Family arriving at grandparents house for the holidays

It’s the most wonderful–and hectic–time of year: a long gift list to conquer, festive parties to organize, big family dinners to prepare. Are you having visions of sugarplums or holiday nightmares? No worries! Chef Jacquie’s here with my 2018 holiday picks for your stress-free celebration.

Over-the-Top Caramel Apples

It’s party season! A good guest never arrives empty-handed, but what to bring? Your holiday host or hostess will swoon when you appear at the door with sweet treats from Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House at the Italian Market.  My fave: their signature Chocolate Caramel Apples, tart and crisp Granny Smiths hand-dipped in homemade caramel and dark, milk or white chocolate. You had me at Oreo and chocolate chip cookie topping! Pick up some yummy Italian holiday specialties like almond torrone, tins of chocolate-dipped biscotti, and crispy pizzelles. Can’t choose? Opt for an Anthony’s gift card or give your out-of-town friends a real taste of Philly with an e-gift card for easy online ordering.

Love Your Buns!

You’ll be the star of the holiday brunch when you bring luscious sticky buns and cinnamon rolls from Barry’s Buns, in the Market at the Fareway and the Bourse Marketplace in Old City. Top it all off with Barry’s creamy vanilla whipped cream cheese frosting (yes, $1.50 gets you a single serve size of this to-die-for concoction, and no, you don’t have to share!). Barry’s delicious baked goods include Jewish Apple Cake, Chocolate Babka Loaf and ooey-gooey Butter Cake.

Gorgeous Garlicky Goodness

Entertaining for the holidays? Don’t sweat it! Head to DiBruno Bros. at the Italian Market–or one of their four other locations— for an incredible selection of artisanal cheeses and cured meats. You’ll find a vast selection of specialty items, from pinot grigio and fig cheese spread to salted bourbon caramel sauce. Chef Jacquie’s latest obsession: the sweet and garlicky Black Garlic Molasses. The slow-roasted, caramelized flavors of this syrupy Japanese molasses will take your holiday table to the next level. Pick up some tangy aged Swiss Emmenthaler, and pair with some crusty bread for a winning combination.

Truffle Love

Are you stumped for a gift idea for the office gift exchange, junior’s teacher or the mother-in-law? Done, done and done: who wouldn’t love an assortment of handmade chocolate truffles from Chocolates by ME in the Market at the Fareway. These gourmet sweets from pastry chef MaryEllen Salamone are available in assortments of four to 24 truffles.  On my very own holiday wish list: ME’s spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles, a rich dark chocolate ganache with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne, enrobed in a dark chocolate shell; and the Lemon Drop, a white chocolate lemon ganache center in a white chocolate shell. Someone on your lucky gift list will adore the hickory smoked hazelnut bark or the handmade marshmallows dipped in dark or milk chocolate. Yum!

Cool Stocking Stuffers

Good things come in small packages. Pick up some truly unique stocking stuffers for all your foodie friends at the iconic Fante’s Kitchen Shop in the Italian Market. You’ll find something for every cook and baker in Fante’s impressive gadget aisle, from a nutmeg grater to a truffle slicer. What do you get the gourmand who has everything? A cactus peeler!

Spice It Up!

Add some pizazz to your holiday shopping with a stop at Grassia’s Italian Market Spice Co. You’ll find an extensive selection of top quality spice blends in small, affordable packets—choose a bunch to gift your favorite home cook. Pick up some mini-sized bottles of handcrafted, all-natural Riviera Hot Sauce, perfectly sized for stocking stuffing.

Burger Madness


All that shopping—we’re starving! Treat yourself to a nice post-shopping lunch at South Philly’s P’unk Burger. Their juicy burgers are made from grass-fed beef that is antibiotic, hormone and pesticide-free; it’s some delicious, kid-friendly food. You can feel good about indulging in P’unk Burger’s fair-trade sodas and locally-sourced ice cream treats.  Chef Jacquie’s personal favorite: the namesake P’unk Burger,  with smoked Gouda and black peppercorn bacon. Top it off with a milkshake (all the classics, crazy innovations like salted avocado and even a selection of vegan shakes).

Discover the culinary delights waiting for you in Philly’s neighborhoods and make some holiday memories with your friends and family. Join me for a tasty adventure on a tour of Philly’s favorite food shops and restaurants. Bonus: you’ll enjoy a 10% discount at the Italian Market.

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the favorite Foodies on your list? Give the gift of Chef Jacquie, a gift certificate for one of my Taste 4 Travel Culinary Tours.


Family visiting from out of town? Looking for a fun family outing during the holidays?

Book Your Tour!