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Stocking stuffers to be sated by

Alexandra Gill’s annual food-inspired holiday gift guide

It’s time again for the Dish’s annual holiday gift guide. From lumps of chocolate coal to mail-order craft beer boxes, I hope this Top 10 roundup of locally created stocking stuffers and gift ideas includes a little something special for all the foodies on your list.


The East Van Foodie Cookbook

Hard copy cookbooks will never go out of style. It is so much more satisfying (and safe) to smear the pages with buttery fingers instead of having to worry about spilling broth on your iPad. The newly released East Van Foodie Cookbook ($44.95) features gorgeous photography, stories and recipes from 47 restaurants, bars, breweries and food businesses in multifaceted East Vancouver. Available online and at various bookstores around the city; foodiebook.ca


Lump of Coal

BETA5 Chocolates’ Lump of Coal is a delicious blend of dark rum caramel, eggnog ganache and spiced praline in a dark chocolate shell.

A perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift for the naughty sweet tooth on your list. BETA5, one of Vancouver’s most innovative chocolate and pastry shops, has created the sinfully binge-able Lump of Coal ($7), which conceals layers of dark-rum caramel, eggnog ganache and spiced-pecan praline inside a 63-per-cent dark-chocolate shell dusted with cocoa powder and coconut ash. Available in store only, 413 Industrial Ave., beta5chocolates.com


Dragon Mist Baijiu

Dragon Mist spirits.

For the curiosity seeker – one of B.C.’s most distinctive craft spirits. Surrey-based distiller Sherry Jiang produces Canada’s only baijiu, a traditional Chinese hard liquor (and most-consumed spirit in the world). Dragon Mist Baijiu ($76.11), made from Dawson Creek wheat, is an aromatic variety with a high-alcohol content (50 abv), bready nose, light body and long, sweet finish. Best sipped straight up, as you would a high-quality tequila. Richmond Liquor Store, 135-8555 Sea Island Way, 778-297-9463. Also available at Village Liquor Store, Village at Park Royal, 900 Main St., West Vancouver, 604-922-8823; dragonmistdistillery.com


Ai & Om Knives

Ai & Om Knives.

Chef Douglas Chan, formerly of Bambudda, West and New York’s Eleven Madison Park, recently opened a bespoke knife shop in Vancouver’s Chinatown. From handcrafted Japanese santokus to show off hunting blades fitted with fossilized mammoth-tusk handles, you’re bound to find something special for the discerning collector. Less extravagant gift ideas include cutting boards, sharpening stones, hand-sharpening services and custom-fitted wooden saya sheathes. 129 E. Pender St., aiandomknives.ca


Farm-Direct Meat Shares

The meat.co app.

Vancouver chef Trevor Bird (Fable and Fable Diner) connects meat lovers to small, local, free-range farms through a crowdfunding service, Meatme.co, in which you buy shares from the whole animal. Once the animal is fully funded and purchased from the farmer, the meat is butchered in-house, assembled in nose-to-tail meat boxes, vacuum-packed and delivered cool (not frozen) to your doorstep. Shares of nut-fed Berkshire pork and Black Angus beef start at $169 and $99, respectively. Meatme.co


Tea Towel of the Month Club

A tea towel from Bread and Butter print shop.

Salt Spring Island’s Bread & Butter Printshop hand-pulls their whimsical designs onto luxuriously rustic 100-per-cent cotton tea towels.

With their monthly subscription service ($150), you can freshen someone’s kitchen 12 times a year with these beautiful absorbent workhorses. Single orders, available online, also make lovely gift wrappers. Fill them with coffee or chocolate and you’re as good as Santa. breadandbutterprintshop.com


Ms. Betters Bitters’ Miraculous Vegan Foamer

A Vegan pisco sour made with Ms. Betters Bitters’ Miraculous Vegan Foamer.

Because vegans like cocktails too. Ms. Betters, a Vancouver-based purveyor of exceptionally flavoured cocktail bitters, syrups and purées, has created a vegan egg-white substitute made from cane sugar, natural extracts and botanicals. Virtually odourless and tasteless, the liquid drops ($30 a bottle) shake into a miraculously creamy foam emulsifier that has become a shelf-stable game changer for the bar industry and is now sold internationally. Available at the Modern Bartender, 28 E. Pender St., and online. msbetters.com


Betterwith Ice Cream

Betterwith ice cream.

Lori Joyce, one of Vancouver’s Cupcake Girls, has just launched the best old-fashioned ice cream to hit B.C.’s frozen-food aisles. Intensely creamy, thick and rich, the custard-style ice cream ($8.99-$9.99 for 500 ml) is made with no preservatives and farm-fresh traceable cream – which is going to be a thing. Six classic flavours include plain cream, which tastes like raw milk and pairs really well with savoury garnishes like olive oil and pepper. Available at Whole Foods, Choices, Gourmet Warehouse and Cioffi’s. betterwith.com


Mail-Order Beer

A selection of beers on offer at Cook St. Liquor in Victoria, which is offering a mail-order beer service.

Victoria’s Cook St. Liquor recently launched Beer Mail, a mail-order service that allows you to send curated packages of local, imported, limited-edition and hard-to-find craft beers to friends and loved ones, even those living in the smallest, most far-flung, craft-beer-deprived corners of the province. The packages, which change biweekly and do not require a subscription, include 12 large-format bottles. Prices vary, but the current Winter Warmer box costs $120, plus shipping. cookstliquor.com


Restaurant Food Delivery

foodora, Vancouver’s on-demand delivery service, allows you to order up to 48 hours in advance from one of its 50 local restaurant partners.

If anyone feels like sending me a wiener schnitzel from Bauhaus Restaurant, my dinner card is free tonight and the home-dining option is now available from Foodora Food Delivery. I’m kidding about the gift request, but I’m quite serious about the revolutionary ways in which various restaurant delivery services, including Door Dash, have disrupted the take-out industry. Lazy nights at home will never be the same. Gift certificates are not yet available, but gifted meals can be ordered online days in advance. foodora.ca, doordash.com


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