It’s that time of year – you know, the time we all scramble to figure out what the heck to give each other. But there’s a better way: give food gifts for people who eat. I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite holiday gift ideas plus one bonus stocking stuffer, with ideas to fit everyone’s taste, budget, and level of experience in the kitchen (including none). I hope you’re sitting down for this (with a mug of hot cocoa)!
1. Olive oil and vinegar – Always a classic. I personally love Queen Anne Olive Oil Co.’s olive oils and vinegars from all over the world, based in Seattle; Texas Olive Ranch, made from high quality USA-grown olives grown in South Texas; and Castillo De Pinar imported from Spain. For balsamic vinegar specifically, I love this bottle of aged Italian vinegar I received as a gift last year.
2. Food & cooking magazines – Possibly my personal favorite gift idea because it’s the one that that keeps on giving, providing seasonal recipes and kitchen inspiration all year long. The best part is it’s typically under $30 for a year’s subscription. Bon Appétit and Food & Wine are solid choices, as are more niche publications like Modern Farmer, practical farming know-how and ironic hipster photos of animals; and Imbibe for your wine, liquor and cocktail enthusiasts.
3. Food subscription boxes – The Birchbox equivalent of food. As a heavy coffee drinker and a frequent Seattle traveler, I’d recommend Bean Box, sourced from 21 of Seattle’s locally famous independent roasters. Fit your budget with a year’s subscription or a one-month gift box. Graze, the snack box subscription, works by allowing customers to choose from hundreds of delicious snacks to create their own custom 8-piece snack boxes. The Sweet Treat Box and the Savory Box make gifting a no-brainer, but you can also give individual snack foods – like the Cranberry & hazelnut toast with cocoa spread – for the holidays.
4. Artisanal salt – I am OBSESSED with salt. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a passionate cook, you simply cannot go wrong with a canister of gourmet Maldon Salt, truffle salt, or Fluer de Sel .
5. Roasted holiday nuts – A good old DIY recipe that works every time. 1. Throw some fresh pecans, walnuts, cashews and almonds on a baking sheet. 2. Toss with a teaspoon or olive oil and a couple pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, and spread with a spatula. 3. Add any other dried herbs, like rosemary, or spices like chili or curry powder. 4. Stick them in the oven at about 350 and bake for 10-12 minutes, checking and stirring once halfway through. 5. Pour into a Mason jar and you’re done!
6. Coffee – Here’s something most people miss out on because they don’t buy it for themselves. Splurge on a bag or tasting pack of small-batch craft coffee like Stumptown’s classic three-brew tasting set or Intelligentsia’s Costa Rican Direct Trade Flecha Roja; also check out local roasters doing big things, like Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters in Dallas.
7. Homemade cookie mix in a jar – Here’s something simple and irresistible you can make yourself. Grab a Mason jar, some ribbon, and layer your baking ingredients from least cute to most adorbs on top. If you wanted to be really cute you could check out this New York Times recipe for the $250 chocolate chip Nieman Marcus cookie that hails from Dallas.
8. Decorative kitchenware & tools – Decorative measuring cups and spoons, baking tools, and these goat salt and pepper shakers are gifts any girlfriend would appreciate. Pair it with an apron like this one from Anthropologie and a jar of cookie mix and you’re golden.
9. Garden seeds & kitchen herb plants – Know someone with a green thumb, or shops at Whole Foods a little too much? Get them a handful of these organic non-GMO seed packets from Seattle Seed Company. Or do the work for them and plant herbs like basil, mint, and parsley for the winter. There’s nothing nicer than a receiving a potted plant that smells like food for Christmas.
10. Kitchen sink hand therapy – Never underestimate the power of beautifully scented hand soap and lotion, like this rosemary lavender set from Blue Hill Farm. Local farmers markets and specialty organic stores are a great place in any city to pick up locally handmade products for that extra touch of thoughtfulness.
11. Bonus Stocking Stuffer: Hail Merry healthy treats – This one’s for anyone looking to indulge mindfully and healthfully this season with decadent treats like dark chocolate almond butter cups the size of your face; lemon vanilla and coconut creme tarts; and coconut macaroons, all gluten-free, vegan, and made with natural, non-GMO ingredients like pure maple syrup. Hail Merry happens to be a local Dallas company, and I’ve tried their products – they’re excellent. Look for them in the refrigerator section at organic food markets and Whole Foods stores.
So what are your favorite foodie gift ideas? Share in the comments – I’d love to know!