The 2015 Edible Gift Guide
It is our pleasure to present this year’s picks for the perfect locally produced gifts to thrill all of the food and drink lovers on your holiday shopping list. From delicious host and hostess gifts, to a new crop of cookbooks sure to bring a huge smile to the face of your cookbook-obsessed best friend, to wine and beer clubs whose offerings will make even your know-it-all brother-in-law agree you are a genius, to over-the-top gift ideas for your beloved, we have you covered. And the best part is, your purchases will support the local food and drink producers and retailers who offer us their gifts all year long.
THE BREAD (AND CHEESE, OF COURSE) OF LIFE...
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 masterpieces 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 beautifully wrapped gift basket 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
Cowgirl Creamery’s “Starter Course” delivers cocktail hour in a box—just add wine and the celebration can begin! The curated collection samples from a variety of Northern California cheeses, including out-of-the-ordinary discoveries like Bellwether Farm’s pepper-studded Pepato and Valley Ford’s tangy Estero Gold, as well as iconic picks like a mini-wheel of Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog and Cowgirl’s own Mt. Tam triple-cream cheese. The cheeses are perfectly accompanied by La Quercia’s prized prosciutto and local favorites including McEvoy Ranch’s table olives, Rustic Bakery's flatbreads and crostini, Blue Chair Fruit Company jam and G.L. Alfieri almonds. A festive and delicious start—or finish, for that matter—to any holiday gathering! Shipping is available across the country. CowgirlCreamery.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
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 Monday, December 21, to insure delivery by the 25th. Open daily at 7510 Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd., Petaluma; MarinFrenchCheese.
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 even before the dates are 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. We especially love the “Perfect Picnic” set that includes Point Reyes Farmstead’s buttery Toma, housemade Pimento Cheese, Fra Mani Salametto Salumi and Rustic Bakery’s Sel Gris flatbreads. Get out the basket and blanket! Shipping
is available to anywhere in the country and includes a personalized note and a greeting from the farm. PointReyesCheese.com
Petaluma’s Keith Giusto Bakery Supply is chock full of books about baking and baking supplies including mixing bowls, baskets, thermometers, timers, whisks and, naturally, flour! The Giusto name is legendary in these parts for the highest quality, specialty flours and their new location at 1120 Holm Road in Petaluma is a must visit store for all the baking obsessed on your list this year. Baking classes for all skill levels coming this spring! CentralMilling.com
SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE...
If paellas, cataplanas and tapas sing to anybody on your list, why not send them to Spain … if only in their dreams. You can practically hear the flamenco guitar and feel the rustic cobblestones under your feet as you stroll through the Spanish Table in Mill Valley’s Strawberry Village and their newly opened location at 130 Clement St. in San Francisco. In this culinary superstore for all things Spanish, it's easy to find an assortment of hard-to-find Spanish cookware, cookbooks, spices, cheeses, cured meats, olives, peppers, wines, sherries and ports that all say feliz navidad to your foodie amigos. Wrap up a complete home paella kit for a dazzler of a gift. 800 Redwood Hwy., Mill Valley; SpanishTable.com or SpanishTableWines.com
The folks at Clif Family Winery and Farm offer an expertly curated and delicious selection of gift sets highlighting their Clif Family Wines and Clif Family Kitchen artisan foods. We recommend the Mangia! gift set featuring items and recipes selected by Clif Family’s Executive Chef John McConnell. And don’t miss Kit’s Killer Cab Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon or the sweet and savory preserves sourced from their own organic farm in the Napa Valley. You can find Clif Family gifts at their cycling-themed St. Helena tasting room, online or by calling the tasting room at 707.968.0625. Use code EDIBLECFW for 20% of all gift sets, wine and artisan foods through December 31, 2015. 709 Main St., St. Helena; ClifFamily.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
