Gifts for Foodies
From ambitious home bakers to cocktail-obsessed hosts, we’ve rounded up a collection of one-of-a-kind gifts perfect for the food-lovers in your life. We sipped, snacked, and sorted through hundreds of samples to weed out the less-than-stellar items so you can feel confident wrapping up any one of the picks on our list. We found beautifully designed and crafted kitchen equipment, guaranteed to inspire anyone to get in the kitchen. Marble rolling pins, porcelain tart pans, even modern measuring cups will have recipients leafing through old cookbooks.
There are gifts for the more adventurous cook, like a bottle of fine olive oil (don’t worry, they’ll know when and where to drizzle it), as well as a homemade pasta kit. But if you’re shopping for beginners or cooks who are on the more timid side, might we suggest our friend Julia Turshen’s new book, Small Victories; it might just supply the courage necessary to get into the kitchen and get down to business.
Kids will love April’s Maple Cotton Candy and the Monster Pop Molds from Tovolo. And everybody will swoon over Milk Jar Cookies delivered right to your door.
There are several cocktail-inspired choices, including an oversized Mason jar shaker (it’s great for parties and big-batch beverages). For the hungry bartenders in your life, we’ve even got liquor-laced caramel corn and boozy ice cream.
No matter what you choose, don’t forget to treat yourself in the coming months. We’re partial to the Money on Honey Caramels from Droga chocolates. They’re ideal for sharing (or hiding) this holiday season.
Quin Candy Countdown Calendar
A sweet gift that keeps on giving, this 28-day Christmas countdown is packed with artisanal treats like vanilla bean caramels and real fruit lollipops (made from fruit grown in Oregon). Each daily surprise will get the kids more and more excited for the holiday to come. It will be tempting to open up all of the doors at once, but taking it day by day will let them savor those sweets along with the holiday season. This countdown calendar would also make a great seasonal hostess gift: instead of a bottle of wine, offer up some delicious, high-quality candy.
To buy: $22, mouth.com.
Sakara Beauty Water Cocktail Mix
For a healthier happy hour, this detoxifying mixer is made with cleansing rosewater, antioxidant-rich hibiscus, and it’s sweetened with beet sugar. Attach a note to the bottle suggesting she mix it with vodka, lemon juice, seltzer, and fresh mint as her go-to holiday cocktail. RS editors think a splash of this elixir would be a refreshing addition to a flute of champagne as well. Looking to round out your present? There’s a gift set option that pairs the bottled mixer with a rose gold cocktail shaker as well. Cheers to that!
To buy: $49 for a 24-ounce bottle, sakara.com.
Townshend’s Bluebird Alpine Liqueur
Need an impressive offering for your Christmas party hosts when the usual bottle of wine just won’t cut it? If they’re cocktail connoisseurs, you’re in luck: They’ll savor this sweetly spiced Bluebird Alpine Liqueur, which comes in a beautifully designed bottle. It’s got notes of herbs and spices like cinnamon, angelica, fennel, and no artificial colors or flavors, just like the in-house crafted teas this family-run, Portland, OR-based company is known for. It’s a versatile addition to a bar cart, meant to be used any which way: on its own or blended with other liqueurs to create drinks served warm or cold.
To buy: $30, thomasandsonsdistillery.com.
Tovolo Monsters Pop Molds
Are your little ones (or are you) tired of the same ol' snack options? They’ll flip for this fun take on ice pops that melds their love of monsters with a DIY dessert activity. Fill the flexible silicone “sleeves” with juice or ice cream, insert each into the included tray, and freeze for about three hours to create a creepy-looking frozen treat—each ice pop takes on the shape of a different monster. It is a compact kit (the tray fits in the freezer door) and cleanup is a cinch (it’s all stackable, for easy storage).
To buy: $14, amazon.com.
