If you have a food lover, cook, or cocktail enthusiast on your list–this guide is for you.
It's full of made-in-Manitoba items that will take your dishes up a notch, marvellous local markets with gift bags or boxes to make shopping easy, and kitchen gadgets that make meal-making fun.
Plus, this resource is Peg City Grub approved, as all the gifts below we've either received, or you'll find regularly in our very own pantries.
Make it easy at a market
We could write a whole book on how amazing Black Market Provisions owners/couple/culinary superstars Angela Farkas and Alana Fiks are always bringing in the coolest products and local condiments that will up your culinary game. For instance: Black Market Crunch—a co-creation between two of the city’s best, Black Market and Made by Paste. It's crunchy, mildly spicy and garlicky, with plenty of umami elements too. We use it on everything from eggs and green beans blistered in a cast iron, to fresh and frozen pasta that you can buy at Black Market that is also, Made by Paste.
This holiday season, Black Market is already stocked with gift bags featuring a number of our other local favs, including Smak Dab mustards, chef Ben Kramer’s Juiice hot sauce (a colab with Kilter Brewing), Little Sister Coffee and Black Market’s delicious Cup of Cocoa jar, which our kids hit all winter long (just add to your favourite warmed dairy/nut milk/oat milk). BMP's online ordering system makes it so easy, while you’ll also want to come to the shop for pickup to see all the other “cute + rad things” it has for stocking stuffers, like Happyland Weinerpeg magnets and unicorn chopsticks, so your kids can practice (while perhaps playing with their food).
As locals will know, our Italian markets– Piazza De Nardi, Calabria and De Luca’s–are remarkable too. The new(ish) DeLuca’s South Landing for example is an incredible space and a real peach to shop in as you can lunch from the impressive counter and coffee bar. Looking for a big ticket item? Its selection of espresso machines will have you buzzing (there are both commercial and residential units), plus there's panini presses, pasta rollers and something every kitchen needs more of–wood spoons. De Luca's allows you to curate your own gift baskets, while the store’s ready-made ones feature a full lineup of house made spices and sauces, goods or imported delicacies like truffle oil and Rummo pasta (so toothy).
For more fun imported goods (and great food made in-house to try too), check out our Middle Eastern Markets like Blady Middle Eastern on Portage Avenue, Alsham Food Market on St. Mary's Road and Tarboosh Middle Eastern Specialty Foods on Pembina Highway.
Get the gear
Not to be outdone, particularly when it comes to luxury goods and a spot to satisfy your appetite after shopping, is Mottola Grocery at True North Square. Amongst all the well-curated products and gift baskets, you can also book a chef’s table experience with their award-winning executive chef, Jesse Friesen, which is a great choice for foodies who seem to have everything. On top of that, Mottola carries flower bouquets that make a great host gift and an impressive array of home items like the tres chic lineup of kettles, toasters and coffee makers from Smeg and Mon Oncle Portable Barbecues–a hot culinary gift item if there ever was one. For stocking suffers, it also carries digital thermometers, oyster knives and a fun selection of its own Academy Hospitality sauces (have you tried Yard Sauce yet? It will change your life when it comes to fries).
For one of the best lineups of kitchen equipment in the city, check out locally owned d.a. Niels Gourmet Kitchenware, the Polo Park area. From now until December 31 they have a sale on all Zwilling products, should your loved ones be in the market for these hefty German-made knives. For more knives, we’ve purchased many of our Japanese Global knives here. Light and relatively low maintenance, they're a great introductory 'ancy knife for your loved ones who are getting into cooking. Should you be looking for some big ticket blades, they also have a wide range from Miyabi. Just look at those birch handles and all the folds in that steel; that would sure make us one happy kid come Christmas.
The Happy Cooker in Osborne Village has been inspiring local kitchen since 1973. They carry all the best brands in cookware, from All-Clad to Le Creuset (an enamelled Dutch Oven is still the best investment and so key for braising) to Lodge cast iron pans–which every kitchen should have. Happy Cooker also has a huge serving of gadgets for stocking stuffers from silicon flippers that will protect your pans to whisks and spoons, spoons, spoons! The friendly staff (it's Happy for a reason) are also great for recommendations and advice.
Get in the spirit(s)... and spiritfrees
While most of the above markets carry these tasty local products, we feel the need to single out a few here for when it's time to make a single, double, or a spirit free (apparently, spirit-free is the new term; so be sure to add “not saying mocktails” to your New Year’s resolutions).
Solbrü–Alcohol Free Elixirs comes from Leanne Kisil, a local who created this lineup of beverages while working with Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen. Unlike many sugar-laden non-alcohol drinks, the base here features functional fungi like reishi mushrooms so your drink is healthier while providing a depth of flavour you won't find anywhere else. These elixirs also contain apple cider vinegar, herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of spices in a range of flavours. All you have to do is pour over ice in your fanciest tumbler, add a garnish, then you are ready to go.
Abiding Citizen is another local beverage-enhancement company that you’ll find at most of the above markets. Started by couple Chad and Teri-Lynn Friesen, Abiding Citizen’s product lineup includes bitters, shrubs and syrups that will make your next cocktail or spirit-free that much sweeter, better or bitter. They sell a number of gift sets so you can get a selection of each, plus there are recipes right on the website. Teri-Lynn is also the co-owner and co-creator of Fête Ice Cream and Coffee, so you know her palate is top notch.
Of course, should you be giving the gift of bitters of infusions, you’ll need some local spirits to go with them.
Thankfully, Winnipeg’s two distilleries won't bottle it when it comes to completing your gift pack. Both Capital K and Patent 5 distilleries produce some of the smoothest vodkas and gins we’ve ever tasted, with a range of products at both of their tasting rooms and on the shelves at the local liquor marts.
Whisky fans: Patent 5 now has Winnipeg's first craft whisky since 1880 for sale at the distillery! It’s been aging for the past three years since the distillery first opened in 2019, and considering it is "small batch", there will only be around 360+ bottles available starting on November 10. So what we're saying is: Get yours today! Not to be outdone, Capital K too released its first rye whisky on November 12. You can find tickets for the event here.