Looking for the best gift for the foodie or entertainer in your life? You could always cop out and give the gift of wine, flowers or chocolate, but this year, why not give a gift that will be appreciated and used year-round? Economists even have a name for giving gifts that cost the giver some dough, but the recipient doesn’t feel the gift’s value — “deadweight loss”.
Don’t give a deadweight loss gift this year! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the holiday entertainer or foodies in your life, or even for yourself, then read on for some helpful suggestions for innovative gift ideas.
18 Innovative Gifts for Foodies and Entertainers
From gourmet food gifts to the best kitchen tools and utensils, these gift ideas are perfect for your holiday hosts and favorite foodies.
Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Aged balsamic vinegars are a welcome gift to anyone’s kitchen, but for a foodie or entertainer, they’re manna from heaven! White Trebbiano grapes and wooden-barrel aging create this VSOP 25-Year Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegar from Williams Sonoma loaded with robust aroma, color and flavor. Pay about $30 for one bottle. Upgrade your gift and include a bottle of flavor-infused olive oil like these from The Olive Tap that sell for around $20 per bottle.
Every home chef loves spices, so check out the selections at World Spice Market, a Seattle-based retailer. Spices don’t last long, so this $66 World Spice at Home Gift Set includes a cookbook and 13 spices in small jars that correspond with the cookbook recipes. Their Sea Salt Sampler is another unique gift — it contains ten little jars of seasoned salt, along with three bright enamel bowls and golden spoons for about $50.
“Vintage Cocktails” Recipe Book
This spiral-bound, full-color “Vintage Cocktails” book from Michelin three-star mixologist Brian Van Flandern is sure to delight the inner bartender in anyone! Flandern has created cocktails for famous chefs such as Mario Batali, Michel Richard and Thomas Keller, as well as the Carlyle Hotel. Your entertainer will get a kick out of flipping through the book and seeing each cocktail displayed on a full-page in the proper glass, with the recipe on the adjoining page. Many recipes are simple and straightforward – about $45 on Amazon. You can also throw in a set of ice molds such as these from Williams Sonoma — choose from Star Wars and Harry Potter-themes to unique shapes and sizes. Prices start at about $15.
Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker
This small, versatile multi-use appliance has been popping on kitchen counters for the last few years, and for good reason. It can do the job of a pressure cooker, rice steamer, slow cooker, baker and more — all while significantly reducing cooking times. Some even come with inserts and programs such as egg and cake makers, cupcake molds and springform pans for cakes. Instant Pots come in a variety of sizes, from 3 to 8 quarts. In addition to its versatility, your host will appreciate how little room it takes up on their counter! Target sells the latest Instant Pot Duo Nova 6 Quart Programmable for about $99. Get a second one for yourself and check out some of our Instant Pot recipes such as Arroz con Pollo, Butter Chicken and Pulled Port with Radish Jalapeno Slaw.
Most of us with a barbecue grill have a set of boring stainless-steel skewer sticks. Add some variety and fun to your host’s barbecue experience with a unique set of skewers. This $8 set of 100 7-inch bamboo skewers from Amazon double as a cocktail or appetizer skewer as well. Removing food from a skewer once it’s cooked is often a challenge, and our perfectly barbecued food ends up torn or squashed — but not with this set of BBQ-Aid Premium Barbecue Skewers from Amazon. A set of two is about $15. For an even simpler way to grill kabobs, your host will love this set of Kabob Grilling Baskets from Uncommon Goods. A set of four sells for $17. Add a set of sauces such as this Beer Infused BBQ Sauce Set from Uncommon Goods for about $35.
Waxed Cotton Sliding Strap Apron
The perfect gift for the home baker in your life, this comfortable yet heavy duty apron is made from 100% waxed cotton and features sliding adjustable straps to ensure a perfect fit. It also comes with plenty of pocket space to keep kitchen tools handy. Combine it with a set of stainless steel measuring spoons, like this measuring spoon and leveler set which sells for about $14 on Amazon.
Indoor LED Herb Garden
For the home cook who can’t grow herbs outdoors year-round or to introduce a simple, no-fuss way to grow herbs indoors, give them this GrowLED Indoor Garden set. It’s adjustable and has an automatic timer, so no need to remember when to turn lights on or off. The pots aren’t included, so Amazon offers a bundle that includes pots and an Indoor Garden Starter Kit for about $115. The lighted kit by itself retails for about $60.
Sous Vide Cooker
Sous vide cooking seems to be all the rage these days, so help your hosts join ranks and give them a sous vide cooker such as this Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker from Amazon. If you’re wondering what the heck sous vide cooking is, it means “under vacuum” in French and entails putting food into a sealed container or bag, submerging it in a pot of water and clipping the cooker inside. Precisely controlled temperatures and timing mean your host can walk away and mingle while the food perfectly cooks (it can even cook steak).
