Saturday, December 13, 2014
Stocking Stuffers for #Foodies and #Mystery Lovers
LUCY BURDETTE: Are you stumped about stuffing your favorite foodie’s stocking? Puzzled about holiday books for mystery lovers that will slide right into a sock? We have a few suggestions of books and delicacies to delight everyone on Christmas morning…I've included suggestions from my foodie friends, Krista Davis and Cleo Coyle, who both had books out December 2, too!
In my fifth Key West food critic mystery, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, it may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don’t seem to extend to the restaurant business. Food critic Hayley Snow has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West’s hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals that there’s been sabotage in the kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.
As for immediately edible treats, I'm mad for Nocciolato, an organic Nutella-like hazelnut spread that I use to make fudge (about $10.) I took the fudge when we were houseguests at our son’s prospective in-laws’ home—it was an instant sensation.
KRISTA DAVIS: Thanks for including me! The newest book is called THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER, but I have a Christmas book perfect for stockings too. In The Diva Wraps It Up, it’s beginning to look a lot like murder. When the neighborhood cookie swap turns deadly, domestic diva Sophie Winston has to wonder who’s naughty or nice. One dozen cookie recipes and two holiday alcoholic beverage recipes included!
For foodies, I recommend Theo Pink Salted Caramels: Perfect caramels are enrobed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with exactly enough pink sea salt. About $7.50 for four little mouthwatering wonders. I added a box to our tip for the garbage collectors last Christmas, and our trash cans haven’t been tossed to the curb since.
RHYS BOWEN: My Royal Spyness mystery series includes a book called The Twelve Clues of Christmas. In this book I’ve recreated the old English Christmas at a country house (with the addition of a few bodies). Food is an important element in this book, with traditional sausage rolls, mince pies, and of course the Christmas pudding, served flaming with a sprig of holly in it.
My gift for a foodie would be a Cross and Blackwell’s miniature Christmas pudding. Almost as good as home-made and you just need to microwave it, not spend hours making it. And with the addition of brandy poured over it and the sprig of holly, you can have your own Olde English Christmas.
HALLIE EPHRON: Great gift book ideas. I'd add, even though it's so big it'll probably bring your Christmas stocking crashing down from the mantle, "The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries" edited by Otto Penzler is a mix of classic and contemporary tales. Just be careful not to fall asleep reading it -- it could fall over and break your nose. And for writers on your list, you can't do better than the anthology of essays our own Hank Phillippi Ryan edited, "Writes of Passage" in Sisters in Crime's Writing Life Series.
And I recently discovered a fantastic candy maker in Dorchester, MA (think Dennis Lehane) -- Phillips Chocolates. They roast their own nuts, make their own caramel, and assemble fabulous turtles. Make someone happy.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Thank you, Hallie. Yes, WRITES OF PASSAGE is the perfect gift--it's beautiful, thanks to Henery Press, and the essays are generous and lovely and incredibly valuable. A perfect gift for anyone who is even thinking about writing.
Whoa. I want those caramels from Krista.
And for your holiday libation--a "Bestseller!" (Jonathan and i named it that--so one can ask: would you like a Bestseller? And the other can say: Sure!) Shake 3 parts vodka and one part Pink Grapefruit liqueur (Giffard Creme de Pamplemousse rose') with ice, pour into a martini glass, and add a wedge of lime. Red (ish) and green! And SO delicious. (Talk about naughty and nice!)
CLEO COYLE: For coffee lovers, a premium package of coffee makes a lovely gift. This year, Marc and I are excited to be giving our very own blend, "Billionaire's Blend," which was created by Holly O'Connor of One Good Woman Fine Coffees and Teas and her master roaster Shane in honor of our visit to their store in Eastern PA.
The name of the blend is taken from our Coffeehouse Mystery, Billionaire Blend, and the customers liked it so much that Holly and Shane decided to keep roasting and selling it. Giving someone a gift with the word "Billionaire" in the title is a real hoot. And while this delicious blend is rich, the price is not (under $15.00 a pound, which is a good deal for premium, small-batch roasted coffee). To order it for yourself, simply call the toll free number at their shop 1-866-610-2872. Their staff is incredibly warm and friendly and they excel at fulfilling special orders. May you drink with joy!
Reds, have you found anything wonderful on your shopping excursions this year?