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. 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
If you’ve dined at the likes of Bottega and Tra Vigne, or stayed the night at Calistoga Ranch or Solage, you have likely enjoyed the beautiful handcrafted plates, bowls and mugs that Jeff and Sally Manfredi have been making together for more than 30 years at Calistoga Pottery. Sharing an affinity for food and cooking, the artisan couple specializes in useful, durable, everyday shapes in an array of food-safe glazes. Their pieces are lead-free, microwave and dishwasher safe. Take a visual tour of their wonderful wares in the feature on Calistoga Pottery in this issue, then visit their studio or shop online to find the perfect something for everyone on your list this year. 1001 Foothill Blvd., Calistoga; CalistogaPottery.com
Award-winning cookbook author, journalist, educator and entrepreneur (not to mention regular contributor to Edible Marin & Wine Country) Georgeanne Brennan’s La Vie Rustic—Sustainable Living in the French Style is an online store that reflects Brennan's longtime love affair with all things French. 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 pick this year are her handcrafted artisan salts made with Sel de Guerande gray sea salt and fruits. Sel de Figue, Sel d’Abricot and the salt infused with blood orange and Meyer lemon zest will all add a certain je ne se quois to any dish. We also still love La Vie’s DIY Jambon Cru (French-style prosciutto) set with everything you need to make your own, except the pig. LaVieRustic.com
Invite your friends into the secret world of Italian homemakers at VitaCasalinga.com. Based in Sonoma County, this online kitchen and housewares shop features terracotta bakeware, table settings and accessories, hand-crafted linens, copper cookware, and organic olive oil beauty products all made by small producers in Tuscany. Or, better yet, send them on one of the culinary adventures offered by the owners of VitaCasalinga. As close as Sonoma County or as exotic as Tuscany. Gift certificates are available for online shopping, as well as the seasonal cooking classes.
Treat your family to the “King of Roasts” during the holiday season. The expert butchers at Nugget Market’s three Marin locations offer USDA prime grade rib roasts that are 100% natural and have no artificial ingredients or preservatives. Known for their outstanding marbling, these beauties outshine even the shiniest holiday decorations. Pair with a special California Cabernet or your favorite red, and let the toasting begin! NuggetMarket.com
Wine Country style maven Alonda O’Kane brings her exquisite taste to the retail arena in her tiny jewel-box of a store, Petaluma Home & Garden. Offering an expertly curated collection of home decor and furniture, garden furnishings including Fermob bistro sets, jewelry and unique gift items like Berkeley’s Shrub & Co’s handmade shrubs for the cocktail lovers on your list, even Santa’s sleigh stops here! 516 Petaluma Blvd., South, Petaluma. PetalumaHomeandGarden.com
For many folks on your list, a 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, cafés, scoop shops and oyster bars. In Marin, look to Cibo, Piazza D’Angelo, Driver’s Market, Equator Coffee & Teas cafés, the newly opened Farm Burger, Flour Craft Bakery, Honeymoon Ice Cream, Foodniks, the Inverness Park Market and Gather at the Market restaurant, Hog Island Oyster Co.’s farm, Marche Aux Fleurs, Nick’s Cove, Piatti Mill Valley, Rustic Bakery cafés and Thistle Meats. In Napa, treat them to some delicious fare from Butterscots or The Farmer & The Fox at Cairdean Estate; Ca’Momi’s newly opened downtown osteria or their longtime local favorite spot in Oxbow Public Market; The Conservatory at Greystone or the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America; Hog Island’s Oyster Bar at Oxbow; or TORC in downtown Napa. In Sonoma County, choose from Acre Coffee’s cafés; El Dorado Kitchen on the Sonoma Plaza; River’s End in Jenner, Rob Larman’s just-opened Cochon Volant BBQ Smokehouse on the Sonoma Highway; Underwood Bar and Bistro and Willow Wood Market Café in Graton; and Zazu in Sebastopol’s The Barlow.
ONE STOP-SHOPPING DESTINATIONS...
