Edible Gift Guide, Holidays 2014
Drumroll, please. We now present our biggest (by far) and best holiday gift guide yet. Whether you’re shopping for your craft-coffee-lovin’ cousin, beer-brewing brother or baking-obsessed aunt, we’ve gathered together an overflowing basket of unique ideas sure to delight everyone on your list. And, best of all, you’ll feel great about supporting our local good food producers and merchants with your purchases. (Pssst—don’t forget to treat yourself while you’re at it. You deserve it!)
EDIBLES & POTABLES: Crackers & cheese, chocolate & wine, hogs & rocks
Shopping for a culinary connoisseur can sometimes be challenging, but the exceptional array of offerings at Healdsburg SHED makes it a breeze. If you have not yet had a chance to visit SHED, you should run, not walk, to check it out. A market, café and community gathering space designed to bring us closer to the way we prepare and share food, SHED is truly a modern-day grange. The artisans showcased at SHED inspire creativity in the kitchen and SHED’s pantry contains all the “salt of the earth” supplies, as well as rare and hard to find ingredients, needed to bring those inspired ideas to the table. A gift certificate for one of SHED’s workshops, beautiful cookware or tabletop items, or Shed’s café and fermentation bar are all crowd pleasers. 25 North St., Healdsburg; HealdsburgSHED.com
Sheana Davis, cheesemaker, culinary educator and owner of The Epicurean Connection in Sonoma, has enthusiastically supported the artisan and farmstead cheese movement for more than 20 years. Epicurean Connection is another great spot for one-stop shopping for local wines (many small-production exclusives), hard to find artisan and farmstead cheeses, craft beers, coffee, cookies, Sonoma Valley olive oils, honey, jams and more. Cheesemaking classes are Sheana’s specialty, and a gift certificate for a “cheese course” is guaranteed to impress. Sample offerings include the art of making crème de ricotta and then pairing it with a winter compote or Champagne and chocolate. 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma; TheEpicureanConnection.com
If you’re looking for something sure to dazzle at your next holiday gathering, look no further than local superstar Rustic Bakery. Owner Carol Levalley’s sweet and savory goodies shine all year long, but she and her team really pull out all the stops for the holidays. Choose from glazed gingerbread, chocolate reindeers, nostalgic cut-out cookies, confetti stars and more—or, better yet, pick up a wooden gift-tub full of holiday treats. Perfect hostess gifts, office party assortments and treats for the jolly old elf are all wrapped up and ready to go at Rustic. Visit Rustic at 1139 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur; 1407 Grant Ave., Novato; and in the Marin Country Mart, Larkspur. RusticBakery.com
If gluten is off the menu for someone on your list, visit Flour Craft Bakery in San Anselmo for holiday treats specially crafted with them in mind. Heather Hardcastle, head baker and owner, offers her sought-after gluten-free granola mixes in three-month, six-month and one-year subscriptions, shipped right to your lucky recipient’s door. While you’re there, pick up some delectable gluten-free treats that will make even non-gluten-free folks swoon. Traditional pumpkin, organic apple crumb and maple bourbon pecan are just a few of Flour Craft’s gluten-free pies you’ll be proud to display on your dessert table this season. 702 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo; FlourCraftBakery.com
The artisans at Cowgirl Creamery have got us all “California dreamin’” on this winter’s day with their California Dreaming collection special holiday offering that includes their own seasonal winter cheese, Devil’s Gulch, a rich, bloomy-rind wheel dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers from Nicasio’s Allstar Organics farm. The creamery’s Tomales Bay collection delivers Cowgirl Creamery’s iconic Mt. Tam cheese, neighboring creamery Point Reyes Farmstead’s Original Blue and Bellwether Farm’s Carmody. Other special packages include Cowgirl Creamery’s own logoed Swiss Army knives and cutting boards for slicing up those heavenly curds. Shipping is available across the country. Delivering a bit of California to your friends and family back on the “right coast” just got a lot easier. CowgirlCreamery.com
And where would cheese be without crackers? Or should we say “krakkers?” Organic, gluten-free Kettel Krakkers, produced in San Francisco, are the perfect accompaniment to artisan cheeses, whether you are steering clear of the “G word” or not. Make sure you have a supply of these crunchy and delectable crackers on hand for all your holiday gatherings and pop them into all your gift baskets! Available at local grocers and specialty markets including Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station, Bay Area Whole Foods Markets and at KettelKrakkers.com.
Handcrafted Brie and Camembert cheese from Marin French Cheese Company is perfect for holiday parties, gifts and Santa’s late night snack—just add your favorite bubbly beverage! Can’t make the drive to their idyllic creamery shop and picnic grounds? No problem—they’ll ship to your door. Gift basket collections feature a variety of luscious soft-ripened cheeses with locally made honey, jams, mustards, olives and artisan foods selected to pair perfectly with the cheeses. Some collections include signature cutting boards and knives. Order before Wednesday December 17 to insure delivery by the 25th. Open daily at 7510 Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd., Petaluma; MarinFrenchCheese.
