Is there a budding young baker on your list? A gregarious gourmand who needs even more kitchen gadgets or some cooking or mixology tips? Perhaps a cocktail or craft beer enthusiast who is all about sporting that swag? Or simply a special someone who would love something sweet or savoury?
If so, give a local gourmet gift this holiday season!
By doing so you’ll be supporting the very people who make these delicious things here in Winnipeg, while your loved ones will receive something they really relish – like locally made mustard!
Make it easy at a market (plus host gift tips too)
When a whole store is meticulously curated by chefs, it makes shopping that much easier.
Such is the case with Black Market Provisions (BMP – 550 Osborne), that South Osborne gem by culinary superstar couple Angela Farkas and Alana Fiks. Along with their dynamite staff (who are seriously the best) these two are always bringing in the coolest products and local condiments that will up your culinary game. For something spicy, may we suggest homegrown collaborations like Black Market Crunch that Farkas and Fiks have created with Winnipeg’s Made by Paste (aka Renée Girard). One spoonful gives every pasta, soup or mayo (just mix it) a medium-hot umami kick, along with crunchy little textures that you can’t get enough of. Also, check out Juicii Hot Sauce, a collaboration by chef Ben Kramer and Kilter Brewing Co. (a brewery that also has so many cool stocking stuffers too, including socks, sweaters and coffee!).
At BMP, we’ve also recently become obsessed with Joe Beef Apple Dijon Mustard, which you can only buy here in Winnipeg. They also have a full selection of Kanel salts, along with local mustards from Smak Dab. As the holiday season approaches, you should also be sure to check out their gourmet gift baskets, which often contain everything from locally roasted Little Sister coffee to BMP’s very own Cup of Cocoa in a jar. BMP’s “ cute + rad things” are also ideal stocking stuffers. Who wouldn’t love Happyland Weinerpeg magnets and unicorn chopsticks so kids can practice? No wonder this place was named by Food Network as one of the top 10 “Food Markets That Are Changing The Game.”
As locals will know, our Italian markets –– namely Piazza De Nardi, Calabria and De Luca’s –– are remarkable too, offering a fine balance of imported and local goods.
De Luca’s South Landing (66 South Landing Dr.) is an incredible space, and a real peach to shop in as your experience must include lunch from the impressive counter and coffee bar that serves De Luca’s own roasted beans. Here, you can curate your own gift baskets, which come loaded with local condiments and sauces (including the full De Luca’s lineup) along with imported goodies like truffle oil and Rummo pasta (which also makes the best gluten-free pastas). South Landing is also the spot in the city if you are looking for big ticket items like a new espresso machine.
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 curated products and gift baskets, you can also book a chef’s table experience with their award-winning executive chef, Jesse Friesen, which makes for an indulgent culinary experience gift.
On top of that, they have boutiques that make a great hosting gift and an impressive array of home items like the trés chic lineup of kettles, toasters and coffee makers from Smeg, and great gifts for cooks like digital thermometers, oyster knives and Mon Oncle Portable Barbecues –– a hot culinary gift item if there ever was one. Plus, when you are there, be sure to walk across the hall to Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. Its Winnipeg shop is brimming with apparel that will take you to the lake.
The city’s Middle Eastern Markets –– including Blady Middle Eastern, Alsham Food Market and Tarboosh Middle Eastern Specialty Foods –– also have so much in store, particularly when it comes to hard-to-find spices and sweets. Blady also bakes their own pitas in-house, which make for a great host gift (along with a box of baklava perhaps, and some locally made Chaeban halloumi).
And speaking of host gifts, we’d also like to point you to the Ojibway-owned and operated Sharecuterie (160 Stafford St.). Here, out of her cute storefront that also serves as a café, culinary entrepreneur Cassandra Carreiro creates customizable charcuterie, cheese and vegetarian boards that flaunt a wide range of local products. Honestly, they are almost too pretty to eat, while Carreiro also offers workshops at the store and event space rentals, should you be looking to book a festive little gathering of sorts to start the holiday season.
If you have a big cheese in your life who would love a basket of the good stuff, check out Fromagerie Bothwell (136 Provencher Blvd.). This shop is always stacked with locally made products, including a huge lineup of locally made Bothwell Cheeses, while they are now making a wide array of gift baskets that get you a little bit of everything to make shopping so easy. Just look for the large dairy cow on the roof (whose name is Teemoo, isn't that amazing?!?), on Saint-Boniface's main drag.
Cocktail and mocktail time (and cocktail classes too)
While most of the above markets carry these tasty local products, we feel the need to single out a few here whether you’ll be making a single, double or a spiritfree (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 is a brand created by local Leanne Kisil that she created 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, which makes your drink that much more healthy. These elixirs also contain apple cider vinegar, organic mushroom and herbal extracts, along with a proprietary blend of spices to create a wide range of flavours. All you have to do is pour over ice in your fanciest tumbler and garnish.
Abiding Citizen is another local beverage-enhancement company 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 spiritfree that much sweeter, better or bitter (har har). They sell a number of gift sets, so you can get a selection of each, plus there’s 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. Here’s where to find them locally.
Of course, should you be giving the gift of bitter 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, gins and whiskies we’ve ever tasted, offering a range of products at both of their tasting rooms and on the shelves at the local LCs.
Patent 5 also hosts Cocktail Classes that make for a great party experience, or as an individual gift.
Kitchen gear (for those who are dear)
For one of the best lineups of kitchen equipment in the city, check out locally owned d.a. Niels Gourmet Kitchenware. We’ve bought many of our Japanese Global knives here, sets of which are currently on sale now! They have everything to make your kitchen efficient (or stylish), from burr coffee grinders, to flatware, smoking guns, food processors and scales.
Equally amazing is The Happy Cooker in Osborne Village, which has been inspiring local kitchens 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.