This year, there’s very little that the Marin Country Mart can’t deliver. Make sure that your shopping list is complete, then head to Larkspur to get it all taken care of in grand style. Start your day with a bliss-inducing yoga class at YogaWorks, or a high-energy spin at Soul Cycle, followed by tea and a handcrafted scone at Rustic Bakery. Pick up several of Rustic’s always-crowd-pleasing holiday gift baskets and deliver them to your car before diving back into the buzzing outdoor marketplace. Children’s toys, books for everyone at Diesel, exquisite jewelry from Hutchinson Fine Jewelry, gorgeous table décor and housewares from Hudson Grace, stylish and unique women’s and men’s clothing and much, much more can all be found at the Marin Country Mart. Wrap up their every wish, drop your packages off at the on-site post office, then slip into Jeff Cerciello's Farm Shop (see the Escoffier Questionnaire in this issue) for a well deserved glass of bubbly. One-stop shopping, a true gift during the holiday rush. MarinCountryMart.com
A market, café and community gathering space designed to bring us closer to the way we prepare and share food, Healdsburg 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. At the top of our list this year is this special fermentation crock with hand-painted turnips specially designed for SHED by Naomi McLeod. 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. Invite a friend to join you for lunch at SHED’S café, then enjoy perusing the exceptionally well curated offerings at SHED together. Many items are also available online. 25 North St., Healdsburg; HealdsburgSHED.com
Good Earth Market in Fairfax and OPENING THIS SPRING in Mill Valley’s Tam Junction offers more than just good food this holiday season (and year round). You'll even find fun and unique hats, scarves, wrist warmers and other accessories created from up-cycled and recycled fabrics by Arcata, California–based designers Gypsy and Lolo at Good Earth. 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
Cairdean Estate in St. Helena offers something special for everyone on your list. From unique culinary tools and ingredients in the marketplace at Butterscots bakery and deli, to outstanding wines and wine club memberships, to gift certificates for dining at Butterscots or at Cairdean’s European-style gastro pub, The Farmer & The Fox. And NEW this year is Cairdean’s fabulous Redolent Mercantile. Filled with intriguing and stylish products for the tastemakers on your list, Redolent offers both men's and women's fashions, housewares, jewelry and must have books for their coffee tables. 3111 Hwy. 29, St. Helena. CairdeanEstate.com
At Whole Foods Markets’ 10 locations in the North Bay, every aisle is filled with sure-to-please gifts, as well as the holiday necessities for your own home. 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 to please everyone on your list. We know lots of folks who would be over-the-moon for a luxurious body care item from Whole Foods’ Whole Body department. Where else can you find Acure's 100% USDA Organic Moroccan Argan Oil, this year’s “must have” treatment for skin and hair and packed with vitamin E and essential fatty acids, on the next aisle over from Rustic Bakery’s Sel Gris and Olive Oil Flatbreads? Whole Foods delivers. Can’t make up your mind? A gift card from Whole Foods is always a pleaser. WholeFoodsMarket.com
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY...
Hayley Wight, winemaker at Hayfork Wines, is the sixth generation to farm the St. Helena ranch settled by her great-great-great-grandfather, John Lewelling, in 1864. Hayfork emphasizes the importance of farming in winemaking, bring forth the terroir of place and family in each bottle of their award-winning Cabernets and Grenache Blanc. Send your boss or co-worker a bottle, or enroll your father-in-law in the Hayfork Sustaining Member Case Club, and they will be toasting you all year long. HayforkWine.com
Mill Valley’s own Sammy Hagar knows a little bit about potables, potent and otherwise. The Red Rocker’s coffee of choice these days is roasted and served by Marin-based Equator Coffees & Teas. A bag of beans from Equator is an obvious go-to gift, but at Equator you can go one better, delighting them with the latest and greatest home brewing accoutrements to make sure those special beans get the expert treatment on the way to their home cup. While holiday shopping in downtown Mill Valley, be sure to stop in and refuel at Equator’s café at 2 Miller Ave., or get your caffeine fix at Equatoratthe Proof Lab surfshop in Tam Junction. And don’t miss Equator’s newest location in San Francisco's Warfield district. EquatorCoffees.com
In Sebastopol, the Barlow has a host of great options to quench your thirst for the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Tuck a few organic, raw, cold-pressed juices and smoothies from The Nectary at The Barlow under the tree for Santa and he is sure to be especially generous before he heads back up the chimney. Even Santa cannot live on milk and cookies alone... Gift certificates make fantastic stocking stuffers for everyone on your list who just might need a little help getting back on track after all the holiday celebrations!
