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Best of Indie Spotlight: Best Holiday Gifts for Foodies

Dec. 24, 2012
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As a foodie in training, I will admit that we’re hard to please. We’re snobs. But what’s food—what’s life, even—without standards?

The items below all do uphold a certain specialty-food standard. Most experiment with something new, or make unlikely combinations, all in the spirit of bold flavors.

Either that or they simply perfect an oft-tried but also oft-failed recipe. Take item 9, for example. Toffee is a classic choice, but one that I’ll usually pass up: for whatever reason, most of the mass-produced toffee I’ve had is a little too crunchy. It sticks to the roof of the mouth and between the teeth. Not this toffee, though. The other treats in this list do the same and improve on a formula.

If you’re shopping for one of us, your foodie friend, we know, we’re difficult. So, here’s some help.

Sweetly Artisan - Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Chocolate-covered Pretzels
By Sweetly Artisan

A classic treat. They’re heavily discounted at the moment, too: 25 pretzels for $7 instead of the usual $11.

Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Stix
By SweetBliss Chocolates

Sweet and salty. Sweet and . . . potato stix? Yes. Alone, potato stix are a little bland, but the combination of their salty taste and sweet milk chocolate makes for a deadly one-two punch.

SweetBliss - Chocolate Covered Potato Stix
JonBoy Caramels

By JonBoy Caramels

Jonboy Caramels is a regular supplier at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, and it’s no surprise why. They’ve buttery, chewy and one is even flavored with bourbon.

Cookies N Cream Fudge
By ZAP Sweet Treats

They’re rich, they’re decadent. What’s not to like? This sweet treat is every chocolate lover’s dream, combining the crumbly cookie goodness of cookies and cream with chewy softness of fudge.

ZAP Sweet Treats - Cookies N Cream Fudge

Classic Krispette Collection
By Caroline’s Desserts

Rice Krispie treats for grown-ups. Krispettes are topped with more sophisticated ingredients, like toasted nuts and dried fruits. A box for 4 comes with Triple Chocolate Nirvana, Happy Camper Crunch, Sweet Joe and Not-So-Plain-Jayne.

Buttery Shortbread Squares
By Clairesquares

These shortbread cookies come in packs of 6 squares. They’re so buttery and richy that they made the finals at NASFT 2012—NASFT being the business-trade association that promotes and upholds specialty-food standards.

Clairesquares - Buttery Shortbread Squares
Original Salty Oats Cookie

The Original Salty Oats
By kayak cookies

These cookies maintain a perfect balance between sweet and salty—with a nice crunch to finish. If you’re in Washington, D.C., you can find them at Teaism.

By 240Sweet

It’s finally getting colder, which means it’s time for some hot chocolate. And, if you’re feeling fancy, a marshmallow in your mug’s center. These artisan marshmallows run the gamut from coffee chocolate chip to draft beer. Flavors rotate year-round, too, so check back as more become available.

240sweet - Marshmallows
 Try This Toffee

By Try This Toffee

This toffee is to die for. Unlike your usual Godiva-branded treats, these are soft and melt in your mouth. Having just finished a box that I first opened in June, I can attest that they retain their softness for a good 6 months—if not longer. You can order in ½-pound, 1-pound, or 5-pound boxes.

Artisan Raw Honey
By Bluebird Gardens

If you’re foodie friend is a chef, too, give them the finest ingredients. Raw honey could make for some excellent dishes. Mass-produced honey is usually blended and even mixed with artificial flavoring. This stuff is instead managed and bottled by a local beekeeper.

Blue Bird Gardens - Honey with Comb

Most of these treats are harder, stiffer items. And there’s reason: a cupcake, for example, wouldn’t survive the journey to your home. Nor would it retain its freshness. If you’re looking for a cake or cupcake, we suggest you go to your local bakery. Otherwise, peruse the options from this independent cooks.

Written by Mike Anderson, a freelance writer and contributor to NerdWallet Shopping.