Opinel Mushroom Knife
For fans of the farm-to-table movement (and who isn’t a fan these days?), this notched knife will become an essential pocket tool when prepping ‘shrooms. Because rinsing to clean any funghi is the wrong move (they retain the water and become soggy in meals), this knife comes with an attached natural boar-hair brush to gently remove soil before cooking. The blade itself is curved for ergonomic cutting and has a sharp, serrated edge to clear away the mushroom’s gills. The best part: The blade folds down like a Swiss Army knife for safe, easy storage.
To buy: $30, momastore.org.
Runamok Maple Syrups
Help your foodie friend step up his weekend brunch game—or turn out other inventive meals—with this out-of-the-box, artisanal offering: organic maple syrup aged in recently emptied rum, rye, and Bourbon barrels. For an upscale twist, syrups are infused with different exotic flavors ranging from lime leaf or cardamom, to elderberry or hibiscus flowers. The creators, Eric and Laura Sorkin, offer the syrup in nine different flavors and what they call “The Sugarmaker’s Cut,” which is the best of the season. Some are wonderful when drizzled on the basics (pancakes, waffles, French toast); while others are ideal for elevating savory dishes (like chili or root vegetables) or artfully doctoring up desserts (cupcake icing).
To buy: $17 to $20, runamokmaple.com.
Fourth & Heart Ghee
If the foodie in your life is not cooking with ghee already, they should be. This dairy- and lactose-free compound butter is versatile and can handle the heat, because it doesn't burn at high temperatures like regular butter. Use it to infuse intense flavor into veggies and meats or even just as a spread on a piece of toast for an afternoon snack. It is available in five delicious flavors (Original, White Truffle Salt, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Himalayan Pink Salt, and California Garlic) that will please any and all palates.
To buy: $15 for each 9 oz. jar, fourthandheart.com.
Cinnibird Spice Pen
Looking for a gift that is a latte fun to use during the holidays and year-round? We’ve found a cute companion that any coffee lover would be happy to add to their kitchen collection. Fill this little device with cinnamon, coffee grounds or cocoa and start drawing designs on your hot drinks in an instant. Looking to take your Saturday morning pancakes to the next level? This easy-to-operate device can help you add funny faces, phrases or decorative swirls. If you are serving eggnog at your holiday party, garnish the glasses with a cinnamon design to immediately impress your guests.
To buy: $30, cinnibird.com.
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix by Not Without Salt
An easy-to-follow kit that produces bakery-quality results. The baker in your life will delight in the high-quality ingredients (like vanilla bean-infused sugar and Maldon flaky sea salt) while the novice chef will appreciate the ease of use (just combine the supplied ingredients with one stick of butter and one egg). Our editors’ favorite flavor—cherry chocolate chip with cardamom salt—incorporates a spice you wouldn’t expect for a taste you won’t soon forget. The classic salted chocolate chip variety is also a winner. Makes 18 to 24 cookies. A portion of the proceeds goes to the non-profit First Aid Arts.
To buy: $16, notwithoutsalt.com.
Cured Boulder Small Cheesemonger’s Choice Set
No matter who the recipient is—a party host, a mother-in-law, a close pal—it is hard to go wrong with this savory gourmet selection. The three-part, three-pound cheese pairing (including sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, and bleu cheddar) comes with 34 crackers and a sweet and spicy pepper jelly—a luxe treat for a relatively low price (under $50). If you’re bringing it to a holiday get-together, amp it up with a bottle of wine or incorporate it into a beautiful cheese board, adding a mix of fruit (grapes, strawberries, apples, or cherries) and a variety of nuts.
To buy: $42, curedboulder.com.
Small Victories, a Cookbook by Julia Turshen
Whether she’s a cooking novice or a full-fledged chef, this hefty tome from famed food writer and recipe developer Julia Turshen is an inspiring addition to any kitchen bookshelf. It’s chock-full of ideas for quick, easy, full-flavored dishes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts. Some of our favorites include newfangled creations like sour cream pancakes with roasted blueberries, and peach and bourbon milkshakes, to oldies but goodies like the ultimate, no-fail chicken soup (a Turshen family favorite). Poignant anecdotes and stunning photographs are woven in along with the expert instruction, making this cookbook—with forward by The Food Network’s Ina Garten—a definite keeper.
