Home Coffee product Chorney-Booth: Give local gifts for a tasty holiday cheer

Chorney-Booth: Give local gifts for a tasty holiday cheer

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For many of us, 2020 has been the year of the hyper-local for food, both during the holidays and elsewhere. The pressure to support local businesses has been strong with so many restaurants and retailers suffering from closures linked to the pandemic. Lots of people were made redundant and some industries created new products as a push. Consumers have come to know the local food brands and sharing the local love has become a civic duty. Since then, supporting the local has become the default for many of us – consumers choose to support local businesses and artisans for the sake of convenience, quality, customer service and simply because it is the good neighbor thing to do.

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The other big Christmas gift trend that has emerged for many Calgarians is a move towards gifts that can be consumed. Many of us spent the first few months of the pandemic cleaning our homes, so the idea of ​​filling them with more things that will only collect dust is hardly appealing. Hence the increase in food-related gifts: gifting food products (of local origin, hopefully) gives recipients a taste of pure pleasure without anything taking a permanent place in the house. It’s something that Gail Norton, owner of Calgary’s Cookbook Company Cooks (722 11th Ave. SW), has been promoting for decades, but says local gifts to eat or drink seem particularly appropriate in 2021.

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“I think we have more local produce in the store than ever before,” Norton says. “So many people started things just to get by and they grew into something bigger.”

This Christmas, order a gift basket from The Cookbook Company Co. or any other grocery retailer.  Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia
This Christmas, order a gift basket from The Cookbook Company Co. or any other grocery retailer. Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK / Postmedia

The safest way to prepare a nice gift at Cookbook Company is to order a personalized basket: Norton says many customers just come in and ask for a few of the staff favorites from around the world, believing that supporting the store itself is a big deal. local buying exercise, while others specifically ask for baskets filled with entirely local produce. Whether you let the staff do the shopping for you or buy a la carte, the shop is currently full of local produce of almost all kinds. Norton highlights some strengths like chocolate from companies like Cochu Chocolatier, Kin + Pod and Jacek Chocolate from Edmonton, waffle mixes from Buttermilk Fine Waffles, very popular jams and pickles from Preserved, Drizzle natural honey line, Grassland Gluten-Free artisan crackers, Tubby Dog mustards and jars of Vresh ghee.

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There are also drinks. Mighty Pines Mixers is a new brand (there is no alcohol in the product but users are advised to add a spirit of their choice to create an easy cocktail) of bottled beverage mixes from chefs Pierre Lamielle and Vanessa Rundell which come in flavors like blueberry basil and a hint of spruce. Dalia Cohen (founder of The Coup restaurant) also launched a new line of canned soft drinks called Wild Folk with vermouth spritz and sparkling negroni flavors that could make for fun Christmas stockings.

Matching kitchen utensils and accessories make great gifts for home chefs.  These are from The Cookbook Company Co. Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia
Matching kitchen utensils and accessories make great gifts for home chefs. These are from The Cookbook Company Co. Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK / Postmedia

The Cookbook Company isn’t the only game in town when it comes to freebies for food and drink lovers. Empire Provisions (8409 Elbow Dr. SW) was a huge source during the pandemic era when it came to providing special and delicious things to hungry Calgarians. In addition to the usual deli treat list, the Empire brand has just launched their line of cocktail garnishes in collaboration with their friends at Vine Arts. Customers can now purchase martini olives in vermouth, Campari orange slices, bourbon sour cherries and spicy vodka pickles. The Empire Gang also recently started a side business (or another side business if you consider their Lil ‘Empire burger restaurants) with the Knockout Heat Co., a collection of naturally fermented hot sauces. These are also available in the store with flavors like Serrano Lime and Habanero Peach.

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Plus, Ellen Doty is back in year four of her seasonal collaboration with Monogram Coffee. The Calgary-based musician teamed up with her local colleague TAYLR to record a song called Glad You’re Here, which the coffee masters at Monogram in turn used as the inspiration for an exclusive brew (which Made By Marcus also used it to create a seasonal ice cream). Until the end of the month, Monogram will sell the coffee and donate $ 5 from each mustard seed bag (if you take the ice cream route, $ 2 from each pint will be donated). Doty’s song is available to stream on Sound Cloud or fans can hear it live on December 18 during her holiday concert at the National Music Center.

From chocolates to olives, The Cookbook Company Co. is packed with local produce for wonderful Christmas gifts.  Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia
From chocolates to olives, The Cookbook Company Co. is packed with local produce for wonderful Christmas gifts. Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK / Postmedia

And finally, Alberta Food Tours has released another round of its Alberta Cares packages. This time, there are three different holiday-themed packs: a Comfy Cozy pack with cookie mixes and cocoa, a Holiday Morning Breakfast kit with a pancake mix and jam, and a filled North Pole Diet box. chocolate and other treats. The wrappers are designed to give someone in need of a lift and are filled with food products made in Alberta. All three packages can be purchased at alberta-food-tours.myshopify.com.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @elizabooth or Instagram at @elizabooth.

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