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Keep it local this gift-giving season! Your favorite foodie will love it

November 20, 2020

The ghost of Christmas presents is here yet again, and the fabulous foodie in your life deserves the best.

Since foodies often tend to vary in width throughout the year, they certainly don’t need clothes as gifts. And you can easily shop local to make the season something they can sink their teeth into. 

Just east of Indigo Indian Restaurant in downtown Rehoboth is the Spice & Tea Exchange. From just about every spice known to man (buy as little or as much as you want), to infused salts and sugars, from high-end cooking accessories (hint: a Himalayan salt block for tableside sautéing or chilling) to pre-mixed seasonings … it’s all there. Scoop up the combo pack of custom blends - each in its own grinder bottle. Rehoboth Foodie pick hits include the Steakhouse Spice Blend and the Kahuna Garlic Salt Spice Blend.

The Bronx-imported foods at Touch of Italy are so popular that Bob and crew created a marketplace section where you can take home imported pastas, handmade mozzarella, fresh Italian breads, condiments and more. They can also help you create a gift basket with TOI’s legendary mains like lasagna, Mamma’s meatballs, hot Italian sausage, braciole and that famous eggplant stack - not to mention the one-of-a-kind Italian cookies and pastries.

Kitchen & Company near Lewes is a home cook’s amusement park. Make him or her smile with a half-dozen quarter-sheet aluminum pans (oh, they’ll find a use for them!). Just up the road, caffeine lovers will be stimulated by an assortment of La Colombe coffees from Kaisy’s Delights. Pick up a French press while you’re at it and make YOUR gift the best part of waking up.

One-of-a-kind experiences make great gifts. Snag your beloved dining aficionado a fun local tour including an EatingRehoboth.com restaurant tour, or perhaps a tour of Lewes’ Beach Time Distilling (next door to Keith Irwin’s Old World Breads). Just up the road in Milton is the Dogfish Head Brewery/Distillery. They offer a variety of tours that can be booked online at Dogfish.com/brewery/tasting-room/tours.

Unique experiences continue with Rich Steele’s reservations-only Paella Feasts at Café Azafrán on the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue. They are scheduled weekly in the summer, but pop up from time to time in the off-season. Snap up an Azafrán gift card and your recipient can use it for the always-sold-out Paella experience.

Think (waaayyy!) off the beaten path with a gift for your comic aficionado who also likes to eat. Ogre’s Grove in Milton has access to a surprising selection of food-themed comic books. Collectibles include the series written by none other than the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Titillating titles include “Hungry Ghosts” and “Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi.” There are lots of surprises waiting to be discovered at Ogre’s Grove.

Is the target of your affections a BBQ lover? Build a potpourri of smoky tastes with custom-made sauces and spice rubs available at Bethany Blues. Throw in one of Blues’ cleverly designed shirts and then gild the lily with a gift card. Speaking of spice, if your significant foodie likes his or her action hot, then Peppers.com is the place to be. Chip Hearn (never without his sense of humor) has come up with, shall we say … adult themed … gift packs of selected hot sauces. One of the fun things about shopping there is that you don’t have to know a lot about sauces and spices to get the perfect gift. Simply log on to Peppers.com, click “gift ideas” and “gift sets.” They’ll do the work for you. You can browse the Lewes store in person or do it all online.

Quality food-themed apparel can be yours at Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen in downtown Rehoboth and at their sister eatery on the highway, Crabby Dick’s. One of the two owners used to work in the high-end clothing industry, and when you see their selection of well-designed logo goodies you’ll see why.

Aladdin Market in downtown Rehoboth (formerly Jerusalem Market in Lewes) is packed with uncommon bites for the internationally inclined foodie. My pick hits are the Beirut brand tahini (the best around, trust me!), the Sultan brand stuffed grape leaves (dolmas to the Greeks, warak enab to our Lebanese friends), the braided string cheese with caraway seeds and the Grand Prix white brined sheep’s cheese (aka feta).

This year, gift-giving should be all about shopping local. The hardships that continue to be foisted upon our friends and neighbors who own small businesses are almost unimaginable, and certainly not equitable. So let’s chip in to help the ones who have managed to keep the lights on so far. Your reward will be a treasure trove of unique goodies that you won’t find in box stores. I can’t think of a more tasteful way to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

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