Smoking Gun Handheld Smoke Infuser
This handy kitchen gadget will allow your host to quickly and easily cold smoke meats, vegetables, cocktails, sauces — just about anything. The Smoking Gun Handheld Smoke Infuser is a hand-held, battery-operated device with a hose that your host can place into whatever they are smoking. This is a perfect accessory if your favorite home cook already uses a sous vide cooker since one complaint some people have over sous vide-cooked meats is the lack of smoke flavor. Amazon sells it for about $60.
Gifts for When You Need to Go Big
If you’re prepared to spend some dough on that special gift for that special someone, then check out these fabulous gift ideas:
The F.N. Sharp Chef Knife
When it comes to entertaining, no kitchen is complete without a chef knife, and while the entertainer in your life might already have one or even two already, it’s probably not (F.N.) sharp. With eight uncompromising inches of elegant Japanese VG10 steel, the F.N. Sharp Chef Knife makes quick work out of any ingredient thrown its way. Add on that stunning Damascus feather pattern and your entertainer will feel like the King or Queen of the kitchen.
F.N. Sharp Knife Block
Made of beautiful Acacia wood, the F.N. Sharp Knife Block features exterior magnets showcasing knives, along with interior flex rods where they can store additional knives and utensils. You also can’t go wrong with one of these gorgeous Acacia cutting boards, sold in two sizes for $80 and $50.
Wine Preservation System
For the wine lover, you can’t go wrong with a wine preservation system, like the Coravin Wine Preservation systems which use a needle that inserts into the cork and Argon gas cartridges, so your hosts won’t need to remove the cork to pour a glass of wine. The wine retains its freshness far longer — and your wine lover can keep multiple bottles open and only drink the one they’re craving at the time. Coravin sells several models, starting from about $287 to $800 on Amazon. They even sell specialized caps for serving and preserving screw-cap wines.
Cheese of the Month Club
Keep the gifts coming year-round with a Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club. Your foodie will never be in short supply of gourmet cheeses made from the finest international and domestic ingredients. Choose from Classic Cheese of the Month Club, Cheesemonger’s Picks Cheese of the Month Club, Perfect Pair of the Month Club, Munchies of the Month and Cheeseboard of the Month. Prices range from $63 per month to about $113.
American Wagyu Beef
Originally only available in Japan, American cattle breeders have cross-bred Japanese Wagyu cows with superior American cattle to create delicious domestic wagyu beef. In case you’re wondering, chefs prize naturally highly marbled wagyu beef for its unique tenderness and taste. It’s also healthier than traditional beef. Impress your grill-happy or sous vide cook with an order of Snake River Farms Wagyu beef delivered right to their door. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll invite you to dinner! Cuts range from ribeye to skirt steak to filet mignon to top sirloin and many more.
F.N. Sharp Steak Knife Set
Treat your favorite steak-loving entertainer (and their guests) to the sharpest steak knives on the block. Straight-edged and ready for business, these stylish steak knives are crafted from 67 layers of premium Japanese steel to reveal a stunning Damascus pattern and exceptionally sharp, long-lasting edge. Starting at $260 for a set of four, you can’t go wrong with these uniquely beautiful steak knives.
Vintage Cocktail Glasses (or a Wine Decanter)
If the entertainer in your life is into cocktails, they’ll appreciate a set of vintage cocktail glasses. Just as with wine, cocktails have their preferred glasses. The Hour Shop sells a splendid variety of cocktail glasses, some sets starting at $150 like these iridescent port glasses or the $1,000 set of Art Deco Cranberry Swirl Cocktail Glasses. If your entertainer sticks primarily to wine, you can’t go wrong with a stunning wine decanter. Williams Sonoma sells several, including this limited-edition crystalline Riedel Amadeo White Decanter for $499 (it also comes in a blush tone).
Custom Cooking Class from Williams Sonoma
Williams Sonoma offers cooking classes in their stores year-round, so you could sign them up for a class (or safer, give a gift certificate so they can choose one that fits their interests and schedule). For an innovative take on a cooking class, they also offer Create Your Own Cooking Class and Setting a Beautiful Table Class. An expert will help them design a custom class based on his or her interests in the store or they’ll come out to your their home (hopefully while you’re there so you can learn too)! Prices vary, so contact Williams Sonoma to learn more.
Especially Puglia Adopt an Olive Tree, Beehive or Cow
This gift is one that your entertainer will love for two reasons — one, they’ll receive a sustainably farmed, organic product, and two, they’ll know your gift has given something back. Puglia is a fertile region on Italy’s southern coast and Especially Puglia has partnered with local farms to create unique gifts. You can purchase their fresh-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, honey or Caciocavallo cheese alone or subscribe to a monthly delivery. When you buy a product, it includes an adoption certificate describing the tree, hive or herd and your money helps support local farms. Adoption products start at $100 and go up to about $400. Take it up a notch and go for a gift set the includes the adoption of an olive tree, a stainless steel fusti (storage container with a spout) and a ceramic cruet from Food52 ($500).