Online shopping may have its limitations, namely in speedy delivery when you’re in a time crunch, but I still would feel remiss if I didn’t give a few last suggestions for some more unique treats, found over the great interweb. No chance of getting your goodies before the 25th, you say? This is why IOU’s were invented! And what’s better than receiving that one last gift days after the holiday has ended, thus extending the festivities even further? It’s all a matter of how you look at it.
First up is MacaSure Chocolat, an elegantly wrapped but fairly unassuming little chocolate bar. Lest you think is is just another dime-a-dozen slab of cacao, take a closer look and you’ll see that it’s the perfect gift for superfood fiends. 70% cacao infused with a potent dose of maca root, it claims to reduce stress and increase libido, among other nice side benefits. An attractive offering for one’s significant other simply based on the hype, what I was most interested in however was taste. Happily, flavor doesn’t take a backseat to nutrition, as this cleanly molded bar provides a satisfying snap as soon as it hits the teeth, and though slightly grainy, does melt slowly over the tongue. Complex and sophisticated, the flavor profile falls more on the bitter side of cacao, but has just enough sweetness to keep it from going over the edge. Slightly smoky, with woodsy undertones, it’s a taste that definitely grows on me as I eat it, and I found myself craving another bar by the time I finished. An easy romantic gesture, it might make for a sweet little stocking stuffer to the one you love.
Chocolate a bit too decadent for your recipients’ tastes? Well, for the health nut in your life, few things could be better than a gift certificate to Me & Goji, a make-you-own cereal service based online. Totally overwhelmed by options, I could hardly decide what to put into my mix; Just pick your fancy and it’s bound to be there, from nuts to fruits to goodies of all varieties, you can even choose flakes over oats, wheat squares or cereal O’s. Though cereal may sound like a lame gift on the surface, trust me, I was in crunchy-granola heaven making my mix! And for ultimate customization power, you can even supply your own photo for the box. Best yet is their customer service, always ready to spring into action and help out, or generously send you a whole new mix if yours isn’t up to expectations. This is one accommodating idea that allows your special someones to get exactly what they want.
If you’re seeking pure, unrestrained sweetness, I’ve saved quite possibly the best for last. Soft, chewy caramels, like slowly melting pillows of sweetness, are perhaps the ultimate holiday candy. Vegan versions are difficult to come by, and even harder to perfect when it comes to nailing that luxurious texture. Well, the folks at JJ’s Sweets have cracked the code, substituting coconut milk for the traditional heavy cream, and creating something even greater than the sum of its parts. Cocomels, available in Original, Vanilla, Fleur de Sel, and Java, are a treat for even the most discerning candy connoisseur. Upon first bite, delicate notes of burnt sugar lead, followed by rich coconut flavor, balancing out the intense sweetness beautifully. Each flavor is truly crave-worthy, but I might pick the fleur de sel as a personal favorite. That light sprinkle of flaky salt just made all of the flavors “pop,” and I might even venture to say that it was the best caramel I’ve ever tasted, vegan or not. Now, if only I could get some sea salt on the java cocomels, that would be a match made in candy heaven!
Lastly, should all else fail, nothing says “happy holidays” like a tried and true cookbook. The print version of My Sweet Vegan has just celebrated its 3rd birthday, but in case you haven’t jumped on board with the text yet, you can now enjoy it digitally! Available in ebook form through Google Books, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Kobo Books, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Choosing from presents as special as these, you would be easily forgiven for handing them out a day or two late!