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10 tempting treats for the foodie in your life

It's time again for The Dish's annual holiday gift guide. From breakfast in bed to small-batch craft gin, this roundup of locally made stocking stuffers is sure to include something for every foodie on your list.

The Missing Ingredient

It's Christmas every month with this gourmet food subscription service. Curated by the Well Seasoned store in Langley, B.C., the surprise boxes include four to five full-size products along with recipe cards. Recent packages have included everything from chestnut cream to canned escargots with two-dozen reusable shells. Fun! The subscriptions come in one, three, six and 12-month orders (from $43 to $57 a month, with free shipping across Canada) and includes a gluten-sensitive option.

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Dances with spices

This is my favourite go-to cookbook. Self-published by a former financier and home chef who lives in Vancouver, the book's techniques are easy to understand and the recipes never fail. Of Persian and Indian heritage, author Shelina Edgar was raised in Uganda. Her home-style cooking is an equally exotic mix. For people just beginning to experiment with Indian, Persian and African cuisines, the book includes a handy list of pantry essentials. I wanted to include the book in last year's guide, but it was out of print. It's now available as an e-book ($8.80 U.S.).

Sweet selections

Beaucoup Bakery and Café offers no shortage of tempting sweets. But the Local Favourites Sampler ($50) is lovely non-perishable alternative. The chicly wrapped gift box includes small bottles and jars of Noble bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, Cocolico caramel sauces, Millifera Bees cardamom-infused honey, Vista D'oro fig-and-walnut wine preserve, a tin of Jacobsen pinot noir sea salt and a bag of Beaucoup's own, utterly addictive candied marcona almonds tossed with fresh rosemary. 2150 Fir St.,

Sriracha candy canes

"Because Santa Likes It Hot!" So say the jokesters at J&D's Foods, the Seattle-based company that created Baconnaise, bacon deodorant and bacon coffins. Their latest product, apparently made in The People's Republic of Canada (though they don't know exactly where), is a fiery candy cane swirled with the popular Asian hot sauce. They probably taste awful, but for a novelty gift the 12-pack ($7.99 U.S.) is kind of cool.

Edible skin care

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I don't recommend you eat Helena Lane's lavender and lime jojoba-oil cleanser. But you could, and it actually doesn't taste bad when smeared on the lips. Created by a former chef, the natural, plant-based skincare company is based in Brackendale, B.C. Generously sized sample sets ($32) include the full range of fresh-scented, organic products: cleanser, flower water, moisturizer, two masks and serum. Available at Whole Foods and

East Van Vodka

Vancouver is booming with new micro distilleries. But Odd Society Spirits is the first provincially designated craft distillery using local ingredients exclusively. Fermented and distilled in a converted motorcycle garage, East Van Vodka ($36 for a 750 ml bottle) is made from 100 per cent barley grown near Prince George and malted in Armstrong, which gives it a slight sweetness and silky mouth feel. Filtered through fibre (rather than carbon), this sipping vodka is exceptionally smooth and smells like violets. Available at private liquor stores, the distillery tasting room at 1725 Powell St. and

Breakfast in bed

For some sensualists, breakfast in bed is the ultimate aphrodisiac. It's even sexier when someone else makes it for you – or both of you. The Breakfast Courier brings the convenience of hotel room service to your doorstep. Serving downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano, the new bicycle delivery company works with a handful of neighbourhood restaurant partners using a standard menu. The breakfast items ($11.50 to $13.25) come with roasted potatoes and a green salad. My fat farmhouse wrap, prepared at The Brasserie, was delivered hot within 30 minutes., 604-336-2018

Christmas in a coffee cup

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Enough with the eggnog lattes. Caffeine connoisseurs would probably much prefer receiving Milano Coffee's Jingle Bell Blend ($17.50 for a 340 gram bag). The seasonal dark roast, blended from seven ultra-premium single varietals, has a rich bergamot flavour and juicy strawberry notes. If the coffee lover in your life leans to more acidic flavours, consider the new Holiday Celebration espresso from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters ($20 a pound). The single-origin coffee from the Santa Barbara region of Honduras has a clean structure and fruity aroma with hints of tamarind.,

Amola seasoning salts

For those who prefer espresso in their food, the Amola Smoky Espresso Salt with ginger and black peppercorns gives a nice earthy kick to scrambled eggs and sautéed mushrooms. The new line of seasoning salts (from $8) are packaged in beautiful black-and-white paper boxes and come in a range of interesting flavours. If you know anyone who is a fan of the bacon Caesars at Edible Canada (which makes this product), they'll love the Amola Caesar Rim Salt. Available at various retailers including Edible Canada: 212-1551 Johnston St.,

Vancouver Foodie Tours

Recently selected as a Canadian Signature Experience Program by the Canadian Tourism Commission, these walking tasting tours are a great gift idea for visitors. Choose from the two-hour Food Truck Tour ($49) or the more extensive Guilty Pleasures Tour ($69), which includes samplings of dim sum, fresh burrata, a local chocolate/wine pairing and award-winning gelato., 604-339-0078

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About the Author
Vancouver restaurant critic

Alexandra Gill has been The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver restaurant critic since 2005. She joined the paper as a summer intern in 1997 and was hired full-time as an entertainment columnist the following year. In 2001, she moved to Vancouver as the Western Arts Correspondent, a position she held until 2007. More


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