Continuing the California dream theme, how about sending a box of briny bivalves harvested from the waters of Tomales Bay to your lucky friend or loved one? Boxes of succulent Sweetwaters from Hog Island Oyster Farm can now be shipped directly to their doorstep—nationwide. Two shipping dates only (12/23 and 12/30) arriving in time for Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve. Order up and let the party begin! HogIslandOysters.com
Speaking of hogs… hams and the holidays go hand in hand. Rancho Llano Seco, now in its sixth generation of gentle land stewardship, produces sustainably and humanely raised pork and beef near Chico. Their pigs are a cross of Duroc and Yorkshire breeds and are fed a GMO-free vegetarian diet, most of which is grown right there on the rancho. These happy hogs are well taken care of, from birth through harvest, and the result is utterly delicious. A Llano Seco holiday ham would be an exceptional gift this year, sure to be the star of your recipient’s holiday table. Look for Rancho Llano Seco meats, and heirloom variety dried beans, at local butchers and grocers including Petaluma’s Thistle Meats, Healdsburg SHED, Palace Market in Point Reyes Station and the Mill Valley Market. LlanoSeco.com
Award-winning cookbook author, journalist, educator and entrepreneur (not to mention regular contributor to Edible Marin & Wine Country) Georgeanne Brennan has recently launched La Vie Rustic—Sustainable Living in the French Style, an online store that reflects her longtime love affair with France. Georgeanne romanticizes French fare and daily life simply through her passionate enthusiasm for the traditional. She will tell you that growing and raising one’s own food was, and is, not romantic, but essential, in the French countryside. Even if you do not have your own basse-cour (barnyard) or year-round potager (vegetable garden), you can order the wares, tools, larder and fodder from La Vie Rustic to help you get there, even if only metaphorically. Our favorite pick this year is the DIY Jambon Cru (French-style proscuitto) set. From the wooden salt curing box and finishing rub, down to the red and white butchers’ string, this set contains all you need for making your own French-style prosciutto from beginning to end, except the pig (and we just told you where you can get that!). LaVieRustic.com
While on the subject of all things salted and cured, let’s talk about Omnivore Salt, the new locally produced salt blend that is creating quite a stir among local chefs and home cooks alike. Creator Angelo Garro learned the secrets of his spiced salt blend as a young boy in Sicily, as most Italians do: from his grandmother. Garro, a blacksmith by trade, and hunter, gatherer and cook by passion, has called San Francisco home for many decades, but he still maintains his Sicilian traditions. Garro’s friends had told him for years that he needed to sell his “secret salt,” and so he finally did! Harvested off the coasts of Northern California, the natural sea salt is mixed with wild fennel and other organic, GMO-free herbs and spices for a blend that livens up meats, as well as vegetables, hence the name. You’ll find Omnivore Salt in the pantries of Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, and on the shelves of many local grocers including Driver’s Market, both Oakville Grocery locations and Whole Foods Markets. OmnivoreSalt.com
We’re all a bit harried during the holidays, so what better gift to offer your loved one, or boss or co-worker, than the luxury of a week’s worth of delicious, nutritious ready-to-eat meals delivered right to their door? Jessie et Laurent has been lovingly preparing and delivering meals throughout the SF Bay area for over 30 years. With sumptuous entrees, soups, salads and desserts prepared fresh each day using locally sourced ingredients, Jessie et Laurent will fill their fridge or freezer with a host of delicious dinnertime options. JessieEtLaurent.com or 415.485.1122.
The Giacomini family has gone way “beyond the blue” in recent years with the development of their Point Reyes Farmstead dairy operation, creamery and culinary center, The Fork. Farm dinners at The Fork sell out seemingly before the dates are even posted, so get in early and surprise your loved one with seats at the table. For a gift that will continue to give back for many meals to come, enroll yourself and a loved one in one of The Fork’s cooking classes. And for the folks on your list who live too far away to enjoy a hands-on experience at The Fork (and even for those who can!), a Point Reyes Farmstead gift basket is sure to thrill. The Taste of Point Reyes gift pack includes wedges of Point Reyes Farmstead’s award-winning Original Blue, Bay Blue and Toma cheeses, along with The Fork’s own Maple Pepper Nuts, a jar of Bonnie Bee San Rafael honey and wooden honey dipper and logoed cheese knife, all hand-packed inside a Point Reyes Farmstead soft cooler. Shipping is available to anywhere in the country and includes a personalized note and a greeting from the farm. PointReyesCheese.com or PointReyesCheese.com/TheFork.
Need something for that special someone who seemingly has everything? Rae Vitorelli of San Anselmo’s Cocoagraph offers edible photographs—your own image, printed onto bars of organic Guittard chocolate. Send Rae your favorite “Instas” and she’ll turn them into art that’s good enough to eat! Cocoagraph.com
Life is sweet at La Forêt chocolates. The chocoholics on your list will be most impressed when gifted a box of these fine chocolates crafted in the heart of wine country. Sample seasonal selections of their confections at their retail shop or send their Holiday Gift Box, gift wrapped and ready for delivery nationwide. A seasonal La Forêt collection might include favorites like dark chocolate honeycomb, Maldon sea salt caramels, almond turtles, peppermint cups, chocolate-dipped orange peels and buttery pecan toffee. 3261 Browns Valley Rd., Napa; LaForetChocolate.com
The folks at Clif Family Farm and Winery have once again gathered a wide array of delicious gift ideas featuring their Clif Family Wines and Clif Family Kitchen specialty foods. A trio of farm fresh preserves from their certified organic Clif Family Farm will deliver the best of summer to their table all year long, or intrigue with a gift of dukkah (pronounced DEW-kah), an exotic accompaniment to bread and olive oil (which the Clif Family Farm can also provide), and delicious sprinkled on roasted veggies, pasta, meats and salads. These gifts and more can be found in the winery’s St. Helena tasting room or online. Use code EDIBLECFW for 20% off all gift sets, wine and specialty food products through December 31. Velo Vino Napa Valley, 709 Main St., St. Helena; ClifFamilyWinery.com
You’ve made your list but have you checked it twice? This next gift is a perfect present for that friend who needs a little boost out of the “nest” when it comes to cooking. Saffron + Kumquats is a foodie subscription box designed to make exploring new flavours easy and fun. For just $20/month, your fortunate foodie will receive five recipes and the spicy ingredients needed to cook up an exotic feast. One month might focus on Persian food and the next on Thai. Just make sure you are on their invite list! SaffronAndKumquats.com
During the old days at Stornetta Dairy, Al Stornetta had a holiday tradition of mixing up a 500-gallon batch of eggnog with “a little something special added in”: 30 gallons of whiskey from Vallergas Market in Napa. This “Brandied Eggnog” was packaged in special cartons and given as gifts to customers, distribution managers and chefs. We say Clover Stornetta’s Organic Eggnog is “a little something special” with or without the addition of the hard stuff. Rich and creamy, the eggnog is made with Clover’s organic milk sourced from family farms in our area, organic cane sugar, eggs and special holiday spices. Cheers to that! CloverStornetta.com
And speaking of the brown stuff… “There’s bourbon. And then there’s divine inspiration painstakingly crafted into a spirit so sublime you’ll want to share it with the world.” The distillers of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Limited-Edition start their process by producing fine bourbon and rye, then age the bourbon in ruby port wine casks and the rye in rum barrels. The results are intense, sexy and super-premium bourbon and rye that you’ll be proud to gift (and serve!) to your most discerning cocktail connoisseurs. Available at many local spirits specialists and at AngelsEnvy.com/Expressions/Cask.
