‘Tis the season of gift-giving and so I am here today with a list of Christmas gift ideas! This list is for food lovers (aka for everyone!) and it is entirely made up of things I have personally enjoyed and would honestly love to receive as gifts if it were the other way around. Now is the perfect time to finalize that Christmas shopping list with all the 12/12 sales right around the corner!
I feel like food is one of the best things to give as a gift, but since we all have very different tastes, I tried my best to include a variety of things on this list so there could be something for everyone. It’s mostly made up of local products too. I know I talk about foreign products often, but I am most proud of Filipino products so I thought I’d put a spotlight on them in this Christmas gift ideas list.
You might notice that a lot of these products are linked to the online shopping site BeautyMNL, so I wanted to mention that I am not sponsored by nor am I affiliated with them. It just so happens that I have bought and discovered a lot of the great products on this list from this shopping site, and many of them also happen to make great Christmas gift ideas. If you end up ordering from BeautyMNL, I actually have a coupon code for Php 100 off your purchase. I don’t earn from this coupon or anything, and I know it’s not much, but at least it’s still Php 100 off! Just use the code CLARISSE at checkout.
I have included only new products discovered this year in this list. For more Christmas gift ideas, you can check out the other lists I’ve made before in the related posts section at the bottom of this post. Now that all that’s out of the way, let’s start with the savory stuff and work our way to the sweets, shall we?
1. Harang’s Bicolano favorites in a bottle
Best for: Friends or family who like dishes with gata and some spice!
Price range: Php 120 to Php 150
Here’s the thing, I am a fan of Bicolano dishes. It ticks all the boxes for me since I love coconut milk or gata-based dishes, and I also love spicy stuff. These are what drew me towards Harang’s products. To tell you the truth, I found their laing to be just okay (here at home, we also make pretty good laing), but the sinantolan is on another level. I could eat half a bottle in one sitting, preferably with a steaming plate of rice on the side. Heck I could probably eat their sinantolan on its own because I like it so much!
The only reason why I have to stop at half a bottle is because I have three other brothers who are also fans of this sinantolan. I just get the biggest portion because I’m usually the one who pays for the sinantolan lol. So obviously I recommend the sinantolan, but you can try the laing as well. You can get the laing with pork, shrimp, or tinapa flakes mixed in.
Their products are available in three levels of spiciness: mild, strong, and extreme. I personally always buy strong and extreme since I love eating spicy food, but it can get pretty hot the more you eat so just proceed with caution. The goal is not to start a spicy food challenge but to enjoy a really good Bicolano concoction. Okay?
2. Auntie Arnie’s Heirloom Recipes in a box
Best for: The busy bees in your life who need quick but still home cooked meals
Price range: Starts from Php 195 for the simpler dishes, up to Php 7000+ for the party packages
Auntie Arnie’s is a brand stemming from the idea that everyone has that one auntie in the family known for her cooking skills. As such, the product line of Auntie Arnie’s features heirloom recipes that are both familiar and comforting for most people, but in a ready to eat package. They have various rice dishes, as well as classic Pinoy viands like adobo and laing. They even have pasta sauces which they’ve packaged for the holidays.
Their food comes precooked and frozen in airtight plastic containers. It’s only a matter of following any of the cooking instructions and serving suggestions on the back of the box to have a meal in a matter of minutes.
I actually received some of Auntie Arnie’s frozen heirloom dishes to try, and I was totally smitten by the Meaty Laing. To cook, I popped the frozen Meaty Laing in the microwave for a little over the suggested time on the box to make sure it gets cooked through. When you’re eating the dish, you’d never know it came to you frozen. The laing didn’t look wilted, and the coconut sauce did not taste like it had been in the freezer for weeks already. I loved this.
The chicken dishes were a tad salty for me, though of course tastes will differ. That said, I cannot deny the quality of the products. Plus, the fact that you only need to heat them up for a few minutes without even the need to thaw is pretty convenient. It’s really a perfect option for people who may not have time to cook themselves a good meal but still want something that has that homemade taste and quality.
