12 Days of Delicious

This year, we encourage you to think outside the box for your holiday giving. Consider some of these unique food and wine gift ideas and hum along …

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

My very own organic pear tree 

Why give a box of fruit—or worse yet, a fruitcake—when you can give the gift that keeps on giving? Hop in your car and cruise up the 101 to one of the best-kept secrets in the Valley—native fruit trees at wholesale prices for the public! A pilgrimage to Hartley Botanica in Moorpark should be on the bucket list of anyone who loves gardening. It’s an incredible oasis with incredible prices. No wonder all the pricey landscapers buy their materials right here. 

805-532-1997, hartleybotanica.com 


On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

2 fermentations

Making sparkling wine in the méthode champenoise means capturing both the primary and the secondary fermentations within the bottle itself—practical and delicious magic! A holiday gift box from Champagne Billecart-Salmon offers incredible value at about $60 per bottle for the Brut Reserve bottling. 

Available at Woodland Hills Wine Company in 

Woodland Hills. 800-678-9463, whwc.com 


On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

3 fancy cheeses

Fondly do I remember the Hickory Farms gift boxes one of my dad’s colleagues used to send each Christmas. Upgrade this classic staple with the local fromagiers over at the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City. Stop by for a cheese tasting with these friendly folks, who will happily guide you from Pluvius to Piave to Pondhopper, with suggestions for beer and wine to match each beautifully. 

818-505-0207, artisancheesegallery.com


On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

4 sharp knives

Beloved by chefs and coveted by others, the knives from Hammer Stahl marry high-quality German craftsmanship with sexy Pakkawood for an ergonomic feel that is friendly but lethally sharp. Buy this set for the carnivore on your gift list and check out their entire line of amazing cutlery.

866-394-3136, hammerstahl.com


On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

5 hours of bliss!

The whole “farm-to-table” movement takes on entirely new meaning when the table is in the spa! Increasingly, vinotherapy techniques aim to take the same age- and cancer-fighting compounds found in wine grapes and apply them to spa treatments. Similarly, organic food and plant-based products are supplanting harsher chemical processes at many top-notch locations. As Nunei Harrington of the Butterfly Loft & Spa in Encino puts it, “If you cannot eat it, do not put it on your skin!” Check out her entire range of amazing treatments and reward someone you love with some bliss. 

818-536-4092, butterflyloft.com 


On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

6 mini bottles

Move over tiny Wild Turkeys—from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tim Bucher comes one of the most innovative ideas to hit the wine industry in recent years, bringing the winery tasting room to you in the form of six mini wine bottles for sampling. This sleek and gorgeous site allows you to build your own sampler or try the curated collections from guest palates like Mario Batali or Michael Chiarello. tastingroom.com  


On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

7 puzzle platters

Forget those silly wine glass charms—this ingenious Totally Bamboo puzzle platter allows you to gracefully balance your wine glass while piling up the spanokopita triangles and pigs-in-blankets. When not being used individually, these bamboo platters interlock to create a gorgeous rectangular centerpiece for serving. I love these. 

760-471-6600, totallybamboo.com 


On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

8 gorgeous glasses

Proper stemware has a stem, by the way, and is a surprisingly affordable and welcome gift at the holidays. Legendary glassware purveyor Riedel has partnered with Williams-Sonoma to design the Ouverture Gift Set, a pretty box of crystal flutes, white and red wine glasses designed for entertaining. Pay for eight, get a box of 12 stems for just $79. It’s a steal.  

Available online and at Williams-Sonoma stores in Sherman Oaks, Glendale and Topanga. williams-sonoma.com


On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

9 bars of chocolate

A pretty and inexpensive gift idea is to stack up a pile of gourmet bars, tied with a pretty ribbon, for your own chocoholic. I discovered Theo chocolate five years ago, and its commitment to organic, free-trade products is matched only by pure deliciousness. From spicy chile to salted almond to coconut curry, Theo chocolate bars are super easy to get and give. Yum.

Available online at theochocolate.com and at Whole Foods locations in Sherman Oaks and Tarzana. wholefoodsmarket.com


On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

10 pods of coffee

Someone recently asked me to test-drive the new Kaldi single-serve system recently launched by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. At just $150 and available in a range of cheerful colors, this little guy makes incredible espresso in addition to brewed coffee and teas. The pods come in packs of 10 and are affordably priced, too. 

Available online at cbtl.com and at all Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations.


On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

11 dipping oils

Home connoisseurs in Southern California are in for a treat when they discover Leonardo e Roberto’s Gourmet Blends line of vinegars and oils. Co-founder Leonardo “Lenny” Levy is an evangelist for authentic aceto balsamico di Modena and for olive oils infused with herbs, fruits and spices. Look for these at your local farmers market and put together a sampler for your favorite home chef.  

Available online at gourmetblends.us and at Sherman Oaks (Tuesday p.m.), Glendale (Saturday a.m.) and Calabasas (Saturday a.m.) farmers markets.


On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 

12-year old Macallan

This year, the Macallan has dressed up its signature Sherry Oak 12 Years Old in limited edition bottles designed by photographer Nic Veasey—each features an X-ray image of one the Macallan’s six pillar icons. Enthusiasts for Scotch or art alike can hunt down all six to complete this truly unique collection.  

Available December 1 at fine wine and liquor stores throughout Southern California.