At the start of 2020, nobody could foresee exactly how much time we would all be spending at home. But all of those extra hours in familiar surroundings meant plenty of time to tinker in the kitchen, and suddenly everyone has their own sourdough starter, garden and pantry full of preserved summer vegetables. We’re all a bit more gourmet now, and that means we’re a bit harder to shop for when it comes to holiday gifting. Fear not. Whether it’s finding the right bottle of wine or new must-have kitchen gizmo, here are five gift options for the gourmet who has everything.
For the savvy sipper
2020 truly was the year of Sauvignon Blanc. Its popularity is skyrocketing in North America, and what’s not to love? It’s crisp, easy drinking and extremely versatile, and pairs just as well with a fire-side porch session as a finely prepared holiday meal. One of Sauvignon Blanc’s prime growing regions is New Zealand’s Wairau Valley—a region known as the Golden Mile to those in the know. It’s where Stoneleigh’s Latitude Sauvignon Blanc hails from. What ultimately goes in your glass is the product of juicy ripe grapes grown in optimal conditions. It’s a wine bursting with tropical fruit aromas and unique minerality from the buried ancient river stones that surround Stoneleigh’s vines. Whether you’re pouring it for a toast or passing it along as a gift, Stoneleigh’s Latitude Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect holiday pairing. Find it in the Vintages section at the LCBO. $21.95. Stoneleigh.com.
For the aspiring chef
Everything’s online nowadays—even cooking classes. And just because you can’t be in a lab with an instructor showing you the ropes doesn’t mean you can’t learn to produce your own culinary marvels at home. Located in a Hintonburg heritage building that once housed a fire station, the Urban Element features live how-to demonstrations on making everything from breakfast pastries to après ski cuisine. Each class comes with an ingredient kit with optional add-ons (including wine), meaning you or your gift recipient will not only learn a new technique or two, but dinner will be covered at the same time. Gift cards are available for $50 and up. theurbanelement.ca.
For the boulanger in training
Now that seemingly everyone has a ripe sourdough starter on the go, it’s time to actually make some bread. Apart from the dough, all that’s really needed to get baking is a hot oven and a heavy lidded pot. But the French Pantry’s sourdough essentials kit comes with all the tools necessary to really hone the at-home sourdough process. It includes a banneton for giving your loaf that eye-catching boule shape, a scoring tool for slashing elaborate patterns in the dough, a two-loaf baguette pan and more. $69.99.
For the coffee connoisseur
With all the extra time we’re spending at home, our coffee consumption is through the roof this year. Apart from buying whole, freshly roasted beans and grinding them immediately before brewing, true coffee obsessives know the way to ensure a top-notch cup is to weigh the grounds, ensuring the ideal ratio of coffee to water. It sounds unnecessarily complicated, but a barista-quality coffee scale makes it easy. Centretown’s Pot & Pantry stocks a number of high-grade digital kitchen scales. But for true barista quality, the Acaia Pearl measures your beans down to the tenth of a gram. (It can also do things like time your brewing cycle if you’re into the pour-over method.) Not only that, but it looks like something Steve Jobs would have designed. $220. Available from the retailer.
For the ultimate at-home pizza
Even during the holiday season, when we’re planning grand feasts and leftovers for days, nothing beats pizza night. But rather than the usual delivery routine, restaurant-quality Neapolitan pies are finally possible at home with high-end portable pizza ovens like the Roccbox. While a typical home oven maxes out at around 550 degrees Fahrenheit, the Roccbox can heat up to 950 degrees fahrenheit, which cooks a pizza in about 60 seconds—way faster (and tastier) than the quickest delivery in town. It’s great for the backyard, no matter the season. $599. gozney.com.