To buy: $35, chroniclebooks.com.
Butter & Scotch Hot Toddy Caramel Popcorn
When the boozy-flavored food trend meets a salty snack, the results are downright delicious. From a Brooklyn-based bar and bakery, these gorgeous resealable bags are filled with popcorn that is coated in thick, crunchy caps of caramelized bourbon and golden honey. Lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt balance out the sweetness and give the crisp snack the flavor profile of a hot toddy. Giving this popcorn is the modern version of giving a gourmet snack mix. It makes a fantastic stocking stuffer, or, if you’d like the gift to be more substantial, two bags bundled together should do the trick.
To buy: $9, mouth.com.
Chai Tea Concentrate by Dona Chai
For the tea lover, this simple, beautiful bottle is filled with strong, fragrant chai ready for drinking at a moment’s notice. Every sip has flavors of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, lemon, ginger, and black tea. The chai is slowly brewed in Brooklyn in small batches for extra-strong, clear flavor. Enjoy it chilled and on its own, poured over ice like cold brew, or mixed with equal parts whole milk for a chai tea latte. Because it’s concentrated, the tea can also be used in baking, the same way one would use vanilla extract.
To buy: $24 for two bottles, donachai-sales.com.
Casa Lolea Artisanal Sangria
This Spanish sangria combines super high-quality wine and ingredients in the perfect ratio, making for a drink that’s as tasty if not tastier than the homemade variety. The red wine version is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot red wines, fresh orange and lemon juice and a bit of cinnamon, while the white wine version is made from Airen and Moscatel white wines, fresh orange and lemon juice, and a hint of vanilla. The miniature servings are packed in festive polka-dotted single-serve bottles, and it comes in sparkling white and red varieties. Who’s up for a picnic?
To buy: $38 for four, sangrialolea.com.
Milk Jar Cookies
There’s nothing better than fresh, homemade cookies, right? That is, unless someone else does the baking and delivers them to your (or your loved one’s) door. Milk Jar cookies are decadent, thick, and chewy (almost cake-like)—and taste like they came out of the oven minutes ago. They come in a variety of over-the-top flavors, like Birthday Cake and Rocky Road, as well as rotating seasonal specials. To truly take the cookies to the next level, try wrapping the cookies in foil and warming them up in the oven for about ten minutes.
To buy: $30 for 12 or $15 for 6, milkjarcookies.com.
Creyente Mezcal Joven
Scotch and tequila lovers alike will fall head over heels for this smoky but unbelievably smooth mescal. Made from the agave called Espadín, the genetic parent of blue agave (which is used to make regular tequila), this beverage is gently smoked so it tastes like mesquite and charred fruit. The smoky flavor is milder than other mezcals on the market, making it a fantastic pick for someone who doesn’t have a ton of experience drinking the liquor. It’s best enjoyed chilled with a fresh orange wedge in a glass rimmed with salt. Check the shipping on this product, as it cannot be shipped nationwide.
To buy: $52, reservebar.com.
Bad Seed Chili Granola
Strange as it might sound, this topping is halfway between granola and hot sauce. Granola made from almonds, puffed rice, oats, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds is steeped and packed in a spicy liquid made from chili powder, miso, brown sugar, and sake. The result is mostly savory, a touch sweet, and quite fiery. The condiment is ideal for the adventurous foodie who might enjoy spooning it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or even Greek yogurt. It’s also tasty mixed into stir-fries for added flavor and crunch. Just be sure to give it a good shake before using.
To buy: $14, mouth.com.
Zenroast Roasting Tool
This gorgeous ceramic coffee bean roaster is a must-have for true coffee obsessives. One of the biggest issues for coffee geeks is the freshness of their beans. Did you know that coffee only stays fresh for three days after roasting? That means drinking A LOT of coffee if you want a fresh cup at home. Enter the elegant zenroast, an easy, elegant way to roast your own coffee beans at home. Each roaster is fired in one of Japan’s Six Ancient Kilns at a temperature of 1472 degrees. It can be used to roast tea leaves and sesame seeds, and it works on gas and electric stovetops.