3. 7Grains Company’s Organic Food Products
Best for: That person who’s always looking for healthier, gluten-free, keto ingredient alternatives
Price range: Php 115 to Php 240
7Grains Company focuses on making healthy alternatives for pantry staples. From natural seasonings and ketchup, to pasta and noodle alternatives made from shrooms and beans, their product line is an interesting mix. I think these would make a great gift to that person in your life who loves cooking, but is always going about trying to find organic and diet-friendly alternatives to the usual ingredients. I have actually tried both variants of their protein pasta out of curiosity. I didn’t expect to enjoy them as much as I did!
4. Cornitos Nacho Crisps
Best for: The junkfood-holic in your life you want to introduce to something just a bit healthier
Price range: Php 79 to Php 179
These chips are kind of polarizing. I like them a lot, but my mom doesn’t like their rough texture. I think that’s part of their charm though. I actually really enjoy that bite they have alongside the crunch. This is an Indian brand, but the flavors available in its lineup touch on different parts of the world. The tikka masala flavor is Indian, but you also have stuff like Thai Sweet Chili, Wasabi, and even Tomato Mexicana, just to name a few. It’s an interesting lineup of flavors, although some may be a bit too unusual compared to the others. Stick to the familiar if you’re gifting this to someone picky.
5. Amazin’ Graze Granola
Best for: The people in your life who love a hearty breakfast or brunch
Price: Php 399 for 250 grams, lower if on sale
I bought these on BeautyMNL when they were on sale, just out of curiosity. Now I’m always wishing for them to go on sale. These bags of goodness are expensive at their regular price, you see. I agree that these are some of the best-quality granola I’ve ever eaten, but I still can’t bring myself to shell out 400 pesos for 250 grams of granola when I know how to make granola at home too lol. The interesting flavors of this Malaysian brand is one of the major reasons why I’m recommending it though! And just look at that pretty packaging!
If you give these granola as gifts, they are sure to impress the receiver in terms of taste and quality. But if you decide to keep them for yourself, I don’t blame you. It’s pretty good granola!
6. Lifestyle Gourmet All Natural Granolas
Best for: That friend or family member who loves cereals and granolas, but who also loves local products
Price range: Php 249 for 250 grams, lower if on sale
This is a cheaper and local alternative to the imported granolas above. The price of Lifestyle Gourmet’s granola goes down when on sale, so you can bundle up your purchase with other products from the same brand to make a set. My favorite product from them is their chocolate granola, but they have four other granola flavors in their lineup. I will admit it’s not quite at par with the quality of the granola from Amazin’ Graze, but it’s not bad. Not bad at all.
7. Larabar Energy Bars
Best for: Your super active, super sporty friend or sibling
Price: Php 110, lower if on sale
As someone who enjoys sports and going to the gym, I have days when I feel like my energy levels need a bit of a boost after a particularly trying sweat session. I’m not fond of energy drinks because of the amount of sugar in them so I tried these out. Don’t know about the energy boost part but these were a delight to munch on, and guilt-free too.
For the record, I love dates so it was easy for me to love these. I especially enjoy the ones with chocolate. Some people may find them weird though, so maybe gift them to those who actually like energy bars in the first place.
8. Made by Maxine Almond Butters
Best for: The nut-lovers in your life
Price: Starts at Php 350, lower if on sale
I used to hate almond butter until I got to try Made by Maxine. And now, it’s not just my favorite almond butter brand but also a breakfast item I always look for. Regardless of what other almond butter brand I try, I always end up gravitating back towards this. It’s definitely one of the best for me, and though it is expensive to buy regularly, it’s definitely worth the once-in-a-while splurge. I love everything from their product line, but the Dark Cacao Almond Butter is my fave. This is another product I always buy when it goes on sale.
9. Marmalades & spreads from WHISK
Best for: The ones who love to experiment with pantry staples
Price: Php 300, lower if on sale
Whisk’s jams make pretty versatile gifts, in my opinion. They aren’t just good for slathering on plain bread, you can also use them to amp up buttered toast. They are great in grilled cheese sandwiches as well. Aside from all that, these can also be used as part of a sauce or marinade for roasts. Whisk has a pretty interesting lineup of flavors, and my only complaint is that their jams tend to lean on the sweeter side. I wish they’d do something more savory.
