Chicago Foodie Sisters Holiday Gift List
By now you have probably started your Christmas shopping. And if you haven't, it's time to get started! We've compiled a little list to help you mark everyone off your list, especially those foodies among your family and friends.
P.S. Bookmark this page and check back as I'll be adding more as the season continues.
P.P.S. Let me also add that this list is compiled entirely based on products I've tried or am yearning for myself. I am not being paid to tell you about any of them. :)
For me, the holiday season isn't complete until I've had Frango Mints. If you are from or have lived in Chicago at some point, you probably have had Frango Mints, the sugary, chocolatey treat sold for so many years at Marshall Fields & Co. that is now sold at Macy's. They've expanded over the years to additional flavors, but my favorite is still the traditional mint covered in chocolate. Any lover of chocolate would be happy to get a box under the tree. Available in Macy's stores and online at macys.com.
High River Sauces
I admit that I'm a bit wimpy when it comes to hot sauce, but I live with a bunch of males who can't get enough of it. And they're a fan of several High River Sauces. If you know someone with "the hotter, the better" philosophy, you'll want to get some of these in your online shopping cart. Carolina Reaper sauce? check. Habanero? yep. Trinidad scorpion pepper? They've got that, too. All of their sauces are off the (scoville) charts. Shop for them on hotsauce.com. And just a side note, this company also hosts the Chi-Town Hot Sauce Festival, which debuted in the Chicago area this year. Keep an eye out for it in 2019.
Cooper's Hawk Lux Ice Wine
I have the opportunity to try many new wines throughout the year at various dinners and food events and while I love all varieties of wine, I still have a sweet spot for those sweet dessert wines. When I first tried Cooper's Hawk's ice wine several years ago, it was love at first sip. It is a bit of sweetness overload when you put it together with some creme brûlée or lemon cheesecake, but YOLO - I say enjoy every bit of sweetness as often as you can. Buy it at your local Cooper's Hawk restaurant or purchase online by clicking here - https://bit.ly/2L0XDKz.
Trader Joe's Hot Cocoa Spoons with Mini Marshmallows
These are perfect little stocking stuffers or a nice little gift for a teacher, librarian, crossing guard, school secretary when paired with a cute holiday mug. Grab some on your next Trader Joe's visit or get them on Amazon.com.
During the summer, my husband does a lot of the cooking on our grill. I think this was a Father's Day gift - and it was one he loved. It enabled him to monitor the temp of his meats from inside the air-conditioned house and it makes for more even and faster cooking because you're not lifting the lid of your grill over and over to check. The probe reports the temp on your mobile device so you can enjoy a well-cooked steak without as much work. Thanks to the iGrill he has perfected the prime rib roast. It's a great gift for any guy (or gal) who loves to grill. You'll find it at home improvement and department stores, including Home Depot and Walmart as well as Amazon.com.
On a media trip earlier this year, I visited this little chocolate shop in Richmond, Illinois. The candy shop dates back to 1919 and it's one of those family operations where everything is done by hand. It's all high-quality stuff that foodies like me dream about. If you really want to wow a chocolate lover this season, order a box of chocolate covered cherries or salted caramels or their delicious chocolate bars. Richmond is a lovely little town and you could make a fun day trip out of it and pick up some treats in this cute throwback shop - or order online at andersonscandyshop.com.
Double Good Popcorn
Double Good is a company that offers fundraising sales for groups, but also other sales of their products help kids with special needs participate in sports and other activities. Half of each purchase goes toward this cause. It's a feelgood purchase where you know it's going to help someone else, but it's also really good popcorn. I tried three varieties that were sent to me as samples and loved them all. The Paint Me Chocolate and It's Peanut Butter Chocolate Time were such delicious treats, but what really won me over was the My Main Cheese flavor. I'm a hard-core Garrett's fan, but this was a cheese popcorn that really is close to perfect and if I was offered both at once, I might have to eenie-meenie-miney-moe it (I have no idea how that is spelled, but you know what I'm talking about, right?) Go to doublegood.com to order.
This is an item that I do not own and, in fact, have not tried. However, I recently wrote an article about it for a newspaper and I can't find a person who owns one who doesn't love it - and retail managers assured me that it's still a very hot item this holiday season. It's something I'll be hinting at myself to Santa. You can do so much with it - make yogurt, make cakes, whip up a whole chicken in minutes and lots more. Keep an eye out for great deals on this very versatile kitchen item, which you'll find everywhere from Williams Sonoma to Macy's to Walmart and several online sites. If you're a big Kohls shopper, you can often snag one there on sale and use one of their special 15/20/30% off deals, plus any Kohls cash you might have to get it for a steal.
As a brand ambassador for Tiesta Tea, I get regular sample packs sent to me of new flavors. I'm a big tea lover - I don't drink coffee, don't drink milk and keep soft drinks to a minimum, so when I'm not drinking water, I'm usually drinking tea. I love brewing loose leaf tea and I get excited when I get my new little tasting package in the mail. But, I totally squealed with delight when I got this brand ambassador package this month. I've been eyeing loose leaf infusers for the longest time and just never splurged on one, so I was so excited to get this. I've loved using them in restaurants where your tea drips right down into your cup and I'm so excited to have one of my own. If you know anyone who loves tea as much as me, they'll love this. This particular kit also comes with one of my favorite flavors, Maui Mango. Find it on their website, tiestatea.com as well as Amazon.