From savvy home cooks to serious gourmands, food and wine holidays gifts from sustainable or charitable companies are always appealing. Here’s our suggestion list of goodies and delights that keep on giving year-round.
1. Papa Ben’s Kitchen
Papa Ben’s Kitchen, a three-generation, family business out of Los Angeles, does an artisan take on Mandelbroyt, a traditional Jewish / Eastern European cookie very similar to biscotti. Founded by a Holocaust survivor, Papa Ben’s Kitchen donates a portion of their profits to Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. Their cookies come in five flavors including Lemon Blueberry with Poppyseed and Spicy Chipotle with Ginger and Dark Chocolate. Gift orders can be sent with a free handwritten message on a greeting card. Each 8 ounce box is priced at $6.99.
2. Michele’s Granola
The Maryland-based Michele’s Granola makes a flavorful, crispy snack while being mindful about environmental impact. As a Green Power Partner in EPA’s business program, the bakery’s facility gets its energy entirely from Green-e certified wind power. It also diverts as much as landfill waste as possible through recycling and giving compost-able materials to a local facility. The company also donates 1% of all sales to Baltimore-based food missions. Consider their Seasonal Sampler, featuring six 12-ounce packages with their five classic varieties plus a seasonal flavor at $35.99 or a Classic Sampler at $29.99. A wrapped-up Granola Gift Box with three packages is $22.50.
3. JOCO Cup
Tons of paper and plastic coffee cups get tossed each year. Luckily, JOCO Cup can help everyone start off 2015 on a cleaner — and greener — note. This glass cup holder was built to handle hot liquids and keep your java in tasting delicious. It’s made from borosilicate glass, which gives it the toughness to be dishwasher or microwave safe. The BPA- and lead-free cup comes in a 100 percent recycle canister that can be reused for storing stuff or planting seedlings. The cup comes in different colors. Its 8-, 12-, and 16-ounce sizes are priced at $22.95, $24.95 and $26.95.
4. Art of Tea
Art of Tea, a Los Angeles-based import and wholesale company, works with farmers and distributors worldwide to obtain sustainable ingredients in making their organic and specific teas. With responsible practices such as composting products and using biodegradable materials for tea bags, Art of Tea also donates to various environmental, educational and charitable programs such as Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. A limited edition Holiday Tea Sampler ($25) has seasonal flavors like White Winter Chai and Dark Chocolate Peppermint. Or, as a back up, there’s a curative Wellness Tea Sampler ($25).
5. Iroquois White Corn Project
For home cooks and bakers with special dietary needs, The Friends of Ganondagan’s Iroquois White Corn Project grinds up two kinds of flour from white corn, an American heirloom seed that sustained the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people for at least 1,400 years. They’re gluten-free, high in protein and with a low-glycemic index. Or get the hulled whole kernel version for soups or other recipe uses. Each 1-pound bag of its Hulled White Corn, Roasted White Corn Flour and White Corn Flour sells for $9 plus shipping.
6. World Vision Gift Catalog
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, has put together a gift catalog featuring eco-friendly and social responsible holiday items that “give back” to specific causes and urgent needs. Among its culinary choices, Prosperity Cinnamon ($85) honors Vietnam’s history of this spice’s production and gives the gift of health to Vietnamese artisans and vulnerable families around the world. A 3-ounce jar comes in a bark box handcrafted by villagers in Tra Bong, a district in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province.
7. Club W
Essentially a Netflix for wine lovers, the start-up Club W is a global monthly club offering small lot wines at good prices that are directly sourced from farmers and vineyard owners around the world. Domestic and international wines are shipped in recyclable totes to the club’s winemaking and bottling facility on California’s Central Coast. This strategy enables wine to travel just for the “final mile” only – right to your doorstep. Givers can choose options ranging from one month at $50 up to $600 for one year, and then send off their present through the mail or a code via email. The recipient then logs onto Club W’s website and fills out a palate profile.
8. Montanya Distillers
Rum may be an island tradition, but guess what: it’s also mountain made. In Crested Butte, Colorado, Montanya Distillers uses mountain water, yeast, Louisiana sugar cane and a touch of Durango-based Honeyville honey in concocting high-altitude rums. Light and dark versions are aged in recycled whiskey casts from a Denver distillery, and the heat for the stills heats Montanya’s locations during chillier seasons. Their Montanya Platino Light Rum ($35) and Montaya Oro Dark Rum ($39) as well as a special Colorado Cocktail Kit ($160) can be purchased through 877spirits website.
9. Boxed Water
As an alternative to plastic bottles, Boxed Water Is Better’s aptly named Boxed Water container is BPA free and made from 75% paper packaging sourced from certified, well-managed forests. Manufactured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Boxed Water uses carbon filtered, purified drinking water from local water sources and its rectangular shape helps to reduce shipping waste. The entire container is recyclable. The company also has partnered with 1% For the Planet, and commits at least 1% of total sales to environmental causes annually. Packs are available at $12 for a 12 pack and $24 for a 24 pack.
As a hostess gift, Gaea Gift Box ($40) is a pairing of Gaea’s premium select Kirsta estate virgin oil and barrel-aged vinegar made from Assyriko grapes from the island of Santorini in Greece. These elegant, hand-painted bottles come in a box that’s no bigger than an iPad; however, once taken out can give any dining table Mediterranean flare. Plus, 20% of proceeds go to ReInspireGreece, an initiative to help young Greeks pursuing innovative agrifood products.
11. Yee-Haw Pickle Company
For pickled palates, Park City, Utah’s Yee-Haw Pickle Company jars in fresh ingredients like chili peppers and raw wildflower honey to give their cukes a mouth-watering punch sans chemicals. This growing season, the company sourced over 3,000 pounds of local cucumbers and 1,000 pounds of green beans per week from Utah family farms. Additionally, the company partnered with Park City EATS, a nonprofit mission to bring healthier options into the school lunch program. Their Yee-Haw Pickle Sample Pack ($65 includes shipping) is boxed with all of their five flavors: Hot Damn Dills, Giddy-Up Garlic Dills, No Frills Dills, Honey Sweet Stackers, Sweet & Spicy Stackers and Bronc Buster Beans.
12. Scrumptious Pantry
Fans of heirloom fruits and vegetables will find solace in Scrumptious Pantry, whose mission is to bring these abundances to kitchens and tables. The Chicago-based company partners with family farms that maintain long-time sustainable practices. Its Heirloom of the Month Club offers a three or six-month food subscription and can include rare food finds like PawPaw, which is foraged in Ohio. Each month, get heirloom foods that match with the season, complete with a recipe and background story on the varietal, the product and the farmers that grow the ingredients. One installment is at $65, and two installments at $125.
By Michele Herrmann
Do you globally conscious and delicious item to add to this gift guide? Please share in the comments below.
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