Rums from Maui — Haleakala Distillers produces light, gold and dark rums made from Maui sugar–for holiday egg nog or smooth sipping. Oh, and for the hardcore boozer, they also make a 155 proof rum.
Stuffed Spam musubi — No, this isn’t a musubi version of a stuffed-crust pizza. This Spam musubi is a cuddly cute plush toy–for once, food you can bring to bed.
Tiffin lunch box — When Tupperware just won’t do for the multi-course lunches your favorite foodie packs. Three tiers of stainless steel containers keep the fruit salad separate from the pastrami sandwich on fresh-baked rye bread while leaving the tiramisu untainted.
Umeshu — One of the ubiquitous bottles of ume (similar to plum) liqueur is the Choya brand that comes in a tall, cylindrical green bottle with whole ume at the bottom. Umeshu is sweet with a pleasant tang derived from the ume fruit and pit as they age in the liqueur.
Vitamix — What at first glance appears to be an overpriced blender is an indispensable tool. With its heavy duty motor, it transforms nuts into smooth butter and gives pureed soups a silkier texture than other blenders, bringing out the flavor of your ingredients. (I know, it sounds like magic, but I’ve been convinced). From thick, evenly blended smoothies (Jamba Juice uses Vitamix) to cilantro coulis, it’s useful for both the home and professional cook.
Waialua chocolate — Malie Kai dark and milk chocolate made from Waialua-grown cacao are velvety bars with hints of berry and caramel. For the locavore chocoholic.
XO sauce — This Chinese condiment was named after the cognac to signify luxury and high quality. It doesn’t contain any alcohol; rather, XO sauce is usually made with dried scallops, dried shrimp and ham (among other ingredients) that help enhance seafood dishes (and give fried rice new life). If you’re unsure about its giftability, just ask my parents, who still receive and give (me) XO sauce.
Yule log — For their Yule log, or Buche de Noel (a traditional French Christmas dessert), Satura Cakes rolls a chocolate sponge cake with mocha cream and decorates the “log” with adorable meringue mushrooms dusted in cocoa.
Zinfandel — Bring a robust, spicy Zinfandel to a party that includes a prime rib roast or similarly meaty centerpiece. Among the recommendations at Tamura’s: Storybook Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel ($28.99), Frog’s Leap Zinfandel ($23.79), Brown Estate Zinfandel ($29.99)