December 7, 2020

The Clover Holiday Gift Guide

We thought we’d put together a guide to our favorite presents, most from right in our own backyard, some from further afield. Let’s come together as a Clover family to support these amazing businesses and add some sparkle to your holidays!

The Curio Spice Culinary Essentials kit—from one of our favorite Cambridge businesses—has everything a budding chef needs. At just $30, it will pay for itself quickly by making hundreds of meals better. Or pair one of their bags of whole peppercorns with this cast iron pepper mill for a spicy gift duo. 

Every Christmas, Ayr’s family buys a model train for the kids to put under the tree. Charles Ro Supply in Malden is the largest model train store in the country, and during non-COVID times, Ayr says it’s “totally mind boggling.” This year, you can order for curbside pickup; maybe they’ll let you peek inside the store?

You can send our Hanukkah Discovery box to a friend or family member (as long as they live within our delivery radius). To order a box as a gift, just proceed as normal, but enter your friend’s address instead of your own (we aren’t able to add any custom notes at this time but you can let us know it’s a gift in the delivery notes section if you want). The box comes with traditional Hanukkah dishes, made with Western Mass produce, as well as some shiny surprises and a guide to holiday traditions written by Rabbi Dolinger. 450 boxes (!) have already been claimed, and delivery for 12/10 is already sold out. The other days are filling up fast so act now if you want to gift a box.

We’ll be tucking a few gelt into each Hanukkah box; if you want more, you can order them here.

The silver lining of these dark days? Masks not only help guard against COVID, they also make great stocking stuffers. When you buy one of these colorful masks, Rachael and Pablo of Masks by R&P in Somerville will donate a mask to an undocumented worker in New England.

Pair a bag of Tandem coffee with our favorite coffee brewing equipment and a Clover tumbler or mug, made for us by Miir and featuring Ayr’s line drawing of the MIT truck. You can add all 3 to your chickpea fritter order and pick them up at any Clover store with a “Marketplace” section.

A nod to the days of Paul Revere, Old Newbury Crafters is tucked away in Amesbury, MA and makes pewter and silver. The spoons, cups, and bowls are expensive but they will NEVER be thrown away; what gift can you say that about? They have zero online presence; make the drive and behold the silversmithing process.

What’s more comforting than knowing your coffee needs are taken care of? Surprise your favorite coffee addict with the Speedwell Coffee 3-month membership. I recently did just that. Choose your roast level (I chose light), and the team will surprise your friend with 2 bags of single origin coffee every month. It’s the next best thing to having Brett pour you a cup of the newest Ethiopian at Clover.

For great housewares head to Didrik’s in Arlington. We’re using their plates and table settings to shoot our upcoming Christmas Box photos.

A lot of us have taken up running since the pandemic started. For gear, skip the online retailers and support Marathon Sports instead. Their customer service can’t be beat. Track your runs with another Boston company, the Runkeeper app, which features a friendly running coach named Erin who encourages you as you soar through the streets; my boyfriend now refers to running as “going with Erin.”

If you prefer soaring through the skies, Ayr’s sister wrote a book about the political history behind the moon landing! Skip Amazon unless absolutely necessary, and buy Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo from Porter Square Books or the Harvard Bookstore.

If you like chocolate, but haven’t tried Goodnow Farms yet, DO NOT WAIT. This hot chocolate was sourced from single origin cacao farms in Mexico and manufactured right here in Sudbury by our friend Monica. It just won the Gold medal for drinking chocolate at the International Chocolate Awards and it’s delicious.

Do you like winter vegetables as much as we do? My friend Anna, who hails from Seattle, told me about the Culinary Breeding Network, an alliance of farmers from the Pacific Northwest. They have some incredible merch on their Etsy store, including a winter squash flavor wheela tiny radicchio enameled pin, and a zine about barley

For anyone with a sweet tooth on your list, order a carton of this incredible maple cotton candy.

For the budding scientist in your life, MIT Press has teamed up with my friend Nadja of Massive Science to create these Women in Science tarot cards, illustrated by neuroscientist and artist Matteo Farinella.

During quarantine, Ayr discovered the best kitchen thing of the entire year. Andris combined his studies in culinary arts with his family-owned steel business in Stoughton, MA. The resulting Baking Steel—hard to unwrap, satisfyingly heavy—is the Chef’s equivalent of a bowling ball waiting for you under the tree. Ayr and I both own one. It’s ideal for pancakes, flatbread, pizza, latkes and more. 

I’ve been fermenting carrots, cabbage, and more at home using this amazing book. Someone dropped it off hoping to sell it at Clover pre-pandemic, I ended up with it, and now it’s one of my all time favorites. Pair it with some good-quality salt for a great gift for the sauerkraut addict in your life.

Poetry helps us get through dark times. Grolier’s in Harvard Square is closed right now due to COVID, but you can support them by buying these awesome t-shirts or filling your shelves with the latest books from their website.

Our Boston Loves Beans kit is an homage to the days when Boston used to be known as Bean Town. Not only does it include a kit, recipe and video on how to make Boston Baked Beans, it includes a ton of extras, and all beans were grown by our friend Charley Baer. Plus everything in the box is shelf-stable, so you can ship it or gift it without worrying about spoilage.

If you’ve ever been treated to the joys of Persian food, chances are you’ve fought over the crispy rice, a labor of love that usually comes only after 8 steps and a fair amount of nail-biting. The Pars Rice Cooker circumvents all of that; if you gift one, be sure to send along the LA Times recipe for tahdig (the one that comes with the cooker is hard to follow). But don’t tell my dad – he considers it cheating!

If you’ve got friends or family missing Cambridge this year, a beautiful sweater from The Andover Shop will cheer them up. Preppy without being obnoxious, these clothes remind you of fall in New England, and the folks in charge are craftsmen from an era gone by (and big Clover fans; the shop is right around the corner from us).

As someone who cannot stop drawing smiley faces on vegetables (it’s literally my job), I was overjoyed when I received one of these as a gift. They’re perfect for babies or 30-somethings.

Sending food in the mail is hard. You never know when it will arrive, or how long it might sit upon arrival. Luckily this award-winning panettone has a shelf life of a month. 

Everything at POD in Cambridge is just right. From jams to books to scarves to hats, you can’t go wrong.

In the spirit of fixing-instead-of-replacing, how about a gift certificate or refurbished iPhone from Boston iPhone repair? They’ve helped us out of many a bind (I remember running there after a busy lunch rush at CloverHSQ when two iPods had been lost to battle and we needed them fixed in time for dinner rush).

If you found this gift guide useful, write to us and tell us what you ordered. Let’s all band together to support the businesses that make our city great.

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