November 27, 2015
Your guide to the best gifts for foodies from the best little shops in Rhode Island.
I know we all hate that word “Foodie” sounds a little juvenile right? But since the alternatives ring of elitism, and good food should be for everyone I’m going with it! After all, we all know many of them, because food is the universal language. You may even have a few on your holiday gift list. and because they already have a meticulously curated kitchen collection, you don’t know what to do.
Yes, I mean those foodies in your life. It can be hard to find the perfect gift, but Rhode Island is boiling over with cool local shops carrying artisan made gifts, many even homegrown, in fact. Most of these gifts could be appreciated by almost anyone, but those of us who dream of the ultimate frying pans will really love them.
There are people who like food. There are people who love food. Then there are those of us who have an obsession with food. We wake up in the morning thinking about what we can cook for dinner, or how we can turn the odd produce in the refrigerator into a meal that our friends talk about for months. To be clear, our food obsession doesn’t end there, it has even spilled over to the bar these days with artisan libations of which your hippy dippy parents only wished they had access to.
For all those “Foodie” people on your list, these stores fit the bill and the best part is all of them are small local businesses you are supporting.
Stock Culinary Goods – 756 Hope St., Providence.
Located in the bustling Hope Street commercial district in Providence, Stock is both practical and whimsical. Every item in the shop is individually chosen, and a large part of the merchandise is handmade by craftspeople right in New England. The hipster foodie will have the ultimate selection of cool gadgets and kitchen utensils to choose from here. But we particularly loved the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” print among others and those fab wooden Cookie and Pie Boxes!
The Wooden Midshipman 146 Water St., Warren
On quaint Water Street, in Warren, sits The Wooden Midshipman. This shop is more a gift shop than a foodie store, but it happens to have some of the best foodie gifts around, many made right here in Warren. That maybe because Katie Dickson, the owner, is also co-owner of “ByWater” a hip new restaurant on Water St., with her talented chef husband Brian O’Donnell so they know a thing or two about the food and drink biz. In fact, with Rhode Island’s love affair with oysters how about this beautiful cast bronze bottle opener by local artist Andrew Mau, for the man in your life. To be honest, even their selection of cookbooks is carefully curated, and includes some of the ultimate culinary bibles of our time. You can’t go wrong here!
Curated 1793 Main Rd., Tiverton
A fine arts and artisan shoppe featuring local and regional artists. Our favorite gift for both serious chefs and wannabe’s can be found here, a beautiful locally handmade leather knife roll. Available in several leather colors, they will even have interior knife holder customized to your needs. Very special!! If you like leather and who doesn’t, a few other cool pieces like leather coasters and flasks by the same local RISD artist, Freyja Thayer, all have stampedanchors symbolizing the state anchor logo for hope.
Barrington Books 184 County Road, Barrington and 176 Hillside Road, Cranston
With two locations – Barrington and Cranston – Barrington Books can help you find a gift no matter which side of the state you’re on. The obvious go-to here is the extensive cookbook section, but they also have sushi socks. And really, what foodie doesn’t want sushi socks?
Chef Bella Cutting Boards Bristol (Online or phone orders only)
Among the most practical and best gifts for foodies is a cutting board. A cutting board is like a knife – you may have a favorite or two, but you can never really have too many. That said, the Chef Bella Boards will undoubtedly rise to the top of your favorite chef’s favorite cutting boards. These boards are handmade in Rhode Island of hard maple and are custom engraved with a favorite saying or personalization.
Pat Warwick – Hand Crafted Ceramic Surfaces Warren (Online orders only)
Liven up the kitchen with beautiful tiles from RISD ceramicist, Pat Warwick. These gorgeous ceramics tiles make some of the most delightful trivets you’ve ever seen. She also makes coasters or ceramic wall art if your kitchen needs some pizzaz. So if your a Pescatarian or even if your just a lover of the sea like most of us Rhode Islander’s you will appreciate these delightful works of art for both function and form. Another unique RI made gift idea.
