The Foobooz Last-Minute Holiday Food and Drink Gift Guide
All the best Philadelphia-made gifts for anyone who cooks, eats, or drinks in your life — no shipping required.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve still got lots of holiday shopping to do, and you’re feeling wary about rolling the dice by getting goodies shipped from online outlets just a week before Christmas. You also love to give (and receive) food and drink as gifts — and why not? They’re practical, pleasurable, and consumable, offering a sense of place, supporting our local economy, and reducing clutter for the giftee at the same time.
So we compiled our favorite brick-and-mortar spots where you can pop in and find the perfect locally made gastronomic gifts this holiday, from butcher shops and artisan bakeries to boutique brewers and distilleries. That includes cookbooks, too — Philly is also blessed with an abundance of excellent food and drink authors whose works will enhance any collection. And contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong with giving gift cards — as long as they’re from a place the recipient actually likes.
These small-batch artisanal vinegars are made from local fruit and herbs by former pastry chefs in south central Pennsylvania. Whether sprinkled over salads or added to cocktails for a bracing, fruity bite, these vinegars in flavors like bitter lemon, turmeric, and aronia berry are a must for any foodie’s pantry.
Find it at: Primal Supply Meats, Green Aisle Grocery, Cuttalossa, Riverwards Produce, Weaver’s Way Co-op
Spice Blends from St. Lucifer Spice
This Philly-born, tangy-savory-spicy blend of garlic, salt, vinegar, and peppers is the perfect on everything from roast chicken to cheese curds to popcorn.
Find it at: Fante’s, Di Bruno Bros., or (if you must) Wegmans
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies from Lost Bread Co.
Nobody doesn’t like these shiny, salt-topped, sandy-textured rectangles of concentrated sweet-savory pretzel flavor — which, if our experience is any indication, will be gone before the last present is unwrapped.
Find it at: Lost Bread Co., Riverwards Produce, Mariposa Co-op, or the Craft Hall pop-up
Cured Meats from Salumificio Cicala
Skip the oranges and nuts this year and stuff stockings with artisanal salumi made from local, humanely raised pork by chef Joe Cicala instead.
Find it at: Green Aisle Grocery, Market on 9th
Primal Supply Meats, East Passyunk
Give the gift of being able to choose your favorite cut, from chicken backs for stock to thick-cut ribeye steaks. And this whole-animal butcher shop is so well-stocked with local goodies — high-quality California olive oil, local artisan cheeses and breads, Cape May-sourced sea salt — that even a vegetarian could go on a satisfying shopping spree.
Philly Homebrew Outlet, Kensington, West Philly, Oaklyn
The perfect thing to give the DIY nerd (or wannabe) in your life, who can get as specific (rhizomes to grow your own hops) or general (Ball jars) as they want when they cash it in. PHO stocks equipment, ingredients, and supplies for everything from beer, wine, and cider making to canning to beekeeping to making your own soap.
Riverwards Produce, Fishtown
Have you ever been given a gift card to your favorite grocery store? We have, and they’re extremely fun and useful. The giftee can pick up some fancy bacon, tropical fruit, or gourmet nuts her typical budget doesn’t always allow for (special!) while stocking up on any basics she might need (practical!).
Art in the Age Tasting Room, Old City
Whether you’re shopping for a cocktail connoisseur or someone who just likes to drink, Art in the Age’s tasting room-slash-barware destination has exactly what your recipient is looking for. They can choose from gorgeous glasses and mixology tools, books on blending the perfect drink or infusing your own spirits, a wide selection of local and regionally produced bottles of the hard stuff, or simply subsidize their next happy hour.
Just about anything from Ploughman Cider
A bottle from our favorite Pennsylvania cider maker will bring joy to anyone who loves delicious drinks. We personally love their tart, fizzy Kenspeckle and vinous Pinot N’Arlet (tinted pink with aronia berries and pinot noir grape skins, respectively), but we’d also be psyched to find a sixer of their dry-hopped Lupulin Lummox or a petite bottle of Distelfunk, a light, wild-fermented peach wine that will transport you back to summertime, under the Christmas tree.
Find it at: Bottle Bar East, Di Bruno Bros. in Rittenhouse and the Franklin, 320 Market.
Maple whiskey from Manatawny Still Works
How to improve on Manatawny’s smooth, balanced Keystone Whiskey? Age it in whiskey barrels that were just used to age Whiskey Hollow Maple’s syrup. The result, after adding a little more syrup to the blend at the end of the process, is a not-too-sweet spirit whose maple notes uplift its four-grain whiskey flavor — perfect for sipping neat around the fireplace or stirring into a hot toddy.
Find it at: Their East Passyunk tasting room, their shop at 16th and JFK, or at the distillery in Pottstown.
Herbal spirits from Rowhouse Spirits
Anything from Dean Browne’s petite Kensington distillery is bound to please the spirit-loving person in your life — but if he’s got their Demon Weed amaro or Bear Trap, a sipping liqueur that’s triple-infused with local herbs from Greensgrow Farms, be sure to grab one of those.
Find it at: Their Frankford Avenue facility or select PLCB locations.
Beer from Fermentery Form
Bottles from this cult favorite brewer would be sought after even if their tasting room wasn’t only open once a week (pending occasional Instagram-announced additions to the schedule) — their funky, farmhouse-style sour beers are just that good. Get one for the beer lover in your life.
Find it at: Their tasting room in Fishtown, which is only sure to be open this Saturday, December 22nd from 2 p.m. till 8 p.m. before Christmas. You can check their social media to see if they’ll be open other days before the holiday, but Saturday is the only sure bet.
Food & Drink Accessories
Custom fermentation crocks by Clay Kitchen Studio
Potter Miki Palchick creates one-of-a-kind ceramic fermentation crocks and servingware for home cooks and Philly chefs (like Saté Kampar’s Ange Branca and Studio Kitchen’s Shola Olunloyo) alike. There’s still time to purchase gift certificates for her custom fermentation crocks — which allow the recipient can choose the color, shape, and style combination they love, then get it made to order — by emailing Miki at [email protected]
Tableware at Cuttalossa
Gorgeous accessories with which to serve all the delicious things you’ve cooked should be a given, not an afterthought. Shannon Resteck’s airy Old City shop (located in the back of the store she shares with vintage clothing business Meadowsweet Mercantile) stocks all the beautiful tea towels, beeswax candles, handmade ceramic mugs and vases, and serving trays made by local artists that a kitchen maven could want.
Cheese boards from Artifaqt
Unless you frequent cheese-centric events in Philly, you might not know that one of the premiere makers of high-quality boards and other servingware (like these wild towers and vessels made for fancy-pants spots like Le Bernardin) is based in nearby Phoenixville. Luckily, owner John Luttman has supplied the good folks at Riverwards Produce with some gorgeous home-scale cheese boards that are perfect for giving — plus, you can pick up a few local wedges from their fridge to round out your gift at the same time.
Fancy barware from Art in the Age
Any cocktail lover from beginner to advanced loves well-made additions to their barware collection, and Art in the Age is the place to find the tools of the trade. They have just about everything you need to create the perfect drink: reusable gold picks to hold olives and berries, hand-turned wooden muddlers for fruit and herbs, beautifully patterned mixing glasses, and ornate vessels for serving tiki drinks.
Booze & Vinyl, Andre and Tenaya Darlington
The third book from this cocktail-obsessed pair of siblings pairs easy-to-make original drinks with iconic albums available on wax. It’s perfect for the seasoned home bartender or the would-be listening party host.
Find it at: Riverwards Produce, Shakespeare & Co., Barnes & Noble
The Food in Jars Kitchen, Marisa McClellan
Cookbook author Marisa McClellan has been writing about preserving for more than a decade, developing recipes and tutorials to help home cooks can the perfect jar of jam. Her latest, all about how to serve, cook with, and otherwise use up all those delicious canned, dried, pickled, and preserved goodies, is available for pre-order now. For beginners or apartment-dwellers, respectively, look to her earlier books, Food in Jars and Preserving By the Pint.
Find it at: Riverwards Produce, Green Aisle Grocery
Ferment Your Vegetables, Amanda Feifer
Shopping for someone who’s always wanted to make their own pickled goodies? Amanda Feifer’s clear, science-based instructions can turn a fermentation newbie into an expert microbe farmer making their own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and more. Pro tip: this book goes perfectly with a Clay Kitchen Studio custom crock gift certificate.
Find it at: Fante’s, Riverwards Produce, Barnes & Noble
Session Cocktails, Drew Lazor
Bartenders, chefs, and consumers have been looking to lighten up on alcohol in recent years — and this book full of low-alcohol drink recipes that are just as delicious as their full-pour counterparts can show us the way. It’s a great option for the health-conscious gourmand or the cocktail lover in your life.
Find it at: Art in the Age, COOK, Green Aisle Grocery, Philadelphia Distilling, Occasionette