Christmas gift guide for foodies
Treat the foodie on your Christmas gift list this year to a fun food-centric present that is also easy on your wallet. Here are 10 affordable gifts for your favorite food lovers.
Spice Depot Grinder Set
In line with the 12 Days of Christmas, The Spice Depot has 12 all natural, ultra-fresh grinder-top spices that will delight the foodie on your gift list. More intense in flavor than already-ground spices, grinders turn every meal into a mouthwatering delight. Salad Seasoning, JoJo Potato, NY Steak Spice, Garlic Pepper, and Spicy Sea Salt are just a few of the Spice Depot's signature blends. Spice Depot Grinders are available at supermarkets and specialty food stores – pick up all 12 and give your favorite chef a grinder a day leading up to Christmas or deliver all of them in a food-centric gift basket. Visit TheSpiceDepot.com for more information or to find a store near you.
Retail: $2.99 per bottle
International Food Adventure for Her and Him
National Geographic's Foods of the World is the place to shop for culinary gifts for the adventurous gourmand or aspiring international foodie. In addition to specific regional foods, Foods of the World has gift baskets, food of the month clubs and even culinary trips to see and taste world cuisine. Introduce your favorite foodie to Foods of the World with An Adventure for Her - or Him - Gift Basket, which showcases both sweet and savory international goodies, ranging from elegant artisan cheeses and olives to fine Belgian chocolates. His and Her international food gift baskets are fun (and more affordable than a culinary trip around the world). Visit NationalGeographicFood.com to order or peruse the plentiful array of other worldly foods.
Retail: $79 for Him and $85 for Her
The Flavor Bible
No kitchen should be without The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Innovative Chefs. Written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, The Flavor Bible presents a delicious compendium of hundreds of ingredients and how best to pair them and prepare them for delectable everyday meals as well as elegant multi-course occasions. More of an invaluable cooking reference than a cookbook, your foodie friend will thank you for giving her such a scrumptious instructional read. The Flavor Bible is available in major and online bookstores. (Click here for nine more of the most recently coveted cookbooks.)
There are hundreds of kitchen gadgets, some whimsical (such as the banana slicer and chicken shaped timer) while others are quite practical (most notably the vegetable peeler and garlic press). Regardless, kitchen gadgets are especially fun for food lovers who spend time in the kitchen actually using them. And bonus, kitchen gadgets are usually economical, meaning you can buy an assortment of them for cheap or make it easy on yourself and buy a set. Simply visit your local kitchen store and walk the aisles or peruse the vast selection of cooking tools on Cooking.com.
Retail: Widely varies depending on gadget
Craftbrews are hot and Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, and Most Unusual Holiday Brews, written Don Russell – also known as one of America's leading beer writers Joe Sixpack – gives you the details on the best holiday brews available around the world. Your craftbrew-loving giftee will delight in Russell's Christmas season brew-by-brew guide, replete with trivia, funny tales, homebrew ingredients, and instructions for building and cellaring vintage holiday brews for year round enjoyment. Christmas Beer is available in major and online bookstores.
A newcomer to the healthy cooking oil arena, camelina seed oil – also called Gold of Pleasure oil, faux flax oil, and wild flax oil – is derived from an ancient crop and delivers a wonderful nutty flavor and floral aroma. More stable – and healthier – than flax oil, camelina oil is packed with heart-healthy omega-3s and powerful antioxidants. It is superb as a vinaigrette (especially with balsamic vinegar and fresh minced herbs) or drizzled over lightly cooked vegetables. Not widely available, cold pressed and certified organic camelina oil is a novel gift that can be purchased at MarxFood.com.
Retail: $27 for two 8-ounce bottles
Cooking class gift certificate
Foodies love inspiration and mingling with other foodies – making cooking classes the ideal setting. Check with your local culinary schools, wineries, gourmet shops and even community adult education programs to find an appropriate culinary class near you (or near the foodie giftee on your list). Include the gift certificate in a bountiful culinary gift basket or use it as a surprising stocking stuffer.
Retail: Fees will vary depending on the setting, length of class and level of gourmet
Personal chef gift certificate
Whether your favorite foodie loves to cook or prefers pleasuring in gourmet dining at someone else's hands, give her (or him) a memorable in-home dining experience. Personal chefs are experts at preparing gastronomically wonderful meals – from casual to uber upscale – and can pamper your hungry food-loving giftee with culinary conversation and divine dishes as well as inspiration for new recipes. If your foodie prefers to dine alone, a personal chef can simply prepare and freeze a month's worth of meals (including reheating instructions) to be eaten at your foodie's leisure (Note: A one night in-home dinner will be cheaper than a month's worth of meals). Visit PersonalChefSearch.com to locate a personal chef in your – or your giftee's – area.
Retail: Fees will vary depending on services desired
A bottle of sherry
Traditionally sipped as an after-dinner digestif, sherry is now the must-sip drink as a happy hour aperitif, a prelude to dinner or actually enjoyed as part of the evening meal. Established for more than a century, Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium Sherry is a distinctive blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes aged in oak casks for six years by the traditional Solera method. Full-bodied and lightly sweet and crisp, Dry Sack Medium is a welcome hostess gift (superior to a quick-grab bottle of wine), unique stocking stuffer or as part of a gourmet gift basket. Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Medium Sherry is available in liquor stores and other establishments that sell alcoholic beverages.
Retail: $15 for 750 ml bottle
Forget the box of assorted chocolates (it is so cliché!), and gift your chocolate lover a novel chocolate experience.
Theo 3400 Phinney Chocolate Bars: Theo Chocolate, organic and Fair Trade Certified chocolatiers, offer an innovative line of premium chocolate bars. The 3400 Phinney collection includes Hazelnut Crunch, Chai Milk Chocolate, Coconut Curry Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Milk Chocolate, Fig Fennel Almond and Dark Chocolate, Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate, Bread and Dark Chocolate, and Coffee Dark Chocolate. Every dreamy creamy bite of any one of these 2-ounce bars is unsurprisingly oralgasmic. Theo Chocolate bars can be found at Whole Foods as well as other fine food establishments. Visit TheoChocolate.com to order online or find a store near you.
Retail: $3.25 per bar
Wine Lover's Chocolate: For the foodie who lives to savor bits of dark chocolate with sips of red wine, Bridge Brands Wine Lover's Chocolate line is the ultimate gift. Each chocolate is made with a different cocoa percentage (54% to 72%) to best complement a specific red wine – from Port to Zinfandel – and comes packaged in an elegant wine-themed tin designating the ideal wine and chocolate pairing. Wine Lover's Chocolates (and a delectable variety of other unique and indulgent chocolates) can be purchased online at BridgeBrandsChocolate.com.
Retail: $37 for a six-tin gift set
Gingerbread Bark: Nut bark and peppermint bark are holidayish and, in their own right, scintillating, but Crate and Barrel's Gingerbread Bark is nothing short of heavenly. A debut this year, Gingerbread Bark delivers crunchy bits of gingerbread cookie enrobed in spiced white confection that is layered atop rich dark chocolate and packaged in a reusable gold tin. Undoubtedly, nibbling Gingerbread Bark with a steaming cup of espresso will soon become your favorite foodie's new holiday pastime. Gingerbread Bark is available in Crate and Barrel stores and can be ordered online at CrateandBarrel.com.
Retail: $16.95 for 14-ounce tin