pepitas and sesame seeds, but a few drops can enhance any meal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *