It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? This holiday season took forever to get here as we rode out the fourth wave, yet the year somehow flew by and here we are again. What’s old is new, what glitters isn’t always gold and not any old hippopotamus for Christmas will do. Discover a few of our favourite things to gift ourselves and the gastronome in our lives this holiday season.

cochu chocolatier

A Hippopotamus for Christmas

With visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, we turn our attention to what could very well be this season’s hottest holiday item: chocolate hippopotamuses filled with delightful treats.

Award-winning chocolatier and cochu chocolatier owner Anne Sellmer was inspired to make this chocolate river horse by the well-known holiday song, “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Weighing in at approximately 400 grams of chocolate, these happy hippos are available in couverture milk or dark chocolate and filled with their two most popular products, chocolate-I’covered sponge toffee or candy bark.

Chocolate Hippopotamus | cochu chocolatier | $38.00 |

Sip, Sip Hooray!

Sweater weather has officially arrived and with it comforting hot beverages and cozy cocktails. Camp Craft Cocktails are a line of cocktail kits in a jar sure to keep you warm this holiday season. The fall flavour lineup includes sangria, brunch punch, old fashioned and our favourite, sweater weather. Add 12 ounces of any spirit to the mix (we recommend whiskey or bourbon), let the mixture infuse in your refrigerator for three days, shake, strain and sip. The jar makes eight cocktails or, for those looking for a non-alcoholic option, simply add hot water, omit the booze and pour into a mug of hot cocoa. These kits can be infused twice offering up 16 servings of cocktails! Now you’re speaking our language.

Sweater Weather Camp Cocktails | The Livery Shop | $32.50 |

camp craft cocktails
recycled chopstick cheese board

Recycled Chopsticks Get New Life

If you’ve used your share of disposable chopsticks like we have, you’ll be happy to hear about these recycled-chopstick cheese and charcuterie boards available from Reworks Upcycle Shop. Owner Solita Work moved back to British Columbia earlier this year to start Bear Spring Eco Retreat while continuing to operate her green lifestyle market store online. Each board is created using 300-450 recycled chopsticks after they are collected, transported, and transformed into a raw material before becoming these beautiful boards. Be the talk of the town when you display your charcuterie on one of these made-in-Calgary boards this holiday season.

Recycled Chopstick Cheese or Charcuterie Board | Reworks Upcycle Shop | $30.00 – $67.00 |

No More Skimming

Gone are the days we must skim the fat when making gravy. With the Cuisipro BPA Fat Separator the fat drains from the bottom leaving lighter fats and oils behind. It’s made of Tritan: a BPA-free, food-safe plastic that is resistant to heat, impact and discoloration, and can hold up to a litre (four cups) of liquid. The separator comes apart easily for quick clean-up and is also great for making soups, stews, sauces, or any dish for which you need to strain the fat. Add this to your must-have gadget list for the holidays.

Fat Separator | Lee Valley Tools | $43.50 |

lee valley tools
lemon olive oil

From Olive Tree to Table

When a label reads only two ingredients, olives and lemons, you know it’s going to be good. Coppini Arte Olearia Olive & Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil is flavoured with lemon oil captured from crushing fresh Italian lemons ensuring all the essential oils of the lemon peel are retained. The box is stamped with “T.O.P.”, a certification label proving authenticity of the oil, easily traced from the olive tree to the table, verifying every step of the production supply chain. Traceability of Origin Product has been in effect since 1988 to combat fraud. Use this fragrant oil in salad dressings, with bread for dipping, drizzled on hummus or whipped feta, on roast chicken, seafood, grilled or steamed vegetables, even on ice cream. Delight any gastronome with the gift of olive oil.

Coppini Arte Olearia Olive & Lemon Olive Oil | The Italian Centre | $42.50 |

Designed by Chefs for Chefs

For chefs and business owners Cam Dobranski and partner Jacqueline Warrell, the “spirit of hospitality” encapsulates feeling welcome, experiencing joy, and being part of a community. This dynamic duo is part of the team behind Spirit Wares dishware, an online source for restaurant and hospitality ceramic wares now available for home use. These dishes are tough enough for a commercial kitchen and pretty enough to set out on your dining room table piled high with holiday baking. While an assortment of serving bowls and platters is available, we have our eyes on the Rustic Blush and Ice series.

Artisan Crafted Platters and Serving Bowls | Spirit Wares | $30.00 – $58.00 |

food crayons

Flavour your Food with a Twist

An explosion of flavours is simply a twist away with edible food seasoning sticks designed to be shaved onto dishes and beverages. Food Crayons are handcrafted in Montreal by biochemist Nadia Lahrichi along with her kids Veronique and Kamil. The crayons are made with all natural ingredients including spices, purees, juices and infusions, then preserved with vinegar and salt to create delicious tasting vegan and gluten-free flavour combinations. More than 20 flavours are available to shave onto desserts, soups, salads, cocktails and more. Inspire your friends and family when you start shaving seasonings right onto their food.

Food Crayon | Kala & Lime, The Cookbook Co. Cooks | $13.00 – $65.00 |

All That Glitters

The Pulltex Evolution Swarovski Crystal Corkscrew is an elegant looking sparkling wine tool that effortlessly gets the job done. This type of corkscrew is known for its unique hinged double lever system allowing you to extract the cork without breaking or damaging it. The 26 multi-coloured Swarovski crystals imbedded into the top of the handle in two different sizes make it a beautiful and glittery gift. Great for any bottle that comes with a cork and sure to impress the wine lover in your life.

Pulltex Evolution Swarovski Elements 2Step Corkscrew | Willow Park Wines & Spirits $169.99 |

crystal corkscrew
wakasa-nuri chopsticks

Perfection at your Fingertips

If you use chopsticks regularly, now is a great time to consider investing in a good set. Wakasa-nuri chopsticks are hand-crafted, decorated, and cured by master craftsman Takahiro Okubo, in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Okubo-san has been practicing his trade for over 20 years and comes from a long line of craftspeople. He lacquers each pair by hand, sometimes up to 30 times each, over two months. Then he adds seashell fragments, gold leaf and other materials, turning the sticks into functional and conversational art pieces. Buy a set for the family or pick out a few individuals for stocking stuffers.

Wakasa-nuri Chopsticks | Knifewear | $25.00 – $79.00 |