It’s the holiday season: Time to show everyone important to you exactly how much you love them in the form of a physical object (cue *sweat drop emoji*). But never fear, we’ve assembled a regional guide so good it will make checking off your gift list (or writing your own wish list) as easy as Boston cream pie. From tempting snacks to soon-to-be family heirlooms, this collection highlights crave-worthy presents from throughout New England — with an emphasis on Massachusetts, of course — that are available to ship to most of the country.
If you still need more gifts after ordering everything on this list, look to last year’s Eater Boston holiday gift guide, or check out the other 2022 Eater gift guides, including national selections and city-specific recommendations from Dallas to San Francisco.
Second-generation dumpling royalty Nadia Liu Spellman, owner of esteemed local chain Dumpling Daughter, ships frozen dumplings and buns that steam up like a dream and happily soak up signature Spicy Sweet Soy sauce. Try pork and cabbage dumplings, billowy beef and onion buns, or stop agonizing and “Try ’em All!” Come mid-November, you’ll also be able to snag a copy of the Dumpling Daughter cookbook, co-authored by Spellman and her mother, Sally Ling, who led groundbreaking white-tablecloth Chinese restaurant Sally Ling’s on Boston’s waterfront in the 1980s.
Crafted to order in a mill in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, John Francis Designs’ wooden kitchen tools are striking works of art. Display them on a shelf or start a solstice pasta-making tradition with the help of the Sun & Moon Mold, which forms two 2.75” x 2.75” raviolis in the shape of celestial bodies that are almost too pretty to eat.
The ultimate host gift, Lark Fine Foods’ Premier Savory Biscuit Sampler arrives seasonally decked in a festive box, ready to ace any first impression. The wee jams and shortbread-like biscuits — think pizza-inspired Tuscan Pizzetta, featuring Mediterranean herbs and spices with a surprising touch of sweetness — are endearingly versatile, so you can start or end a meal with them.
Kolkata-bred and Boston-based Manjarrie Saha’s creamy, spreadable yogurt balls, suspended in a blend of avocado and extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with herbs and spices, are a terrific addition to sandwiches, crackers, salads, and grilled proteins. Three tangy flavors — garlic & rosemary, tandoori, and za’atar — make for an attractive gift, and the flavorful oils go a long way even after you’ve gobbled up the cheese-like yogurt bites.
An ode to a perfectly salivary shape, “Plump” is a curvaceous hand-carved linocut print from Maine artist Anastasia Inciardi. As with the actual fruit, each tomato’s colors will vary — but all will be delightful additions to the walls of your kitchen or living room.
Agora, a Greek market at local fast-casual chain Greco’s Seaport location, sells hundreds of cool house-made and imported retail items, including this private-label extra-virgin olive oil derived from cold-extracted olives from Sparta. It’s aromatic and fruity, with pungent bitterness and a peppery finish for balance — the perfect complement for warm pita or a fresh salad.
Carry holiday favorites like duck or brisket from stove to centerpiece in this dramatic cast-iron pan from Nest Homeware in Rhode Island. Ample handles reminiscent of bare tree branches or antlers adorn a relatively lightweight and uniquely bronze-hued 12-inch pan and matching self-basting lid.
At home served as a mellow dessert or mingled with savory ingredients on a cheese board, these date rolls and tahini chocolate fudges channel Hila Krikov’s birthplace of Israel by way of Needham, Massachusetts. She lightly sweetens the confections with raw organic honey and studs them with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and spices like fig, pistachio, and dukkah.
The small-batch granola from Boston’s Humble Bones is heavy on oats and nuts, light on other ingredients — you won’t even find extra fats like oil in here — so there’s nothing to distract from solid flavor combos like Peanutter Butter and cinnamon vanilla. Come for the eye-catching designs, stay for the balanced flavors and serious crunch — even if you’re not a morning person, this stuff will make you smile.
It’s been a long time coming, but Eater Boston’s Best Pop-Up of 2021 is finally settling into its new restaurant in Dorchester, where chef Kwasi Kwaa and his partners are celebrating the flavors of the African diaspora in a historic Upham’s Corner comfort station space. Fit for Comfort Kitchen fans as well as those who might just like to share with the world that they, too, find comfort in the kitchen, this pre-shrunk, classic-fit sweatshirt and cotton twill vintage-style dad-hat are cool and, of course, comfy.
An outstanding example of a classic, this maple syrup brings the warm, spiced sweetness of Montgomery, Vermont’s trees to the table. For a less-common sap experience, check out the zippy birch syrup, whose concentrated sweet-tart notes of dark fruit and rich molasses shine in seltzer and salad dressing.
If your favorite Eater Boston map is our guide to the area’s best brunches, you’ll get a kick out of the eight-piece Brunch Collection made by Pam and David Griffin in Framingham, Massachusetts, who fill the chocolates with flavors like French toast and berry compote. You also can’t go wrong with the 12-piece Classic Truffle Collection, featuring the owners’ personal favorites like sweet potato and Heavenly Hazelnut.
Paying homage to the gooiest of Massachusetts icons, Somerville artist Sarah Dudek’s collection of Marshmallow Fluff art is really all a fan of the sticky stuff needs this holiday season. Cheerful colors and silly sayings will help you show your local pride whether you order a decorated dish towel or an “Entering Fluffachusetts” magnet.
Mystic, Connecticut, has a fabulous food scene for such a small city. James Wayman, partner and executive chef of one of Mystic’s best restaurants, Nana’s Bakery & Pizza, co-founded this koji-based fermentation business with husband-and-wife team Bob Florence (head soy-sauce maker) and Debbie Michiko Florence (whose charming children’s books include plenty of food themes). The base soy sauce, or shoyu, is a joy to taste, but it reaches sublime heights when co-fermented with local ingredients like ramps, Stonington Kelp Co. seaweed, and rye — a particular favorite for chefs.
Working in her parents’ Chinese restaurant and trying to feed her kids wholesome food as a parent herself inspired Ruby Chan to create this pair of herbaceous sauces, which quickly provide a big hit of flavor to dishes from dumplings to stir-fried vegetables. The Massachusetts-made mix of sunflower oil, rice wine, ginger and scallion — plus roasted garlic, in one case — is also vegan and free of many common allergens, including nuts, eggs, dairy, and gluten.
While Bully Boy uses some far-flung ingredients like Albanian juniper and pink peppercorn for this estate gin, the Roxbury distillery also incorporates many items from closer to home, including juniper from the native Juniperus virginiana plant and regionally grown lavender atop a base of apple brandy — distilled from local apples fermented at Stormalong Cidery — and neutral grain spirit. The citrusy aroma and hint of coriander at the finish ensure this gin is equally delicious in spirit-forward cocktails like martinis and Negronis as well as long drinks like a Tom Collins or gin and tonic.