The 2023 Foobooz Holiday Gift Guide

From Philly cookbooks to restaurant merch, here's what to get for that special someone who loves to indulge in the local food scene.

philly food gifts

The Vernick tote bag is one of our picks for Philly food gifts this year / Photograph courtesy of Vernick

We all have that one person in our lives that loves food. And not just food — they have a passion for all things food culture. Their kitchens are stocked with local ingredients, every bottle of booze on their bar cart has a story, they follow chefs like bands and even collect restaurant merch. We here at Foobooz are those people to our friends and family, so let us help you find the perfect gift for that hungry someone this holiday season. And if you’re looking for more last minute (not all food related) gift ideas, we’ve got you covered.

Granola from High Street Bakery, $12
This is a bag of granola that we sometime buy for ourselves as a treat. It’s lightly sweet and full of toasted nuts and grains — which makes it feel both nutritious and indulgent. It’s a great stocking stuffer for someone who doesn’t want chocolate, and would also make a good hostess gift. As an added bonus, it’s under $15 and you can buy it in person at High Street Bakery.

Little Fish t-shirt, $35
Every year there seems to be one restaurant whose merch haunts us until we get it in our hands. Last year it was Càphê Roasters’ coffee, and this year it’s Little Fish, whose cute t-shirts are affordably priced and delightfully designed. Buy online and then pick up at the restaurant. Want to upgrade this gift? Throw in a gift card!

Vernick Wine tote, $35
Any self-respecting Philadelphian who drinks wine needs something to transport bottles to parties, BYOBs, and home from wine shops — and yet, how often do you find yourself without that exact thing? To fill this need in everyone’s life, we’re eyeing Vernick’s super-cute wine tote, with sleeves for four bottles and space for up to seven. Buy it in person at their wine shop, and grab a bottle to gift inside it as well.

philly food gifts tenango rum

Tenango rum / Photograph by Amelia Ingraham

Tenango Rum, $50
El Merkury restaurant founder Sofia Deleon launched a rum company this year, celebrating the culture and flavors of Guatemala. A bottle of this rum would be a good gift for anyone who likes brown liquor and maybe seems like the type of person who is on the cutting edge of the restaurant scene in Philadelphia. The bottles are available to order online, or can be purchases at the following New Jersey liquor stores:

  • Buy Rite Williamstown (2031 North Black Horse Pike, Williamstown)
  • Buy Rite West Deptford (1075 Mantua Pike, West Deptford)
  • Buy Rite Holmdel (2101 NJ-35 Suite 407, Holmdel)
  • Max’s Beer, Wine & Liquor (116 3rd Avenue, Neptune City)
  • Wine Outlet (2130 NJ-35, Holmdel)

Almost anything at Fante’s, from $5 and up
If you’re completely out of inspiration, browsing is always a good idea. So head to Fante’s kitchen store in the Italian Market where you can buy a pound of coffee to a cute pepper printed pot holder, a beautiful pepper mill, or even a Le Creuset dutch oven if you’re looking to go all out.

The signature candle of The Good King Tavern$14-$24
Earlier this year, someone on the Foobooz team got a little tipsy at the Good King Tavern, went to the bathroom, and was so taken with the candle that they had lit that they ordered it on the spot. It is the P.F. Candle Co. amber and moss candle, and it has since become the go-to candle that we suggest whenever anyone is looking for an inexpensive, vaguely-restaurant-y gift for any occasion. It’s subtle and a little woodsy, and good for someone who either loves the Good King Tavern, or simply seems like they might.

South Philly Barbacoa shipped anywhere in the country, $100
If you can’t wait in line for tacos at South Philly Barbacoa (or just don’t want to), or you know someone who really needs the perfection of lamb tacos shipped straight to their door, an order of SPB’s Barbacoa for three people is available to be shipped nationwide for only $100.

A donation to Double Trellis or The People’s Kitchen, any amount
Making a donation in someone’s name is always a nice idea. You pick a nonprofit, write a nice card, and let them know what you’ve done. It’s a good practice if anyone in your family is making noises about the consumerism of the holiday — just make a donation to one of our favorite food justice nonprofits in Philly, both of which are dedicated to serving delicious meals to people who might need a little community support.

philly food gifts

Cocktail books by Philly authors / Photograph by Kae Lani Palmisano

A cocktail book penned by a Philly author
This was a big year for Philadelphia cookbooks, specifically in the arena of crafted cocktails. Toby Maloney, the resident bartender at Hop Sing Laundromat, earned a James Beard Award this year for The Bartender’s Manifesto which he co-authored with renowned drinks writer, Emma Janzen. The recipes are excellent but, if you’re looking for tips on how to freestyle your own cocktails, there are entire chapters dedicated to teaching you how to build beverages from flavor profiles to textures.

Then there’s Back Country Cocktails by Philly Mag contributor, Adam Erace, Steven Grasse and Lee Noble; and Slow Drinks by foraging ethnobotanist, Danny Childs. Both tomes explore the great outdoors through foraged ingredients and culturally significant stories about the land, and how these components come together to create hand crafted cocktails. For the bibliophile who has a library of Philly food books, these are perfect to add to the collection.

A Very Asian Guide to Vietnamese Food
Speaking of Philly food books, if you’re looking for a great children’s gift, Cat Nguyen’s A Very Asian Guide to Vietnamese Food is a perfect addition to a kid’s library. With colorful illustrations by Kim Thai Nguyen, it’s a playfully visual guide to Vietnamese culture and cuisine. Complete with maps, history and English guides to pronunciation, it’s an exceptional introduction to Vietnamese food for kids as well as adults. Plus, there are a few easy-to-follow recipes in the back of the book so kids and adults can explore together.

One of the city’s best sweet boxes, $36-$62
If you’re the kind of person who really wishes they could bake up a storm but simply cannot find the time or willpower (same), do the next best thing and give boxes of sweets made by some of the city’s best bakeries. We like the Fiore sweet box ($58), the at-home cannoli kit from Isgro Pastries ($36) and, for classic sweets, the brownie and cookie box from Second Daughter ($62).

Mural City Cellars wine club membership, starting at $75 per quarter
Membership to the Mural City Wine Club entitles the member to three bottles per quarter of exclusively released wine made here in Philly. This is sort of like book of the month club, but for local wine. It’s a win-win.

Philly Cheese School gift cardvarious
Another experiential gift for the doers among us: a gift card for a class at the Philly Cheese School. Classes range from a cheese 101 class (with tastings, obviously) to wine and cheese pairing, beer and cheese pairings, and much more.