Tag Archives: Holiday Gifts

Les Dames d’Escoffier BC – Holiday Suggestions – Part One

Les Dames d’Escoffier Members Suggest Some Holiday Gifts

I am proud to say I am a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, and I am honoured to be included in this group of strong and accomplished women. Les Dames d’Escoffier is a world-wide organizaion and can be decribed formally as “A leadership culinary organization composed of women who have not only achieved success in their professions, but who contribute significantly to their communities”, as stated ofiicially on our website.

In British Columbia we spend most of our time raising funds for scholarships for studies in wine, and culinary arts  and also contribute funds for classroom programs for children, specifically Growing Chefs and Project Chef.  But we also have full time careers, running our own businesses or helping our clients, employees and employers excel. I asked some of our Dames for holiday gift suggestions, specifically from their own businesses or those they contribute to.

gift certificateholiday gift certificates

Dame Nancy Wong

Gift of Good Taste from Provence Marinaside – This is one of our favourite places to dine and Les Dames even had their AGM here this year! Dame Wong suggests surprising your friends and family with a trip to France with a gift certificate to award-winning Provence Marinaside in Yaletown. Provence Gift Certificates are available in any denomination and can be purchased online or at the restaurant.

Don’t be Stuck for Gift Giving, Stuff a Stocking with Laughs from Vancouver TheatreSports – We went to TheatreSports several times this year and both Michael and I ended up on stage; I was even on for a whole show. Dame Wong reminds us that everyone needs a laugh and they are so easy to give with a Vancouver TheatreSports Gift Certificate.  VTSL Gift certificates are available in any denomination of your choosing. Certificates can be applied to any show performance or ICI course and are redeemable online or in person. They can be purchased either online or in person.

maverick apron

Dame Christine Blackwood

Maverick Apron – Blackwood Apparel

Dame Blackwood not only suggested this gift, but also made sure I had one to try for my cookie class that I had the night when I stopped in to visti her. I can put my own stamp of approval on this too. These aprons are super cool, and sturdy enough for even a busy pro chef, so you know they’ll last a long time in a home kitchen. The new Maverick line from Blackwood is all so very excellent, the jackets and pants would be very well received, especially if you have a fashionable chef in your life.thierry chestnutlogcake photocreditjohnsherlock

Dame Judy Ahola 

Thierry Cafe – Buche de Noel

I did a whole article on Buche’s last year I love these cakes so much. If you really want to impress, a Bûche de Noël, or Yule log cake as they are often referred to, is the item that tops off that decadent holiday dinner.  Dame Ahola suggests a Buche Noel from Thierry Cafe and reminds us that advance orders for several flavours of Chef Thierry’s buche de noel creations can be placed by calling 604.608.6870, online by emailing order@thierrychocolates.com.  Pick-up cakes on either December 23 or 24th.

preservatorywalnut wine

Dame Lee Murphy

We visited Vista d’Oro  this summer and left with several wines and jams. Dame Murphy’s pick is the 2008 D’oro – a red wine fortified with green walnut brandy from her winery and the Preservatory artisanal preserves  that she crafts. I am so looking forward to her cookbook coming out this year,  and these items are definitely on my wish list every year. If you’ve not sampled Vista D’Oro wines, head to Langley and make an afternoon of it.


Dame Daniela Cubelic

Dame Cubelic owns Silk Road Tea and items are available in her Vancouver and Victoria stores, as well as for purchase online.  Orders placed online that are over $50 receive free delivery too, so act quick. I stop by the Kits location often for tea and adore the tea pots and mugs there, in fact keep thinking of a specific to go mug with a reindeer on it that I just may have to have.

noel spice herbal tea 512px 512px

Noel Spice Tea – This cosy herbal blend combines organic cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice with rose petals, chamomile and rooibos to create festiviTEA in a teacup.

Special Reserve Tea Collection Gift Box – An assortment of rare teas that celebrate tea craftsmanship, support biodiversity, the environment and small scale tea farmers.

jade cake stand

Dame Caren McSherry

Gourmet Warehouse is one of my favourite places to shop and Dame McSherry knows what food lovers want and I can’t help but wanting all these things myself too. All available at her store at East Hastings near Clark.

jade bowl

Mosser Glass Cake Platters and Bowl – Handmade in the USA, vintage design and beautiful for any table. Made of Jadeite Nesting bowls: $70.99 Cake Plates: $82.99

smoked oil

Arbequina Smoked Olive Oil – a brand new smoked arbequina olive oil from Spain. Its smoked using the traditional method (in oak wood for more than 15 days). Each bottle is numbered making it a very special gift as it is limited production. It comes with a pour spout and is sealed with red wax for freshness. Perfect for finishing fish, poultry, or meat. Price: $22.99

kombucha brew jar

Kombucha Kit – The first-ever fermentation crock to be designed specifically for kombucha brewing. It comes complete with its own filter and tap valve and allows you to brew and store your own kombucha at home. The rewritable label at the top of the crock makes it easy to identify each batch, while the booklet provides plenty of delicious recipes. Price: $45.99


Dame Dana Lee Harris

Mionetto Prosecco! – This is a super deal and we have a bottle at home that we may just sip straight or devote to a house cocktail. Dame Lee Harris suggests making your holiday season sparkle with delicious Mionetto Prosecco! Only $15.99, save $2.00, until December 31st – available at BCLDB.

