spicesHoliday shopping is a sport for some, especially those who have turned Black Friday into a contact sport. For others, it’s a drudgery that turns even the best of us into grumbling Ebenezer Scrooges. For the latter, we can’t recommend enough the joy of online shopping. For the food obsessed on your gift list, indulge their love of Instagrammable delicacies with these unusual artisanal gifts guaranteed to show your good taste that indulgences theirs. Plus, we promise you won’t get accosted by “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” blasting over the speakers at your local mall.


True foodies know the difference between a cooking salt and a finishing salt, set them up with a Salts of The World Test Tube Set ($40) from Uncommon Goods. Six salts, all with unique tastes and uses, in a reusable test tube rack. The Spice Lab also has a fun, gourmet flavored Sea Salt Gift Pack ($29.95), offering six, 1.1 oz. jars from Casina Rossa, featuring a Truffle Salt and a Saffron Salt. For a truly spicy gift, give them Kauffmann Mercantile’s Chicken Soup Spice Set ($39) featuring six spices perfect for a homemade soup to rival Mom’s. Packaged in California by the all-natural Whole Spice farm, chefs will find dozens of uses for the turmeric, chili, and bay leaves included.


The legendary Cowgirl Creamery has been producing artisanal cheeses on their Pt. Reyes farm for two decades, find out what Bay Area chefs can’t live without with their Pepper Mountain Collection ($50).  Cowgirl Creamery’s most popular, creamy Mt. Tam cheese paired with a basque pepper honey and lavosh crackers.


Every foodie loves the unique, non-modified flavor of heirloom produce, give them something truly unusual from Rancho Gordo, purveyor of heirloom New World Foods.  With over 35 heirloom beans in their arsenal, Rancho Gordo is a chef’s favorite (Thomas Keller is a fan!).  Also featuring dozens of grains and rice, go for one of their handsome, superfood gift sets in reusable wooden crates.  Your favorite vegetarian will love the protein rich heritage grains and recipes in the Great Grains Gift Box ($44), or go for the exotic Desert Island Sampler featuring five pounds of different beans and recipes ( $29.75).


Any aspiring chef or foodie worth his salt (see what we did there?) would be lost without a good, high quality, extra virgin olive oil.  Dean & Deluca exclusively offers Antico Frantoio Muraglia Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($50), cold pressed on granite grindstones in Italy and packaged in a handmade, rainbow striped ceramic jar.