To buy: $55, zenroast.co.
Hayden Flour Mills Heritage Pasta Kit
If Uncle Michael and Uncle Fredo are often found in the kitchen quoting the Godfather while slicing garlic with a razor blade, consider sliding this homemade pasta kit under the tree. This kit from our friends over at Food52 comes with a bag of blended heritage pasta flour—part Sonora wheat and part classic durum flour—as well as a wooden board, ideal for forming your own gnocchi, garganelli, and cavetelli. The handle helps you keep the board steady (important while you’re learning) and it’s handsome enough to keep out on the counter as evidence of your culinary prowess.
To buy: $25, food52.com.
Filfil Foods No. 7 Garlic Hot Sauce
Founded in Brooklyn in 2012, Filfil Foods’ simple goal is to add “yummy to life.” Their garlicky hot sauce is one of the crown jewels in our own collection of condiments. Find no mystery ingredients here: Filfil’s No. 7 is made with a ton of garlic, lots of paprika, oil, vinegar, salt, and spices. We like different hot sauces for different things but this one is especially good drizzled over eggs. Add a dash inside your next grilled cheese sandwich or a few shakes to tuna salad. If you love to grill all year long like we do, fire up the Weber and use the garlicky sauce on lightly charred burgers and dogs.
To buy: $12 for 8.5 ounces, filfilfoods.com.
Antico Frantoio Muraglia ‘Intenso’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There’s no better gift than one you wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself. Take this gorgeous bottle of olive oil: we know we’re supposed to buy and use the good stuff but it can be a strain on the ol’ pocketbook for those of us who cook every night. Which is why this bottle is an ideal holiday gift for food-lovers and culinary enthusiasts. Not only do you get a liter of some of Italy’s finest extra virgin olive oil, but the gorgeous jar it comes in, too. Use it to hold future bottles of your favorite oil—opaque bottles like this help prevent light damage which can decrease antioxidants.
To buy: $50 for 16 ounces, williams-sonoma.com.
Mochidoki Holiday-Themed Mochi Ice Cream
If you’ve never heard of mochi, we've got a treat for you. Tender rice dough is filled with cold, creamy ice cream, which creates a delectable contrast in flavor and texture. This holiday season Mochidoki unveils two new irresistible combinations: Cinnamon Eggnog, which has a creamy ice cream center and is dusted with nutmeg; and Spiced Chocolate, which is filled with classic chocolate ice cream blended with chipotle pepper. Careful! This one packs a light punch. The mochis come in packs of four, great as a gift or as an easy dessert option while you're entertaining guests during busy holiday months.
To buy: $10 for four, mochidoki.com.
Tipsy Scoop Liquor-Infused Ice Cream, Pack of Four Pints
What’s better than a four-pint pack of unique small-batch ice cream sent right to you door? Boozy small batch ice cream sent right to your door. Tipsy Scoop continues a long family tradition of making artisanal ice cream, but ups the ante by spiking each batch with your favorite cocktail flavors. With combinations like Spiked S’mores, Strawberry White Sangria Sorbet, and Chocolate Stout and Pretzel, you’re sure to find a new favorite scoop. Give a quartet of these ice creams along with a four-pack of Guinness for the ultimate ice-cream float. Sorry, kids, this one’s just for the grown-ups.
To buy: $60 for four pints, tipsyscoop.com.
Baba & Pops Pulled-Pork Pierogis
Now you can enjoy the one-of-a-kind flavor of Baba & Pops Pulled-Pork Pierogis anywhere in the US. Our friends at Goldbely.com have made sure that these pork-stuffed Polish dumplings can be delivered right to your door. Handmade in a food truck in Denver, Colorado, these pillows of Polish tradition are filled with 18-hour dry-rubbed, slow-roasted pork shoulder. The original pierogi recipe comes from the owner's grandparents: Baba and Pops. Check out the Baba & Pops website for great ideas on how to eat these little nuggets. According to the experts you can bake them, broil them, steam them, fry them, or whatever floats your boat.
