Bring the Party

Gifts for the vegan (and all food lovers) in your life

By Amanda Rock

The secret to gift giving is to give something you’re tempted to keep for yourself. The reason why is simple—we don’t splurge on fancy olive oil, flavored salt from Italy and top-shelf liquor for ourselves nearly enough! It’s going to be really hard to give these delicious gifts away, so be sure to buy for yourself—you deserve it. These gifts keep on giving and make each meal something special.

Located in historic Trolley Square, We Olive (602 E. 500 South, SLC, 801-448-7489, WeOlive.com/salt-lake-city) offers an abundance of gourmet, vegan-friendly gifts. Assemble your own gift basket, picking and choosing from the artisan extra-virgin olive oils from California, flavored vinegars and gourmet sauces and dips. They’ll even shrink wrap your basket for you. Or, choose from prepared gift boxes, packaged and ready to go.

The Olive Oil & Vinegar Experience Sampler Gift Box ($29.95) includes 2-ounce bottles of their most popular items: Organic Meyer lemon olive oil, fresh garlic olive oil, Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, and peach white balsamic vinegar. Their smaller gifts are ideal for neighbors and co-workers, and for keeping on hand for those surprise gift exchanges you didn’t see coming. For $10, you can choose from a variety of olive oils and vinegars, paired with a recipe card. While the recipe may not be vegan, it can serve as inspiration.

I purchased the blood orange olive oil and traditional aged balsamic that came with a recipe for cranberry orange crostini. All you’d need to do to make this dish vegan is swap out the goat cheese for a vegan soft cheese. You could even gift this with your favorite fancy vegan cheese!

Most people think “meat and cheese” when it comes to Caputo’s Market (multiple locations, Caputos.com). But the deli also has shelves of tasty vegan options perfect for a gift basket, from pasta and sauce imported from Italy to a mind-boggling collection of fine chocolate, preserved vegetables, a stunning array of flavorful bitters and olive oils and vinegars. Plus, they will help assemble and wrap the baskets. An item you likely won’t find in other stores is Hellenic Farms Fig Salami ($9.99), made from Greek figs, that pairs beautifully with your favorite vegan cheese and crackers. It comes in pistachio, smoked paprika and Aleppo pepper, and orange zest and Aleppo pepper. For something pre-packaged, the Casina Rossa Gourmet Salt 6-pack ($21.99) makes a thoughtful gift. Small jars of salt combined with truffle, fennel, fiori (flavored with wild orange peel and pretty, edible flowers), porcini and herbs are stacked in a plastic tube—all it needs is a bow!

For those in the market for something unusual and delicious, look no farther than Waterpocket Distillery (2084 W. 2200 South, West Valley City, 385-202-5725, Waterpocket.co). A bottle of Notom herbal liqueur is an unexpected and welcome gift, whether you’re bringing the bottle to share after dinner, or giving it as a present. Served neat and chilled, this digestif warms the throat and stomach with peppermint, anise and galanga (which gives Thai food its zing).

The holiday season is the perfect time to share your enthusiasm for how delicious and easy it is to be vegan. Stop by a local Harmons (HarmonsGrocery.com) and pick up a City Cakes treat to bring to dinner, work or to a friend’s party. Choose from vegan brownies ($3), donuts ($8), chocolate or vanilla cake ($11) or lemon coconut and carrot cake ($12). These all happen to be gluten-free, too.

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