You’re still not sure what to give, and you haven’t started shopping yet? That’s OK, we won’t tell a soul. In an effort to inspire your food gifting, here’s what some of your favorite faces from Caputo’s are giving to their friends and family this year.
Don’t see your favorite monger here? Drop by before the holiday—we’re open through the afternoon of Christmas Eve—and them for their personal recommendations. We’re certainly not lacking in opinions around here.
So, here you have it: each of our gift picks for 2015:
President and ultimate boss-man
“For the food and/or beverage geek, Workhorse Rye’s bitters are glorious. Whether it be Passionflower, Salted Cacao, Aromatic Coffee Bitters, or one of the ever-changing seasonal varieties, each Workhorse Rye bitters is crafted with unrivaled skill. Each recipe creates an immersive experience whose transcendental effects are hard to shake off. For example, the Passionflower Bitters—made with the soothing botanicals passionflower, hops, echinacea, chamomile, violet leaf, blackberry leaf, and valerian root—lulls the imbiber into a dreamlike state, where they are transported to a warm and friendly Eastern European apothecary from the mid-1800s. Luckily, you won’t want to wake up from this dream.”
Yelena Caputo (above)
VP, and ultimatest boss who oversees said boss-man
“Luxardo cherries are the ultimate gift no matter the time of year. It’s my go-to hostess gift, my go-to holiday gift, and my own go-to treat. I’ve not met a single person who hasn’t loved these candied cherries and the many, many uses they serve. I stock them in both bar and pantry for cocktails—hello, perfect old-fashioned—and garnishes, desserts, and pan sauces. These offer a taste of luxury and perfection which everyone should experience.”
Cooking Instructor and self-proclaimed office monkey
“My dad and brother have a huge obsession with salami. My grandparents had a knack for finding (ahem, smuggling) some of the best cured meat options available long before the days of Creminelli and other artisan salami. Now that I’ve been here at Caputo’s for almost a decade, I have one job at holiday gatherings: bring the salami or don’t bother coming at all. Just kidding, I’m sure they’d still let me inside.
I have to bring Chili Beak this year as well. I go through a jar almost every two weeks and my family’s roots in New Mexico lend us all to having a great appreciation for heat. Chili Beak, however, is both spicy and incredibly delicious. I can’t help but share my obsession.”
Market Manager and cheese slayer
“If you’re looking for a unique and delicious stocking stuffer, consider the humble nougat (or torrone, as it’s called in Italian). It’s a treat dating back to the Roman Empire that consists of little more than sugar, egg whites, and honey. Whether you want to savor the floral La Florentine torrone bon bons, munch on the perfectly crunchy Mandorlato scaldaffero, or feast on an entire bar of Relanghe hazelnut nougat (which I may or may not do on a nightly basis) is entirely up to you! It might be my personal mission in life to bring nougat and halva (a tahini-based nougat from the Middle East) back in vogue, and we have an entire section dedicated to the chewy treats. So come in, stuff those stockings full, and INDULGE.”
Affineuse aka maker of all tasty things from our cave cheeses
“I like to give my aunt a bottle of high quality oil and vinegar for the holidays, something nice enough that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Viola is always in my kitchen and is my favorite condiment oil, and Villa Manodori is my favorite vinegar. I also love giving these because it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Rather than one nice meal, my family is able to enjoy a taste of luxury each time they pull these bottles out of the pantry.”
Deli & Catering Manager and party monger
“After 15 years in New York, this is my first Christmas in Salt Lake City and with Caputo’s. Beautiful snow, great food, many fun events to plan and cater, great food, happy customers with a lot of Christmas spirit…did I mention great food? Then this happens: Today, one of our deli regulars gives me a warm handshake and wishes me a Merry Christmas and I realize…it’s December 18th! Only a week until Mr. Claus’ Monster Truck Event of Giving. I have more than 20 family members and friends in the Big Apple who need gifts, and none of them are easy to buy for (read: They are snobs). I breathe deeply…and remember I have a Christmas miracle on hand. I work 10 feet away from the best market in Salt Lake City, a mecca of chocolate and cheese and charcuterie, none of which my East Coast-biased peeps can find without risking a death-defying shopping run. And Caputo’s ships overnight. I step across the threshold into the market, and I am met by Ashlee, the GM—the Han Solo to, me, Chewbacca. She seems to know my plight. She takes me by the fur and helps me run the gift basket creation gauntlet. She’s throwing down Solstice Wasatch Blend Chocolate, Durci Defiant Viajero Chocolate, Barolo Creminelli, locally roasted La Barba coffee (in stores only!), and truffle honey. All in less than twelve parsecs. I hold my gift baskets, breathe deeply, and recover from the panic and explosion of mixed metaphors I just survived. Gift cards? Please. In brownstones all over New York City, they shall praise my name. And then, they’ll go to the website to figure out what they want me to buy them for New Year’s Eve parties. I’ll be ready.”