[READ ALSO: Grilled Cheese Sandwich, 5 Ways]
These next few items are targeted to the coffee-lovers in your life. Because I am a coffee lover myself, I have quite a handful of recommendations in this department. I will not mention the brands I’ve included in my previous Christmas gift lists anymore, although many have remained my favorites up until now. (You can see those listicles through the links in the bottom of this post.)
10. Black Coffee
Price: Php 395 for the sampler set of 8
Black Coffee is my second favorite coffee discovery of the year, and I actually think it deserves a bit more hype. I super love the sleek but simple packaging of this brand. The hand-drawn labels add such a personal touch too! If you get their sampler pack, you can try coffees sourced from different parts of the Philippines and decide which one you like best. I know it can be a hard exercise for us common folk to tell the smallest nuances between one coffee blend to another, but even if you can’t, the least you’ll get is a bag of great assorted coffee. I wish they’d come up with a less generic name than simply ‘Black Coffee‘ though.
11. Café-Te-Ria Coffee
Price range: Php 200 to Php 400
Although I am a fan of this brand, I have to say there are certain blends I am more fond of compared to others. My personal favorite is the Jacinto blend, but gifting their sampler pack is a really good way to allow the receiver to find his/her own favorite as they get to try all the blends available under Cafe-Te-Ria.
12. Dipbrew Coffee
Price range: Php 200 to Php 300
This beautifully packaged coffee product is one that you can just put a bow on and pass on. Drip coffees are always a convenient thing for coffee lovers. My issue with Dipbrew is that it doesn’t seem to be consistent. I have encountered buying a batch that didn’t taste as strong and as good as my previous purchases. Anyway, my favorite is the Classic Blend.
13. Basilio Coffee
Price: Starts at Php 220
I’ve seen Basilio around for a while now, but I only decided to try this brand when they came out with a drip packaging. The Tinatangi Blend is what I have tried so far, and one sip was all it took for this to land in my top three favorite local coffees of all time. From the moment the aroma of the beans wafts out of a newly opened bag, to the very last drop of coffee you drink from your mug, Basilio coffee leaves an impression. If you had to pick only one coffee to gift someone out of this list, let it be this one.
14. Needletail Coffee & Cookies
Best for: The cafe-goer in your life
Price: Starts at Php 130 for the drinks
I initially tried this out based on a whim because of the pretty packaging, but I quickly realized how perfect these are for that cafe experience right at home. There aren’t many purveyors that sell both coffee and pastries together. Though my reasons for buying into Needletail seem a bit shallow, I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. The beans they use for their coffee tend to be on the more acidic side (with a strong sour ending), so do take note if you’re ordering the cold brew. As for the cookies, I found that they get yummier the more bites you take. Both the Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies and the Dark Chocolate Cookies aren’t any sweeter than they needed to be, which I appreciated. This coffee and cookie combo will be sure to satisfy!
15. Dear Lucy Cookies
Best for: The cookie monsters and dessert addicts in your life that prefer “classic” recipes
Price: Starts at Php 350 for a box of 8
There’s so much hype surrounding the New York-style super thick cookies these days, but I have to say, there’s still nothing like the classic. These cookies from Dear Lucy Cookies are, frankly, the best classic choco chip cookies I’ve tried from local sellers yet, and they’re also not as expensive as others.
The firm on the outside, chewy on the inside texture is spot on, and the brown butter element makes for one tasty cookie! There’s a little nuttiness behind every hit of chocolate. The sea salt also brings out the flavors even more. It goes for both Triple Dark and Triple Choco flavors. I think any cookie monster will LOVE these.
16. Moloko Cookies
Best for: The cookie monsters and dessert addicts in your life that prefer more unique flavors
Price: Starts at Php 75 per piece
Moloko Cookies is home to creative cookies executed well. They are also not priced exorbitantly, which makes them a more viable option as gifts. I haven’t tried all the variants from Moloko, but there are a pair of standouts from what I’ve tried so far. Their Strawberry Kiss Cookies, recently named to the 2019 Best Desserts list of Yummy Mag, had an excellent strawberry flavor that played well with the sugar cookie base.