Another destination sure to delight the chocolate lovers on your list is St. Helena’s Woodhouse Chocolates. The sophisticated Hatbox Samplers from Woodhouse are simply to die for. In shades of blue or red, these elegant gift boxes are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. Or sweeten up your recipient with a tin of Dark Hot Chocolate, assorted Caramels with Fleur de Sel, assorted Caramels with Aleppo Chile Salt, Dark Chocolate Bars with Fleur de Sel, Milk Chocolate Bars with Fruit & Nuts, Salty Savory Bars, Elephant Peanut Butter Cups, assorted Caramel Helenas, dark chocolate Sea Turtles, milk chocolate Bars with Fruit & Nuts, Salty Savory Bars, St. Helena; WoodhouseChocolate.com
After taking home several awards from local homebrew competitions, Fran Toves decided to bring her Common Cider to a wider audience. And, boy, are we glad she did! Brewed in the Sierra Foothills, the cider stands apart from its sweeter competitors by remaining dry and incorporating unique flavour profiles such as hibiscus, lemon saison and pumpkin pie. These local, seasonal brews are sure to light up any holiday gathering, and would make fabulous adult stocking stuffers, too! Available at independent grocers throughout the North Bay. Facebook.com/CommonCider
As Alexander Fleming said, “Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.” Give the gift of happiness this holiday from Three Birds Wine Bar in Corte Madera. Offering over 20 wines by The glass, fun and educational fight tastings and delicious locally sourced “snacks,” Three Birds showcases unique small-production boutique wines that any wine lover would be thrilled to receive. This season Three Birds’ owners Nat and Kate Doran especially recommend three small production wines that have deep connections to Marin County. Brooks Note 2012 Pinot Noir, Marin County, offers “vibrant raspberry, cherry, blueberry and earthy notes, supported by an elegant structure.” Skywalker Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir is produced from George Lucas’ Skywalker Vineyards, high on a ridge in Marin County. This is a wine with “stunning ruby and violet color, and warm spice and dark cherry notes.” Located in the cooler part of the Anderson Valley, Angel Camp vineyard (owned by Mill Valley residents) rests below the coastal fog each morning, before emerging into the sunlight near midday. Its Angel Camp 2012 Pinot Noir is “intense and floral; the nose opens with rose petal, bramble and strawberry, followed by hints of marjoram and white pepper.” Make sure you have time to savor your own glass, or two, while you’re shopping—it’s thirsty work! 207 Corte Madera Ave., Corte Madera; ThreeBirdsWineBar.com
CONSIDER THE CRAFT: Budding baristas and beer-loving besties
Coffee culture is described as “a social atmosphere or series of associated social behaviors that depend heavily upon coffee as a social lubricant.” If you have a craftcoffee- lovin’ cousin or co-worker on your list this year, Equator Coffee is where it’s at. There’s nothing new about coffee, but there is a new place in town to rediscover how it’s meant to be served and savored. Coffee and coffeehouses date back to 14th century Turkey, and Marin-based Equator Coffee has brought back the coffeehouse in the traditional sense of the word. Anyone who has visited them at their Proof Lab location (244 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley) knows they have perfected the craft and can brew a quality cup of joe (Chef Thomas Keller apparently thinks so, as Equator coffee is poured at all of his restaurants). A bag of beans is an obvious go-to gift, but what about the coffee-loving cycling enthusiast? If you have one of these on your list (and you probably do), Equator is proud to announce the arrival of their custom cycling kits manufactured in Italy by Capo Cycling. Budding home baristas seem to abound these days and Equator also offers a variety of brewing kits to get them going each morning. With names like The Commuter, The Dorm Room Special and The Coffee Pro, the kits are practically pre-selected for you. While holiday shopping in downtown Mill Valley, be sure to stop in and refuel at Equator’s newest café location at 2 Miller Ave. In addition to Equator’s signature coffees and teas, this location serves wine and beer, as well as sweet and savory waffles, salads and other treats. EquatorCoffees.com
The Mill Valley Market boasts a selection of over 400 nearly impossible-to-find beers. A subscription to their carefully curated Mill Valley Market Beer Club is just the thing your suds-loving family member, friend or co-worker would be thrilled to find under the tree this year. The club offers its members a sampling of world-class craft brews including refreshing pilsners, deep pale ales, hop-ified IPAs, burnt chocolate porters and cigar-pairing stouts delivered right to their doorstep (pickup is also available). The Mill Valley Market also offers a Wine Club for all the oenophiles on your list! 12 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; MillValleyMarket.com
Cibo, pronounced “CHEE-bo,” continues to serve the Sausalito community, visitors and beyond with its refreshingly simple, yet sophisticated, vision of how great food should be sourced, prepared and enjoyed. Owners Alfredo and Tera Ancona and their team craft savory and sweet fare in their warm and welcoming café and coffee bar and Tera herself roasts Cibo’s special hand-selected single-origin, organic, fair-trade, green coffee beans sourced directly from small farms in the café’s candy apple red Giesen roaster. Pick up Cibo’s exceptional house-roasted beans packaged in recyclable and refillable tins or bags for all the coffee lovers on your list this holiday season. Oh, and don’t forget the cookies! 1201 Bridgeway Ave., Sausalito; CiboSausalito.com
TAKING CARE: Detoxes, cleanses and gifts that grow
