Holiday Gifts for Food Lovers
Presents from the heart, for the tummy
Everyone has favorite foods, so why not turn those delicacies into gifts? Come the holidays, I’m big into sharing my passion for Westchester edibles.
Cathy’s Biscotti are made the old- fashioned way (meaning hand-rolled and hand-cut), with no artificial ingredients by White Plains resident Cathy Schauber. Among the 11 flavors of crunchy denseness: anisette, lemon pistachio, gingerbread, cappuccino, and cranberry chocolate almond. Order small ($29), medium ($46), or large ($65) gift boxes that come with a half-pound of Costa Rican medium-roast coffee (from Waterfront Roasters in Port Chester). After all, dunking is essential! Individual bags of six cost $8.50
Admit it: chocolate makes you smile. And at Chocolations (607 E Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck 914-777-3600), there’s lots to smile about—or at least ogle over. Dark, white, and milk assortments come in all shapes and sizes with lollipop Santas, reindeer, snowmen, Hanukkah stars, and dreidels, along with baskets of all kinds starting at $15. Plus, they ship!
Painted cookies in numerous flavors and shapes (you can personalize), heart-shaped brownies, and baskets filled to the brim with homemade caramel corn, chocolate-covered pretzels, penny candies, pistachios, and more can be found at Connie’s Bakery & General Store (41 S Moger Ave, Mount Kisco 914-242-2014), a socially responsible bakery and gift shop that donates 100 percent of its net profits to local charities.
Got a friend who loves Southeast Asian food? Pelham chef and caterer Nisa Lee captures her renowned style in a collection of simple, elegant gift baskets. Her Taste of the South Pacific basket ($50), a beautifully packaged basket in a bamboo box with red raffia, featuring coconut milk, Massaman curry paste, organic peanut butter, dry crystal noodles, bamboo oar skewers, agave nectar, and four recipe cards. Add fresh vegetables, seafood, and meat, and you’ll be cooking like Lee in no time.
Suzanne’s Sweets rugelach ($15.95/lb) has become a fixture at Westchester tables for good reason: the traditional flavors (think apricot, strawberry, raspberry, and chocolate) baked by Katonah mom Suzanne Fromm are made with top-notch ingredients In addition to gift boxes and towering assortments, you can also indulge your loved ones with her new black-and-white cookies (in blue and white for Hanukkah and red and white for Christmas).
True, Chelsea Clinton put the delicious desserts at La Tulipe (455 Lexington Ave, Mount Kisco 914-242-4555) on the world map (the shop did her wedding cake), but, for those in the know, this European-style bakery has been churning out custom cakes, tarts, and cookies for years. Apple pie, which uses three varieties of apples from a nearby estate, is a perennial favorite, but, for a true holiday gift, opt for the variety of traditional Bûche de Noël cakes as well as its gorgeously decorated gingerbread houses.
(Pictured) Beautifully packaged festive treats await at La Tulipe in Mount Kisco.
Captain Lawrence’s Nor ‘Easter, Southampton Pumpkin Ale, Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale, and a whole list of other international and American microbrews you may have never heard of are put into various-sized baskets at Lazy Boy Saloon (154 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-761-0272) for the guy (or gal) in your life who’s always on the prowl for the next best brew.
Mint (18 N Main St, Tarrytown 914-703-6511) is a jewel of a food boutique where owner Hassan Jarane treats every customer like long-lost family. Famous for his generous supply of samples—you literally could walk out of here full—he prides himself on customizing gift baskets, often with one of his gourmet cheeses as the base. He’s also famous for his premium selection of Belgian beers.
An oversized chocolate-chunk cookie wrapped in ribbon is so pretty, it’s gift enough, though you’ll be tempted by the other delicacies at Susan Lawrence (26 N Greeley Ave, Chappaqua 914-238-8833), where even the simplest item (i.e., the cookie) is transformed into a work of art. This truly is one of Westchester’s best bakeries, with a variety of cakes, pies, breads, and more—all of which are worth every calorie.