You know who they are. The friend who emails you menus from a dozen potential restaurant choices weeks before your scheduled get-together. The family member whose Pinterest page could be printed and bound into one of the world’s most comprehensive cookbooks. The spouse who has more photos on her phone of restaurant meals than of the kids. The coworker who spends hours crafting his meticulous online reviews of every last dining experience.
They’re foodies—unabashed devotees of cooking, eating and talking about food—and if their condition has not yet been defined as a sickness by the world’s leading health authorities, it’s probably just a matter of time. For now, it can safely be described as simply a passionate obsession, one that pretty much sets your quest as a holiday gift-giver on a fairly well-defined gastronomic path. But indulging a person’s one true love can be deceptively difficult—of course they’ll love a food-related gift, but given their level of devotion, they’re bound to already have many of the ideas you might come up with.
The quest for the perfect foodie gift, in other words, is more of a challenge than it might at first appear. But you can’t go wrong with a little local flavor—here are a few suggestions to help get you started.
Oil and Wine
The best part about shopping for the foodie in your life at Good to Go by Lucrezia isn’t necessarily all of the great holiday gift options you’ll find (although there are certainly plenty of deliciously different ways to go)—it’s the experience you get as the gift-giver.
Holiday hustle and bustle aside, this is one stop on your shopping trip where you won’t want to just rush in and rush out, because then you’d miss the opportunity to settle in with an artisan flatbread or overstuffed Italiano sandwich for lunch while you contemplate the many possibilities all around you. Better still, if you’re eyeing a bottle of premium olive oil or balsamic vinegar, you’ll certainly want to take the time to sample several of the amazing varieties in the Tasting Emporium in order to find just the right flavor for that discerning someone special.
What you’ll discover is that there’s something here for just about every foodie on your list, says owner Nada Karas—even if you can’t settle on just one thing.
“We make custom gift baskets with all kinds of gourmet food items, which can include our ultra premium EVOO and balsamic vinegars,” she explains. “I also think our Wine of the Month Club is a great gift idea for the oenophile on your list. We have 3-, 6- and 12-month options, as well as lifetime memberships.”
Good to Go by Lucrezia
420 S. Calumet, Chesterton
54 W. Lincolnway, Valparaiso
A similar sense of discovery awaits shoppers at the Tasty Olive in Highland, where the dozens of premium olive oil and balsamic vinegar selections on hand—perfect for cooks and diners alike—are just the delectable beginning. This is another place you’ll want to savor as you shop, taking the time to soak in all of the wonderful colors, tastes and aromas, and to maybe run across something that you didn’t expect to find.
“We’re always looking for new products, so chances are you'll see something different every time you come in,” says owner Lynn Gandolfi. “From our locally made biscotti to cookies from Savannah, Georgia, to our sea salts, spices and pepper jellies, you can always find something for the person who loves food.”
2014 45th St., Highland
For generations of Northwest Indiana families, DeRosa Imports hasn’t necessarily been a place to get special-occasion gifts for food lovers, but rather a year-round source for all kinds of everyday authentic ingredients and staples from all around the world. But one man’s run-of-the-mill Tuesday-night supper is another’s rare ethnic feast, which is why foodie fans of global cuisine flock to this family-owned Griffith stalwart right along with the regulars clutching their weekly grocery lists.
In addition to coffee, pasta and other traditional items direct from places like Italy, Greece, Croatia, Romania and Hungary, gift-givers will find a wide selection of global wines—perfect for bringing along to a holiday dinner party.
118 N. Broad St., Griffith
Another long-standing ethnic outpost lies just to the north at MJ Polish Deli, where gift selections run the gamut from sweets like traditional Polish chocolates and Christmas wafers to savory sausages and bigos—a hearty, old-world stew that remains a house specialty.
But for that unmistakable combination of traditional Poland and traditional Region, you simply can’t beat the many varieties of pierogi. Whether you go with the sauerkraut, mushroom, potato, blueberry, cabbage or any of the other great options available, you’re sure to gift the foodie in your life with something he or she is unlikely to get from anyone, or anywhere, else—a personal Pierogi Fest in the middle of winter!
MJ Polish Deli
7112 Calumet Ave., Hammond
Whereas merchandise used to be a much bigger part of the equation at Foodies MarketCafe in Dyer, owner Cathy Cameron says these days the restaurant and catering components have become the prime day-to-day efforts of her bustling operation. But that doesn’t mean shoppers won’t find some great holiday gift ideas, with a number of coffee and tea gift baskets providing a compact and convenient way to satisfy the foodies on their lists.
Better still, Cameron says, is the café’s selection of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks—user-friendly guides to everything from slow cooking to soups to baking—which provide years worth of potential enjoyment, and a chance to perhaps inspire a budding foodie.
“Cookbooks make such great gifts, especially for young couples,” she says. “People just don’t cook as much as they used to, so it helps to have a little inspiration.”
151 Joliet St., Dyer