Hart House Restaurant

Can’t decide whose turn it is to host the big meal? Bring the whole family to Hart House Restaurant and let us do the cooking! Hart House Restaurant is offering a festive three-course menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day $75 per person; Kids 10 and under: $38 Reservations by phone: 604-298-4278

Oyama Sausage Company

We love Oyama, especially their pork, of course! Pre-order all of our holiday specialties, then skip the line – use the Oyama Fast Lane!Oyama offers a Fast Lane service from December 17th to 24th. Just pre-order online or by phone: 604-327-7407 – allow 24 hours before picking up your order. No need to take a number, just come to the side counter – a great option when time is at its most precious. http://oyamasausage.ca/

Uncommon Goods – Retail With A Conscience


This summer when I was searching for some sturdy portable BBQs that could be wheeled out to our local beach, or park, and wouldn’t fall apart after merely one use, I came across a super cool site, UncommonGoods, that featuring a super cool BBQ that I had to have. At the time they weren’t shipping to Canada, but they thankfully now are, and I’m thinking I may just do a little more shopping this season for some holiday gifts.

The company has been around since 1999, is based in Brooklyn, is privately-owned and features unique jewelry, designer décor, tabletop items, and handcrafted gifts created in “harmony with the environment” Their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers, half of what they sell is made by hand.

In addition to the BBQ that I ordered up a wine cooler a wine tote that I got some serious use out of this summer. Here’s the scoop on each of these “Uncommon Goods”.

Get Grilling

Great for our BBQ this summer as we just strapped it to our cart and wheeled to the park. It’s perfectly sized for small, spontaneous cook-outs, and we love the sleek, modern design with silicone handles that stay cool when the grill is hot. It’s easy-to clean with a chromium-plated iron coal bucket and lid, and has a nylon strap to secure all the parts for storage and transportation.  Make it a set with the Bristle Free Grill Brush.

Totes Cool

This tote is perfect for hiding wine at the beach until those pesky liquor laws change. Carry your favorite BC wine or any beverage to picnics and tailgate parties in style. The bag is sturdy, water-proof and has a false bottom that conceals a 5-liter, leak-proof, airtight pouch that holds your drink of choice, and a freezer pack to keep things chill. It also has room for cups, snacks, or other essentials, as well as a zippered compartment for valuables and a comfortable shoulder strap that leaves your hands free, to drink!

uncommon trayIf you are looking for some ideas for the holiday season, UnCommon Goods has some great ones! How about a dish that goes right from the over to the table and looks great too? Pie anyone?



uncommongoods candle

Stocking stuffers are a breeze with Uncommon Goods, just check out the flavoured popcorn flavours above and there’s lots for the of gorgeous decor to beautify your holiday home, I’m captured by the shadow candles.

**UnCommon Goods sent me the BBQ and Tote and the other suggestions are also my own.

All I Want For Christmas with Jennifer Schell

Jennifer Schell

This holiday season we are catching up with some of our favourite local personalities to find out how they are celebrating the holidays and what might be on their holiday wish lists. First up, cookbook author and food writer, Jennifer Schell. Schell’s cookbook, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine and Cheese Maker celebrates all great food artisans and products from the Okanagan. It’s sold out, but stay tuned for the next version, with recipes and stories from “By the Sea”; Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. That’ll be a must for holiday gifts come 2014.weber bullet

1)     What is on your wish list for the holidays in terms of food and wine (your area of expertise)? A Weber Bullet!

2)   What about something not even related to that area that you are craving? Endless spa gift certificates

3)  What is the best gift you EVER got? A commissioned painting.

4)  What is the best gift you EVER gave? Big screen TV to my sports loving husband.

Upper Ben

5)  What is a great hostess gift that we might receive if we invited you into our home? A bottle of Okanagan wine and Okanagan cheese and probably a cookbook!

6)   What charity do you wish for more funding for in 2013? Soup sisters/broth brothers & Project Chef!

easy bake oven

7)  Best gift as a kid? Hands down – my red Easy bake oven.

8) How will you celebrate the holidays this year? Christmas Eve is our big night in keeping with our European traditions! Turkey dinner with my family on the farm is followed by present opening in the evening. I love the romance of opening gifts at nighttime when the tree is twinkling.

It’s Starting to Smell A Lot Like Christmas

What’s locally made, smells delicious and is 100% natural? That would be Scentuals Body Care, a line of essential oils, bath, body and hair care that comes in all sorts of delicious smelling flavours such as vanilla, gingerbread latte and evergreen, especially for the holiday season.

vanilla tangerine sentuals

Individual items are great for stocking stuffers, or grab a full gift set such as the vanilla tangerine pictured above for someone that’s been extra good.

The Christmas memory set has made our house smell divine. One spray and the festivities have begun! Plus we’ve got the soap and handcream in the bathroom so our guests smell good too! They’re made with organic argan oil, aloe juice, rice bran oil and more, and the burst of essential oils just scream Christmas. Felice Navidad!

Amazing Clubs Canada

Looking for a holiday gift for those gourmet lovers in your life? Amazing Clubs Canada ships boxes from its 22 different clubs across Canada. Full of rare products from international and domestic artisans and sources, the club creates a one-of-a-kind gifting option.
With everything from coffee to candles there is certain to be something for everyone on your list. The best thing about this gift is that it keeps giving throughout the year, as the boxes arrive monthly, so you’ll always be in the good books of all your gift receivers. And if you are lucky they may even invite you by to share. 14108299676_7218483ffc_z13944846388_3b15ed3f69_zCheck out there full line up here.