To buy: $79 for a dozen, goldbely.com.
Food52 x Hawkins New York Seasonal Candle, Tomato Vine
For your favorite aspiring backyard gardener, this candle captures the intoxicating scent of ripe sun-plumped tomatoes. If you’re lucky enough to grow your own, you know that it’s not only the fruit that smells so amazing, but the vine. This candle is part of a seasonal series developed by the design geniuses from Hawkins New York in conjunction with Food52. Their version has that clean tomato-vine scent so you can light it in the kitchen without masking the delicious smells of your cooking. It’s made from 100 percent soy wax and natural oils, and with a 60-hour burn time, you’ll be enjoying this candle until the tomatoes come back next summer.
To buy: $48, food52.com.
Maple Cotton Candy by April’s Maple
Let’s pretend our forefathers visited us from the past. Sure, they might be surprised by electric cars, the internet, even Doppler radar. But perhaps nothing would blow their minds like cotton candy—thread-like, maple-flavored magic that dissolves the second it touches your tongue—what wizardry is this? If you ask April, she’ll tell you it’s a simple mixture of her pure Vermont maple syrup and granulated white sugar, spun until light and airy. Guaranteed to satisfy the kid in all of us, it’ll remind you of crisp fall days at the country fair (even if you’ve never been to one).
To buy: $4, aprilsmaple.com.
Mike’s Hot Honey
Made in Brooklyn, this bottle of spicy-sweet goodness makes a welcome addition to just about any dish. Use it to balance a mustardy salad dressing, drizzle it over fried chicken or, do like they do in the borough, and squeeze it over a pepperoni pizza (trust us—it works). Stuff it in a Christmas stocking or use it as part of a homemade chili-lovers gift basket by wrapping it with a variety of your favorite artisanal hot sauces or chili oil. But don’t worry, Mike’s Hot Honey is just a little bit spicy so it’s appropriate for all ages.
To buy: $20 for two 12-ounce bottles, food52.com.
Little Belgians Speculoos S'mores
Why do graham crackers get to have all the fun? Good question, say the Little Belgians, creators of Speculoos S’mores. They’re just like the classic—cookie, marshmallow, chocolate— but so much better. They swapped the standard grahams for warmly spiced, intricately printed speculoos cookies and packed them with vanilla marshmallows from specialty vendors The Candy and TCHO chocolate. There’s no need to wait until summer to enjoy these sophisticated sandwiches; enjoy them in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa or invite guests to assemble their own at your next dinner party. To make indoors, build sandwiches in the classic style, wrap in foil and bake in the oven (or nestle in the embers of your fireplace) until the marshmallows are soft and the chocolate is melted.
To buy: $19 for a pack of six, littlebelgians.com.
Money on Honey Caramels by Droga Chocolates
When founder Michelle Crochet started Droga chocolates in San Francisco, she would take sample after sample of her concoctions to friends to try until she got each recipe just right. (This writer knows—she was one of them!) Lucky for us, her Money on Honey caramels were a hit, and are now available nationwide. California wildflower honey caramel is enrobed in pure dark chocolate to make each bite-size indulgence. A few delicate grains of fleur-de-sel (that’s “flower of salt,” people—the good stuff) sprinkled on top bring out the flavors of the chocolate and honey. It’s a delightful contrast of flavors and textures, sure to satisfy any time, any where.
To buy: $17 for nine pieces, drogachocolates.com.
Crate and Barrel French Kitchen Marble Rolling Pan With Stand
Professional bakers and chocolate makers love marble work surfaces because the stone remains cool to the touch. Marble rolling pins, like this one from Crate and Barrel, make easy work of rolling dough because it too stays cool, so your buttery pie dough won’t melt before you get it into the pie plate. Cold doughs yield under its healthy weight, so no need to go back and forth in the fridge while you’re cutting out cookie shapes. Each rolling pin is one of a kind due to the natural variance in the marble, and comes with its own rubberwood stand so it can rest right at home on the counter.
To buy: $20, crateandbarrel.com.
