So, Christmas is in just a few days. Don't panic! If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet, may I recommend a few local experiential and subscription-based things? They'll fit very neatly into one's stocking.
Foodie walking tours
I'm a guide with Edible Excursions, leading the Mission 18th Street tour, but they also have tours of Mission 24th Street, Japantown, the Ferry Building, Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto and soon Oakland's Temescal neighborhood. The tours are tons of fun, you come away well fed and with a new perspective on each area. Also recommendable: GraceAnn Walden's tours of North Beach and Chinatown, the new Savor Oakland tour of Jack London Square (if you hurry I think you can still nab the Blackboard Eats coupon for Savor Oakland), and Discovery Street Tours' explorations of Bread and Cheese, Fermented Favorites and the Science of Tea. Or, take a coastal foraging tour with Kirk Lombard.
A membership to 18 Reasons
The non-profit arm of the Bi-Rite family of businesses explores the intersection of food, culture and community. A membership gets you discounted access to their always engaging set of classes, plus discounts at Bi-Rite Market, Bi-Rite Creamery, Pizzeria Delfina, Faye's Video, Tartine Bakery, Pot & Pantry and Omnivore Books. Sort of a no-brainer.
DIY Food Classes
Does your giftee like to make jam? Check out Blue Chair Fruit. Pickles, too? How about Happy Girl Kitchen? More of a cheese hound? Why, there's the Cheese School of San Francisco, Urban Kitchen SF, and the Pt. Reyes Cheese Co. More meaty? Give the gift of butchery with 4505 Meats, Fatted Calf or Avedano's. A little bit of everything? Even more at the Institute of Urban Homesteading, Love Apple Farms and FARMcurious.
CSAs and Subscriptions
Gift regular shipments of fresh produce from some of our best local farms, like Mariquita, Eatwell, Tara Firma Farms and Capay/Farm Fresh to You, or from a variety of farms via Full Circle. Tara Firma also has a meat CSA, as does Pastoral Plate. But for something really fun and different, how about monthly shipments of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo or artisanal dry pasta from Baia Pasta?
Or, go to Italy
With a local -- me! Last January I brought a group to Emilia-Romagna for a week of hands-on DIY food action including making salumi, pasta, piadina, preserves and more, and we're going back in October. Don't just believe me when I say the trip is amazing; see what my previous guests have to say about it. Alternatively, take a trip to the toe of the boot with local Calabrian cooking instructor Rosetta Costantino.