The North Shore is brimming with gifts for food lovers – get the history-buff chocolates made following a 50-year-old recipe or get the grillmaster lessons in whole animal butchery. Shop local and give gifts you know people will use with these favorites.
Grande Holiday Cheer Box, Fabrizia Limoncello
$74.99, Salem, N.H.
This New Hampshire company is so famous for their limoncello, which uses imported Sicilian lemons, they were featured on TV in Italy. Now they incorporate their delicious liqueur into cookies, biscotti, and sweet bread. All their goodies are locally baked, and sing with bright citrus flavors (don’t worry, the alcohol is baked off). Try the Grande Holiday Cheer box, which is packed with cookies, candy and even pretty paper napkins, ready to rock a lemony party or a beautifully packaged gift. Buy online.
Dried Pasta, Pastaio Via Corta
The bronze-die-extruded hand-made pasta at this emporium of pedigreed Italian provisions is made with locally milled flour, and often incorporates local produce (if you can get your hands on the casarecce with wild nettles, just do it). Toothsome and hearty, it will please any home cook. Learn more.
Mexican Cooking Class, Rosita’s Cocina
Starts at $95
Bubbly chef Rosa Garza brings the cuisine of her youth to the North Shore in these fun interactive cooking classes. Choose from her monthly lesson taught at Kitchen Local in Amesbury, covering dishes like enchiladas and chilles rellenos, or opt for a private class in your home or at Kitchen Local, where you build your own menu. Book online.
Kitchen 101 Class, Modern Butcher
Give the gift of eating well with the Modern Butcher’s Kitchen 101 class, where attendees learn how to break down a chicken then cook it perfectly, as well as some tips and tricks for cooking pork and steak. Classes are fun, with snacks and drinks and answers to your burning meat and cooking questions throughout. Learn more.
Molten Drinking Chocolate, m. cacao
This indulgent drink – hot cocoa’s sophisticated older sibling – starts with the same real chocolate m cacao uses to craft their delectable truffles and other sweets. Thick, rich and not too sweet, in flavors like cranberry tangerine, French spice au miel, and hickory-smoked salted maple, these are grown-up flavors meant to savor. Order online.
Nordic Moonlight Shadow Box, Harbor Sweets
$59, Salem, Mass.
This pretty package holds 40 pieces of fine chocolate made right in Salem, including white, milk, and dark, and featuring the brand’s famous Sweet Sloops. The candies –a sailboat shaped piece of almond butter crunch with white chocolate sails, dark chocolate hull and pecan spindrift washing the sides—were invented by the original owner 50 years ago. For nature-lovers, get the brand’s Gather collection. Flavored with local honey, 2.5 percent of all Gather sales are donated to the Pollinator Partnership to aid in efforts to preserve and protect bees. Buy online.
Maple Cinnamon Peanut Butter, HealthyNut
Only two jars of this indulgent spread are ground at a time, making it a truly handcrafted product. Toss in a couple bags of their Protein Balls, and grab some jars of their Overnight Oatmeal for yourself, as an easy, sweet and healthy Christmas morning treat. Buy online.
Pear and Cardamom Preserves, Roots and Spoon
This exotic and delicious treat, filled with pear chunks from North of Boston farm, is perfect for a cheese board, or to spread on toast (maybe with some Healthynut peanut butter). Boxford-native Laura Lee Imhoff’s love of canning combined with bountiful local produce spawned this combination, as well as a wealth of other small batch jams, jellies, pickles, and relishes made from produce from places like Mill River Winery, Heron Pond Farm, Paisley Farm and Greenhouse. Put the Wine & Tarragon Chiogga Beets on an antipasto board and just wait for the compliments to roll in. Buy online.
Premier Holiday Collection, Lark Fine Foods
Baked from scratch right in Essex, these cookies for grown-ups are versatile enough to go with a cup of tea or a glass of wine. The Premier Holiday collection includes five boxes of treats, including the salty-savory-sweet Olive Scourtin (this writer’s favorite) and Russian Tea Cakes, and a pair of pretty brushed-gold tumblers. Buy online.
Vanilla Extract, Buttermilk Baking Co.
If you want a sexy Santa cake, or a pie that details exactly what you think of your uncle’s politics, Buttermilk is your place. But for the DIYers in your life, stuff their stockings with Buttermilk’s house-made vanilla extract. Made with whole vanilla beans and dark rum, aged for 18 months, this 8-oz. bottle will amp up all their baked goods. Learn more.