Greek Christmas Gift Guide 2012Dec 1st, 2012 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Christmas, Featured, Gifts, Pantry
This year I am jumping in early and joining the other Christmas wish lists out there circulating. If you’re a regular visitor of this site then you are Greek, have Greek friends or family or you just love everything Greek.
Below are some gift ideas I have compiled with a little Canadiana mixed in. Some gift items are ideal for stocking stuffers and others are more substantial purchases and there’s a few in between. Something for everybody, remember the ones you care about in your life and even though gifts are nice to receive it’s really about who spends Christmas with you gathered around the tree – not what’s under the tree.
Two summers ago my brother got married and instead of giving wedding guests kitschy bombiniere, we chose to give something with meaning, reflecting the family’s values and something that everyone would use. We gave bottles of olive oil and and I’m suggesting you do the same. Acropolis Organics (Toronto based) brings their olive oil from Chania, Crete and they also have a wonderful Mousto Balsamic vinegar that has become a must with our salad dressings.
Acropolis Organics now is selling these olive oil and mousto balsamic gift sets at better food/grocery stores around Canada or through mail-order.
With holiday entertaining full-on or at least you’ve contemplated how and what you are going to serve…time evaporates with Christmas shopping, attending work-related parties, house parties. Why not buy one of my homemade phyllo pies (pites) for your next gathereing? There’s Spanakopita, Tyropita, Prassopita and the very popular Bougatsa me krema. The phyllo pies can be purchased then just need re-heating or you may bake from frozen.
Want a stress-free holiday season? I do home catering from making Moussaka to Pastitsio or preparing a whole menu for a dinner party. Send me an email and let’s talk.
This past summer I had the pleasure of visiting Nafplio, Greece for the first time and the memories are still vivid in m mind. While I was wandering the alleyways I tripped upon fantastic souvenir shop that sold lots and lots of olive wood products for the home and kitchen. Cheese boards, mortars & pestles, salad bowls and utensils are just some of the products you can buy. Won’t your home look better with some olive wood?
Another gift item I think you should by for the Greek food fantastic is Prospero’s Kitchen by my friend Diana Farr-Louis. This book details the origins and recipes of the cooking of the Ionian Islands and Kythera.
Despite the doom and gloom that’s been painted upon Greece, tourism this past summer flourished and one of the jewels of Greece hs to be Costa Navarino resort. Not only do they off first class accommodation in Messinia but they also embrace and promote the local artisans who make some of Greece’s best olives, olive oil, jams and honey. A basket of Costa Navarino products would be bringing Greece right into your home and hearts.
Greece also produces beauty/healthcare products and a nice stocking stuffer would be some olive oil soap. Great for the skin, all natural and affordable. Greek olive oil soap is going to be the next big thing!!
This next gift idea isn’t Greek but it involves grapes and that’s kinda Greek, right? Just 90 minutes south of Toronto is Niagara Falls and that flourishing Niagara Wine Region. One of the unique products to come from this region is Niagara Ice Syrup. There’s no alcohol in it but the syrup is great for salad dressings, sauces, reductions and desserts. Watch for this product to make a splash in 2013!
As a cook, I like to have a stocked pantry and that means lots of herbs and spices. I also need to be organized and I splurged on these magnetic spice rack containers. Set the containers on a magnetic strip on your wall or stick to the fridge or just stack in the cupboard.
Next to your hands being your greatest asset in the kitchen, you need good knives and ever since I got this knife set from Happy Chef I’ve been cooking with much more ease. Quality knives are safer to use and you cut, chop and slice with precision. Be it a home cook or chef, you need good knives.
Christmas is a good time to say “thank you” to the people that did awesome things for you this past year. Send thanks to friends or good clients with gift basket from Peter & Paul’s, a Canadian company run by Greeks (support Greek businesses).
Another great idea is to give someone some art. Georgia lives in the US but every time she goes back to Greece she’s inspired by the country’s natural beauty and she puts memories into canvass. Have a look at Georgia’s prints and send someone a memory of Greece. Again, support Greek business.
I love taking photography and this year I upgraded from the Canon S90 to the latest model, the Canon S100. It’s compact, takes fabulous photos and even shoots HD video!
I love my Greek coffee and this past summer I discovered a small shop specilaizing in brass and copper works. I bought a “gazaki” that runs on fondue fuel and its perfect for making a cup of Elliniko! They also make brikia, sugar and coffee containers and the serving trays waiters still use to deliver coffee to shop owners.
Finally, why not treat yourself or you and your friends to an upcoming Greek Supper Club created and cooked by me in an open, cozy kitchen studio here in Toronto? Gift certificates now available.
Feel free to add any other product/service (keep it Greek or Greek-owned) in the comments section below.
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© 2012, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.