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Holiday Gift Ideas For The Chef

December 4, 2012 6:00 AM

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(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)


Sprinkle on the fun with a dash of creativity when whipping up a holiday package for that special cook or baker in your life. This is the time to find a special but practical gift they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves. We suggest checking out your local artisan shop like the ones in Old Town Temecula. These local stores are full of gift ideas from lavender peppers to an olive tree guaranteed to invigorate the creative energy in your favorite cook.

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

Temecula Lavender Co.

28561 Old Town Front Street
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 676-1931
www.temeculalavenderco.com

The Temecula Lavender Company offers a variety of options to incorporate lavender into a meal. This flower offers more than aromatic qualities — it can tantalize the palate in a variety of recipes. The lavender is grown in San Diego, picked and hand made in small batches, using pure ingredients without artificial colorants, perfumes, or harsh preservatives. Try a lavender rub blended with rosemary, thyme, fennel, marjoram and basil for your roast beef or chicken or try the lavender pepper. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy baking with locally-made, lavender-infused chocolate, or liven up a dinner party with a lavender martini. If your favorite chef loves to cook with onions, throw in a jar of lavender-lemon hand salt scrub.

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

Temecula Valley Cheese Company

42072 5th Street, Suite 101
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 693-9500
More Info

They call themselves the purveyors of the world’s finest cheeses. The Temecula Valley Cheese Company offers artisan and specialty cheeses that are domestic and imported from around the world. Cooks would love a gift of cheese from this local shop in Old Town Temecula. The cheeses are hand cut, fresh and rotate all the time so if you are in search of a particular kind they will try to order if just for you. The most popular cheese they sell is their 5-year-old sharp cheddar cheese, which sells out every weekend.

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

Old Town Spice Merchants

41925 Fifth Street, Suite 101
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 587-2223
www.spicemerchants.biz

With more than 350 spices, blends, loose-leaf teas and sea salts from around the world, the Old Town Spice Merchant can create a perfect gift box for your favorite cook. Who knew sugar could come in so many flavors? This specialty store has sugars for teas or baking that comes in flavors like strawberry, blueberry, and coconut to name a few. With an abundance of assorted spices, your options to create a gift set tailored specifically to your loved one are endless. The folks at Old Town Spice Merchants can create beautiful wooden gift boxes for seafood, steak or wine lovers. Budding young chefs can also enjoy one of the specialty hot cocoa mixes. When you come to Old Town Spice Merchant, bring in your own recipe and purchase just the right amount to test run yourself what a difference fresh spices and seasonings can do for your dish. There are also spice racks, grinders and pestles available.

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

(credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst)

Temecula Olive Oil Company

28653 Old Town Front Street
Temecula, CA 92590
866-OLIVE-YOU / 866-654-8396
www.TemeculaOliveOil.com

Did you know the olive oil we buy at the grocery stores imported from Europe are the scraps, the leftovers that weren’t good enough for the European community to consume? The quality of olive oil used in cooking can make a world of difference in a recipe. The Temecula Olive Oil Company is a family owned and operated business that grows its own olives on a ranch right here in Southern California. They create some of the finest olive oil around. The olives are hand pressed using traditional methods creating flavors and offering freshness that is hard to beat.

Come to the store located in Old Town Temecula and sample the oils and balsamics at the tasting bar. Try the fresh Basil, Roasted Garlic, Vanilla and Fig or Pomegranate flavors. The list of flavors and blends are endless and their website provides many recipes. You can also pick up locally-made spreads, herb blends, spices and rubs, and sea salts. Maybe you can give your chef a live olive tree. Once a year the staff at the ranch will invite you to bring in your olives and they will hand press them creating oil that you grew from your very own backyard. Now that is a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.

(credit: Old Town Sweet Shop)

(credit: Old Town Sweet Shop)

Old Town Sweet Shop

28545 Old Town Front St., Ste 101
Temecula, CA 92590
(951) 693-1919
www.oldtownsweetshop.com

Bakers will love the fresh handmade fudge and custom chocolates, specialty molds and barks at the Old Town Sweet Shop.
All the retro candy people remember from their childhoods can be found here for candy consumers and bakers. You don’t have to be a kid just a kid at heart to enjoy the experience at this store. Cake and cupcake makers may enjoy the selection of retro candies, toys and other memorabilia they can add as toppings and decorations. The Old Town Sweet Shop also makes a great stop for a personal treat while shopping for others especially if you are a fan of chocolate covered bacon and potato chips or Glacier Cascade Ice Cream that comes in 20 different flavors.

Michelle Mears-Gerst is a writer in Southern California who found many gifts for her own family and friends while visiting the specialty stores she can be found at @Sunnynsocal and Sunnynsocal.com.

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