My personal favorite however is the Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies, pictured above. These are the best cookies I’ve tried from a local cookie purveyor so far. I know that’s a BIG statement to make but these cookies are awesome! They are fat and chunky, chewy and just the right amount of chocolatey. A piece is Php 90, so I wish they were a little bigger! Anybody who receives these should be so lucky.
17. Caramia Gelato Sandwiches
Best for: Fans of ice cream and gelato but who want to try something new
Price: Php 150 per piece
These Gelato Sandwiches feature Cara Mia’s signature gelato hugged on both sides by sans rival wafers, then coated with chocolate. The gelato sandwiches come in three flavors: pistachio, mango cream pie, and ferrero. My favorite is the pistachio. It’s like a literal sans rival ice cream sandwich! A bit on the pricey spectrum but the quality and taste does make up for it.
Available in all Caramia branches.
18. Tablea Chocolate Mexican Mix Hot Chocolate Drink
Best for:The non-coffee drinkers in your life
Price: Starts at Php 165
This is my favorite hot chocolate drink, period. Even if I am able to make homemade versions, I can’t stop myself from craving for this. It’s got a bit of spice and a bit of heat that makes the experience of drinking this hot chocolate far from boring. The deep chocolate flavor and the touch of sweetness balance everything out.
The hot chocolate itself thickens after a few minutes off the heat, but it doesn’t get too thick that it’s uncomfortable in the throat. You’d never know, with the texture of this hot chocolate, that it came from a powder form.
Available in SM Kultura stores.
19. Auro Chocolates
Best for: Any choco-holic who knows what a good chocolate bar should be like, including the bakers in your life
Price: Starts at Php 115
My favorite local chocolate brand also scores an A+ in the customer relations department. Any time I send them a DM on Instagram, I always get a swift response to my questions. It shows that despite their big international achievements, they care about their smallest of customers. It adds to my love for this brand. Plus, they have such an impressive range of products it’s too hard to pick just one to label as a favorite.
The great thing about Auro is that not only do they have eating chocolate, their couverture chocolates are also excellent for dessert-making. I have started using exclusively Auro chocolates for any recipe I make that requires melted chocolate in them, and there’s a noticeable difference. I am not sponsored by them, just to be clear. I am simply a fan who is willing to sing praises about a good product! That’s why I know that if you gift this to any loved one who is a baker or a chocolate fan, you will not regret it.
20. Farm To Folk Single Estate Dark Chocolate
Best for: People in your life who like to binge on chocolate
Price: Starts at Php 210
These chocolates are individually-packed, truffle-sized molded chocolates that have a nice snap and mouthfeel to them. Their 65% is not too sweet, although it lacks those little roasted nuances and the smooth melt that Auro chocolates have. Nonetheless, it’s still good chocolate, and equally importantly, you also support local farmers when you buy this.
21. Choco Loco Cacao Nibs
Best for: Fans of really dark chocolate (like me!)
Price: Starts at Php 149
When cacao nibs were just starting to gain popularity, I only knew them as a baking ingredient. Now I snack on them like a fiend, because they taste so good when lightly coated in coconut sugar. Admittedly, cacao nibs are not for everyone, but if you are a fan like me, I recommend this brand. They make great products in great packaging. Chocoloco’s version doesn’t add an exaggerated amount of coconut sugar, which creates this unique push and pull of earthy bitterness and sweet. And if you think that’s a good eating experience, wait until you try the chili version. Addictive!
To tell you the truth, I was slightly taken by surprise by the arrival of December. I have been swamped with work and have been moving through the days a bit mechanically, to the point that I have become too exhausted to even think about Christmas lol. I am currently in serious need of a boost in Christmas spirit, because all I can think about is that I can’t remember the last time I managed to get 8 hours of sleep in.
Anyway, if anyone out there is thinking of sending me a Christmas gift this year, please send over some coffee.
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored. All items were purchases on my own unless otherwise stated. I received no compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own.