TheNectary.net While at the Barlow, stuff your goodie bag with Taylor Maid Farms’ organic coffee and tea gift sets. These make fantastic hostess gifts, as well as special gifts for everyone on your list who craves a consciously sourced and roasted “cuppa joe.” Taylor Maid has been roasting specialty organic coffee in Sonoma County since 1993 and supports the farmers who grow their beans by paying above fair wage prices. They also reduce waste by printing directly on these great-looking, recyclable and refillable steel cans. Available at Taylor Maid's coffee bars and at TaylorMaidFarms.com.
Mill Valley Market boasts a selection of over 400 nearly impossible-to-find beers, and we know some of you have nearly that many folks on your list who enjoy rare suds. Make their holiday, and their year, with a subscription to the Mill Valley Market Beer Club. Imagine them running out to the mailbox, expecting the usual bills and mass mailers, and instead finding a lovely sampling of world-class craft brews ranging from refreshing pilsners, deep pale ales, hop-ified IPAs and burnt chocolate porters to cigar-pairing stouts. We’re guessing they’d forget about the mail. They also offer a Mill Valley Market Wine Club for the wine lovers on your list. Tap into the perfect holiday gift! 12 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; MillValleyMarket.com
Paul Mathew Vineyards in Graton not only makes spectacular wines, they also offer unique events and tastings like the special Mushroom Foray that will take place on February 6, 2016. Thrill your honey with a pair of tickets to the full day of fungi fun that starts with a two-hour forage, followed by a mushroom-filled lunch paired with Paul Mathew wines. Tie your IOU for the special day around a bottle of one of PMV’s excellent wines and tuck that baby under the tree to have it all wrapped up this year. PaulMathewVineyards.com
Here at Edible Marin & Wine Country, we are all about devouring the incredible bounty that our local food and drink producers have to offer, but we also understand that at some point the “chickens come home to roost” and we have to “reap what we sow.” Sorry, we couldn’t resist. When that time comes, here are the gifts they will appreciate the most …
Just opened NEW OM WORLD’s
multimodality fitness studio offers a wide variety of classes and styles to fit the needs of everyone in our community, including yoga, TRX, strength training, kickboxing, teen programs and more. Gift certificates for classes, workshops and a beautiful array of accessories and clothing all make wonderful gifts. Get their 2016 off on the right foot with the 40-Day Fitness Challenge starting January 3, 2016! 67 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera; NewOmWorld.com
Who among us doesn’t crave a little “me” time during the holidays, or, even better, after the kids are thrillingly back in school in January? Soulstice Spa, with locations in Santa Rosa and Sausalito, is just what the doctor ordered to sooth those holiday-frazzled nerves, and nails… Craft the perfect care package of luxurious body and nail care products, including Soulstice’s own vegan, nontoxic and cruelty-free nail polishes, for your best friend or the love of your life, tuck in a massage gift certificate, and you are good to go! SoulsticeSpa.com
A class package or workshop at longtime yoga mecca Yoga Works in Mill Valley, Larkspur and NOW OPEN in Novato (as well as San Francisco, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek) would spell nirvana to the yogi or yogini in your life—from new students to dedicated practitioners. Yoga Works’ extensive lineup of world-class teachers offers something for everyone. And just in time for all their New Year’s resolutions! Shop the studios’ retail areas for plush and environmentally friendly yoga mats, mat bags, books, jewelry and other mindful gifts for your favorite bendy gal or guy. They’ll bend over backwards to thank you! YogaWorks.com
Schooled in the renowned Hungarian tradition of beautiful skin, Eva Claiborne knows that true beauty begins within. At Eva Claiborne Beauty & Wellness on Tiburon’s Ark Row, Eva herself attends to each client to tailor a skin care regime destined to bring forth a radiance that is much more than skin deep. Men, women and teens flock to Eva for her simple yet holistic approach to skin care. Book an appointment for a HydrafacialTM for your beloved, your best friend, or your child’s favorite teacher, or give them a gift certificate to experience Eva's magic fingers, and the radiant smile on their faces will be the best thank you note ever. TiburonSkinCare.com
EDIBLE EXPERIENCES & COOKING SCHOOLS...
