It is the season of giving, and the season of gifting. What to get the food lovers in your life? There are eight nights of Hanukkah and 12 Days of Christmas (according to that song with a partridge in a pear tree), so I’ll split the difference and offer 10 holiday gift suggestions that can stuff stockings and fill bellies.
Honeybells — The arrival of Florida honeybells is a sweet and juicy sign that we have made it the cool and pleasant heart of our dry season. Fortunately, honeybell season also coincides with the holidays, meaning you can gift and ship bushels and crates of the fruit (Minneola tangelo, a cross between tangerine and grapefruit) to relatives near and far. Among the places that ship: Alex’s Flamingo Groves ($33.99 and higher, 800-327-3767) and Bob Roth’s New River Groves ($33.99 and higher, 800-227-0203).
Stone crabs — The shells are hard, but hearts will melt like clarified butter over South Florida’s beloved winter seafood delicacy. For those who live locally and don’t feel like waiting three hours for a table or those who live far away and want a taste of a South Beach institution, Joe’s Stone Crab ships platters everywhere, starting at $128.95 for mediums. Order at JoesStoneCrab.com or call 800-780-2722.
Coffee — Victoria L’Originale (212 N. Federal Highway, Dania Beach) is not a place for laptop lounging or a cup of chain coffee, but rather a caffeine wonderland for people serious about brewing at home. This shop features high-end espresso machines from Italy and also coffee beans and blends. Espresso ($22.95) and coffee ($24.95) are sold in 2-pound bags. Order at VLO.com or call 954-922-2512.
Florida beef — Besides owning racehorses, casinos and thoroughbred tracks such as Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Austrian-born auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach also operates Adena Farms, a cattle ranch in Ocala. Grass-fed beef, which is allowed to roam freely on 95,000 acres, has recently become available at AdenaFarms.com with a selection of ground beef, steaks and roasts starting at $10.99. Products are shipped on dry ice.
Key lime bundt cake — We Take the Cake (1211 NE Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) began 20 years ago as a mail-order bakery. Lori Karmel bought the company a few years later and turned it into a boutique juggernaut. Its Key lime bundt cake ($28) has been featured on the “Today Show” and was once named a favorite thing by Oprah. It is available for pickup or delivery (additional cost) in the tricounty area. Order at WeTakeTheCake.com or call 954-764-2253.
Air fryer — This year’s hot appliance for home chefs is the air fryer, which makes food crispy via air convection as opposed to fatty sizzling oil. They are available in all major stores, with many brands starting at $99, but I’m partial to the multipurpose Cuisinart toaster-oven air fryer ($199).
Food festival tickets — Our plates and cups runneth over with food and wine festivals in South Florida. For those who like events as gifts, may we suggest tickets to the Palm Beach Wine and Food Festival (Dec. 14-17), the 2018 Key West Food and Wine Festival (Jan. 24-28) and the 2018 South Beach Wine and Food Festival (Feb. 21-25). A trip to Key West would be a good way to support the locals still recovering from Hurricane Irma. The South Beach Wine and Food Festival will feature 97 ticketed events, including a record 11 in Broward County. Among the hot tickets: Lucky Chopsticks ($125), an Asian street-food celebration hosted by Andrew Zimmern, which takes place Feb. 23 at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel.
Food charity events — Giving to food-related charities by supporting their events is a way to give and receive. Among the ways to do it: Food for the Poor, which provides food and support to Haiti and other impoverished nations, holds its annual gala on Feb. 3 ($300) at the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club in Boca Raton. And Feeding South Florida, which provides food and support for locals, has several upcoming events including a holiday wrapathon and 5K run.
Sonoma and Napa wine — Disasters have struck many places this year, but oenophiles took a punch to the gut when they saw so many vineyards and wineries burn in the Sonoma and Napa wildfires of October. One way to help recovery is to buy wines still available from damaged vineyards, and Sonoma Magazine has a compilation of wineries that are donating a portion of their sales to relief efforts.
Truffles — For those who want to luxuriate in unadulterated indulgence, white truffles are now in season. A few shavings here, there and everywhere during the holidays (on pasta, eggs, potatoes and even slices of prime rib) make life seem more sinful. Urbani truffles ships fresh white truffles in varying sizes (starting at $160 for a half ounce), but use them quickly or they will lose their fragrance. Buy at Ubrani.com or call 212-247-8800.