Let’s start with drinks
For the one who loves vino
Up his or her summer dining experience with a bottle of red, white or rose from Volcanic Hills Winery.
Made in Rotorua, they source the best grapes from throughout New Zealand.
Or, for those who go for an alcohol-free buzz, check out Tauranga’s Good Buzz organic kombucha (our pick is Raspberry Lemon).
Add a special touch by adding a blown glass tumbler such as the “Bach cup” ($45) by artist Heather Kreman.
For the one who prefers gin
Get in the (craft) spirit with a gift voucher from Matahui Distillery in Aongatete, near Katikati.
Matahui offers a three-hour distillery class, where participants can blend, bottle and label their gin to take home. ($195 a person or $245 for two people sharing a still).
For the one who has to work over Christmas
Banish summertime work blues with a Huntaway or Pound Puppy. No, not an actual pooch, but a quirkily named brew from Rotorua’s Mourea Coffee Co.
Mourea sources its coffee (both beans and ground) from Fairtrade coffee farmers.
It’s roasted, packaged in paper bags or “swappa” jars, and delivered free by e-bike around Rotorua.
Our pick is Rottweiler (from $17.50). “Strong and dark”, this is a drink “for the emergency services”.
It pairs well with milk but also suits those who want a bit of “extra grrr” in their day.
Mourea won the 2023 Rotorua Business Chamber Kaitiakitanga Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change award.
For the one who loves rituals
Accessories, pairing and knickknacks that go with the relaxing ritual of tea drinking can be found at Webster’s Tea.
The Tauranga company was started in 2016 and its ethos is a winner: “Tea breaks shouldn’t be spent drinking bland bagged dust”.
We love their sample pack of 12 different teas. ($25.90).
Now, on to food
For the one who’s always screenshotting new recipes
For a sneaky pre-Christmas gift, we love Pepper & Me’s 12-day Christmas advent calendar ($150), featuring nine brand-new products that are exclusive to the calendar.
Each of the 12 treats comes paired with a recipe card.
Alternatively, check out the health-promoting spice blends from Mon’s Flavours.
These Indian-inspired goodies (priced from $15) can be gift-boxed on request.
For the one who’s upgrading their barbie this summer
A gift card for The Big Smoke BBQ class ($165) won’t go amiss.
Held over four hours, the class features everything from meat selection and preparation to processes and tips for cooking pork, beef, lamb, seafood, chicken and smoked cheese.
Classes run on January 21 and February 11 in Mount Maunganui.
For the one who’s craving a break
“Stressed spelled backwards is dessert,” says Waihī chocolatier business Chez Moi.
And what better way to survive the school holidays than with sugar?
Infused with various flavours, from hazelnuts to organic chilli flakes and limoncello, you can visit Chez Moi at Unit 1, 29 Wilson Road, Waihī Beach.
Or shop online with other local chocolate makers Scilla Chocolates and Solomons Gold.
For one who’s a (curious) toast lover
Avocado Tours is a new enterprise that lets visitors experience a working avocado orchard in Katikati and learn the journey from “tree to your toast”.
Treat your loved one to a guided tour. They operate twice a day in summer, running for 1.5 hours, and yes, they’ll get to eat avo, too.
They have a special launch price of $30pp for two or more people. Children under 16 are free with a paying adult.
For the one who loves to entertain
For a versatile addition to a Christmas charcuterie board (or Christmas hamper), we love Pāpāmoa’s Nana Dunn & Co’s selection of moreish pickled onion, jam, chutney and relish.
You can buy their whole range in one gift bag ($55).
Now, for the free stuff
Gifting without the price tag
For those seeking meaningful but budget-friendly gift ideas, these exclusive, sustainable ideas from Juno Scott-Kelly at Love Food Hate Waste NZ might be just what you need.
Homemade infused oils: Take olive or grapeseed oil from your kitchen and infuse it with herbs, spices, or citrus peels to create unique flavoured oils. Present them in decorative bottles with handwritten labels for a gourmet touch.
Jarred cookie mixes: Layer the dry ingredients for your favourite cookie recipe in a mason jar, add a festive ribbon and a recipe card, and you have an instant DIY cookie mix ready to gift.
Spice blends: Most of us have pantries that are full of spices that have only been used once or twice. A great way to use them up is to mix them all to make spice mixes that can be used for a range of things. Package them in small, attractive containers and include a recipe card with suggestions for use.
Hot chocolate kits: Layer cocoa powder, sugar, and marshmallows in a mason jar. Attach a tag with instructions for making a cosy cup of hot chocolate.
Herb planters: If you have fresh herbs growing in your garden, transplant them into decorative pots or mugs. These make delightful, long-lasting gifts for fellow foodies.
Homemade sauces and jams: Turn surplus fruits or vegetables into flavourful jams, chutneys, or sauces. Put them in jars and label them with love.
Bread bliss balls: If you have leftover bread, you can make homemade bread bliss balls with stale bread (breadcrumbs), cocoa powder, coconut oil, sugar or date puree, vanilla extract and walnuts. Coat in dark melted chocolate for an extra wow factor. For the full recipe visit lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz
Carly Gibbs is a weekend magazine writer for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post and has been a journalist for two decades. She is a former news and feature writer, for which she’s been both an award finalist and winner.