Gift Guide 2016: Local Foodies

In the spirit of gift giving, I am really trying to consciously give "local" this year to support our wonderful community of makers, artisans, & people that bring life to our Valley. For the foodie lover in your life I have a few ideas for gifts from wonderful local vendors.

Fresno has a growing foodie scene and I feel very lucky to be part of the growth. I had the honor of attending Fresno's Food Expo this Summer & judging a cook off competition. The event is filled with a buzz of excitement about food products created right here in the Central Valley. I discovered many of the products suggested at the Food Expo.

On our foodie tour of Fresno my first stop is to Enzo's Table, a speciality food shop that carries goodies like Fresno State ice cream to almonds & olive oils produced by the Ricchiuti Family. I would suggest picking up a bottle of Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar. You could also put together an Olive Oil sampler box consisting of a lemon infused as well as basil infused olive oil. I recently made a batch of olive oil lemon cookies and will be sharing the recipe shortly so you can also make a batch of amazing cookies to deliver with a bottle of olive oil.

While at Enzo's Table you can pick up a box of Rosetti's Biscotti, another food item produced here in the Central Valley. If you have a chance to visit their Biscotti Houlse in Old Town Clovis, I would suggest making the trip. It is a small unassuming house, along Clovis Avenue filled with charm, you can sample the cookies before purchasing your favorites. You could also stop into Sierra Nut House. The almonds are roasted weekly and they make wonderful gift baskets filled with high quality products, a great gift for an employee or co-worker.

If you are heading to a party and need a hostess gift, bring a bottle of wine from a local Madera winery. I recently had the pleasure of tasting Fasi Estates Syrah and found it to be pretty tasty. For the beer lover in your life, pick up a few bottles of Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company's cult classic beers & put together a basket with grilling supplies, like an apron, oven mitt, spatula and peanuts or pair it with a Pizza making kit- a jar of sauce, cured meats, a package of yeast and a pizza cutter. One of my favorite adult beverage ideas is the sweet potato vodka from Corbin Cash Distillery. You can't go wrong with a gluten free liquor made out of sweet potatoes. At least you know it will be a conversation starter. Pair it with a cocktail shaker and accessories.

There are several wonderful restaurants in town that you can pick up a gift certificate to but one of my favorites is The Annex Kitchen. It makes for a great date night or girls night out, and is the perfect location for the foodie lover in your life. If you are looking for a big gift you could splurge for an evening at Erna's Elderberry House, the quintessential foodie destination that is right in our backyard.

You could also pick up a gift certificate to Ampersand Ice Cream to pair with passes to the Zoo or tickets to a Grizzlies game for the kiddo foodie in your life or even better, pick up a pint and deliver your gift with 2 golden spoons, some toppings & a movie to watch together.

You could head to Color Me Mine to paint a pair of mugs, then pick up Lanna Coffee to wrap together for the coffee lover in your life, maybe throw in a few chocolate bars from Molucca Chocolate and you are all set.

Every year I buy a box of Hungry Bear Cookies for my husband and mom's husband. It has become part of our tradition. I would have 2 very disappointed gentleman on my hands if Santa forgot the cookies.

I am going to put in a shameless plug for the gift of a fun kitchen experience at Young Chefs Academy. It is a great gift for the young and the young at heart as we offer adult classes. We have our next Crockpot Club workshop coming up in January and a new schedule of adult cooking classes that will be launched soon.

Last, I would suggest a foodie item made at home. I love getting homemade jellies & jams from friends. I will will be sharing a few at DIY gift ideas over the next week too. Any other suggestions for great local gifts? I would love for you to share in the comments below.