Food-themed gifts are always a hit, and it seems the global pandemic has us eating and drinking more — and better — than ever before. Gifts of food and wine always evoke the places they come from, and since travel has been so restricted this year, a thoughtful gift from a well-loved destination will be deeply appreciated. Sheltering in place has also helped me get to know my own Bay Area back yard a bit better — here are 10 gift suggestions from local makers, from surprising finds to perennial classics.
The Bay Area is fortunate to have an abundance of great Italian chefs, and a world-class example is Donato Scotti, whose local outposts include Donato Enoteca, Donato & Co., Cru and Cento Osteria. Restaurants have been among the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, and Scotti quickly pivoted, as we say, to online offerings of the special ingredients he uses in his restaurant kitchens. But even better, he’s now teaching you all his culinary secrets with online cooking classes. I took a class with Scotti and Gianluca Guglielmi (of Donato & Co.), and I can attest to the profound patience of these two men as virtual cooking teachers, a formidable job. Upcoming sessions include:
12/13: Cooking and Wine Tasting while making classic agnolotti del plin and enjoying Barbaresco and Barolo wines
12/18: La Cucina Romana, featuring carbonara and cacio e pepe recipes
12/20: Holiday dishes from Emilia-Romagna, including tortellini and flan di Parmigiano
12/24: La zuppa di pesce, a Christmas Eve tradition
When you sign up, you’ll get a kit that includes everything you need for the class.
Oakland’s Mr. Espresso is a family-owned coffee company that has long been a local favorite for Italian-style oakwood-roasted coffees. And now, the brand’s signature style is available in a convenient portable format. These compostable pouches, filled with a blend of fair-trade, organic-certified coffees (called Seven Bridges, named for the seven main Bay Area bridges), are steeped in water (much like tea) for a quick and remarkably complex cup.
Bay Area chefs have gone from importing olive oil from Europe to largely sourcing it right here at home in a matter of only a decade or so. In that time, California olive growers have established their rightful place at the table with world-class oil pressed from many different…