Local gift baskets to spread that holiday cheer

Toula Drimonis

Toula Drimonis is a Montreal-based freelance writer, editor, and long-time columnist. She appears frequently on TV and radio as an opinion pundit and her freelance work has been published in The New York Times, the National Post, Mic, Buzzfeed, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. She’s obsessed with Leonard Cohen, New Orleans, and Montreal bagels. In her free time, she can be found reading, people-watching, enjoying the city, and drinking wine while giving questionable life advice.

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s becoming abundantly clear this year’s celebrations will be limited due to health measures in place. But even if we end up celebrating only with close family, we can still spread holiday cheer to the people we love, while supporting Montréal businesses in difficult times. In no particular order, we’ve compiled an extensive list of local holiday gourmet gift baskets that are sure to delight everyone on your shopping list.  

A variety of goodies for everyone

The aptly named Montréal Baskets offers a wonderful and carefully curated selection of goodies for all occasions and tastes. From a liquor basket for that scotch scholar in your family, to a Gourmet Snack Barrel overflowing with tasty snacks and featuring a glass and bamboo cheese board, you’re bound to find something to please everyone on your list. All baskets are customizable, delivery is fast and free, and they provide 24/7 customer support.  

Panier du Village in Montréal’s Pointe-Claire Village has been creating customized baskets for more than 25 years. From the Holiday Wishes basket, which features Brie cheese, buttered pretzels, assorted chocolates, to the extravagant The North Pole, which features Smoked Sockeye Salmon in a cedar box and duck pâté, the gourmand in your life won’t be disappointed. They offer free Canada-wide shipping.  

Sugar and spice and everything nice

If your loved one has more of a sweet tooth, Rustique in Montréal’s trendy Saint-Henri neighbourhood has got you covered. You can book a virtual consultation with their very own Holiday Gift Concierge and let them help you put together the perfect holiday gift for the important people in your life. Their curated gift boxes feature their homemade caramel corn, granola samplers, biscotti, cookie decorating kits, brownie mixes, and more. The gift boxes are beautifully packaged and delivered straight to your loved one's doorstep. 

Since 2005, Dolce Gift Baskets have been offering customized baskets that feature Montréal and Quebec local artisan goodies. From Joe Beef hot sauce, maple onion confit, to fruitcake matured with Quebec stout beer for 30 days, and luxurious self-care baskets featuring Quebec-made soap, exfoliating creams and lip balms, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave their site without finding something. The company ships everywhere across Canada and prioritizes eco-friendly packaging. 

If you’re looking to support a local company, which in turn employs people with slight disabilities, Cafiti might be your go-to option. The local company was founded by chef Catherine Cafiti whose products are now available in fine grocery stores throughout Quebec and Ontario. Cafiti specializes in mouth-watering marinades: a large variety of pickled vegetables, fruit ketchup, and olives, as well as sweet meringues for dessert.  

Spreading culinary comfort

The pandemic may have temporarily jeopardized Montréalers’ love of apéro time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help someone have their own intimate Happy Hour at home. If you’re looking for gift basket selections suited for all those Netflix-and-chill evenings ahead of us this winter season, look no further than Apéro Urbain. The catering company assembles the most decadent, gorgeous selection of mouth-watering cheeses, cold cuts, crackers and bread for the perfect night of grazing. And, of course, everything is 100 per cent Quebec-made.  

Since 2000, Latina Gourmet Store has worked closely with numerous farmers and artisans from all over Quebec to establish itself as a fine food store for local foodies and discriminating gourmets. If you’re looking to surprise a friend or a family member who may not feel like making a traditional Holiday meal this year, this is the ticket. Latina offers classic comfort meals and exciting culinary discoveries made with premium quality ingredients. The store also carries a selection of fine olive oils, vinegars, teas, chocolates and spices to add to that basket. Deliveries are limited to the store vicinity, but pick-up is painless and quick.  

If you’re more ‘hands on’ with choosing your own purchases and prefer to shop in person, why not take advantage of some of Montréal’s amazing bakeries and create your own Holiday basket and then have them deliver it? 

Baking some holiday magic

Le Fromentier on Laurier Avenue is one of the city’s best-loved artisanal French bakeries. With its selection of bread, excellent cheeses and charcuterie, and desserts, including the famous Galette des Rois (King Cake) a long-standing and tasty French tradition for the Holidays, the possibilities are extensive.  

With two locations to now serve you, Afroditi Bakery has been a staple for Montréal’s Greek community since 1971. With a wide selection of fresh and delicious pastries, cakes, cookies, and sweet and savoury pies, it’s no accident its popularity has soared beyond its ethnic roots. Create your own basket brimming with honey-soaked baklava, traditional Greek cookies known as koulourakia, and top it off with the traditional Vasilopita, a Greek New Year’s Eve tradition. The sweet cake has a lucky aluminum foil-wrapped coin baked in it and whoever gets it will have a lucky year. Or so the tradition goes…  

If you don’t have the time or the inclination for a DYI project, Montpetit Creations is a family-owned business with over 20 years experience in gift basket making that will make everything easier for you. Their website features an impressive, yet traditional assortment of Gourmet Gift Baskets that aim to appeal to everyone. They also have baskets with specific themes, such as coffee and tea, wine gourmet, chocolate, and spa gift baskets. They offer next-day free delivery to most of Montréal and suburbs and their online service is available 24/7.  

Toula Drimonis

Toula Drimonis is a Montreal-based freelance writer, editor, and long-time columnist. She appears frequently on TV and radio as an opinion pundit and her freelance work has been published in The New York Times, the National Post, Mic, Buzzfeed, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. She’s obsessed with Leonard Cohen, New Orleans, and Montreal bagels. In her free time, she can be found reading, people-watching, enjoying the city, and drinking wine while giving questionable life advice.

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