12 edible gifts sure to sweeten the holidays

In the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” someone receives some rather interesting presents from her “true love,” including an array of different birds, golden rings, and nobles performing. If the birds are kept as pets, the only edible gifts are the not very exciting products of six geese a-laying and eight maids a-milking. 

In 2016, holiday gifts are much more delicious. Several food companies have created gifts that, while just as unique, will be much more fun to open — and eat — this holiday season.

Here are 12 edible gifts that are sure to brighten the spirits of everyone on your gift list this season. 

1: Graeter’s Peppermint Stick and Eggnog Ice Creams

Graeter's ice cream

A Cincinnati tradition, Graeter’s Ice Cream has been handcrafted since 1870 and uses the same process more than 130 years later to make decadent ice cream. The company utilizes local dairy, select fruit from the Pacific Northwest and gourmet chocolate to create its flavors, which it swirls by hand using 2-gallon French pots — an old-fashioned process that has been rejected by many large-scale ice cream manufacturers. 

“Food is nostalgic. It is often the centerpiece to family gatherings, and just as stories are passed from generation to generation, recipes are shared to preserve those fond memories,” George Denman, the company’s vice president of sales, told Food Dive in an email. “Giving the gift of ice cream means sharing something special and unique with someone you love. Revive memories of enjoying a slice of pie and a scoop of ice cream amongst family or go back in time with your childhood favorite flavor.”

In addition to the company's regular lineup of flavors, there are also seasonal peppermint stick and eggnog varieties.  

“As Cincinnati locals move away from home and across the nation, gifting Graeter’s means gifting a piece of home,” Denman said.

2: Buzz + Bloom Honey

Buzz + Bloom Honey is dedicated to globally sourced, craft-style honey that highlights the journey of the honey bee through its surroundings from hive to home.

Buzz + Bloom honey
Buzz + Bloom

“Sourced from our trusted beekeepers in Brazil, Vietnam, Ethiopia and all around the world, each variety delivers a unique taste experience from the natural floral essence of that area,” John Rzeszut, vice president of marketing at Buzz + Bloom, told Food Dive. “For instance, our Light & Sweet honey is a delightfully sweet, light-colored honey with slight fruity taste that comes from an area of India near the border with Nepal where bees visit the flowers of the Litchi tree. Our Orange Blossom honey gets it unique flavor from bees buzzing around citrus groves in Mexico.”

Buzz + Bloom Honey offers 14 different varieties to pick from, so everyone is guaranteed to find a honey that sustainability-minded friends and family will enjoy. As an added bonus, the beautiful packing makes for a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift with no need for wrapping.

3: Doc Popcorn

Doc Popcorn 

Doc Popcorn handcrafts a wide variety of fresh specialty flavors of popcorn. The company has gluten-free and nut-free options that use whole grain kernels, proprietary flavor blends and other high-quality ingredients. Flavors include cookies ‘n’ cream, caramel bliss, sweet butter, klassic kettle, cheesy cheddar, better butter, triple white cheddar, salt-n-pepper, hoppin’ jalapeño and sinfully cinnamon.

Popcorn is universally beloved, which makes it the perfect, “go-to” holiday gift to send to a boss, friend or relative. Gift options include customizable Doc Popcorn tins and one-quart gift pack samplers

This holiday season, the company debuted is its Poppin’ Toppings Gift Set, featuring the company’s proprietary flavor blends to season your own home-popped popcorn, or any other food item.  

4: Otis Spunkmeyer Hot Chocolate Frosted Crème Cakes



Otis Spunkmeyer, a pioneer in the fresh-baked cookie business since the 1970s, recently launched a new retail line of 20 pre-packaged sweet treats. To celebrate, the company introduced its new hot chocolate frosted crème cakes, available for a limited time at national retailers this holiday season.

These treats contain no artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils, making it a gift (or stocking stuffer) that both children and parents will be happy about.

5: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates


Handmade in Burlington, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates are created in a peanut- and tree nut-free environment, making them safe for those with allergies.

“The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for those with nut and other food allergies. Parties, school events, gift swaps and so on typically have food available that frequently include harmful ingredients for those with allergies,” Mark Elvidge, co-founder of the company, told Food Dive in an email. “We’re proud to offer a selection of chocolates, sweets, and baking ingredients that taste great and can help bring peace of mind to those who suffer from peanut and tree nut allergies.”

