The Tomato


Anatomy of a gift basket. What tasty items belong in your gift basket this year? Whether you are giving or receiving, consider these delicious treats.

by Mary Bailey

Opies Pickled Walnuts
Rock your cheese board. Walnuts are picked while still green before the shells are formed, then cooked and marinated in a spiced malt vinegar. Made in Britain. $13.

Conservas de Cambados
Sometimes food in tins is not canned food. Spain and Portugal have a long tradition of really fine seafood preserved in brine or oil then hand-packed into tins. And, they eat them right out of the tin. No muss no fuss. Conservas de Cambados — scallops, razor clams, cockles and octopus — all locally sourced along the Galician coast using traditional methods, from $11.

Split Tree Tonics and Syrups
Use Split Tree to create cocktails, mix with your favourite spirit, or make refreshing non-alcoholic drinks — just add soda or sparkling water. Hand-made in Ottawa, Ontario, look for the Grapefruit Cordial, Ginger Vanilla Syrup, Tonic #3 and the Rhubarb and Elderflower Cordial, $12.

Cartwright and Butler
This English company makes all sort of delicious British-y things to eat and drink— tea, marmalade, shortbread, biscuits, preserves and chutneys. We are especially taken with their Classic Fudge in butter and salted caramel flavours. And it comes attractively packaged in a reuseable tin, ideal for giving (or keeping). Various sizes, starting at $20.

Old Guys Spice Rub
This new line of spice rubs come in five blends — beef, chicken, pork, fish and vegetable. Made with delicious ingredients like guajillo peppers, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and honey. Made by old guys right here in Edmonton, low salt and gluten free, $8.50.

Drizzle Honey and Honey Comb
A most luxurious creamed honey made in Calgary. Drizzle’s natural honey comes from pollen and nectar gathered in different locations and seasons. Founder Aja Horsley was an environmental scientist who led beekeeping projects for SAIT’s Culinary and Research departments — she knows honey. $24.

Created on a Danish island by a 23-year-old, Lakrids is a handmade boiled liquorice like no other, available in sweet, salty and a variety of seasonal flavours. Fans of Lakrids used to have to go to Copenhagen or London for their fix. Not any more. Welcome in every gift basket.

Nougat, also called torrone or noutgatine, is a classic style of candy made with eggs, nuts and candied fruit, popular in southern France, Italy and Spain. Michelle Tobias developed a version of the old-school candy based on white, milk and dark chocolate and called it Newget. It’s handmade in Edmonton and there is nothing like it. Sweet and savoury flavours in white, milk and dark chocolate as well as seasonal favourites, $7-$35.

Goods available at Bella Casa, Blush Lane, Culina Muttart, Hillaby’s, Italian Centre Shops, Maven & Grace, The Pan Tree, Zocalo. Not all items at every shop.

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