Choose your host gifts carefully for this weekend's holiday parties. You may end up crunked, sweaty, and way deep in TMI land, but at least you'll have arrived all classy, with an edible gift good enough get you invited back next year.
Mokka Holiday Blend Coffee
Berkeley's Mokka Coffee has an impeccable loftlike profile, with walls in gorgeous pale greens and oranges and a clean, open presence that makes cookie-cutter chain shops seem well, cookie cutter. The coffee's good, too, including the Holiday Blend, organic beans from Ethiopia's Idido Valley. They're strong and earthy, like the whiff you get from a freshly tapped bag of potting soil. And Mokka's packaging, with its sweet little origami-like bird, is wrapping enough. No stick-on bow required.
Holiday Blend, $16.00 per pound at Mokka Coffee, 3075 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley. 510-848-8909.
Ici Dragï¿½es and Candied Peel
Relentlessly feminine, the Elmwood ice cream shop Ici is a killer source for sugary gifts to win over your boyfriend's mom, even if your tattoos are where you can't easily hide them. The ice cream here is so fancy-restaurant austere it's not for everyone, but Ici's little house-made confections are delightful. Candied grapefruit peel distils the bitter perfume of the fresh fruit, and dragï¿½es (bits of candied almond coated in dark chocolate) are obsession-inspiring. Oh, and impress your future mom by showing off your best French pronunciation: dra-zhays.
Dragï¿½es, $12.25 for a large bag, and Candied Grapefruit Peel, $3.50, at Ici, 2948 College Ave., Berkeley. 510-665-6054.
He'Brew Monumental Jewbelation
Nothing goes better with latkes than dark ale, and this one's killer. It's got whiffs of anise, molasses, and dried orange peel, and the kind of viscous mouthfeel that makes you want to sip it slowly. Definitely go easy, since its high alcohol content quickly gets your menorah good and lit. A natural for Hanukkah beer blasts, or as the subversive alternative to eggnog at some Christmas shindig. It'll get you through a whole lot of Secret Santa hilarity and any number of "Jingle Bell Rock" replays. L'chaim!
He'Brew Monumental Jewbelation, brewed by Shmaltz Brewing Co., $4.49 for a 22-ounce bottle at BevMo locations.
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