New consumer research from the Specialty Food Association and Mintel shows that chocolate, cheese and baked goods top the list of food gifts this holiday season. "The great news for gift recipients is that creativity is at an all-time high within these categories, and beyond there are more treats than ever, like handcrafted charcuterie, for the food adventurer in quest of new tastes," says Louise Kramer, public relations director for the association.

The Specialty Food Association kicks off the 2014 holiday shopping season with a tempting selection of sweet and savory treats for the food lover on your list.

From chocolate cayenne cookies with bacon to classic buttery shortbread, this year's gift picks reflect the innovation and high standards that specialty foodmakers bring to the products they create. Each pick is from a recipient of a sofi Award, which honors the best of the best in specialty food from members of the Specialty Food Association.

Sweet Gifts:

Handmade Hot Fudge  - Coop's MicroCreamery - $9.99

Malted Cocoacakes - Effie's Homemade - $5.99

Heritage Shortbread Tin -  Heritage Shortbread - $19

Molten Chocolate Cake - Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery – 2/$15

Coconut Macaroons - Klara's Gourmet Cookies - $4.99

Duck Fat Caramels - Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. - $17.99

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Bittersweet Toffee Tiles - Poco Dolce Confections - $20

Tonewood Grade B Maple Square – Tonewood - $16.99

Peanut Brittle - Zingerman's Candy Manufactory - $4.99

Spicy Gifts:

Spicy Catalunya Bar - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier - $5.99

Lentil Rice Crispbread -East Hampton Gourmet Foods, Inc. - $11

Chocolate Cayenne Cookies - Grey Ghost Bakery - $ 9

Hot Smoky Barbeque Sauce - Lillie's Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs - $8

Organic Hot Chorizo - Olli Salumeria Americana - $10.99

Smokra - Rick's Picks - $9.99

Spiced Winter Red Tea - Tea Pigs - $9.99

Downton Christmas Tea - The Republic of Tea - $12

Bijou - Vermont Creamery – 2/$9.99

Cranberry Saffron Vinegar - Wozz Kitchen Creations - $11.50