Theo-Chocolate-Caramels

holiday gift guide 2011: gifts that give back

We’re in the giving mood! That’s why this year’s list features goods that not only say I care enough to give you the very best, but give back in big ways. Every cook and wine lover’s delight on this year’s list is either made in a friendly to the environment way or offers a contribution to its community with every purchase. We think the companies featured on our guide truly take gift giving to a new level.

Theo Chocolate’s Taste of Washington Caramel Collection
Theo-Chocolate-CaramelsTheo is America’s only organic, fair trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the U.S. Not only do we love Theo for their community spirit but for their aphrodisiac flavors. The Taste of Washington collection features caramels infused with apple cider, lavender, cherry and coffee. So romantic! (While you’re ordering your lover his or her sweets, be sure to check out Theo’s selection of bars, sipping chocolates and vegan items.) $26Theo is America’s only organic, fair trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the U.S. Not only do we love Theo for their community spirit but for their aphrodisiac flavors. The Taste of Washington collection features caramels infused with apple cider, lavender, cherry and coffee. So romantic! (While you’re ordering your lover his or her sweets, be sure to check out Theo’s selection of bars, sipping chocolates and vegan items.) $26
https://www.theochocolate.com

Afire Herb and Spice Rubs
Made from all-natural ingredients, Afire’s rubs are designed to make roasting and grilling easy. The perfect size for stocking stuffing, they come in four flavors: steak & hamburger; pork & lamb; chicken & turkey and seafood. Afire is known as a leader in eco-friendly grilling products. The rubs also make a great pairing with their sustainable hardwood grilling planks. (The company also sells an eco-friendly charcoal, in case you’re feeling sour about anyone on your gift list… a lump of coal!) $10
http://www.afireinc.com/

shabby apple carrot cake

carrot cake apron

Shabby Apple Vintage-Inspired Aprons
We believe in feeling sexy, even at the stove. And what better to keep you looking retro-glam while slaving over a hot oven than a reliable yet flirty apron? Shabby Apple’s aprons come in a variety of prints and styles, but we think the sexy among you will appreciate Wildberry Pie. And for those who move with a Marilyn vibe, we recommend the halter-style Carrot Cake. And you can feel good while vamping in your kitchen couture knowing that Shabby Apple not only donates a portion of proceeds to charity, but also offers a program for emerging designers. $32-40
http://www.shabbyapple.com/

SodaStream FIZZ
sodastreamA gift that truly keeps on giving, SodaStream allows you to make any kind of carbonated drink at home, from seltzer to soda. And the company’s new FIZZ machine comes in colors to match even the most chic chef’s decor. What we love most about this machine—and we do, really, really love this machine—are the options it provides. You can not only adjust the amount of carbonation to your personal taste, but just think of all the flavors you could invent. (We’re planning to try making a sour cherry soda, lavender sparkling lemonade and maybe a bubbly lemongrass green tea.) Or if you’re feeling lazy, you can use one of SodaStream’s syrups. It sure cuts down on cans and bottles! $150
http://www.sodastream.com

Corkcicle
This icicle-shaped little chiller gently inserts into your bottle’s open mouth to keep your wine at a comfortable drinking temperature. (We swear we did not try to make this sound suggestive!) One of the newest gadgets on the wine market, the Corkcicle frees you from dragging around an ice bucket and saves on the waste of water. Although we find it doesn’t keep a bottle of bubbly chilled for long, it maintained Chardonnay’s drinking temp for over two hours and is perfect for keeping reds from warming up on a hot day. $23
http://corkcicle.com/

Flor de Cana 7 Year Grand Reserve Rum
This is the drink for the spirits specialist on your list who likes ‘em voluptuous and a little bit spicy. Known as the “pride of Nicaragua”, Flor de Cana provides social benefits to its local community. It is also known as one of the most environmentally friendly distilleries in the world. But best of all, the product blends well in any cocktail while adding its signature bite of spice. $22
http://flordecana.com

organic & biodynamic gifts
organic and biodynamic gifts for the wine lover

If you’re looking to give your holiday message in a bottle, consider selecting from the ever-growing realm of organic and biodynamic wines. These days there are excellent choices from around the world, ranging from affordable to indulgent. Best of all, they all do the earth good:

Korbel Winery Organic Brut, California Sparkling Wine $18

Santa Julia Organica Chardonnay, Argentina $11

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg, France $45

Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay, Australia $65

Emiliana Natura Carmenere, Chile $17

Lolonis Orpheus Petite Sirah, California $35

Ceago Winemaker’s Blend Del Lago, California $55

Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, California $200+

Quivira Dusk Petite Sirah Port, California $45

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