Focused on providing exceptional natural healthcare products, education and support, Gathering Thyme is a community herb shop and holistic health education center. In the retail shop you will find a wide array of high-quality herbal products; an extensive selection of organic face and body care products for women, men and children; and a large selection of new and used natural healthcare books. But it’s the knowledgeable service provided by owner Cheryl Fromholzer and her staff that really make this place special. Just talking to them brings a sense of well-being. For the more curious loved one, enroll them in one of Gathering Thyme’s educational offerings like a Food as Medicine workshop, or the extensive Explorations in Traditional Western Herbalism certification course. Well above and beyond “an apple a day,” stuffing their stockings with these gems will show them you really care! 226 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo; GatheringThyme.com
If good health is on your radar, then your compass should point north to Petaluma’s Cold Press Organic Beverage Company. Cold Press’s mission is to craft fresh, delicious, energizing and nutritious beverages for all to enjoy. Give a gift guaranteed to revitalize and rejuvenate—and what more could anyone want, especially after the holiday feasting. New Year’s resolution time, anyone? Cold Press’s detoxifying nectars are sure to deliver. 256 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma; TheColdPressOrganic.com
Give the gift of green this year. Did you know that microgreens have four to six times the nutritional value of the fully grown plant? That means that eating one-half cup of microgreens is the nutritional equivalent of eating two to three cups of the fullsize leafy vegetables. The profound health benefits of eating fresh, highly nutritious vegetables every day are obvious, but what isn’t so obvious is that these babies are easy to grow, easy to harvest and even easier to prepare and digest! Mount Tam Microgreens custom mixes include non-GMO seed packets with names like One World (Chinese tatsoi, Russian kale, American rocket, Indian amaranth, Japanese mustard and mizuna, and Italian broccoli) and Nic’s Mix (super-spicy blend of scarlet mustard, red mizuna, arugula, red kale and red lettuces) make unique gifts for budding gardeners and even the smallest city-slicked porch, deck, patio or rooftop space will do. Available at the Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Markets on Saturdays, and at Green Jeans Garden Supply, 590 Redwood Hwy., Mill Valley. MtTamMicrogreens.com
Somebody on your list loves salsa. Maybe everybody. Give the gift that will allow them to reap what they sow and produce a fresh garden-to-table salsa next summer that’s so good they’ll want to put a label on it. Marin-based Living Seed Company offers 100% open-pollinated organic heirloom seeds, individually packaged or in tasty “collections.” Their Salsa Collection includes the seeds of heirloom varieties of jalapeño pepper, cilantro, San Marzano tomato, yellow pear, purple tomatillo, green tomatillo and purplette onion, as well as recipes. The company’s Pizza Garden Collection would make terrific stocking stuffers for every kid on your list! Find Living Seed Company seeds and collections at Healdsburg SHED, Bayside Nursery in Tiburon and at LivingSeedCompany.com.
Salute the sun this holiday. Yoga Tree SF’s Corte Madera location offers a wide variety of classes and styles to fit the needs of everyone in our community, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, pre- and post-natal, restorative, power yoga and meditation. Gift certificates for classes and workshops and a wide array of spiritual tools and yoga accessories and clothing make wonderful gifts. From Acroyoga to Forrest and Shadow Yoga; to each their own. Align your list as well as your posture over the holidays. YogaTreeSF.com
EXPERIENCES & ENTERTAINMENT
Even Prince Charles came to West Marin when he wanted to learn more about organic farming practices, not to mention savor world-class, locally sourced and prepared foods. Now even non-royals can experience the best the area has to offer through Elizabeth Hill’s West Marin Food & Farm Tours. For a gift that’s fit for a king, treat your loved one to one of Hill’s fabulous new farm dinner offerings, or a cheese, oyster or Flavors of West Marin culinary tour, or an overflowing gift basket filled with the best artisan food products from our area. FoodAndFarmTours.com
If you missed last year’s Napa Truffle Festival, mark your calendars for January 16–19, 2015, for a chance to taste, test and experience “the diamond of the kitchen.” Where world-class cuisine meets cutting-edge truffle science, this highly anticipated annual culinary event highlights all that is the glorious subterranean fungi. NapaTruffleFestival.com
Music, wine and food lovers on your list this year? Of course there are! Deliver all three in one tidy package with a gift from Napa’s hottest new venue, City Winery at the historic Napa Valley Opera House. With sister properties in New York City, Chicago and Nashville, you know this crew knows how to deliver good music, and good food. Dining gift certificates, memberships to City Winery’s VinoFile Wine Club and tickets to world-class live music are all available at 1030 Main St., Napa, and CityWinery.com/Napa.
This holiday season “you’ll fall head over Healdsburg” as the town invites you to “Dine Around Healdsburg.” This progressive feast includes four courses from 15 of Healdsburg’s finest restaurants, all conveniently located near the historic Healdsburg Plaza or a short drive to your next stop. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Healdsburg Shared Ministries Food Pantry and North County Consortium Healdsburg. December 3 & 4 and 10 & 11. Healdsburg.com
California Highway 1 is one of the country’s most scenic and idyllic roadscapes. Lucky us to be living within an easy hop of the coastal drive with its world-class views, and the many outstanding stops along the way.
