Support Wine Country—Long Island Wine Country celebrates its 40th anniversary year. Long Island, home to roughly 50 wineries, was this year named one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world by Tripadvisor. We are home to award-winning wines such as Paumanok Vineyard’s 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling, which the Wall Street Journal named as one of its “Luxury Dozen” during a blind judging of 800 bottles, and Bedell Cellars’s 2009 Merlot, which was served during this year’s inaugural luncheon for President Barack Obama’s second office term. All the tasting rooms will put together a gift basket, or for your most enthusiastic wine-loving friends, consider buying them a membership in a wine club, which offers first dibs on new releases and special bottlings and parties. Visit liwines.com for a list of wineries and their contact info.
Don’t Forget Spirit Country—The selection of local hard liquor is expanding exponentially. At the forefront is Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow, the island’s first craft distillery founded in 2007. Home to brands LiV Vodka and Pine Barrens Single Malt Whiskey, the distillery is branching out with Rough Rider Bourbon and Rye. For fruit fans, LIS makes flavored vodka-based liqueurs in orange, lemon, lime, raspberry and strawberry. The distillery says it takes 20 flats of berries to make a 100-gallon small batch. 2182 Sound Avenue Baiting Hollow, 6311.630.9322, lispirits.com
Give the Gift of Open Space—You can’t find a better present than open space, as it benefits all, not just the lucky one who opens the gift. Peconic Land Trust works tirelessly to conserve the East End’s agricultural and rural identity and all its scenic beauty. Thus far PLT has conserved more than 11,000 acres of land in its 30 years of operation. They hope to make that number 15,000 by 2015 and may just make their goal with a little help from you this holiday season. Visit peconiclandtrust.org and click the “donate-now” button under the scallop-shape farmland logo on the top-left corner of the page. You can donate in someone’s name online at peconiclandtrust.org or by phone at 631.283.3195. You can visit at 296 Hampton Road in Southampton if you’d like to donate in person. You may also mail or fax your donation to the Peconic Land Trust after filling out the downloadable PDF form from their website: Peconic Land Trust, PO Box 1776, Southampton.
A Weekend Away—Lavish a loved one with the gift of the East End this holiday season—send them to one of Edible’s favorite vacation spots—the Hampton Maid. This family-owned resort has been in operation for more than half a century, and a stay there means the perfect getaway for anyone. Hampton Maid has a breakfast eatery guaranteed to start anyone’s day off right with an extensive menu made from top-notch ingredients, so if you’re in town between late April and early November and want to taste-test the bounty the Maid has to offer, stop in for the breakfast of a lifetime. Overlooking the Shinnecock Bay, the Hampton Maid has 29 cozy yet luxurious rooms on its five-acre property with private bathrooms and all the amenities one could desire. The Maid’s 2013 season has come to an end, but you can reserve a room for next season by visiting hamptonmaid.com.
Cheese if You Please—If you’ve got a turophile—someone with an intense love of cheese—in the family, we’ve got you covered. Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop in Sag Harbor not only offers gift certificates for those who want to peruse their comprehensive stock of up to 300 cheeses—a seasonally fluctuating number—they also sell phenomenal gift baskets. Starting at $75, Cavaniola’s baskets come with an assortment of gourmet cheeses, crackers and dried fruits, but a bottle or two of wine from Cavaniola’s Wine Cellar next door can be added to the mix. The specialty shop is not only home to incredible, international and local cheeses, some extremely rare, but to chutneys, cured meats, imported oils and vinegars and more. Call 631.725.0095 to discuss the custom options available for your gift basket and remember to preorder it before Dec. 18. Cavaniola’s gift baskets can also be ordered from their Tribeca location at All Good Things market by calling 212.226.2083. cavaniola.com
Lavender for the Holidays—Soothe your soul this season by picking up some presents at East Marion’s Lavender by the Bay. The 17-acre family farm grows 20 varieties of the fragrant herb, which is made into a host of lavender products, including pillows, soaps and sachets. “We sell a lavender-filled key ring for $9 so you can keep the scent of lavender with you at all times,” says co-owner Susan Rozenbaum. “They make great stocking stuffers.” Another idea is a ribbon-tied eye mask filled with English lavender and flax seed; Rozenbaum says it helps to relax after a long day. The plant’s beautiful purple flowers are edible, although lavender isn’t known as a culinary ingredient. If you’re seeking the best of both worlds, pick up a bag of culinary English lavender for baking and making tea, available at Lavender by the Bay’s farm stand at 7540 Route 25 in East Marion, or through the farm’s website, lavenderbythebay.com. Call 631.477.1019.
Sauces for a Cause—A Love Shared, the nonprofit started by chef Gerry Hayden, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, has a new fund-raising project: a gift box of sauces created by local chefs, produced by A Taste of the North Fork and for sale on the organization’s website. The 12 chefs who created the sauces are working together as the Long Island Culinary Collaborative. A Love Shared established the Culinary Collaborative and will use all the proceeds from the sale of the gift boxes to benefit ALS research and quality of life care for people with ALS. Only 100 boxes are available. $175 each at aloveshared.com.
Something Sweet—Giving a bottle of Hamptons Honey to your honey this holiday season is a sweeter gesture than some know as eating honey made from the pollen of local flowers is known to reduce one’s allergy and cold symptoms. The Hamptons Honey Company, established in 2002, is dedicated to this exact mission. The honey is carried by Dean and Deluca, Home Goods, Whole Foods and Balducci’s. Hamptons Honey is available by the glass jar or plastic bear bottle in wildflower and clover: unprocessed honey and pure honey with a honeycomb are only available on the website in 16 oz. glass jars. If you want to stuff someone’s stocking with Hamptons Honey, grab a 10-pack of single-use 1.5 oz. wildflower jars, which cost $25, at hamptonshoney.com