Heirloom Home and Studio Blue Tart Plate
In an ideal world, all of our kitchen equipment would be as functional as it was beautiful. Enter Heirloom Home and Studio’s Blue Tart Plate. Say goodbye to flimsy aluminum bakeware in favor of this sturdy aqua porcelain pan. It’s naturally nonstick so you’ll never worry about your dismount again. Instead of juggling a removable bottom while crossing fingers that your tender dough walls stay intact, bring this lovely dish right to the table. Use it for open-faced quiches and tarts so you can show off those seasonal fillings. Offer it with a sturdy silver pie server or a jar of pie weights.
To buy: $68, food52.com.
West Elm Copper + Enamel Measuring Cups
Enough of those cluttered kitchen drawers full of lackluster equipment. Streamline your kitchenware in style with this set of copper and enamel dry measuring cups. Sturdy handles with clearly marked labels make it easy to grab the exact measure you need. A modern set with just four cups means you won’t have to find a home for the measures you don’t use. It’s a luxe collection and a perfect gift for the most stylish cook in your life. Use a ruler when you’re wrapping because this style-maven notices the details. Give it with our friend Genevieve Ko’s latest book, Better Baking.
To buy: $36 for a set of four, westelm.com.
Sugarfina Pineapple Shot Glasses
Did you know that pineapples are an international symbol of hospitality? No wonder so many door-knockers and welcome mats bear their image. So there’s no better gift for a supportive friend or kind neighbor then a set of these charming brass pineapple-shaped shot glasses. Upright and with their tops on, the glasses can be used as cocktail shakers or, flipped upside down with the fruit perched on top, they make adorable drinking glasses. They’re just right for tasting-sized tropical cocktails OR straight shots of Malibu (we won’t judge). Give them with your favorite piÃ±a colada recipe and Sugarfina’s Parisian Pineapple candies.
To buy: $35 for two, sugarfina.com.
Royal Doulton Tapas Dip Trays
This set of colorful dip plates will have you booking tickets to Barcelona faster then you can say lickety-split (how DO you say that in Spanish?). This set of eight glazed dishes was inspired by 1815, which is the year when pottery house Royal Dalton was founded. Each plate comes in a different festive shade and is just under four inches across, wonderful for holding a variety of tasty bites and Spanish-inspired snacks. Why not give these with spicy dried chorizo; a nutty, aged Manchego, or a bottle of Sherry. They’re dishwasher safe so you can load up the machine and keep the party going.
To buy: $30 for a set of eight, domino.com.
Crate and Barrel Aqua Dip Mixing Bowl With Spout
Here’s another beautiful piece that goes effortlessly from kitchen prep to table. This aqua-accented earthenware bowl works just as well for tossing salads, mixing cakes or melting chocolate (that’s right, it’s microwave safe). It has a convenient spout that makes it ideal for transferring brownie batter to baking dishes. You can give this lovely two-toned bowl a rinse and toss it in the dishwasher, but not TOO fast because a generous mouth makes it extra easy to get in there to lick the bowl with fingers or spatula. Give it with a pair of sturdy salad tongs or a hand-carved salad serving set.
To buy: $30, crateandbarrel.com.
W&P Design Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker
Swap your classic cocktail shaker for this clear Mason jar version. At 32 ounces, you can shake up a great big batch of agave-sweetened margaritas, Moscow mules, or maybe even Mai Tais. It comes with a three-piece strainer lid so no unintended extras make their way into your glass. This jar looks equally pretty on the table filled with sweetened sun tea or citrus-infused water. Pack it in a decorative bag with plenty of tissue paper along with your favorite spirit, a bottle of homemade moonshine, or your grandmother’s recipe for lemonade for a fun picnic in the park.
To buy: $29, surlatable.com.
West Elm Core Kitchen Tea Towels
I’ll cook; you clean. That’s usually the deal, right? But no one really wants to be on dish duty. But they might reconsider with a set of these charming kitchen towels from West Elm. You have a choice of three towels, each with its own quirky detail. Our personal favorite, “Donut Stop Believing” is a great pick for Journey fans and donut obsessives alike. They’re made of 100 percent cotton and can be tossed in the washing machine and then tumbled dry. Shop carefully since these are sold individually: be sure to select the specific towels you we ant before checkout.