Only about a 35-minute drive on Highway 1 from San Francisco’s Golden Gate is the sleepy and salty seaside town of Stinson Beach. Stinson’s locals and visitors alike flock to the beach for daily doses of sun, sand and surf—year round! Let the experts at Seadrift Realty find the perfect property for your stay—oceanside or on the lagoon, they’ll tuck you in. Stay salty, Stinson. We love you. SeadriftRealty.com
Just a bit farther north you’ll find the oyster-centric outpost of Marshall and the historic cottages of Nick’s Cove. If you read “The Croft” writeup in our Fall 2014 issue, you won’t be surprised to be eating hyper-locally, as well as deliciously, while dining at Nick’s restaurant and oyster bar. Thrill your loved one with a reservation to get cozy in one of Nick’s collection of waterfront cottages named after iconic characters who have made their mark on this historic habitation, from previous owners of the site Ruthie and Al Gibson to the “Red-Legged Frog.” 23240 California Hwy. 1, Marshall; NicksCove.com
If getting away from it all is the goal, River’s End in Sonoma County’s coastal gem, Jenner, is the place to set your compass towards. You won’t find TVs or wifi in the cottages at River’s End—on purpose—but you’ll find romance, spectacular views, lovingly prepared locally sourced food, craft cocktails and plenty of warm hospitality. 11048 California Hwy. 1, Jenner. ILoveSunsets.com
Travel a bit inland from the Sonoma Coast and follow the Russian River to Guerneville and Dawn Ranch. The historic 15-acre property sits along the river, nestled amongst towering redwoods. Individual cottages blend harmoniously into the stunning landscape of ancient apple orchards, bamboo groves, grassy meadows and beautifully landscaped gardens. And did we mention the gorgeous swimming pool!? The Agriculture Public House restaurant at Dawn Ranch serves up locally sourced, organic fare and the full service bar offers local beers, wine and handcrafted cocktails. Check in and you might never leave! 16467 River Rd., Guerneville. DawnRanch.com
AND EVEN MORE EDIBLES
Stay out of the malls this holiday season, and support our local food artisans, by taking your entire shopping list to one (or several!) of our wonderful year-round farmers’ markets. Agricultural Community Events Farmers’ Markets in Fairfax, Kenwood, Cotati, Marinwood, Novato (Downtown), Petaluma (East-Side) and Santa Rosa (Veterans Bldg.) (CommunityFarmersMarkets.com); the Agricultural Institute of Marin’s Thursday and Sunday farmers’ markets at the Marin County Civic Center (AgriculturalInstitute.org); and the Golden Gate Farmers’ Markets in Corte Madera and Mill Valley (415.382.7846) all offer lush winter produce, local California olive oils and vinegars, artisan-crafted cheeses, local honeys and bee products, nuts, jams and jellies, plants, flowers, freshly baked breads, baked goods including sweet and savory pies and cakes, handmade soaps and bath salts, fine art, ceramics, jewelry and gift cards for absolutely everyone on your list.
This year the Agricultural Institute of Marin is making it easy to build your own farmers’ market gift basket by offering jute totes and hand-woven baskets at their information booth at the Thursday and Sunday farmers’ markets at the Marin Civic Center. Pick one up and fill it with goodies from your favorite local farmers and craft food producers. We still really love the idea of giving a subscription to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program this year. Your recipient will thank you every time they open their box filled with locally grown or produced bounty—and, hopefully, invite you over to share! Check out the list of CSAs on page 54 of this issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country to find one close to you and the folks on your list!
Good Earth Market has settled quite nicely into its not-so-new (anymore) larger home in Fairfax and, with plenty of space to showcase the organic local bounty, the impeccable-sourcing market is also offering more than just good food this holiday season. Their floral department offers a gorgeous assortment of cut flowers and arrangements, as well as living plants, all guaranteed to dress up any holiday table. And all Veriflora certified. Unique, feel-good gift ideas from Good Earth are handcrafted felt ornaments made in the villages of Mount Kork-Kichik-tau, Kyrgyzstan. Good Earth has supported the co-op of artists in these isolated Central Asian villages in a collaborative effort with Silk Road Bazaar for many years. A Good Earth gift certificate is always a “no-fail” gift, providing your fortunate recipient with the opportunity to choose just the thing they really need or love. 720 Center Blvd., Fairfax; GENatural.com
Good Earth has San Rafael-based Sun First Solar to thank for installing the massive solar project at their new location. 852 panels cover 40,000 square feet of rooftop, parking lot and neighboring spaces and structures; it’s the sixth-largest solar system in Marin County. By choosing 100% renewable energy, Good Earth has reduced their annual greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 500,000 pounds of CO2 per year. That’s the equivalent of saving over 25,000 gallons of gasoline annually, or planting nearly 6,000 tree seedlings each year, and letting them grow for a decade. Contact Sun First Solar to find out how easy and cost effective it can be to do your part this year—a gift to yourself, and the environment. SunFirstSolar.com
Founded in 1881, Oakville Grocery is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. A must-stop place to shop while traveling through the wine country, Oakville Grocery’s original location sits alongside the St. Helena Highway at the Oakville Crossover Road. Their second location sits just off the plaza in Sonoma County’s wine country destination of Healdsburg. The gifting possibilities here for a California food and wine lover are endless. The shelves and bins of both stores are stocked full of gourmet snacks and spreads, oils and vinegars, housewares and more. Too hard to choose? No worries. The talented team behind Oakville Grocery has put together a gift basket that is sure to please. The Taste of Oakville basket includes their five best selling signature products; strawberry preserves and pumpkin butter made fresh from strawberries and pumpkins grown at their own Rudd Farms; smoked sea salt, which will add a hickory-smoked kick to your favorite meats; artichoke almond spread, which is a blend of artichoke hearts, lemon, almonds, fire-roasted garlic and parmesan cheese; and lemon curd made from locally grown lemons, which they love scooped on scones or drizzled on vanilla ice cream. 7856 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville. 124 Matheson St., Healdsburg. OakvilleGrocery.com
