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Salem Sips is a local lover of all things Salem especially in the gastro and beverage world. 

20 Gift Ideas for Salem Foodies That Aren’t Restaurant Gift Cards

Each year, gift giving for the food lover, home chef, or restaurant guru seems easy… a gift card to the newest or most recent favorite restaurant is always a sure win.  Of course nobody in such a receiving end would be disgruntled at this gesture, it is always fun to shake things up and surprise that foodie in your life with something unique. Below, Salem Sips as compiled a list of twenty gift ideas from local shops and businesses here in Salem that will undoubtedly put a smile on your food and beverage admirer.  As always, please inquire within each business for pricing and availability.  

Happy Shopping and keep it local!

 Fresh Pasta

Jean Louis Pasta Shop on Derby Street devotes an entire store front to fresh made, rolled, and filled Italian specialties.  Chef Tony Bettencourt at A Mano on Pickering Wharf also now sells his own fresh pasta such as Tagliatelle and Linguine, among others.  Pair these with his famous Bolognese by the jar for a themed gift basket! Stay tuned for pasta making classes and demonstrations this winter, too. 

Gadgets Galore

Find a festive or decorative utensil holder and fill it with fun, effective, and useful kitchen tools for either the home or professional cook, from stores like Pamplemousse on Essex Street or Salem Spice on Pickering Wharf. 

A Food Tour

You and your foodie can learn some history of Salem while sampling some of its own best bites around town.  Host Karen shows her guests not only a great time, but an inside scoop on where to find fantastic food offerings for any meal or occasion.  Visit www.salemfoodtours.com for “A Taste of History.”

D.I.Y Rubs

At either Salem Spice or Milk & Honey on Church Street you will find loose and packaged dried herbs, which are perfect for creating at home rubs, pickling mix, or even flavored salts.  Be sure to include a few empty jars for your foodie to create their own mixes!

Cook Books

Anyone that loves to cook has a stash of used and vintage cookbooks they’ve collected over the years, and what better way to add to that collection than a few more from Wicked Good Books on Essex Street? They also sell copies of Global Meatballs, which every Salem Foodie should have in their collection.

Molasses Rum

Right here in Salem, after about a one hundred year break from Rum making, a new distillery is providing us sea farers again with the sailor’s favorite-RUM! Liquid Damnation is crafted and distilled from New England Molasses at Deacon Giles Distillery on Canal Street.  With notes of caramel and vanilla, it’s exceptional on its own or mixed in a cocktail. Visit their tasting room on Friday or Saturday, or call to find out which Salem shop has bottles for sale. 

Coffee Rum

Also on Canal Street here in Salem is Rumson’s Rum, where Caribbean rums are being custom blended and bottled to perfection.  The favorite of the offerings in Salem Sips’ humble opinion is the coffee rum; smooth, a little sweet, with a buttery finish, it is sure to warm you on a chilly winter night by the fireplace.  Visit www.rumsons.com for a complete list of where bottles are locally sold.  

A Wine Tasting

Salem offers many free pop-in wine tastings at locations such as Pamplemousse and Salem Wine Imports on Church Street.  To make a night out of it with a friend or spouse, make reservations at one of A Mano’s wine tastings, offered monthly, where for $25 per person you will be guided through a themed four-wine flight paired with Chef Bettencourt’s tapas-style accompaniments.  Next up in January is Italian Wine & Cheese Night; call to reserve seats. 

Massachusetts Themed Craft Beer Bucket

Visit spots like Pamplemousse or Quality Liquors to find seasonal and signature offerings from breweries around the state like Ipswich, Newburyport, Berkshire, Cape Ann, and Harpoon.  Fill them in a bucket and include a lobster-shaped bottle opener!

Gourmet Chocolates

You don’t have to leave the city to find some of the best and most famous chocolate makers around.  Visit spots like Ye Olde Pepper Co. on Derby Street, Turtle Alley on Essex Street, and of course Harbor Sweets on Leavitt Street. Chocolates make great hostess gifts, especially when gifted with wine. 

Local Magazine Subscription

Publications such as North Shore Magazine or Foodies of New England highlight local bars, restaurants, seasonal flavors, and professional chefs from right here in our own city, as well as in towns just a drive away.  Visit their websites for pricing on yearly subscriptions. 

Mini Bar in a Jar

Hotel mini bars can certainly be way overpriced; if your foodie travels, surprise them with a mason jar filled with just enough nips for them to stir their own favorite cocktail when away from home.  Bunghole Liquors on Derby Street has plenty of nips to choose from.  This makes a great stocking stuffer too!

Flatware Jewelry

R&J Coins on Pickering Wharf sells these stylish sterling silver spoon rings at various pricing and sizing.  Stop in their shop for friendly service and a vast offering of other jewels. 

Sake & Sushi

At different times throughout the month, Koto Japanese Grill on Washington Street offers both Sake Tastings and Sushi Making Classes.  Surprise your foodie with a night out rolling sushi and go back for their sake tasting so you can perfect this pairing at home!

Gourmet Cheese

An impressive selection at Milk & Honey allows you to choose from either local or imported cheeses of all textures and flavors.  Pair a few pre-packaged wedges with a decorative cheese board and specialty knives from Pamplemousse; and might as well through in a bottle of bubbly, cause why not? Looking for that special cheese to impress.. New kids on the block The Cheese Shop of Salem has you covered! 

Upcycled Vintage Apron

At Modern Millie on Central Street, you will find a few holiday inspired short vintage aprons that will remind you of the ones Gram used to wear… or maybe it’s a gift for Gram, but either way she’ll love taking holiday cookies out of the oven donning one of these festive goodies!

Food as Art

Crabs, lobsters, octopus, and all sorts of fish are impressively being printed on paper and canvas with inks and paints to show off the beauty of these sea creatures, at Fished Impressions on Pickering Wharf.  These framed or loose prints make perfect gifts for seafood lovers, fishermen, or someone with a nautical themed house.  

Live Lobsters

Because who doesn’t love lobster, like ever?  Visit Turner’s Seafood on Church Street any time during regular business hours and up until 5pm on Christmas Eve to purchase live lobsters for your holiday feast. 

Vintage Kitchen Décor

Lifebridge Thrift Shop on Canal Street features shelves full of decorative plates, glassware, brass molds, and anything else kitchen related.  

A Day In Paris

Treat your foodie to an afternoon of tea or coffee with specialty French macarons, pastries, croissants, or cupcakes at Melita Fiore on Washington Street. Perfect for the morning after Christmas! Finish the day with a baguette from A&J King, a wedge of Brie, and a bottle of Sancerre to really make it a Parisian day. 

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