This year, we want to fill all the stockings with goods from small, local makers. Now, more than ever (we know you’ve heard that one before — but it’s true!), we must choose to shop consciously to keep small businesses afloat. In lieu of travel, shipping great food to great friends can still comfort and unite. (Ship some to yourself too, and you can savor it together through a video call.) Below, the holiday food gift guide of your dreams: a curated list of ethically- and locally-produced treats, courtesy of KitchenTown companies.
For the friend who always has a reusable bag on hand (bonus: wrap the gift in pretty beeswax!)
ReGrained transforms spent grain from the beer-making process into superfood puffs. In other words, it’s now possible to eat your beer. They don’t skimp on their flavors, either — we love the Mexican Street Corn and the Texas Pit BBQ. Get free shipping with our code: KTMAKERS.
Kelp is a true regenerative ocean crop, meaning it’s even better than neutral impact: it actively grabs carbon from the atmosphere while reducing ocean acidification. Pat, the founder, wanted to get creative with it: “I didn’t just want to take some seaweed powder, throw it into a tortilla chip, and call it a day.” So he partnered with a chef to create this unique, puffed, crispy texture that uses the whole plant. Their ocean-loving gift set includes all the flavors and a beautiful tote.
To make soy milk, soybeans are soaked, pureed, and filtered. You’re left with a meaty pulp, known as okara, which is usually treated as a byproduct to toss but that really deserves a leading role. Renewal Mill turns okara into all sorts of delicious things, like ready-to-bake brownie mixes. Check out their upcycled baking kit, complete with a versatile wooden spoon.
Insects provide the same amount of protein as a cow with 1% of the resources. Don Bugito wants to expand their consumption across the US, explaining that this concept isn’t new – 80% of the world already regularly eats insects. Unsatisfied with her sourcing options, founder Monica opened her own insect farm, where her critters get plenty of immune-boosting sunlight and natural feed. Her Love Bug Box is a perfect gift for the adventurous eaters in your life.
For the friend who prefers experiences over presents
This is not your typical Zoom. Food La La will ship you a festive box with everything you need to make French macarons, including jazzy sprinkles and edible metallic paint. The kit comes with access to a virtual macaron-making masterclass for a full year, so you can watch on your own time. What do they say about teaching a man to fish (or teaching a sibling to make macarons)? This is the gift that keeps on giving.
For the work-from-home friend missing their healthy office snacks
Everyone’s heard of popcorn, corn puffs, and crunchy chickpeas. But have you tried lily seeds? More protein, less dense, and harvested by fair-wage farming co-ops, there’s a lot to love. Founder Mallika Chawla grew up in Dehli where seasoned water lily snacks are a popular treat, and we’re grateful she’s introduced them to our lives. Send the sampler pack to the coworker that needs a snack between Google Meets.
There are a lot of nutrition bars out there, but not so many you’d be excited to eat. Rez Bar‘s recipe was created with a specific audience in mind: men who love to game. It’s what inspired the brand name; in multiplayer-game-speak, “rez” means to bring a player back to life. Just like these protein bars. With a base made of dates, peanut butter, and magnesium, it’s the perfect pick-me-up that still manages to taste like a snickers bar. Use the code HOLIDAY2020 to get two boxes for the price of one.
Organic Pantry wants to remake your pantry, starting with crackers. Their motto? Less is more. Featuring antioxidant-rich flaxseeds and protein-packed quinoa, Theresa’s small-batch, delicious goods are what we want by our side next to lunchtime soups, salads, or in between meals. Gift a case of her newest flavor, featuring millennial-pink Himalayan Sea Salt (now 15% off and sent with two-day shipping). If you’re in the Bay, pair it with Greek spreads from Mezes Artisan, available on Good Eggs (try the smoked eggplant!).
For the home cook seeking new flavor inspiration
If you’re anything like us, you’re getting tired of your own cooking. When that happens to us, we seek new seasonings to jazz things up and impress our cohabitants. One of our favorites of the year comes from Jada Spices, who gained fame on Shark Tank in November with their foray into plant-based chicken. Their spice line, also vegan, provide smokiness, sweetness, acidity, and make us fall in love with homemade meals again. Use code KITCHENTOWN10 to gift Jada’s combo pack at 10% off.
Guesthouse Pantry launches this month, featuring a subscription service for better basics. Recipients get home deliveries of stocks, drizzles, and sauces made by professional chefs. Exceptional cooking is all about having a strong foundation, so we’re very excited about Pantry’s new line. Currently available for pre-order only in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hetal Vasavada has a background in biochemistry, which translates well to baking: precise ratios, accurate measurements, plenty of trial and error. Her cookbook, Milk & Cardamom, is the first Indian dessert cookbook since the 50s and features inventive, mouthwatering flavors inspired by the flavors of India. We’re talking Brown Butter Ghee Shortbread Cookies and Ginger–Chai Chocolate Pot de Crème.
We’ve also been loving the California Date Cookbook, a collaboration between Just Date Syrup and Rancho Meladuco Date Farm (both women-owned), whose gorgeous photography is as fitting for the coffee table as it is for the kitchen. Try the Tahini Cardamom Date Granola.
For the friends who just really need a warm, gooey, chocolate-y hug
Ship your long-distance friends oven-ready, pre-scooped mounds of high-quality, hand-made chocolate chip cookie dough. Plus, 5% of sales go directly to childhood cancer research. Enough said. Here’s a bag of 36 cookie dough drops. (And read more about them here.)
For the gluten-free, bread-loving friends
Your gluten-free and gluten-free-curious friends want bread, too. We couldn’t speak more highly of Young Kobras, whose sourdough loaves are naturally-fermented, free of gums, made fresh to order, and feature wholesome flours like millet, sorghum, and cassava. Their 4-pack ships free; mix-and-match flavors like Fig Walnut and Olive Herb. Even gluten-eaters will get jealous.
Don’t forget the sweets. Sweet Sydney’s, aptly-named, offers such an abundance of treats you’ll forget about the dietary restrictions. Pick up the 12-pack for the 12 Days of Christmas. Ginger Snap on Monday, Salted Caramel Toffee on Tuesday, Snickerdoodle on Wednesday… All gluten-free.
For the new mama who could use some self-care (and a cooking break)
Helen wants to see a revolution in the way new mothers are cared for. There are thousands of years of wisdom in post-partum healing and wellness: everything from social rituals to dietary replenishment. Support networks after a birth are crucial, and while a pandemic makes it a little harder to offer help for friends with new babies, you can send them the New Mama Gift Box. The package contains tea, bath soaks, and milk-making nut bombs developed with tons of cultural and scientific research.
For anyone who misses going out to restaurants, and wants to help the dining industry weather the winter
One way you can help restaurants right now: donate in any quantity to local funds. We recommend the La Cocina Emergency Relief Fund and the 86 Fund, which directly help restaurants maintain critical staff, pay rent, place orders with local farms, cover PPE supplies, and anything else they need. These gifts are tax-deductible and will help support your favorite local institutions through the hard times.