Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Best of Bay and Beyond Gift Guide

As a kid you generally relish in the memories of the holidays as a time to eat lots and lots of snowman cookies, dream about the magical day that is Christmas and all the presents you'll get, and of course on that fateful day bouncing down the stairs to open one after another gift until you are left with a pile of shiny new toys. Well, while this was very much a lovely reality for me, I also was one of those very interesting children, and now adult, who loved the idea of a gift set for Christmas. One of the very first gift sets I encountered was the ubiquitous Hickory Farms gift box filled to the brim with smoked cheeses, sausage, mustards, sweet paring knives for those said cheeses and of course the beautiful box or basket the set came in. I probably first encountered this type of holiday gift at a Walgreens or a gift to my parents, but once I saw it perfectly packaged and ready to gift in its entirety I was hooked -- it was perfect and I wanted it in my stocking (if it fit) or under the tree. Not sure how or why I needed a gift like this as a teen, but as an adult, I still romanticize the notion of a great gift set in a perfectly packaged basket. Fast forward years later and every Christmas I obsess over a great gift set. And here in San Francisco, I've encountered some very special ones! Sets for foodies, sets for wine drinkers, sets for beauty-obsessed friends -- there is pretty much a set for every kind of picky friend on your list. So without further ado, here is my great gift guide for San Francisco and beyond. Happy gifting!

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Jamnation  -- damn good jam for the foodie or a hostess at your next holiday party.
Well, as the name suggests it's not a jam to sleep on, people. This gift set is one for the foodies in your life, the ladies and gents who have dinner parties and whip up cheese plates for fun, these jams will be the present that wows them, since it's actually called the 'Cheese Lovers' Gift Set'. With flavors like Midnight in Pearis -- bosc pear butter with vanilla + nutmeg, Can You Fig It -- black mission fig jam with thyme, and Apricot Red-Handed -- Blenheim apricot jam with almond -- this gift set is a no-brainer, and it's only $27.95. I love that each jam is carefully crafted with local fruit, and I believe it's not grown more than 200 miles from here where it's created. I've always been a fan of Jamnnation since I was introduced to them a few years ago, any jam set from them is a winner in my opinion, but this cheese lovers' one is next level.

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Fresh-- A lip set for your BFF, sister, or your very put-together work wife. I've been using this complete set: the lip scrub, the sugar lip treatment advanced therapy, and the final touch -- the Sugar Icon Tinted Lip Treatment in a classic red -- and my lips definitely feel luxe and winter-ready. I love the Advanced treatment as a standalone moisturizer, and I am obsessed with the Tinted Lip treatment, I wear that one a lot and it's perfect to get that chic French girl without-trying-pout. There isn't a full dedicated set for this trio, but if I were you I'd snag the last Lip Treatment and the Tinted Lip Treatment in the classic red shade for a total of $40 since everything is 20% off with free shipping right now.

Clif Family -- the perfect treat for your Mom, MIL or your favorite hostess.
This Napa Valley Happy Hour set is exactly what you'd need for an impromptu HH making any hour happy hour. The set includes libation appropriate favorites like a split of their red blend, rustic crackers, red pepper jam, smoked Spanish pimenton almonds, and maple curried cashews and almonds. It's a lovely little set and coming in at $60 retail, or $48 if you are a member of their wine club.

Round Pond Wines -- a really nice gift for really nice person, i.e, the foodie/wine lover in your life. 
I was recently introduced to Round Pond, a local Rutherford winery with really good wine. I opened a bottle of their 2016 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and was blown away. Let me tell you, I drink a lot of red wine but this was exceptional. Right now Round Pond is doing a pretty epic gift set that includes -- three full bottles of wine, three splits of wine, an infused olive oil, and a trio of syrups all gorgeously packaged in boxes with bows -- now that is a good gift! Make sure this giftee has been very good this year. Use code "AllergicToVanilla" for $10 flat rate shipping on all of their gifts this year!


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