Guys, Christmas is here. I don’t know how it got here so soon, but you better believe I am opening my presents in 16 days.

Unlike past years, I stayed ahead of the game this time around, ordering most of my gifts online. By the time Dec. 1 came, I was nearly done with my Christmas shopping.

Yeah, that’s right. The queen of procrastination temporarily abdicated her throne.

For all you suckers still searching for gifts, allow me to suggest food. Because let’s be real, no one ever complains about having something to eat. (If they do, something is wrong with them; this is a fact.)

Since I’m feeling semi-generous and sort of in the holiday spirit, I’ve compiled a handful of items for you loyal Gastronome readers. So don’t blame me if Dec. 24 comes around and you’re still wandering the mall.

Choco l‘ea
2909 Lowrey Ave., Manoa

I’ve long been a fan of Choco l‘ea. The first time I dropped in at its quaint store-front in Manoa, I had to stop myself from taking home too many things.

Mango and pineapple chocolate-dipped fruit from Choco le‘a JAIMIE KIM PHOTO

Mango and pineapple chocolate-dipped fruit from Choco le‘a

Here you’ll find an assortment of delicately crafted truffles in flavors that range from the usual variations like Kona Coffee and Bittersweet, to the more peculiar, such as Cayenne Pepper, Lychee Liqueur and others. (Also be on the lookout for hot sipping chocolate that is served with potato chips for the ultimate salty-sweet treat.)

Available now and in time for the holidays is an assortment of chocolate-dipped dried fruit. My favorites are pineapple and mango for its simplicity, but there’s also jabong (a citrus fruit).

Island Lava

When brownie brittle took off in popularity, I thought it was a little ridiculous — until I sampled it for myself. Then Island Lava came around with the same concept but better flavors, and I was hooked.

Island Lava Passion Fruit baker's brittle  PHOTO FROM MICHELLE JAMIESON

Island Lava Passion Fruit baker’s brittle

The company boasts a lineup that includes Brownie Mac, Coconut Tree and Java Lava, but my favorite is Passion Fruit. It’s light and crunchy, and includes bits of pineapple, mango, papaya and macadamia nut for added texture and flavor.

Aside from on its website, Island Lava also may be found at ABC Stores, Times Supermarkets, Foodland, Don Quijote, Longs Drugs and other locations.

Kona Coffee Purveyors
International Market Place 2330 Kalakaua Ave.

I first met Kona Coffee Purveyors owners Ray and Jackie Suiter a few years back for a story, and they kindly let me sample a few of their offerings. It was pretty outstanding, and I don’t even drink coffee regularly. They’ve since opened a flagship location at International Market Place, a space they share with the famed b. patisserie.


Kona Coffee Purveyors coffee

While I’d highly recommend stopping in for a cup sometime soon, you can’t exactly gift someone a fresh cup of coffee — but you can make sure they always have it readily available. Kona Coffee Purveyors offers a coffee subscription that lets you choose the quantity, grind and frequency.

It’s a gift I am thinking of getting for my fiancé.

Maui Preserved

Maui Preserved offers a veritable selection of, well, preserved items. There are Pickled Maui Onions and Sweet & Spicy Pineapple, along with different sauces and even Maui vanilla beans.

Maui Preserved Roasted Tomato Puree JAIMIE KIM PHOTO

Maui Preserved Roasted Tomato Puree JAIMIE KIM PHOTO

On Oahu, the easiest place to find Maui Preserved is at Red Pineapple in Ward Center. (The store has a great selection of other locally made products, too.)

To be honest, I bought this Roasted Tomato Puree for myself. You know, to test it out, and to pour over pasta the next time I need a quick-fix dinner.

Primo Popcorn
120 Sand Island Access Road

There’s nothing people like more than oddly flavored traditional snacks. Such is the case with Primo Popcorn, which offers everything from Japanese Curry to Shiso Horny flavors.

A look at some sweet Primo Popcorn flavors PHOTO FROM LEONETTE SATO

A look at some sweet Primo Popcorn flavors

Its spicier Raging Crab popcorn is memorable, but my preferences tend to veer toward sweeter items, of course. The Kalakoa popcorn is a colorful mix of flavors that is sweeter and crunchier than those old-school versions of rainbow popcorn, and Salty Dog is a nice combination of caramel corn and milk chocolate-covered bites.

P.S. Also be on the lookout for its Fairy Floss (cotton candy) and frozen popcorn, though the latter, of course, will have to serve as a #treatyoself gift.


USE LOGIC Seriously, by the time you read this it will already be Dec. 9 or later, so get to it.