Christmas has a habit of sneaking up on us, and I’m certain I’m not the only one that has to kick into overdrive for this week’s lead-up to the big day.
First off, to take the stress out of gift giving there is nothing as wonderful, or thoughtful, than giving or receiving a gift card from a favourite restaurant or shop. It allows the recipient to purchase something they truly enjoy and gives an injection of cash to those businesses still struggling through the pandemic.
Alternatively, I’ve compiled a list of some of my fave places for finding the right little something for the hard to buy for — whether it’s for a hostess or husband, a neighbour or cherished friend.
As an urban forager, I leave no stone unturned when it comes to shopping for provisions, and the food aisle at London Drugs is ripe for hunting and gathering.
Don’t miss La Tourganelle, an exquisitely aromatic and roasted walnut oil that works magic drizzled on winter greens with sliced apples, or on pasta or fish. The aisle is also a must stop for: British chocolate Hobnobs biscuits, paired with a box of Yorkshire Tea — no finer pairing; Finn Crisp crackers, high quality De Cecco pastas and Mutti brand canned tomatoes; a fascinating variety of gluten-free noodles, and handy packs of Fever Tree and Fentiman’s flavoured tonic waters to upgrade the G&T game.
For the aspiring home bartender, consider some vintage barware from 4th Meridian at the Cannery Trade Centre. They’re set among the finely curated selection of historic art, antiques, furnishings, accessories and vintage curiosities, and it could be just the right set of glassware to spark the cocktail hour for 2022, 4thmeridian.ca
Legend Distilling has some wonderful handcrafted rimming salts for cocktails, from orange-sumac to lavender-lemongrass, along with boozy cherries to perk up a Manhattan. While you can order direct from the distillery, you can find many of their products — including their distilled elixirs — at JAK’s, or Martin Street Liquor Merchants. The two outlets also offer handcrafted bitters, and I’ll add Fairview Liquor Store to the mix too.
For the potato chip aficionado, check out Aisle 7 at Real Canadian Superstore. You’ll find an ever-changing array of crispy packaged pleasures in such flavours as nasi goreng, shrimp, salted egg, honey butter, masala, spicy chili and more. You’ve got to fill that stocking somehow.
For the wine lover, it’s one-stop shopping at the BC Wine Info Centre. The non-profit store carries an all-out selection of BC wines, including cider and mead, along with a tasteful selection of treasures to pair.
Start with elaborately shaped decanters in lead crystal, or varietal specific glassware from Riedel and designer Monika Lubowska-Jonas from LSA. Shiny ice buckets, wine do-dads such as pouring spouts or bubbly closures, cookery and bartending books, custom gift baskets, and three levels of wine club memberships. It can be overwhelming but the savvy staff can steer you wise, pentictonwineinfo.com
For the food connoisseur there is nothing like Penticton Global Grocers. Exciting treasures await with a delicious and ambitious selection of foodstuffs that brings the world to your kitchen. To start, dig in to a heady array of spices and spicy condiments that span the globe, in bottles, tins and packages.
Quality Barcelona chocolate satisfies the sweet tooth, while a paella kit complete with paella pan, rice, spices and recipe may create a dinner invite. Playfully packaged canned fish from Portugal ups the appetizer game, and fragrant aged basmati rice, organic olive oils, and essential ingredients will help kick-start forays into the Asian, Mexican or Indian culinary playbooks, 2150 Main Street.
Wishing you all a safe, festive and flavourful holiday.
With fork and pen in hand, and a passion for culinary adventure, Shelora Sheldan, a writer, cook and traveller, goes in search of the delectable.