Frog and Toad 795 Hope St., Providence
Just down the street from Stock sits Frog and Toad. Known for their sardonic wit and edgy gifts, they also carry an assortment of Rhode Island-centric gifts, including locally-made ceramic mugs and bottle openers decorated with images of Rhode Island landmarks. You never know what you will find here but clearly a lot of Rhode Island love going on here.
Follow Rhode Island Red Food Tours on social media to keep up with all of the fun happenings in Rhode Island this month (and every month!)
Rhode Island Rustic located in Exeter, Rhode Island
Handcrafted, sustainable home decor made in Rhode Island. Rustic simplicity meets contemporary style in handcrafted, sustainable home decor.
The best gifts for foodies aren’t always food themed. Sometimes those gifts are utilitarian, although I’m sure your food-centric gift recipient can find a reason to use handmade wooden trays from Rhode Island Rustic for serving food. Or if you really want to impress them, owners/craftspeople Mark Baker and Leigh Medeiros will design and build a unique table made from reclaimed and upcycled wood.
Hope and Main 691 Main St., Warren
It’s not so much a business as it is a food incubator. Hope and Main is a collective space to help new food entrepreneurs start their businesses. Food startups using the Hope and Main space include personal chefs, farmers, food trucks, artisanal bakers, specialty food makers, and caterers. Putting a serious Rhode Island Food Basket together filled with Rhode Island goodies like Anchor Toffee, Biggest Little Popcorn Company, Spicy Penguin, Fox Point Pickling, Laughing Gulls Chocolate, The Backyard Food Company, Hola Baked Goods, Leahs Recipes to mention a few, shouldn’t be hard. What better way to truly support the RI economy than to put money back into the hands of the budding foodie entrepreneurs!! Contact Hope & Main to find out about custom gift baskets. Also, watch for special holiday events coming soon.
Grapes and Grains 24 Bosworth St., Barrington
Until Grapes and Grains opened, Barrington was the only town in our small state where you couldn’t buy wine, beer, or spirits. As a premiere purveyor of fine wines and spirits, with a booming craft brew industry, and a surprising number of vineyards, Grapes and Grains is a showcase for Rhode Island growers and brewers ready to make a mark on the industry. To top off all the good spirits they offer, they regularly give back to the East Bay Community by partnering each month with local charities for their Grapes & Grains Give Back Initiative.
Nectar de la Vida 460 Main St., Warren
Without olive oil, there might be no point to food. Well, that’s not entirely true, but a good organic olive oil can add some serious pizzaz to a meal. Nectar de la Vida is your one stop shop on Rhode Island’s East Bay to get the freshest olive oils, balsamic vinegars (40 varieties), spices, chocolates, tea, and coffee. In other words, they have pretty much all the necessities of life!
Pan Handler’s Fine Cookware & Cutlery 35 Broadway, Newport
By far the best place on Aquidneck Island to buy your foodie some high quality cookware. The knife selection alone with high-end precision lines like Wusthof, to name just one, is worth the trip! Let them school you on the importance of having good knives, it’s a serious education no doubt the carnivore in your family will truly appreciate. The entire selection here is as good as that big box chain cookware store, which will go unnamed, if Pan Handler’s doesn’t have it they will get it and the prices are as comparable.
Kreatelier 804 Hope St., Providence
Now if you are looking for that touch of colorful kitchen whimsy that will bring a smile to any domestic goddess this is the place! Afterall, how often do you find yourself smiling while washing dishes? From Swedish Dishcloths to Lunchskins and beautifully designed Wine Bags as hostess gifts you will surely bring a smile to the face of the lucky gift recipients.
If there is one thing we can say about Rhode Island, it’s that we like our food, and we love our local businesses. So for the foodie in your life (or even for yourself) check out these Rhode Island favorites.
And don’t forget, Saturday, November 28, is Small Business Saturday. When you shop local, your money goes back into your community. Local businesses support the local economy through taxes and employment, but also through contributions to local community groups, supporting local interests, and being good neighbors.