At Whole Foods Markets’ eight locations in the North Bay, every aisle is filled with edible gifts for the local-loving foodie on your list. Consult with specialists in their holiday ordering department for your catering and party platter needs, visit their floral department for holiday centerpieces, and stroll down seasonal gift aisles where you’ll find unique items like Sausalito-based Green Toys for the little ones. Made locally in California from recycled plastic milk jugs, you’ll feel great about placing these under the tree. Can’t make up your mind? A gift card is another great stocking stuffer, which guarantees they will like what they get. WholeFoodsMarket.com
Ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and saffron, oh my! The sites, smells and tastes of this North- African-meets-Mediterranean-style-cuisine culinary storehouse has the potential of transporting you to the cobblestone streets outside the Alhambra of Granada or across the Straits of Gibraltar to the medinas of Fes and Tangier. For the wanderlust and spice enthusiasts on your list, a tagine starter kit from The Spanish Table is a well-seasoned and cultured gift. The kit includes a traditional clay tagine pot, as well as harissa and couscous from the Les Moulins Mahjoub farm in Tebourba. Following 3,000 years of agricultural tradition and located in one of the most fertile regions in Tunisia, the farm employs the entire village in the care, production and packaging of their acclaimed artisanal goods. A house-made Tagine Spice Blend brings it all together. Don’t worry. The kit comes with a step-by-step cookbook, Tagines and Cous Cous: Delicious recipes for Moroccan one-pot cooking (Ryland Peters & Small, 2010). Put all the above together and, with a few turns of the wooden spoon, you will be whisked away to the ancient walled cities of Morocco and Tunisia. 800 Redwood Hwy., Mill Valley; SpanishTable.com or SpanishTableWines.com
Beekind, purveyor of all things bee-related—honey, beeswax, candles, lotions, soaps, ointments and more—not only barters for bees but will also teach your friend or family member how to raise them themselves. Beekeeping classes are taught by expert beekeeper and owner of Beekind, Doug Vincent. A truly unusual and wonderful gift—for the lucky recipient and our local environment. 921 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol; and the Ferry Plaza Building, San Francisco. Beekind.com
Butterscots at Cairdean Estate is a brand new bakery, deli and culinary boutique that is another one stop-hot spot for your holiday gifting needs. In addition to delicious breakfast and lunch items that will keep your energy up for all of the shopping, Butterscots offers artisan food products expertly curated by Chef Joseph Humphrey, alongside vintage and cutting edge kitchen and culinary accessories. A few of our favorites include hand-foraged specialty ingredients from Napa’s Wineforest Wild Foods and sea salt hand-harvested off the Oregon coast from Jacobsen Salt Company in flavors like Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Coveted by top chefs across the country, these treats will add spice to the flavors of your favorite home cooks. DeJong & Co.’s exquisite hand-turned rolling pins and cutting boards will make any baker on your list kiss you under the mistletoe. Raw Material’s handmade organic cotton table linens, made in Seattle using 100% USA grown-cotton, and white cedar grooved chargers from Whidbey Island, Washington’s Wood Turnco Goods are just a glimpse of the other unusual gift items you won’t find anywhere else. And last, but certainly not least, any of Cairdean Estate’s wines, or a membership to their wine club, will thrill the oenophiles on your list. 3111 St. Helena Hwy., St. Helena. CairdeanEstate.com
For many folks on your list, a dining gift certificate is just the perfect gift. Teachers, coaches, neighbors, friends or colleagues—who wouldn’t be thrilled with the gift of to spend at one of our area’s wonderful restaurants and cafés. In Marin, look to Cibo, Piazza D’Angelo, Driver’s Market, Flour Craft Bakery, Foodniks, Equator Coffee, Hilltop 1892, Hog Island Oyster Co.’s farm, Marche Aux Fleurs, Molina, Nick’s Cove, Piatti Mill Valley and Rustic Bakery cafés. In Napa, treat them to some delicious fare from Butterscots, Ca’Momi, City Winery, The Farmer & The Fox, Hog Island Oyster Bar, Oakville Grocery or Whole Foods Market. In Sonoma County, choose from Agriculture Public House at Dawn Ranch, El Dorado Kitchen, Epicurean Connection, River’s End, Thistle Meats, Underwood Bar and Bistro, Whole Foods Markets and Willow Wood Market Café.
Our area is blessed with a wealth of wonderful cooking schools, offering exciting culinary classes for students of all levels. Classes make great gifts for kitchen novices and seasoned chefs alike because, as anyone with a wooden spoon and recipe file knows, there’s always something unexpected and delicious to discover in the kitchen. Check out the wide array of unique classes offered at Sonoma’s Ramekins Culinary School (Ramekins.com). Classes and workshops for the nutritionally minded abound at Bauman College ( BaumanCollege.org). And for any aspiring professional chef on your list, the Napa Valley Cooking School (NVCookingSchool.com) in St. Helena offers the highquality, intensive training required for a culinary career. The disciplined and professional learning environment, availability of global externships, low student-teacher ratio and focus on sustainability make the Napa Valley Cooking School unique. They also offer year-round individual classes for everyone taught by world-class chefs!
THE GIFT OF GIVING BACK
Sometimes it really is the thought that counts. We all have folks on our list who “have everything.” Think about making a gift in their name to one of the non-for-profits featured in this issue, Ceres Community Project (CeresProject.org), Daily Acts (DailyActs.org), Marin Organic (MarinOrganic.org), Insight Garden Program (InsightGardenProgram.org) and Food of Love (NVYAC.org/nvyac-programs/food-of-love), or one of the other very worthy organizations in our area working towards a sustainable, clean, fair and delicious food system.
A donation in your loved one’s name to one our local food banks; Community Action Napa Valley’s Food Bank (CANV.org), Sonoma’s Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB.org), or the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank (SFMFoodBank.org) also makes an important and meaningful gift—of time or money.
Any (and all) of the three land trusts in our area—Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT.org); Napa Land Trust (NapaLandTrust.org); and Sonoma Land Trust (SonomaLandTrust.org)—that actively promote sustainability, organic and family farm practices, as well as the preservation of open space for future generations to enjoy, are also very worthy organizations to consider donating to this holiday season.
ADD SOME SPARKLE
Let the inner-botanist in you come out and play. At Cottage Gardens of Petaluma you will find living treasures that are sure to turn any average thumb green—for the holidays at least. Considered one of the best nurseries in the North Bay, these guys specialize in everything from fruit trees to berries, currants to clematis. 3995 Emerald Dr., Petaluma; CottageGardensOfPet.com
Green Door Design in Mill Valley’s Tam Junction offers custom floral installations year round, specializing in orchids and succulents. During the holidays, the jewel box of a storefront transforms into a wonderland of fresh and fragrant holiday wreaths, decorative garlands and flowering plants. Nothing spreads Christmas cheer like the sight of a spectacular red or white amaryllis. Visit owner Susie Turner for dazzlingly designed gifts and your own holiday decorations at 231 A Flamingo Rd., Mill Valley. GreenDoorDesign.net
Matthew Carden, the creator of Edible Marin & Wine Country’s Cherry on Top art, uses toys and food in his fine-art photography to bring us into a different realm. You can pick up one of Matthew’s playful pieces at his studio in downtown Novato, Super Fresh Food Art Gallery. 906 Grant Ave., Novato, or online at MatthewCarden.com
Matthew’s wife, Jennifer, talented chef, cookbook author, and Edible Marin & Wine Country’s Stone’s Soup Corner columnist, recently released Little Pretty Baking Kit: petite cakes to make and give (Chronicle Books, 2013). Crafty culinarians will love this adorable mini-treat baking-and-decorating kit that includes recipes, mini-baking pans in three gorgeous designs, colorful ribbon, die-cut gift labels and treat bags. Use the playful kit to make your own edible gifts, or gift the kit itself! Available at local booksellers. PlayfulPantry.Wordpress.com
Gifts of the handmade variety never go out of style. Mill Valley’s Once Around is a one-stop shop for all things crafty! Visit the store to be inspired and motivated, then pick up all the supplies you need to get started—or get them started! Once Around, the felting, stamping, sewing, wreath-making, découpage, drawing, candle-crafting, fabric-printing, bookbinding, painting, knitting, calligraphy, embroidery and more… arts & crafts store. 352 Miller Ave., Mill Valley; OnceAround.com
Bright, bold and beautiful, Terrestra in Mill Valley is a shop worthy of gallery status. The space itself is a gift to the eye, with jewel-colored goods lining the walls and filling the tables. From housewares to finely crafted accessories, Terrestra is the place to shop for one-of-a-kind pieces guaranteed to impress your most artistic and elegant friends. Our special pick this year is the picture-perfect pour of an Orbix glass pitcher, the most popular version of the Curly pitchers crafted by Alabama artisan Cal Breed. Each pitcher is a unique functional art object designed to be used daily and treasured for a lifetime. 30 Miller Ave., Mill Valley; Terrestra.com
Good things come in small packages, and our friends at Alix & Co. Jewelers continue to prove this old adage to be true. Janet Alix and her team responsibly source gems, stones and metals to make one-of-a-kind, made-to-order masterpieces. The Leaf & Vine and Fresh Rock design collections are my personal favorites. Alix says she was inspired by the luscious green hills and forests of Marin County to create the Leaf & Vine series. Spanning the gamut from simple bands to elaborate bouquets, you’ll find something perfectly beautiful here. 55 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; AlixAndCompany.com
If luxury, quality and care are high on the list for your wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend this year, be sure and stock their vanities with “scents that smell beautiful and anti-aging skincare that really works” from Mill Valley-based True Nature Botanicals. Deliver her a “spa in a jar” with True Nature’s Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask. Used once a week, this luxurious mask will keep her skin soft, bright and smooth. We can say from personal experience that it works—wonders. For all-over luxury, look to True Nature’s Pacific Body Oil, made with nourishing and luxurious watermelon, sesame seed and apricot kernel oils that penetrate deep to where dryness originates to keep winter skin soft and hydrated. Used after a soothing bath, this transportive oil gives the gift of relaxation. Made with an abundance of noble materials, True Nature’s brand new line of luxury solid perfumes is available in three scents. Noble Citrus will take her on a stroll through a perfect Pacific orange grove surrounded by fragrant cypress trees, twisted and tangled by the cool western winds, with its notes of bergamot, orris and cypress. Noble Floral will leave her luxuriating in a California garden in bloom, nectar-rich, dappled with peppery-leaved citrus trees of orange and lemon. Noble Woods with its high notes of vetiver, amber and labdanum, will lead her to discover a majestic forest nestled between the Sierra Mountains and the wild Pacific coast, rich with deep resins and sacred woods. True Nature Botanicals products are crafted without the use of any toxic ingredients. Ever. Visit the retail store at 29 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, or shop online. TNBotanicals.com
Why not turn your dream house into a reality this year by soliciting the help of Earthtone Construction. The Sebastopol-based LEED-certified general contracting company’s creed is “sustainable, practical and mindful,” and their long list of clients and projects is impressive for its inclusion of leading green businesses and family homes built to the highest sustainable standards. Building structures “that fit the environment and the community,” Earthtone can turn your vision into a foundation. Whether you’re looking to remodel or start from scratch, or leaning towards “farmhouse” or something more contemporary, the expert team at Earthtone Construction can make it happen. 6932 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol; EarthtoneConstruction.com
If Stephen Gordon’s guideboats could talk, they just might say “don’t call me a canoe” (with a flip of an oar). A guideboat by definition refers to the length of the oars, the leverage the rower has, the depth of his seat, and the high bow and stern (all better to keep the waves out). In plain speak, a guideboat is a handcrafted work of art designed to float, and just plain sexy. Visit Guideboat in the historic Mill Valley Lumber Yard to see this eye candy for yourself, and all the other absolutely fantastic gear brought to us by Guideboat and Restoration Hardware founder Stephen Gordon. The ultimate gift of the guide this year is Guideboat’s rendition of the late-19th-century rowboat, the Peapod. No body of water to row? Gordon’s exquisite eye has searched the studios and workrooms of the world’s finest craftspeople to bring back women’s and men’s clothing and accessories that you simply won’t find anywhere else. Shop online at GuideBoatCompany.com or visit the flagship store at 129 Miller Ave., Mill Valley.