Elizabeth Hill’s West Marin Food & Farm Tours offers even locals a glimpse behind the scenes into the world-class food and farming destination that is West Marin. A lifelong resident of the area, Elizabeth delivers access to the folks who make this area so extraordinary that even Prince Charles lingered here to learn more about organic farming and food production, not to mention the dramatic scenery. For a gift that's fit for a king, treat your loved one to one of Hill’s fabulous 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
Whisk your beloved away for a well-deserved respite from the holiday madness in December, as the quintessential Wine Country town of Healdsburg invites you to “Dine Around Healdsburg.” This progressive feast includes four courses from 16 of Healdsburg's finest restaurants, all conveniently located near the historic Healdsburg Plaza or a short drive to your next stop. Snuggle into one of Healdsburg’s cozy inns or hotels after dinner to elevate the experience into the stratosphere. December 2 & 3 and 9 & 10. Healdsburg.com
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 wi-fi 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
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.
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena educates more than just some of the top professional chefs in the country, including Napa’s own Michael Chiarello. The school also offers more than two dozen two- to five-day culinary boot camps that are every food and wine lover’s dream: cooking, baking and learning all about wine with the expert chefs and instructors of the CIA, in the same professional kitchens where their world-famous graduates got their start. Whether they want to bake crusty artisan breads, prepare cuisines from around the world, confidently pair wine and food, or create dazzling plated desserts for their next party, there’s a CIA Boot Camp program for everyone on your list. The CIA’s Spice Island Marketplace is also a smorgasbord of over 1,700 cookbooks, cooking tools and specialty ingredients sure to please the cooks on your list. Enthusiasts.ciachef.edu/boot-camps and CIAChef.edu/spice-islands-marketplace
Sonoma’s Ramekins Culinary School offers world-class cooking classes almost every day of the week. The school’s calendar reads like a who’s who of local celebrity chefs, as well as visiting chefs with whom you’d never get to interact as up close and personal anywhere else. Demonstration classes, hands-on classes, kids’ cooking classes and workshops are all offered at Ramekins’ gorgeous kitchen and event space near the Sonoma Plaza. December’s offerings include Sips and Apps for the Holidays; French Holidays; Christmas in Mexico; and Take Home Holiday Candy. Need we say more? Class gift certificates make the perfect couples’ or girlfriends’ holiday gifts. Ramekins.com 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 Food Craft Institute in Oakland is a professional development, nonprofit educational institution that combines classroom and hands-on education taught by some of the most successful food entrepreneurs in the Bay Area to teach traditional food-making techniques as well as the entrepreneurial skills needed to build viable businesses. If you have a budding food entrepreneur on your list who just needs a little push to pursue their dream, the FCI is the place. FoodCraftInstitute.org
STRAIGHT FROM THE EARTH AND SEA...
Dazzle them with succulent, briny bivalves harvested from the waters of Tomales Bay and delivered straight to their doorstep. Boxes of delicious Sweetwaters from Hog Island Oyster Farm can now be shipped directly to their doorstep—nationwide. Two shipping dates only (December 22 and 29) arriving in time for Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve, respectively. Order up and let the party begin! Gift certificates redeemable at one of Hog Island’s oyster bars (at the oyster farm on Tomales Bay; at Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa; or inside SF’s Ferry Plaza Building) also make outstanding gifts! HogIslandOysters.com
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 we are thrilled to add the hot new Real Good Fish to the list of CSA programs we recommend for giving. Your recipient will thank you every time they open their box filled with sustainably harvested seafood including heavenly smoked black cod, Santa Barbara uni, Dungeness crabs and locally farmed oysters. One-month CSA subscriptions also available as gift certificates. RealGoodFish.com
For a complete list of local farmers’ markets and CSAs in our area, check out the Farmers’ Market and CSA Directory in this (and every) issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country.
