7 Gift Ideas for Foodies
Well, it's officially December now, so we don't feel too bad about starting to use the 'C' word (not that 'C' word - we use that regardless of season). In fact, after purchasing a few more nerdy Christmas decs last week, we might even get the tree at the weekend.
I'm behind on my usual rituals: stir-up Sunday was just too busy, and my first mince pie of the year (usually baked by Mark in the last week of November) has yet to be gobbled. One thing I can say, however, is that I've pretty much finished my Christmas shopping. The living room is a mess of packaging and missed delivery notes, but it's basically there.
This got me thinking about gift giving. I'm a pretty good gift giver, if I say so myself. I enjoy the research process, and that feeling of satisfaction when you just know you've nailed it. I really try to think about what would be a treat for the recipient, and I hate buying purely useful or predictable present (or worse still, asked-for presents). I like receiving surprise gifts, too.
So I thought I would put together a gift guide of presents aimed at people who like food and/or cooking. Some, we already have and love, others are on our wish list.
Now, some of these would be great gifts for people you like, some would be perfect for someone you love and others are only good for someone you're bat-shit crazy about.
1. Homemade Christmas pudding vodka.
Homemade gifts are of course the most thoughtful, and who doesn't love a tipple over the festive period? We think the Hairy Bikers have cracked it with this Christmas pudding vodka. Find the recipe here.
2. Recipe books. (Duh!)
Nigel Slater's latest is both festive and beautiful, with his signature prose that perfectly sets the scene and gets you in the mood for winter feasting. Although it's titled 'Christmas Chronicles', Nigel sees his readers through the whole winter period, past new year and in to February. Perfect for those of us who suffer from post-Christmas blues.
3. Interesting pantry ingredients
Inspire your loved ones to try a new cuisine by stocking them up with hard to find ingredients. Sous Chef make it easy with their cook book sets, but you could just as well built your own kit.
4. A totally gratuitous gadget
We love our smoking gun, and use it for all sorts of things. From meat, to cheese, to butter, to dough. We just set up our lidded wok with the food-stuff inside, fill it with smoke and leave. Hey presto. Smoked stuff. Mark got the Polyscience one from his sister a few years ago, but this one from Sage has good reviews. I expect we'll upgrade at some point.
5. A really good knife
Many households own a bog-standard 50 quid knife block of around 7 passable knives, of which the main cook only ever use one. Treat the home chef in your life to an upgrade. We're fans of the Wüsthof IKON range - the African Blackwood handles and presentation tins make for a special gift.
I don't think you can go wrong with delicious edibles as gifts, because unlike ugly pyjamas or gadgets, they can be consumed, and then they're gone. Even if the recipient doesn't like chocolate (y tho?), they can easily pass them to someone who does without much guilt. If you want to go fancy, but don't want the huge price tag, Hotel Chocolat is the perfect middle ground in my opinion. They have a full range, from their chocolate bars and small H boxes, to this Christmas Sleekster. If you really want to spoil someone though, go wild and get the Signature Chocolate Cabinet!
7. A dinner reservation
Many of us attest to being foodies, but unless you're wealthy enough to eat out wherever and whenever you want on a regular basis, for some of us it's hard to commit to a really 'special' meal. We convince ourselves that it's gratuitous, or we should be paying this and that bill, or getting the car serviced this month. Do some research, and arrange a lunch or dinner experience they won't forget. If you really want to go for it, extend it to a night away somewhere. For my birthday this year, Mark surprised me with an overnight experience at Lympstone Manor, and I really can't recommend it enough!