Friday Five: Last-Minute Foodie Gifts

So, it’s the Friday before Christmas, and all through the house
There’s not a single darn present, and you feel like a louse!

I’ll stop with the poetry, but some of you (like me) are last minute shoppers. I have a few ideas that you can purchase locally that will help you cross names off of that list!  They’re in no particular order.

Mac box vertical1. Macarons or waffles from Jean-Francois’ Taste of Belgium.  The Macarons are special holiday flavors (peppermint candy cane, chocolate candied orange, eggnog, chocolate ganache, gingerbread and pecan pie) and come in a pretty box.   I’m picking up a package for my mom (good thing she doesn’t read the blog!).  The waffles also make a great gift; I have a coworker whose dad comes in from Pennsylvania and always leaves with a few packages.  You can pop them in the oven and they heat up nicely.  Pick them up at Findlay Market.

2. Chocolates from Chocolats Latour.  Shalini Latour, whose mother is from Belgium (I sense a theme…) and who received Belgian chocolates every year as a child, has grown up into a pastry chef who focuses on chocolates.  Trained at the Callebaut Academy, this is some killer chocolate.  Skip the Esther Price and the Godiva, and get some Latour instead.  She’s got flavors like ancho chili, rose and cardamom ganache-filled buddhas, glogg (mulled wine), lavender and sea salt, and spice berry apple chocolate bars.  I’m a particular fan of these cute, filled Christmas lightbulbs (seen below).  You can pick up her chocolates at Findlay Market this weekend or at the OTR Pop-Up Shop on Vine Street, or place an order directly with Shalini at or by calling 513.591.0085.

3. Gift certificates from the Greater Cincinnati Independents.  You can buy many right now for half off at their website, including:

  • Embers
  • Holy Grail
  • Cafe Bella
  • 20 Brix
  • Andy’s
  • Asiatique
  • Rookwood
  • Washington Platform

A bunch have sold out, but there’s still a decent selection.

4. If you don’t find a restaurant you’d like from the GCI site, head to and there are some great deals on local restaurants there, as well.

5. This one’s great for a Cincinnati expat: The Best of Cincinnati gift baskets.  It’s funny– many of us complain about the “old standbys” of Cincinnati:  Skyline, Montgomery Inn, but once folks leave, they always want to go to their favorite places once they come home to visit.  I love that The Best of Cincinnati doesn’t focus on the old standbys, but also includes businesses like Vinoklet Winery, Izzy’s, Christian Moerlein, Dee Felice, Busken and Haute Chocolate.  Baskets range between $35-15o, and you can also send cases (!) of certain favorites.

And a sixth bonus last-minute gift:  the Junior League’s latest cookbook, Cincinnati Seasoned.  Lots of people collect Junior League cookbooks (really!) and this one’s pretty nice. $32.95 plus shipping; you can order online or call the Junior League office at 513.871.9339 to pick one up directly.  They can also be picked up at Joseph-Beth Booksellers.