eat well gift guide 2016

Welcome to the Baltimore Fishbowl Local Gift Guide series. We’ll be featuring ten themed items each week through the holidays. Let us help you find that special something for everyone on your list, while supporting local businesses, and getting out to shop in different parts of this diverse and thriving city.

This Week’s theme is Eating Well. Good food is my favorite part of the holidays, and why not fuel the inner foodie in everyone on your list, with gifts that celebrate cooking? With ways to serve and to ways to season, this guide covers stocking stuffers and larger gifts alike.


1). Socially Conscious Aprons by FEED

A good looking, and useful apron is one of the most important things a good chef owns. These West Elm has teamed with FEED to provide a great product with a feel-good message to boot. Founded by Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED is a social business dedicated to ending world hunger through the sale of products that have a measurable donation. They’ve provided over 87 million meals globally, and have a numbering system on each product that reveals how many meals each purchase will provide through their organization. They also sell beautiful wooden cutting boards. These aprons are made of recycled US cotton/polyblend material. 

Visit West Elm in Harbor Point, or online at


2). Cooking Classes in Hampden

Know someone who loves eating, but feels hopeless in the kitchen? Baltimore Chef Shop is a one-of-a-kind teaching kitchen in Hampden, offering classes for every skill level and a large age range. They offer couples cooking, kids cooking, and even cooking parties for larger groups. The classes themselves are split into two categories: Techniques and Menu-based. Classes range from Spanish Paella, Vietnamese Street Food, and French Crepes to Knife skills and handmade pasta. Gift Certificates Available.


Fancy Vermont Maple Syrup

Winter’s favorite sweetener is made all the more gift-worthy with this adorable packaging from Bobo’s Mountain Sugar, sold at Becket Hitch in Green Spring Station. Add it to cocktails, pour it on pancakes, use it in marinades… you know the drill. Perfect stocking stuffer, and always nice to have extra in the kitchen. The shop also stocks beautiful cookbooks, tableware and hundreds of gifts for every age, and always has window displays that rival New York City.


Hand Thrown Creamer

There are many ways to buy ceramics in Baltimore around the Holidays, and they are the classic gift. At our house we are at constant odds as to what tastes best in coffee, which means we need more than one creamer. The MICA ceramics department sells at Art Market (december 7-10), Baltimore Clayworks usually has a holiday sale, and craft fairs all over the city include potters. You can also search for local pottery on, and narrow the search down to Baltimore sellers. I love this simple, beautiful piece from First and Last Kind.

Breakfast Tray from For the Host

Artisan Cheryl Nieder hand crafts wooden trays, salt & pepper sets, cutting boards, and more, and paints them with fun pastel colors to create a really beautiful collection. Each wood piece is treated with natural waxes & oils, rather than stains, so all are functional and food safe. These handsome trays are inlaid with Teak and Maple, and fitted with brass handles. Each pieces is made to order in Baltimore, and turnaround time is 1-2 weeks. Her instagram feed alone is worth researching her products. Her photos are breathtaking and her products promise to be the same.


Pet Portrait Tea Towels from FuzzyMug

Most things in our kitchen are thoughtfully chosen pieces that we have used for over a decade as a family. But while the pots & pans are holding strong at our house, the dishtowels take a beating. Greasy hands grab them, sticky meals stain them, and after a while, they need replacing. If you want a fun, customizable way to give a utilitarian gift, try these pet portrait dish towels by local screen printer, FuzzyMug. You can choose from her large collection of pre-made pieces, or customize with a photo of your own pet. In addition to being sold in her Etsy shop and at craft fairs, The line is available at Marlow, McCrystle and Jones Florist in Lutherville.


10). Probiotic Foods from Hex Ferments

Fermented foods are in every culture and for thousands of years, and have been an effective way to preserve the harvest and make foods more digestible while detoxifying and enhancing nutrients. The effect of fermentation transforms foods to make flavors more complex, while adding naturally occurring probiotics to your diet. Local food alchemist, Hex Ferments, is in Belvedere Square Marketplace. They make nutrient-dense, probiotic-filled foods like kimchi, sauerkrauts, and kombucha tea and really push the limits of flavor in delicious and exciting ways, using local, organic food sources. Perfect for any foodie Christmas stocking.

Small Batch Granola

I will be the first to admit my own addiction to this locally made breakfast treat, and I wear my badge proudly. What started in a small Baltimore kitchen is now a well established brand, featuring loads of flavors of Granola & Muesli cereals. Buy it by the 12oz package online, to get your family hooked. If they’re local, they can buy in bulk at Waverly Farmer’s Market, Mom’s in Hampden, and Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington. Wheat and Dairy Free, and made with Whole Grains. Does a body good.


Simon Pearce Glassware and Andrew Pearce Wood Bowls

The world-renowned glass artisan opened his first studio in County Cork Ireland in 1971, and moved production to a historic woolen mill in Quechee, Vermont, in 1981. His philosophy and vision of simplicity, efficiency, and beauty informs the designs and production of Simon Pearce glassware. Baltimoreans have flocked to Sunnyfields for decades to purchase exquisite Simon Pearce gifts since the cabinet maker & gift seller opened in 1947. In addition to the iconic glassware, they now also carry live edge bowls, cutting boards, and servers made by Simon Pearce’s son, Andrew Pearce.


Unique Pottery from local Artists

The art school’s annual holiday gift market is one of the most popular craft fairs in the city. The art is truly one-of-a-kind, the prices are reasonable, and the students & professors are there selling their own work. Illustration professor Whitney Sherman is a crowd favorite every year, selling her line of hand painted plates, pitchers, and ceramics. Her bird themed pieces are fun, functional, and make great gifts. The MICA Art Market runs December 7-10th at MICA’s Brown Center on Mt. Royal Ave.

Rachel Bone’s Gift Guide is proudly sponsored by The Village of Cross Keys, celebrating 50 years of featuring some of Baltimore’s best shopping, dining and lodging in a courtyard setting.  Click to See What’s Happening at the Keys this Season.

Rachel Bone is a regular contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl.