A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

Posts tagged “gift ideas

if you’re looking for a great gift idea. . .

Lots of ideas for a great gift (round up below) and if you’re looking for a fun afternoon of browsing, check out the Renegade Craft fair today if you’re in San Francsico, LA, Chicago, NYC or London. We’ re not huge fans of large retailers for gifts. We prefer giving (and receiving) something unique, handmade and best of all, local. Those gifts have heart. They might even be green. Keep your eyes peeled for artisans who explore REUSE in making their items rather than using virgin materials. Maybe they’re using recycled materials, too. How about food products, grown and packaged locally? If your vendor is local, you can be assured the carbon footprint in distribution is low.

So follow the link and learn more about the fair and if you can’t go, look for local artisans in your community… San Francisco Holiday Info « Renegade Craft Fair.

Here are some other ideas for you San Francisco folks:

Letter Press stationary, handmade cards and screen print dish cloths by

ink.paper.plate Press or Coffee n Cream Press

Beautiful hand cut wooden products, like cutting boards, stools, etc:

Bruce Powell Fine Woodworking

Local Honey grown by the busy bees at Hayes Valley Farm

HONEY!! **

(**note, this is a the last year for Hayes Valley Farm and their project, Project BEE – Cause. Get the last jar of honey from this amazing experiment in permaculture!)

Give a *Reusable bag* filled with *reusable stainless steel mug* and colorful *microfiber cloths*, make yourself a little gift that speaks Green; )

Support local certified SF Green Business , and baker, Mission Pie. Supporting them you’ll also be supporting their outreach to inner city kids, teaching them how to farm.

Get  a basket of baked goods at our favorite bakery, Thorough Bread and Pastry. Supporting them supports the students of the San Francisco bread making institute.

Get some cheese to go with that bread: La Fromagerie (2425 3rd Street, SF). They have raw milk cheese!

And jars of amazing peanut brittle or handmade marshmallows at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous.


from the pennsylvania desk, springerle cookies of lancaster county


Springerle Cookies, Springerle House, Strasburg, PA

Springerle Cookies, Springerle House, Strasburg, PA

One of the highlights of my food explorations of Lancaster County was the discovery of the springerle cookie, a type of “picture” cookie which traces its origins to Northern Europe where it has been made for over a thousand years. They’re delicious. And they are gorgeous. Using molds that depict scenes of peasant life, nature, biblical stories and more, these cookies were used in part to communicate stories, and reflect a remarkable level of craftsmanship and detail. You’d mistake them for fired ceramic Christmas ornaments, in fact, because they are every bit as intricate. Here in Lancaster County, they’ve been a part of Pennsylvania Dutch culture for over 300 years thanks to the German immigrants who brought the tradition here.

Flavored with anise this cookie is somewhat like a shortbread and is commonly served with tea for dunking. The springerle is not crisp though, rather just cakey enough for a nice chew as one bites into it. You can find excellent examples of these, in anise and other flavors, as well as Christmas ornaments made from the same molds, at a german tea house in Strasburg, PA, where the same family has been making them for over 100 years. The family operates a stall at the Lancaster Central Market as well, so you can find them there, too, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Here’s a link to their website. I think they’d make fabulous gifts so check out the mail order options!

The Springerle House

15 East Main Street
Strasburg, PA 17579-1409
(717) 687-8022

the Springerle House, a german tea house in Strasburg, PA

the Springerle House, a german tea house in Strasburg, PA

About Springerle Cookies

For over a thousand years in Europe, hand-carved molds have been used to imprint “picture cookies.” These cookies have been historically used as betrothal tokens, tellers of tales and to celebrate daily life. Springerle molds first came to Lancaster County circa 1710 among the most treasured possessions of the Pennsylvania German immigrants. Our Springerle cookies and ornaments are made from replicas of molds painstakingly copied from original molds in museums in Germany and Switzerland.

We use only the finest ingredients to make our cookies, and follow the traditional European recipe. We offer cookies in lemon, orange, orange vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, almond, vanilla and traditional anise flavors. Some are accented with edible gold paint. Our ornaments are made of a durable ash/paper pulp mixture and hand painted. We hope you enjoy this taste of the past!