It’s that time of year when we’re all doing last-minute gift shopping for friends and family. It can be especially difficult to buy for someone who’s interest you are unfamiliar with. I know every year I debate whether or not we should just get my dad a gift certificate to a lumber yard because he builds furniture and I know literally nothing about wood.
Gifts for foodies can be challenging because there are so many different kinds of food and drink out there. Luckily for you, darlings, I happen to know a little something about foodies and what we would really love for Christmas this year. Or Chanukah. Or our birthdays. Or anytime you’re feeling like buying us presents. Who doesn’t love presents? Also, as a foodie on a limited income, it’s always exciting to get some gourmet treats that I wouldn’t necessarily buy myself.
1. Beer or Wine Subscription
With a beer or wine subscription, your food friend will get a selection of beer or wine every month for the whole year. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and you will always be on their mind when they get their box. The California Wine Club currently has a holiday special. If your foodie digs craft beer (like me, hint hint), check out the Beer of the Month Club that has several subscription levels and they can even pick which beers they’ll receive each month.
2. Spice Sets
When you cook a lot, the cost of spices can really rack up—especially when you like to buy interesting and exotic things like saffron or whole cardamom. When shopping for a serious foodie, pick a set that has some unusual flavor combinations. The serious cook won’t need to be restocked on garlic powder and cayenne, but I would have a big hug reserved for someone who got me some smoked salt and saffron or a set of barbecue rubs. Etsy can be a really great place to find beautiful and unique spice sets and Uncommon Goods has visually appealing and interesting sets as well.
3. Gourmet Coffee or Tea
For my daily life I buy whatever whole bean coffee is on sale at my co-op, even if it’s not my favorite type to drink. In my quest to save money, I’m doing my best to brew my own coffee at home (and I do the whole nine yards: grinder, french press, well-insulated travel mug). It is a gift from the heavens when I have really high quality, delicious beans to use at home for my daily pick-me-up. Check out your local coffee roasters for some seriously delicious and fresh coffee (I’m a big fan of Shelburne Falls Coffee if you feel like giving Western Massachusetts some love). If your foodie loves tea, try David’s Tea or Teavana for a variety of blends and tea accessories.
4. Fancy Olive Oil
There is a huge difference in quality when you taste olive oil from places like Italy and Spain versus the United States. In the US olive oil can actually be a blend of oils that isn’t exclusively made from olives and the flavor is noticeable. I love Italian olive oils that are spicy and pungent, but there’s a lot of options out there. Olio2Go has a decent selection of Italian olive oils. They are more expensive than you’re used to paying for regular old cooking oil, but totally worth it. I never heat these oils, I reserve them for dipping breads, making salad dressings, and drizzling over pasta.
5. Gift Certificates
I know, I know, we’re supposed to give thoughtful presents and not just give people gift cards. But if you’re really at a loss and want to make someone happy, getting to pick out your own present can be a blessing. I always feel bad when someone gives a really well-meaning-but-not-useful gift—like a random appliance I will use once a year if I’m lucky or a ton of candy that I really don’t like. I either end up guiltily regifting or exchanging these items. Gift certificates are a great way for your foodie to have money towards something more expensive that they probably won’t get as a gift. For example, Peter and I are buying a really expensive knife that we’ve both been drooling over with the help of a gift certificate to Sur la Table from friends for our birthday last year. Here are a few places that I would love to have free foodie money to spend: Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, and Crate&Barrel.