6:  Eli's Cheesecake


Eli Schulman's cheesecake company has long been known as the place to go in Chicago for scrumptious cheesecake. Now the 39-year old restaurant legend delivers anywhere in the country.

For this holiday season, it has released two 8’’ cheesecakes, shipped together in one box. Included are a rich and creamy egg nog cheesecake mixed with a candy cane cheesecake. Each cake is pre-cut into 12 slices.

Schulman utilizes regional ingredients from local farms and producers.

7: Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste


Tie a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste with a festive red and white ribbon and attach a recipe for homemade marshmallows, frosting or ice creams could make chefs of any age smile.

“Aspiring chefs and seasoned culinary masters know the value of the vanilla bean,” company founder Nielsen Massey told Food Dive. “Whether it’s presented as a larger gift with other Nielsen Massey Vanilla products or given as the perfect stocking stuffer for a favorite foodie, it is a specialty ingredient that is sure to be appreciated.”

8: Brownie Brittle

Pioneers of this growing snack category, Brownie Brittle is made of the crispy edges of a gourmet, decadent brownie. Its holiday flavors are drizzled in white and dark chocolate, adding some dimension and a holiday pizzazz to a cult favorite among millennials and Generation Z.

Sheila G's Brownie Brittle
Sheila G's

Two holiday flavors this season include its chocolate chip with white drizzle and salted caramel with dark drizzle.

“Brownie Brittle makes great gifts for co-workers, teachers or even your mailman,” Sheila G. Mains, told Food Dive in an email.

9: Heifer International’s Ecuadorian Chocolate


With a mission to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth, Heifer sustainably improves the quality of life for small-scale cacao farmers and their families by providing training and resources. These methods for growing and harvesting are then utilized to create an Ecuadorian treat — most notably the company’s dark chocolate sea salt caramels.

At 50 calories per serving of three decadent squares, the richness of each piece is cut by the satisfaction of knowing the purchase is helping small-scale farmers in Ecuador become self-reliant.

10: Merry Christmas Bou Tray from Cookies By Design


This fun Christmas-themed food bouquet is filled with traditional holiday icons on personally decorated handmade Christmas cookies.

The cookies are can be customized with seasonal décor, messaging or even personal photos.

11: Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata Dairy Free



How to make a vegan foodie's season bright? Just add gourmet Nocciolata Dairy Free, an organic chocolate hazelnut spread that is made with fair trade cocoa.

Each batch takes 36 hours of artisanal preparation, which combines top-quality hazelnuts, fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter, environmentally-responsible cold-pressed sunflower oil, natural vanilla extract, and raw cane sugar. It contains no palm oil —which is high in saturated fat and whose cultivation devastates the environment —hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, aromas or additives.

“Nocciolata Dairy Free is a jar of gourmet indulgence that should find its way into every food-lovers stocking,” a spokesperson for the company told Food Dive in an email. “With 40 million lactose intolerant people and another 3.7 million vegans in the U.S. alone, ‘free-from’ foods have moved from niche to norm; dairy-free is quickly becoming a top food trend in 2016, growing 31% every year.”

12: The White Chocolate Cranberry Loaf

Holiday offerings from La Brea Bakery capture the essence and distinctive flavors of the holiday season, like warm gingerbread and tart cranberries, but its white chocolate cranberry loaf is a standout among its products.

“It balances sweet and creamy white chocolate with the tartness of cranberries, along with a hint of sourness from the La Brea Bakery Starter,” Andrew Blok, brand director for La Brea Bakery, told Food Dive in an email.

La Brea Bakery bread loaf
La Brea Bakery

Another great gift option — The Gingerbread Loaf Cake — is a delicate and moist cake with hints of ginger, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove topped with candied ginger streusel.

“Families and friends break bread together during the holiday season and what better way to do so then with seasonal flavors,” Blok said. “The breads add a level of seasonal warmth and deliciousness to any table. Both the White Chocolate Cranberry Loaf and Gingerbread Loaf make a delicious hostess gift for holiday gatherings.” 

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Filed Under: Marketing Beverages
Top image credit: Jim Bowen