BOOKS FOR COOKS
One of the most beautiful and long-lasting ways to contribute to your loved one’s kitchen is by giving them one (or several) of the wonderful new cookbooks published in the last year. We are blessed this year with dozens to choose from, but we’ve narrowed it down to a handful of our favorites. All are available at your local bookseller!
Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood has just released his cookbook, A New Napa Cuisine (Ten Speed Press, 2014) in time for the holiday season. As the title suggests, Chef Kostow aims to shatter preconceived notions about Napa Valley chefs, their cuisine, techniques and menus with this gorgeous book. Chef Kostow sheds light upon a transformative effect that new, raw talent has brought to the valley—one “full of dynamism, youth and promise.” The book also tells Kostow’s own story—from festival cook to the driving force behind a three-Michelin-starred restaurant that the Wall Street Journal recently praised as a “temple of modern American cuisine.”
Another cookbook that’s sure to awe and inspire this season, Bar Tartine by Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt (Chronicle Books, 2014). Anyone who has dined at Bar Tartine can attest to the house-made everything… From fermented foodstuffs to pickled produce; Bar Tartine will help the home cook deliver dishes from their favorite SF eatery; soups to salads, to shared plates and sweets. The first half details how to build your pantry (everything from pickling recipes to spice mixes), while the second half dives into recipes using those same larder foodstuffs. With more than 150 photographs, this highly anticipated “sequel” cookbook is a true original.
Cocktails for the Holidays: Festive Drinks to Celebrate the Season (Chronicle Books, 2014). Cheers to celebrating the year’s end with 50 delicious cocktail recipes, both contemporary and classic. Author Karen Foley, James Beard Award–winning editor of Imbibe magazine, delivers an expertly curated array of recipes and gorgeous photos, making this a musthave for any host looking to keep the spirits flowing this holiday season.Bread is one of the most fundamental parts of our diet, yet so many of us rely on bland grocery-store offerings when flavorsome breads can easily be made at home.
Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads (Artisan, 2014), from Petaluma’s own Della Fattoria, takes home bakers on a step-by-step journey to doing just that. More than an instructional guide, the book takes the fear out of bread baking and encourages bakers to draw on their senses, experiences and instincts. Author and Della Fattoria owner Kathleen Weber’s teachings are homespun and based on passed-down wisdom, not on finicky science or dull kitchen textbooks. The book includes recipes for all levels of bakers; beginners can learn to bake yeasted breads using pans, and advanced bakers can jump right into making free-form loaves of naturally leavened breads in all shapes and flavors. Other chapters include recipes for enriched breads like brioche and challah, baguettes, crackers, breadsticks, naan and more.
From San Francisco’s wildly popular Italian restaurant, flour + water, comes an eponymous cookbook, flour + water (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Chef Thomas McNaughton shares his time-tested secrets to creating simple, delicious and beautiful artisan pasta, from making fresh doughs to shaping and cooking every type of pasta. A true celebration of Italy’s pasta traditions, flour + water includes 50 seasonally influenced recipes for home cooks of every skill level. The recipes cover the flavor spectrum from well-loved classics to inventive combinations such as Tagliatelle Bolognese; Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds; Tomato Farfalle with Chicken Polpettine, Roasted Peppers, and Basil; and Asparagus Caramelle with Brown Butter. Mangia!
Sean Brock is the chef behind the game-changing Charleston, South Carolina, restaurants Husk and McCrady’s, and his first book, Heritage (Artisan, 2014) offers many of his most sought-after recipes. With a drive to preserve the heritage foods of the South, Brock dishes are ingredient-driven and reinterpret the flavors of his youth in Appalachia, as well as his adopted hometown of Charleston. The book’s recipes run the gamut from beloved comfort foods to the carefully crafted dishes for which he has become so well-known. Brock’s interpretations of Southern favorites like Pickled Shrimp, Hoppin’ John and Chocolate Alabama Stack Cake sit alongside recipes for Crispy Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps, Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Tomato Gravy and Baked Sea Island Red Peas. This is a very personal book, with headnotes that explain Brock’s background and give context to his food and essays in which he shares his admiration for the purveyors and ingredients he cherishes.
Marin chef Heidi Krahling’s recently released book Insalata’s and Marinitas: The Story of Two Restaurants (2014) is filled with recipes from both of Krahling’s local hotspots. A follow up to Krahling’s first cookbook, Insalata’s Mediterranean Table (Laura Parker Studio, 2009), this new cookbook provides an opportunity for the chef to celebrate Marinitas’ Latin-American-inspired dishes, as well as the classic Mediterranean-inspired favorites from Insalata’s. Artist and book collaborator Laura Parker, whose art adorns the walls of Insalata’s, illustrates the chapters with her vivid, sensuous drawings in this sure to please new release.
From Gabrielle Hamilton, bestselling author of celebrated memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, comes the chef’s eagerly anticipated cookbook debut, Prune (Random House, 2014). Filled with signature recipes from Hamilton’s beloved New York City restaurant of the same name, the cookbook is presented as a replica of the restaurant’s kitchen binders, and written to Hamilton’s cooks with as much instruction, encouragement, information, and scolding as you would find if you actually came to work at Prune as a line cook. Highlight: recipes for Prune’s famous Bloody Mary (all 10 variations).
What’s the difference between a martini and a gibson? Does absinthe really cause insanity? Which type of glass should a moscow mule be served in? If anyone on your list this year lies awake pondering these essential questions, The Essential Bar Book: An A-to-Z Guide to Spirits, Cocktails, and Wine, with 115 Recipes for the World’s Great Drinks (Ten Speed Press, 2014) is a must. The handsome and comprehensive bartending guide for professional and home bartenders includes history, lore and 150 recipes.
And, last but not least, we think a gift subscription to Edible Marin & Wine Country always makes a wonderful gift! It’s easy to order online and we’ll wrap it up and send your recipient a note with their first issue! EdibleMarinAndWineCountry.com