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We approached our gift guide a little differently this year, curating a list (and checking it twice) that reflects the vibrant, innovative, diverse and exceptional region we call home, while also keeping in mind our ever-shifting reality during the pandemic.
Here are 12 gift ideas for the food lover in your life. All the products can be ordered online, and support the wonderfully resilient food and drink purveyors, makers and businesses in the East Bay.
Fat Gold flagship blend
The Good Food Awards-winning brand — co-founded by olive oil expert Kathryn Tomajan and her partner, author Robin Sloan — produces simply stunning extra-virgin olive oils with fruit sourced from California groves. A mix of Frantoio, Leccino and Maurino olives, Fat Gold’s 500ml flagship blend ($28) is bold and peppery, and goes great with pretty much everything. Order a tin online from the Oakland-based business before it sells out. Fat Gold
McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Trio
The Black women-owned wine company’s Black Girl Magic Trio ($61.72) is by far its most popular set. Featuring a 2018 Riesling, 2019 Rosé and 2018 Zinfandel, this bundle showcases the very best of California’s wine-growing regions and is shipped from the McBride Sisters’ Oakland headquarters. McBride Sisters Collection
Lunaria Flower Farm teas
Cultivated in Pescadero and sold in Oakland, Lunaria Flower Farm’s teas are made from organic herbs and flowers using biodynamic and permaculture growing methods. With lovely blends such as Korean mint (sweet and minty with notes of licorice), calendula (light, earthy and slightly bitter with a touch of spice) and juhua chrysanthemum (floral, lightly sweet and bitter), $5 each, Lunaria’s blends are perfect for the tea drinker on your list. Purchase the teas online or stop by the brand’s weekly pop-ups on Broadway in North Oakland. Lunaria Flower Farm
Community Grains Italian gift box
Founded by Oliveto’s Bob Klein, Oakland’s Community Grains asserts that the gift of high-quality, healthy foods never goes out of style, especially when its packages feature 100% whole grain products sourced directly from Bay Area farmers and producers, as well as specially curated recipes from food icons like Michael Pollan. The Italian gift box comes in a small, medium or large version ($49-$99), each featuring Community Grains products, a bottle of olive oil from Sienna, Italy, and coffee from Oakland roaster Mr. Espresso. Community Grains
BlueCut + Alexandra Bowman Planting Change apron
California-based apron and chef gear maker BlueCut teamed up with Oakland-based artist Alexandra Bowman to create a special-edition child ($48) and adult ($75) apron that celebrates and supports Black Americans in food and farming. With every Planting Change apron purchased, five BlueCut aprons will be given to Black-owned restaurants across the country through BCA Global. BlueCut
East Bay-made spirits from Alkali Rye
Located in the Grand Lake district, Alkali Rye is a BIPOC-owned, specialty beverage shop that sells an “intentional and focused” selection of spirits, wine, beer, coffee and lifestyle goods, like the limited-edition Black Panther 1966 tote benefiting the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation. But perhaps what makes Alkali so special is its “local” section that features East Bay-made spirits and liqueurs (prices vary, starting at $15) from Alameda’s St. George Spirits, Berkeley’s Home Base Spirits, Richmond’s Falcon Spirits Distillery and Oakland’s Wright & Brown Distilling Co., among many others. Alkali Rye, 3256 Grand Ave. (near Santa Clara Avenue), Oakland
1951 Coffee Company coffee subscription
The Berkeley-based nonprofit coffee company provides job training and employment opportunities for refugees, asylees and special immigrant visa holders in the United States through the sales of its specialty coffees. You can support the organization’s humanitarian efforts by gifting a coffee subscription. Choose from a variety of beans including espresso, decaf and single-origin. Prices range from $15.50-$39 for coffee that’s delivered every two weeks for 12 weeks. 1951 Coffee Company
Daybreak Seaweed Co. seaweed cooking bundle
This ocean-grown and women-owned business sustainably harvests seaweed along the California coast and transforms it into nutrient-packed seasonings that are good for you and good for the ocean. Based in Oakland, Daybreak Seaweed (formerly called Salt Point Seaweed) has been a Good Food Awards finalist two years in a row, and its cooking bundle ($29-$33) — featuring California kombu, two jars of wakame flake products and seasonal recipes — is the perfect introduction into the wonderful world of edible kelps and sea veggies. Daybreak Seaweed Co.
Farms to Grow CSA subscription
Dedicated to working with Black and underserved growers, Farms to Grow is an Oakland-based nonprofit that’s committed to sustainable and innovative agricultural practices while also motivating and supporting the next generation of farmers. Its community-supported agriculture (CSA) Harvest Bags are available for pickup or delivery once a month (starting from $33), featuring fresh, seasonal produce and other products from local Black farmers and food makers. Farms to Grow, CSA pick-up at 5316 Telegraph Ave. (in front of Telegraph Community Ministry Center), Oakland
Lion Dance Cafe holiday gift set
Treat a friend to this fun package filled with flavorful, gluten-free and vegan condiments from Oakland’s Singaporean-Chinese eatery Lion Dance Cafe. The holiday gift set ($38) includes jars of Lion Dance’s signature Makrut lime and curry leaf peanuts, spicy Morita chili Sambal Belacan, and laksa crunchies that will add texture and flavor to any dish; Lion Dance Cafe pins and stickers and a postcard featuring a watercolor illustration by co-owner C-Y Marie Chia. Order by Dec. 12 for delivery by Christmas (pickup also available before Dec. 19). Lion Dance Cafe
Preserved kombucha kit
Preserved on Telegraph Avenue is offering a make-your-own kombucha kit ($40), which includes a fermenting jar, organic sugar, organic black tea, reusable cloth tea bag, an illustrated recipe guide and heirloom kombucha culture. Tack on one of Preserved’s proprietary tea blends for even more fermented fun with the kombucha maker gift set ($27). Preserved, 5032 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland
Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom
Oakland resident and James Beard Award-winning chef and author, Bryant Terry’s latest cookbook Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes ($30) is lauded as one of the best cookbooks of the year, offering a comprehensive look at the simplicity and beauty of vegan food. Read more about Terry and the book on Nosh (and try the included recipe for citrus and garlic-herb braised fennel), then order the cookbook online. Order Vegetable Kingdom from your local bookstore, or order it online through Penguin Random House.