To buy: $12, westelm.com.
Williams-Sonoma Olivewood Salt Keeper
One of the most important culinary lessons you’ll learn is to season every layer while you’re cooking. Nothing makes that easier than keeping your favorite salt right on the counter next to the stove in a great-looking container. This fetching olivewood box holds eight ounces of salt and has a swiveling lid with a magnetic latch so your salt stays protected from sprinkles and spills. Pack it with a fine tin of Fleur de Sel or a box of Maldon (our favorite way to finish a dish). A great gift for enthusiastic home cooks, get it monogrammed for a personalized touch.
To buy: $50, williams-sonoma.com.
Beer Bread Kit
Need something other than a six-pack to give your favorite beer connoisseur? Switch home-brewed for home-baked with this beer bread kit. It makes a hearty loaf with no real baking skills necessary. If he can mix, stir, and bake, he can make bakery-quality bread. The only other thing he’ll “knead” is most of a bottle of his favorite brew (the rest, of course, is for him). Pop the olive, garlic, and rosemary-infused dough in the oven for an hour in the included handmade ceramic dish. And what comes out? One deliciously dense and flavorful loaf.
To buy: $37, williams-sonoma.com.
Large Suede Potholder
If you’re looking for a chic gift for a new apartment dweller, or a friend who decorates first and hits the kitchen second, try this built-to-last suede potholder. The supple, American-made suede is heat and flame resistant like silicone, but provides a little more panache and a colorful punch to a kitchen. She’ll appreciate the 19 color options, which range from light gray to maroon to lime. And if she’s not the neatest cook, she’ll be happy to know the square is machine washable. Note: Each potholder is made to order, so keep that in mind when ordering.
To buy: $18, ernstandcompany.etsy.com.
January and February are full of gray, sluggish days. The fix? Yummy candies that also provide an effective jolt of java. These gourmet caramels will hit the spot for any caffeine fiend with a sweet tooth. There’s a full shot of espresso in every one of these rich, individually wrapped treats. We suggest giving them in a mason jar with a bright ribbon or a bold, decorative dish for her desk. That way, they’ll always be at her fingertips when the afternoon energy slump hits and she’s looking for an effective caffeine shock.
To buy: $12 for one two-ounce box, mouth.com.
Traditional Shake and Pop With Popcorn
Treat your favorite homebodies to an elevated movie night with this old-school nosh. They’ll just need to pour in some kernels over their stovetop (or if they’re lucky, their fireplace), and shake until the compartment is filled with perfect popcorn. Each contraption also comes with two 14-ounce jars of popcorn from the cornfields of Wabash Valley Farms in Monon, Indiana. The jars have their own distinct kernel coloring and flavoring, too: The golden yellow Harvest Moon resembles butterflies when popped and the colorful Mountain Melody has red, yellow, white and blue kernels that pop into different textures.
To buy: $36, food52.com.
The Homemade Gin Kit
Bring your friends some holiday spirit with this homemade gin kit. In just 36 hours, plain vodka becomes small-batch gin—a libation that’s so much more celebratory than the usual bottle of wine. The process is easy enough—the budding mixologist just needs to infuse vodka with the pre-measured tins of juniper berries and botanical mix (which includes coriander, rosemary, lavender, rose hips, allspice, fennel seed, lemon peel, greens cardamom, Tellicherry black pepper, and bay leaf.) Each kit makes two 375 milliliter glass bottles of the spirit, so there’ll be plenty to go around at New Year’s Eve. Our food editors suggest serving it with a splash of tonic and a wedge of lime.
To buy: From $50, food52.com.
