We promise this is not just another holiday gift guide. While buying from the hospitality brands *we* love might bring joy to the ones *you* love, if you’re browsing without much cash to spend (or simply choose to spend yours on something different) there is no financial commitment required but much inspiration to gain from scrolling through the list below. This guide is not affiliated with any of the brands included. It’s simply intended to share the gift of creativity, the gift of community, and the gift of discovering something new. Also, a lot of visually pleasing photos of super-cute packaging design (shot + styled by this team right here) if you’re into that kind of thing.
001. We Don’t Want Any Crap in Our Wine
What do you buy the natural wine lover on your list (other than a great bottle of natural wine, obviously)? How about a book about natural wine?! Written by wine expert Camilla Gjerde — she literally has a degree in wine — We Don’t Want any Crap In Our Wine: The Women Behind The Bottle focuses solely on women producers of natural wine. In Camilla’s words, “It portraits 9 badass women and explores what drives natural wine producers to do what they do, to go on, despite being outsiders, despite the hardships and the risks.”
002. The Gemma Wine Glass from Pastiche
Around our place there are the glasses that you drink wine out of and then the glasses that make the entire wine-drinking experience better. We are fortunate to have a handful of the latter variety, thanks to Pastiche Events. Khrystyna, Pastiche’s creative director and principal planner, runs an online boutique featuring a curated selection of beautiful products for your home and life, including our favourite (very aesthetic) wine glasses.
003. Jacobsen Salt Co.
Reaching for the salt at the dinner table shouldn’t mean settling for just any old sodium. Jacobsen Salt Co., based in the Pacific Northwest United States, has taken an artisanal approach to making your food taste better, harvesting their signature flake and kosher salts from waters off the Oregon coast. Their product lineup includes a range of infused salts, honey, and candy, because everyone deserves a more delicious holiday season. We were particularly drawn to this cute + tiny package for the salt lover on-the-go.
004. Playing Cards by Misc Goods Co.
There’s a fine line between old-and-familiar and hmmmm-but-can-we-make-this-cooler and these playing cards are in latter camp. There’s something to be said for the cottage-cozy card design that everyone knows, but we love a good reinvention. Misc Goods Co. has delivered exactly that with their gold-embossed card deck. The deck’s subtle-but-impressive updates to the illustrations and symbols ensures your next game of euchre will feel a touch more refined.
We sourced this one-of-a-kind deck from Coco Kelley, an online shop run by stylist extraordinaire Cassandra LaValle featuring dozens of unique products and accent pieces to make the holidays just a little more bright and beautiful.
005. Flamingo Estate Candles
A candle on a holiday gift list? Admittedly not one of our more original selections… BUT. The line of Flamingo Estate candles caught our eye with their unique scents, sure to enthral any foodie. Their candles skip over expected staples like pine and leather to capture more of a Grandma’s Garden vibe with “Climbing Tuscan Rosemary” and “Roma Heirloom Tomato” scents. Their stunning packaging makes them a beautiful addition to a coffee table or mantle, and that’s a selling point we simply can’t pass up. Fun fact: the Flamingo Estate brand is the result of a creative agency owner making a major industry pivot during the pandemic.
006. The Essential Glass Straw
Reusable straws are everywhere these days (and for good reason), but if the ubiquitous stainless steel ones feel a little too sterile for your tastes, we’d like to introduce you to a decidedly luxurious alternative (fellow TikTok-ers may recognize these trendy pieces from many a whipped coffee). This set of coloured glass straws from Hawkins New York unite environmental friendliness with a damn good aesthetic, so you can ensure the beverage lover on your list sips in style. (Bonus: they’re sturdy enough that they can even go in the dishwasher.)
007. Cuna De Piedra
Like most things, there is an entire world of delicious chocolate outside of the big brands cluttering the grocery checkout aisle. Cuna De Piedra is a Mexican chocolate company whose business cuts out the middle man, working directly with producers who grow, harvest and ferment in the same place, ensuring that they get the highest pay for what their own land provides. Based in Nuevo Leon, Cuna De Piedra walks the walk of slow food, respect for tradition, and honouring the skills and talents of the artisans who make these bars of chocolate a delicious reality.
With Cuna De Piedra’s beautiful packaging, why even bother with gift wrap?
008. Belly Full
Just to be clear — this one isn’t a cookbook. Belly Full is actually an in-depth exploration of Caribbean food in the United Kingdom, shining a spotlight on not just the establishments or their delicious food, but the families and people behind them. The book, written by London-born Riaz Philips and successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2016, is self-described as “a snapshot of the food landscape of Jamaica to Guyana with profiles from over 70 locations including cafés, bakeries, butchers, takeaways and diners. All with a unique story.”
Belly Full is published by Tezeta Press, an independent publishing company based in London and Johannesburg dedicated to under-represented ideas, history and culture. We picked up the last copy at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. It seems Belly Full is currently out of stock in bookstores, but can be found here.
009. Mama’s Way Hot Sauce
If you’re shopping for (or identify as) the home chef who loves to make sure Tuesday dinnertime is a restaurant-calibre affair, adding top-shelf sauces to the pantry is always a good idea.
Woon is a family-run Chinese restaurant in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown where chef “Mama Fong” urges customers to add housemade white vinegar and garlic chili sauce to their noodle dishes. When the pandemic shut down in-person dining, her son — owner Keenan Fong — combined the two condiments for easy takeout, dubbing the blend Mama’s Way.
Woon claims their bright, spicy sauce is perfect on “pretty much anything” which is definitely our preferred hot sauce approach.
And there you have it, friend.
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