Now Bring Us Some Piggy Pudding

It’s getting a little late to order a gift and have it arrive in time for the holidays, and we’re all sick of stores by now. So why not treat yourself to a visit to the farmers market? You deserve a terrific breakfast at Primavera and while you’re there, you might as well get some locally-produced food and drink to give as gifts.

First stop: The Fatted Calf for salami (they’ll have wild boar salame this weekend), their NY Times-touted beef jerky or any of their tasty sausages. Since Fatted doesn’t ship any of their products, they make particularly good gifts for people who live out of town.

If salami alone doesn’t seem gift-worthy, wrap it up with a copy of the book Heat. Heat is a great read, especially for the description of famed Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini, and Taylor, owner/meat-maker at the Fatted Calf, is Dario-trained.

Vegetarians getting you down? I feel you. Turn to Rancho Gordo for a sack of heirloom beans or posole. Or just load them up with chocolate and coffee (and get a little Fatted Calf bacon for yourself!).

To the left of The Fatted Calf is La Cocina where you can find Kika’s Treats. Kika’s milk chocolate-covered graham crackers are one of my very favorite food discoveries this year.

To the right of The Fatted Calf is Blue Bottle Coffee, and who couldn’t use an especially delicious cup of coffee?! Oakland-based Blue Bottle coffee sells fair trade beans that are super freshly roasted. It brings joy to my world every day.

If you can’t make it to the Saturday farmers market, head to their handy little kiosk in Hayes Valley (a stone’s throw from Miette Confiserie). Boulette’s Larder at the ferry building also sells Blue Bottle beans.

Do you know one of the insane people who don’t drink coffee? Buy them some herbal tea. Juniper Ridge’s tea is definitely worth seeking out (and the tea is hard to find anywhere but the market or their web store). The Douglas Fir Tip tea is like no other tea I’ve ever had. It literally tastes of the forest floor. If tree tea is too out-there for you, there’s always White Sage and Mint instead. (If tree tea isn’t out-there enough for you, Juniper Ridge also sells sage “smudgesticks”, for the Julia Butterfly’s on your list.)

Nuts are healthy, right? The nut people (in front of the market under a purple awning) offer roasted, salted, plain, or candied nuts. They also sell a remarkable brittle — which they insist you try, and then try again — and a great trail mix. If you are traveling this year to see family or friends by all means pack this trail mix.

Inside the Ferry Building, Stonehouse has olive oils, vinegars or a bottle of dirty martini mix (a martini is guaranteed to make the season bright). Just next door is Rechuitti. A jar of the delicious burnt caramel sauce fits just perfectly in a stocking.

You might as well buy a handful of Miette’s waxed paper wrapped caramels, although you’ll probably eat them all before the holidays (perhaps even before you leave the market). The gingerbread caramels are particularly delicious, and I believe they are only available this time of year.

Of course, California is perhaps best known for wine and there’s plenty of good wine shops. We joined the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant wine club this summer. It’s a reasonably priced monthly wine club (the two bottles — of red, white or one of each — costs a maximum of $40 month). If you’re local, you can pick up your wine at the store and avoid shipping charges.


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