Gifts for the Gastronome

Photo courtesy of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co

Surprise the gourmands on your gift list with delicacies that are sure to please. We’ve picked out a few items that many connoisseurs likely consider kitchen essentials: cheese, wagyu, chocolate, truffles, and a bit of wine. Our choices include the best of the best. No one will fault you for doubling your purchase in order to keep some for yourself. Such deliciousness is hard to resist:

Original Blue is the one that put Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. on the map, but this iconic cheese maker offers a multitude of other delectable varieties. Located about 40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, its cheesemaking facility overlooks beautiful Tomales Bay, where their milk-supplying Holsteins graze. Fans claim that the charm of these cheeses is found in the healthy freshness representative of their home environment: sweeping views, coastal fog that lightly salts the lush pastures, and crisp, pristine air. Give a sampling, but for the ultimate gift, treat your recipient to a visit and tour. The Anniversary Collection (pictured above) represents the company’s two decades of cheesemaking. Recipients will enjoy the five core cheeses in their product line, each one its own representation of their high-quality California milk. The pack includes 6oz Toma, 8oz Aged Gouda, 6oz Bay Blue, 6oz Original Blue, 9oz Quinta (whole wheel), a wood cheese knife, as well as detailed information on each cheese, and suggested wine varietal pairings. Photo courtesy of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.

Photo courtesy of Holy Grail Steak Co.

Satiate the carnivores on your list with steak delivery right to their front door. The brainchild of wine magnate Cameron Hughes, Holy Grail Steak Co. is a premier, on-line purveyor of genuine Kobe beef and other extremely high-end Japanese Wagyu, American-raised Wagyu, Australian Wagyu, and USDA ‘Upper’ Prime Black Angus – many cuts previously available exclusively to high-end steakhouses. Working exclusively with best-in-class producer partners, Holy Grail steaks are hormone and antibiotic-free, and blast frozen to -30°F to protect and preserve the steaks in their original, perfectly-aged state. All Holy Grail beef and pork are from the finest genetic lines, fed the best-quality diets, and raised with unsurpassed husbandry protocols. Holy Grail’s mission is to connect artisanal farms and ranches with consumers who care deeply about the quality and provenance of their food. All offerings are available individually or as part of curated flights; gift cards are also available. Try the Steakhouse Direct Favorites Flight, an assemblage of some of their bestsellers.

Photo courtesy of La Maison du Chocolat

Who doesn’t love a box of chocolates? Especially when it is from La Maison du Chocolat, the very first grand Parisian house dedicated entirely to designer chocolate. It was forty years ago that Robert Linxe brought the spirit of Parisian haute couture to luxury chocolate. Satiate your loved ones’ sweet tooth with festively packaged, decadent, and elegant holiday treats like a Holiday Cracker Tree, Holiday Advent Calendar, holiday-themed chocolate gift boxes, and more. La Maison du Chocolat melds graceful simplicity with complex expertise.

Photo: Fran Miller

Truffles (the non-chocolate version) are one of gastronomy’s most prized delicacies. Distinctive in odor, their rarity deems them highly desirable. Delight any truffle lover with items from Urbani Truffles. An international division of Urbani Tartufi, Urbani has long been a landmark company in the field of truffles, mushrooms, and truffle products. The company's headquarters are located in Sant'Anatolia di Narco, in the province of Perugia, Italy, where Urbani Tartufi was born. With US headquarters in Manhattan, Urbani ships its varied truffle products nationwide: butter, salt, oil, an assortment of sauces, and of course, whole truffles. Take things a step further and pair your purchase with a bottle of Prunotto wine, one of the oldest wineries in Piedmont, Italy and one of the first to export Italian wine to the thriving U.S. market in the 1930s. Their delicious Barolo and Barbaresco perfectly complement any truffle dish.

Photo courtesy of Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena’s unlikely Chardonnay victory at the 1976 Judgment of Paris blind tasting put this winery on the map. And Hollywood’s 2008 cult classic film Bottleshock, and its whimsical and somewhat farcical portrayal of the events leading to the historic win, added to the winery’s mystique. But it is the amazing wines that keep this Calistoga winery top-of-mind with oenophiles the world over. Since the winery’s founding in 1972, their Estate Cabernet has continued to shine as one of the best representations of Napa Valley’s viticultural artisanship. Any wine lover on your gift list will appreciate The Chateau Montelena Flagship Portfolio, comprised of the winery’s most quintessential and sought-after varietals, the 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2017 Napa Valley Chardonnay. Each is as enjoyable now as they will be in years to come.

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors...(Read More)

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