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. An applewood smoked Llano Seco holiday ham would be an exceptional gift this year, sure to be the star of your recipient’s holiday table. And don’t forget yourself! Look for Rancho Llano Seco holiday hams at the three Oliver’s Markets and Sonoma Market in Sonoma County, Good Earth Natural Market in Fairfax and Driver’s Market in Sausalito. Complete list of retailers, farmers’ markets and more sourcing information at LlanoSeco.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 Doug Vincent, expert beekeeper and owner of Beekind. A truly unusual and wonderful gift—for the lucky recipient and for our local environment. 921 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol; and the Ferry Plaza Building, San Francisco; Beekind.com
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, Sustainable Conservation, ExtraFood.org 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.
The holidays demand bubbles, and we highly recommend spicing up your holiday table with an exciting new twist this year: Heidrun Meadery’s sparkling mead. The Point Reyes maker of exquisite honey wine was profiled in the Spring 2015 issue of Edible Marin & Wine Country, and we fell in love with the heady scents and lush flavors of proprietor and mead maker Gordon Hull’s expertly and lovingly handcrafted elixirs during our “research” for that article. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it… Gorgeous in a toasting flute, complex and food friendly on the tongue and definitely a conversation starter. Find Heidrun meads at their gorgeous tasting room in Point Reyes Station, at local markets including Whole Foods, Good Earth and the Mill Valley Market, or online at HeidrunMeadery.com.
Susan Zaring Design creates custom floral designs for residences, social events and
businesses in Marin County. From weeklyfloral arrangements for your home or business, to a dinner party or event, as well as decorating homes for the holidays, Susan’s extensive interior design and gardening career creates inspired florals from her. She collaborates with local farmers to source the best seasonal blooms with a focus on unique varieties and colors to create tasteful, garden style arrangements.
For all the budding or even accomplished gardeners on your list, visit Cottage Gardens of Petaluma. 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. Perfect to add a splash of whimsy, fun and beauty to any room in your house, check out his entire collection online at MatthewCarden.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
Good things come in small packages, and our friends at Alix & Co. Jewelers continue to prove this old adage to be true. Owner/designer Janet Alix and her team responsibly source gems, stones and metals to craft one-of-a-kind masterpieces. We predict the giver of anything from this gem of a store will find them selves kissed under the mistletoe… 55 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; AlixAndCompany.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 work-rooms 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.
That “not quite right spot in your living room or bedroom?” Give your home a special gift this holiday season and everyone in the household will benefit from the results. Inspired by the relaxed and sophisticated wine country aesthetic, the interior designers at Cokas Diko synergize the past’s repurposed appeal with fresh, vibrant styles from the present to design unique spaces for each of their clients. Take advantage of their No Fee design service to spruce up your home in time for the holidays, or visit Cokas Diko’s showrooms in Santa Rosa and Petaluma to see for yourself their vast selection of expertly curated furniture, lighting, rugs, pillows, bedding and artwork. CokasDiko.com
BOOKS FOR COOKS...
This year was an exceptional year for the publication of gorgeous and exciting new epicurean-related books, so we had an especially hard time narrowing it down to a handful of our favorites. Any one of these, or the entire collection, will thrill the cookbook-, wine- and history-obsessed on your list. All are available at your local bookseller! Joanne Weir’s Kitchen Gypsy, Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food (Oxmoor House, 2015), the latest cookbook from the celebrated author, TV personality and chef, is, in her own words, her “favorite child.” Divided into 10 chapters, the deeply personal book traces Weir’s path from a childhood spent on her family farm in the Berkshires, to her years at Chez Panisse (Alice Waters authored the book’s foreword) through today when she serves as maestra de cocina at Sausalito’s Copita Tequileria y Comida. The book’s 100 delicious recipes and 250 gorgeous photographs will transport you through Italy, France, Morocco, Mexico and more.
For all the aspiring master mixologists, as well as local history buffs, on your list, Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and her Cocktails (Chronicle Books, 2015) is a must have. Author Duggan McDonnell is one of the superstars of the San Francisco cocktail resurgence and he tells the story of his city and its rich history with potent potables in well-researched detail and with great reverence and appreciation. The book includes recipes and photos of 25 iconic San Francisco cocktails including the legendary Pisco Punch and Mai Tai, to the Gold Rush era Sazerac through today’s Lemon Drop. An additional 45 recipes will round out any respectable mixologist’s repertoire. We’ll drink to that!
