BY SUSAN WENZEL
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
Nov. 24, 2013
An entire world of magnificent gifts for all of the foodie family members and friends on your list can be found on one island – Whidbey Island that is.
The culinary arts section of Whidbey Life Magazine is your one-click destination for hostess gifts, Secret Santa exchanges, stocking stuffers and presents for neighbors, grandmas, teachers, cousins and even grouchy, hard to please Uncle Gerald. Food is the any age, any holiday or religion, true “one size fits all” offering for men, women and children alike. Edibles are the one token of your affection that will never be returned, sent off to the thrift store or — gasp! — regifted.
The chefs in your life — expert to beginner — would certainly appreciate a copy of the locally written and highly-lauded Hedgebrook Cookbook. “Celebrating Radical Hospitality” is chock-full of tried and true recipes for main courses, snacks, appetizers and desserts, as well as mouthwatering photos of the finest fare.
Perhaps those same masters of sumptuous culinary creations might prefer a baking dish from Cook on Clay or a few fine recipe ingredients from bayleaf — both in Coupeville.
The versatile, super easy to clean, nearly indestructible Cook On Clay flameware can be ordered and shipped in minutes all from the comfort of your couch without changing out of your jammies and bunny slippers. (Please note, the recommended deadline for Christmas orders headed east is Dec. 15. Dec.17 is the last day to place orders destined for California, Oregon and Washington).
Specialty foods shop, bayleaf, will customize and ship several sizes of gift baskets with or without wine. Standard baskets range from $25-$100. The sky is ultimately the limit though, as the little Coupeville shop is packed with wall-to-wall gourmet ingredients and ready-to-eat delights. After-hours personal shopping is available by appointment only, but make that date and a delicious libation is included to wet your whistle while you shop.
For the vino lovers on your list, visit Greenbank Farm’s wine shop in Greenbank or 2nd Street Wine Shop and Tasting Room in Langley for Whidbey Island made wines, such as Whidbey Island Winery, Useless Bay Wines, Spoiled Dog Winery, Blooms Winery and Ott and Murphy Wines. Or, visit these local wineries for tasting opportunities and expert first-hand advice from the vintners themselves.
If you are still in search of inspiration, there are a couple great locations offering an assortment of edibles for your perusing pleasure. Central Whidbey boasts 3 Sisters Family Farms & Market, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. They regularly stock fine products from many Whidbey Life Magazine members, including Greenman’s Guild, Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, Lavender Wind Farms and 3 Generations Jams. Select one of their pre-made gift baskets or have Middle Elf Jessica help you design your own.
There is a new pop-up shop in the old Bayview Cash Store at Bayview Corner open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday through the end of December. Handcrafted on Whidbey is its name and local shopping is its game. Santa’s little helpers, Vicky and Christine, are on-hand to assist shoppers while they select from a variety of giftwrap worthy goodies, including tasty treats from Island Apiaries, Little Brown Farm, Willowood Farm and much, much more. (Psst…they’ll wrap and ship for you too!)
Lastly, for anyone who has yet to purchase a gift for their favorite Whidbey Life Magazine food writer, rumor has it that her personal favorite pick (hint, hint) is chocolate, particularly the handcrafted truffles at Sweet Mona’s Chocolate Boutique in Langley. Really, any would do, but the Raspberry Dark, Tahitian Vanilla Dark and Orange Dark are to die for, and come in a pretty little box tied with a bow.
So, this year, eschew the hectic malls, rabid crowds and cram-packed parking lots and shop Whidbey Island, more specifically Whidbey Life Magazine’s culinary directory for everyone on your nice list, the few on your naughty list and even those who are impossible to buy for – like mean old Uncle Gerald.
Food writer Susan Wenzel believes in the power of locally produced food to fortify the health and well-being of both the individual and the community as a whole.
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