Two of a Kind Mask Bottle Opener
At first glance, this mask may look like a glitzy decoration—but that’s just a masquerade. Your guests will be delighted to find that it doubles as a bottle opener. Set it out on your bar cart, a bookshelf, or the coffee table, and pull it out whenever the need arises (which will be quite often during the holiday season). Don’t rule out this gift for teetotalers, either. They will love the look so much it might even find a permanent spot on their bookshelf, ready at a moment's notice for when unexpected guests drop by.
To buy: $40, katespade.com.
Popover Pan and Mix Kit
When you gift a popover pan alongside the mix, your host will have no excuse not to make a batch right away. The flaky, airy pastries make the perfect treat for holiday houseguests, and your host will be thankful for an easy-to-make breakfast. The simple pastry is the perfect accompaniment to that new jam they received, too. The non-stick pan ensures they cook uniformly, so the results will be perfection. Looking for a way to elevate the traditional mix? Sprinkle in some shredded cheese, dried fruit, or a favorite dried herb blend to the batter to create different variations.
To buy: $32, stonewallkitchen.com.
Sfoglini Saffron Pasta
You might be inclined to think that a bag of dried pasta isn’t the most interesting holiday gift. But that’s because you’ve never received a bag from Brooklyn’s Sfoglini pasta shop. Surprising ingredients, like vibrant saffron, elevate these savory noodles. The unique shape—called malloreddus—is similar to cavatelli, but has deeper grooves to ensure each bite is heavily laden with sauce. We recommend pairing it with a heavier cream-based sauce or a decadent cheese to get all the benefits of the pasta’s shape. Don’t be surprised when they request another bag on their holiday wish list next year.
To buy: $12, mouth.com.
Vanilla Salt Water Taffy
With its retro striped packaging, you’d expect nothing more than your standard salt water taffy. But rest assured—this is nothing like the hard-to-chew, ultra-sweet candy you remember from childhood. Brooklyn-born Marisa Wu updates this classic with highbrow ingredients (think bergamot, honey, real vanilla beans, and natural peppermint extract) for more sophisticated palates. But above all, what sets this candy apart from anything sold in seaside bins is its distinct coarse-ground sea-salt crunch. Your friends who summer by the seashore will appreciate it, but so will your landlocked friends. Maker Salty Road’s treat is destined to become a modern-day boardwalk empire.
To buy: $8.25, mouth.com.
Honey Chipotle Jerky
Former attorney Matt Tolnick may have swapped one, ahem, dry occupation for another, but the verdict is in: even the most discerning palate won’t have any objections against his small-batch jerkies. They’re made with ultra-lean top-round steak that is MSG and nitrate free and 100 percent grass fed. Each cut is jazzed up with bold, Asian-inspired spice blends (Hawaiian Teriyaki, Japanese Curry, Thai Chili, Mango Habanero, Sweet Sriracha, and even Pho!). We think the sweet, spicy, salty treat really raises the (snacking) bar. Can’t choose which flavor best suits your friend? Opt for one of the variety packs (or two!).
To buy: $18, amazon.com.
Lillet, the Podensac, Bordeaux-based distillery, has been around since the late 19th century. But just a few years ago—in 2011—they introduced their first new flavor in over 50 years: a bright, blush-colored aperitif that will make any sophisticate swoon. Made with a blend of wines and orange and berry liqueurs, the award-winning drink has a slightly floral, slightly sweet flavor that is delicious on its own. Or, give it to your favorite mixologist friend and see what they can come up with. Might we suggest pouring it with some champagne for a luxurious cocktail? Cheers.
To buy: $22, wine.com.
Hanukkah Sweets Assortment
Sure, the holidays mean treats galore. But why not use it as an occasion to give him something really delicious? And why not give him a moment of celebration every night? This mouthwatering assortment has eight delectable treats—one for each night of Hanukkah. Choose from candies bearing menorahs and driedels, milk chocolate menorah pops, chocolate-dipped macaroons, a generous assortment of chocolate bars (think peanut butter and passion fruit jelly, coconut pecan and), milk chocolate-covered animal crackers, salty chocolate chews, and the best gelt they’ve ever tasted. We promise these miraculous treats will cure every last one of their cravings.
To buy: $71, mouth.com.