The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook: Fresh-from-the Garden Recipes for Gatherings Large and Small (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015) is a gorgeously illustrated collection of 200 innovative and interesting vegetarian recipes from the farm, educational retreat center and eco-think-tank located in Occidental, California. The OAEC cookbook takes eating seasonally to a whole new level, offering readers tips on foraging for local weeds, flowers, herbs, nuts, fruits, mushrooms and other wild edibles, alongside recipes for turning them into sumptuous and nourishing feasts. The lead author and project manager of the cookbook, Olivia Rathbone, manages the kitchen at the OAEC and has many years of experience bringing the bounty of the garden, and a community of people, to communal table.
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jensen, the “World Wine Guys,” are the entertaining and lifestyle editors at Wine Enthusiast magazine and their new special deluxe edition of Wines of California (Sterling Epicure, 2015) is exactly that—entertaining! As well as educational. In Michael Mondavi’s foreword, he notes the clarity the authors bring to the importance of place in California wines by delivering detailed descriptions of outstanding wineries and personal interviews with extraordinary winemakers. In the words of the California editor of Wine Enthusiast, “It’ll inspire you to hit the California highway, corkscrew and Riedels in hand.”
Cheddar: a Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015) is the second book from Gordon Edgar, the longtime cheese buyer for San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery. Why a book about cheddar, this distinctly American and seemingly ubiquitous cheese? Gordon believes that any cheese that is used in fast food, mousetraps, the most comforting of comfort foods (mac & cheese) and yet still served in mansions has a story to tell, and he tells it beautifully.
Thomas Keller dubbed it “astounding.” If that’s not enough to sell you on Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible (Workman Publishing, 2015), read on. MacNeil, chairman emeritus of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of American at Greystone in St. Helena, is the only American winner of every major wine award in the English language, including the James Beard Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year in 2004. In this completely revised and updated version with new chapters on every wine region in the world, hundreds of new wines, and all new maps and photos, MacNeil delves into the history, food, wines and wineries of each region. Boring lists? No way. Chef Danny Meyer calls it “The most informative and entertaining book I’ve ever seen on the subject.” A must for anyone wanting to know more about wine—from the novice to the longtime enthusiast.
You just have to read our interview with Sammy Hagar in this issue to know why Hagar’s new cookbook Are We Having Any Fun Yet? The Cooking and Partying Handbook (Dey Street Books, 2015) is already #1 on many bookseller lists and should be at the top of your cookbook wish list this season. Fun and delicious recipes, and lots of wild tales (all true) of the Red Rocker’s culinary adventures from Hagar’s Sicilian grandfather who introduced him to the joys of the table, to Marin County to Mauito Cabo, this book will definitely get the party started!
Since the Gold Rush days, the Guittard family has been making world-class bean-to-bar chocolate in San Francisco. Amy Guittard, a member of the fifth generation of Guittards in the family chocolate business, brings us the Guittard Chocolate Book (Chronicle Books, 2015) this year, and it is as delicious to the eyes as Guittard chocolates are to the tastebuds. The book opens with the story of Etienne Guittard, who left Tournos, France, in the mid-1800s, bound for Northern California on a quest for gold, bringing with him chocolate from his uncle’s factory in France to trade for equipment and supplies. When he realized that the chocolates were, themselves, worth their weight in gold, he returned to France, this time to bring back chocolate- making equipment to set up his own factory. And the rest is history, as they say. There book also includes a chocolate “primer,” from the farm to the bar, that will bring readers an even greater
appreciation of the art of fine chocolate-making. Recipes are divided into chapters including Breakfast, Brownies & Bars and Puddings, Bonbons, Fudge & Confections. Our favorite (so far) is the 1890s recipe for Chocolate Persimmon Cake developed by a Guittard relative and perfectly timed for the holiday season. Yes, please!
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