If there’s one thing that makes one want to celebrate, it’s food. Doesn't a slice of rich chocolate cake just call out for candles to mark a special occasion? And who can resist the lure of an expertly frothed hot cocoa, complete with grated nutmeg or cinnamon? Good wine, rich beers, and perfectly cured meats and cheese speak to the inner foodie in all of us.

This holiday season, give the gift that will make someone do a happy dance in anticipation of gastronomic bliss. Celebrate the local food and drink producers, restaurants, cafes, and eateries right here in Ontario’s Highlands.

Chocolate: A Foodie’s Best Gift

Does anything say I love you more than a box of chocolates? We think not. Hummingbird Chocolate Maker in Almonte has the chocolates that will say I love you many times over. Think ethically and sustainably sourced rich, and decadent chocoholic bliss.

In Maberly, Fine Chocolate by Ludwig dares you to find a single thing amiss with their smooth, rich chocolate bars. The adventurer’s soul will enjoy guessing what’s inside a box of assorted Perth Chocolate Works’ treats – decadent and delicious. In Renfrew, J & J's Chocolate Sensations offers delicious milk, dark, or white chocolates that are hand-dipped with love and available at various locations across the region. 

Local Spirits and Liqueurs

Who doesn’t find value in unwrapping a locally produced spirit, liqueur or beer exciting? Dairy Distillery has perfected the holiday gift pack and created combinations you will love to give (and receive). Whether your giftee is into chocolate, coffee, or just likes to try new things, Dairy Distillery has cream-based, smooth, and unique gift ideas.

And have you ever heard of dessert liqueur? Top Shelf Distillers sells a three-pack of yummy liqueurs that are perfect for stocking stuffers. For the Caesar lovers, O’Kenny’s Craft Spirits has the all the Caesar fixings to create the perfect (and local) Caesar.

Meats, Cheeses, and Savouries

Gift someone with a selection of flavours from across Ontario’s Highlands. If you love charcuterie, gift someone a chance to make their own with a complete meat, cheese, and paddle board  gift pack from Back 40 Cheese. For a little something different, The Barn Chefs in Coe Hill offers authentic Italian meats and cheeses (pro tip: pick up some of their freshly made pasta at the same time).

For a gift box with heart, The Perth Cheese Shop's Local, Local, Local Charcuterie Board is the perfect choice for an epic charcuterie for two (or more). The His & Hers Grazing Shop in Pembroke has curated charcuterie boxes, made to order to suit your tastes. 

Custom Cupcakes and Sweet Treats

Beautifully decorated baked goods are like a work of art, and the perfect gift for a dinner party or special occasion. Gift a box filled with artistically decorated cupcakes from Cupcakes by Jen in Stirling for a unique (and delicious) gift idea.  7th Heaven Sweets in Pembroke sells decadent, exquisitely decorated cupcakes, macaroons, cakes, and sweet treats that are so beautiful it will almost be a shame to eat them.

Unique Ciders

Think you’re not a cider lover? Trust us, here in Ontario’s Highlands they don’t make cider like you are used to. At Ugly Apple you can gift someone with the flavour of wild things – these folks use only wild apples to make their still ciders, and their Forbes Log Cabin Scrumpy is a win on both counts. Brand new on the cider scene is Brooker's Cider in the Ottawa Valley - check out their website for some cool swag but note their ciders may be sold out for the season. 

Homegrown Gifts

Who doesn’t appreciate a gift that’s made close to home? Order someone a farmer’s meat, eggs and vegetable box delivered to your door from Enright Cattle Co., or check out Abbey Gardens in Haliburton’s selection of ready-made foods and veggies grown in region. Vegans will love the elevated pre-made vegan dishes from Nourished by Raisin the Root. Gift someone with food they can enjoy without wondering about how many kilometres were put on the truck to deliver it.

Edibles with an Eco Heart

This Christmas give a gift that stands for something and support local businesses who are doing their part to preserve the environment. Whitewater Brewery has made a commitment to be carbon neutral and ensure their footprint leaves no lasting harms for the environment. Seed to Sausage sells ethically raised meat and Fluid Solar Roasters roasts their coffee using solar power. These are just a few of the places who are going above and beyond to be responsible in their food production.