To me, there’s no better gift than the gift of food.
Sure, I wouldn’t mind a new Honda Fit or an oceanfront bungalow on some secluded beach.
But let’s be real.
Unless my husband — or I! — win Megabucks in the next three days, the likelihood of those gifts appearing under my Christmas tree is virtually nil.
The next best thing?
Everyone loves food. And everyone needs to eat. So food gifts tend to be the quick, easy and surefire gift to give anyone on your Christmas list.
Here are some of my favorites right now:
Truffles from Choco le‘a
There’s not many things better in this world than solid dark-chocolate truffles (top photo). And the ones from Choco le‘a are no exception. The Mānoa artisan chocolatier uses a blend of Hawaiian and European chocolates and fills them with anything you can think of — mochi, liliko‘i, peanut butter and jelly, Guinness beer, haupia, cookie butter, even ice wine. The boutique also sells macadamia nut clusters, chocolate-covered Oreos and chocolate-dipped dried fruits such as pineapple and jabong — all which make great gifts and stocking stuffers. For the serious chocoholic, consider a six-month membership of customized chocolate boxes. The nine-piece membership is $120, the 20-piece is $240. I mean, who wouldn’t love that?
Choco le‘a, 2909 Lowrey Ave., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Eve. (808) 371-2234.
House-made pickles from Bethel Street Tap Room
Maybe it’s an odd gift. But to any pickle lover — and I happen to be one — a jar of house-made pickles would be an unexpected surprise. Bethel Street Tap Room in Chinatown — which, by the way, has an amazing pickle martini — is now selling 32-ounce jars of its famous dill pickles. Each jar has about 10 to 14 pickle halves, all for $12. (It also sells a Bloody Mary mix, 32 ounces for $16, and a combo of both for $24.)
Bethel Street Tap Room, 1153 Bethel St., 11 a.m. to closing Monday through Saturday, (808) 524-0920.
White-chocolate peppermint pretzels from Neiman Marcus
I am completely obsessed with these white-chocolate peppermint pretzels from Neiman Marcus. It’s the perfect combination of sugar, salt and crunch, and I literally can’t stop eating them. Each traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel log is covered in white chocolate and peppermint sprinkles in a festive holiday color, all made exclusively for the luxury department store. A tin costs $25 — and it’s so worth it!
Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd.,(808) 951-8887.
Liliko‘i balsamic dressing and vanilla caramel from Kahuku Farms
I’m a big fan of Kahuku Farms — its farm tour, its café, the family who runs it. And every time I’m on my way to the North Shore, I try to stop there. My favorite items — aside from the papaya-banana smoothie, grilled banana bread and roasted veggie soup — are these culinary products made from farm-grown ingredients. The rich and creamy vanilla caramel ($7.75 for 4.5 ounces) uses Kahuku-grown vanilla and is perfect over ice cream or hot cereal. And the tangy, farm-fresh liliko‘i balsamic dressing ($6 for 5.5 ounces) — it’s used on the salads sold at the café — is made with local passion fruit; it’s great on salads or as a marinade for chicken and fish. These are unique food gifts that support a family-run farm.
Kahuku Farms, 56-800 Kamehameha Highway, (808) 293-8159.
Peppermint Bark Bites from Williams-Sonoma
Christmas, to me, is indulging in the nostalgic peppermint bark from Williams-Sonoma. It’s the quintessential holiday snack. The high-end, gourmet food retailer sells the handmade bark in one-pound tins (just under $30) or as bites (above), which are around $14 for four bars. It’s made from custom-blended Guittard premium chocolate, infused with natural peppermint oil, layered with creamy white chocolate and finished with crisp, handmade peppermint candy bits. Honestly, it’s Christmas in my mouth.
Williams-Sonoma, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 951-0088.