One of the perils of city living is that there’s just no space! I love receiving gifts but with a small house and very little storage space, I gravitate towards cheese and a nice bottle of wine as my gifts of choice. Also, there’s something very personal about gifting food. I love opening a bottle of wine or a special condiment with a unique story. There are so many great edible gift ideas in Washington, DC that it’s difficult to choose!
From restaurants to bakeries, there’s something for every foodie at every price point at our nation’s capital. These small businesses not only have delicious edible gift ideas, but they give a personal touch when looking for the perfect gift.
Dining Traveler’s Edible Gift Ideas:
For the cake lover: Raresweets. Imagine opening your door on Christmas day and receiving a gorgeous tiered eggnog cake. Actually, I can totally visualize (and hope for) that! Raresweets, the beautiful cake shop at City Center DC allows you to order your holiday treats via phone and pick up the items in-store. In addition to their beautifully decadent cakes, you can also order cookies, hot chocolate kit, bake-at-home croissants, among other sweet goodies. More info on how to order here.
For the foodie history lover: Carpe DC Food Tours. If you have a special person in your life who a. loves food and b. loves history. I took this tour this past fall and learned so much about the U Street/Shaw area. Although I know the U Street area well, I was still able to discover some hidden gems on the tour. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the tour was the effort placed on local-owned restaurants such as &Pizza and Ben’s Chili Bowl. Order your gift certificate here.
For the Italia lover: Via Umbria. I had the chance to sit down with the team at Via Umbria and learn about their story before they opened their beautiful culinary and retail space in Georgetown. Suzy Menard, one of the proprietors fell in love with Italy when she and her husband, Bill lived there as newlyweds. Decades and numerous trips later, they decided to open via Umbria where they offer cooking classes, food to go, and hand-selected items predominantly from the Umbria region of Italy. Suzy’s edible gift ideas: Panettone, or “big bread,” (holiday tradition in Italy), Torrone (nougat) and of course, Italian wine.
For the cookie lover: Hollin Hall Pastry Shop. When in doubt, gift beautiful cookies. When chatting with Alexandria’s Hollin Hall’s pastry chef, Nadia Patnode, she says her number one requested item is cookies-and dozens of them. Last minute gift? Although a pre-order is the most efficient, they team at Hollin Hall still bakes plenty of cookies for an at-store pickup. Not a cookie fan? Chef Nadia recommends the Yule logs, spongy cake filled with delicious chocolate frosting.
For those hard to find European ingredients: Mediterranean Way. Owners Niko and Oana hand pick their selection of olive oils, balsamic vinegar (Oana actually lived in Modena), cheese, and other edible delights. Niko, a Greek native walks customers through their extensive olive oil selection. Niko’s edible gift ideas: two of the Greek products they import exclusively: a small organic honey producer, Stayia Farm who makes an organic thyme honey with Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen, and Arom Orange Jam which is handmade on the island of Syros, Greece. A delicious and original gift choice.
For the spirit lover: Don Ciccio e Figli. I enjoy concluding a dinner party with a nice digestif. Since living here in DC, I have served Don Ciccio e Figli to plenty of parties as I have had it gifted to me by several friends. Nice friends I have! Not only delicious, this is local-made limoncello, distilled right in our nation’s capital. Looking for something fun to do with your visitors during the holidays? Don Ciccio & Figli has a beautiful tasting room that is open for tours. Find the schedule here.
When I talk about edible gifts in DC, I also mean wine. Because grapes are a food group, right? I love giving wine and spirits as gifts. Gran Cata Wine Co is a beautifully designed wine shop in the heart of Shaw. Last year, I went to Pedro (one of the founders) looking for a special bourbon for the Dutchman. He took his time going over his picks based on my budget and recommended Eagle Rare bourbon. Their specialty is Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese wine. However, they have an extensive selection of small-batch spirits and craft beers.
A spice kit from local-owned Bazaar Spices is a great idea for your favorite home cook. If you have a friend who loves to experiment with new recipes, this is perfect for them. Their gifts sets have a variety of themes and price points. The Sea Salt Tower at $14 is the perfect stocking stuffer or The Artisan Collection of Rare and Unique Spices $50 makes a fabulous gift. Stop by their stand at Union Market to pick up or shop online.
Cake, cookies, wine… You can’t go wrong with a yummy treat as a holiday gift! What are your edible gift ideas for the DC foodie?