As the holidays speedily approach, it’s time to start planning your gift list. Luckily, lovers of food and drink are among the easiest people to shop for: Now’s the time to finally get mom that pasta maker she’s been eyeing, or that bottle of wine your lush of a coworker would certainly appreciate. For all those other people on your lists, don’t forget to check out our picks for the best gifts for music lovers, the best gadgets for tech lovers and the best kids’ books of all time—but for those gourmands in your life, here are the best gifts for cooks and food lovers.
Top-notch gifts for cooks
Give the gift of luscious homemade pasta with this intuitive hand-cranked pasta maker. Made in Italy, this handsome machine turns out lasagna sheets, fettuccine and linguine, with an optional attachment to easily craft pillowy ravioli. We like the Ferrari-red option.
The anti-stodgy cookbook, this tome is aimed at the millennial set of eaters, offering booze-soaked tales of the late-night debauchery of revered “alternative” chefs including Anthony Bourdain, Danny Bowien and David Chang. Along with each story comes a recipe for the chef’s favorite munchie food, like Chinese drunken noodles and hefty chocolate chip-mint ice cream sandwiches.
This beautiful, highly functional bag is handmade in Bangladesh by a co-op of artisan women, then finished in California. Perfect for toting to the farmers’ market or to a picnic, it’s roomy inside and loaded with pockets outside: slip in a bottle of wine, a baguette, a wedge of cheese and even a chef’s knife. The waterproof lining will stand up to condensation from cold foods, and wipes clean in seconds.
Cold brew coffee is all the rage these days, and a sip of it reveals why: cold water allows all the flavorful compounds inside the beans to expand and show off, resulting in a rich, deeply perfumed cup of joe. Help out the caffeine addict in your life with this elegant, easy-to-use cold brewer, whose slow drip method produces naturally less acidic, exceptionally complex coffee. Plus, it comes in four pretty colors.
There’s farm-to-table, and then there’s log-to-table: with this 12” wooden log inoculated with shiitake mushroom spores, the fungus-lover in your life will gain access to fresh, homegrown, umami-packed ‘shrooms for up to two years. Just soak in water, mist occasionally once the mushrooms appear, and enjoy the many fruits of this (minimal) labor.
The ideal gift for passionate home cooks, this sturdy linen apron is attractive enough that you don’t have to change out of it when guests arrive. Sewn in small batches in San Francisco, the apron features twill ties and sturdy metal grommets, plus two roomy front pockets.
At premier spice boutique La Boîte, chef Lior Lev Sercarz sources the world’s freshest, most flavorful spices and custom-blends them into beautifully fragrant, endlessly versatile mixes such as Bombay No. 3 (turmeric, fenugreek and clove) and Marrakesh No. 6 (cumin, cinnamon and thyme). Any cook would love this set of five of Sercarz’s blends, featuring the wildly delicious, lemony Isphanan No. 1, perfect on fish or grilled vegetables.
There’s no more essential piece of kitchen equipment for unlocking their incredible aroma than a good old-fashioned mortar and pestle. Enthusiastic cooks will love this classic version from chef Jamie Oliver’s line, made of unpolished granite for effortless grinding of peppercorns, cardamom pods and more. It’s also large enough to mix up portions of guacamole and other dips.
For the eco-conscious food lover in your life, this set of three natural, reusable food wraps is an ideal gift. Made of organic cotton coated with beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin, these flexible wraps stretch to cover cut fruit, bowls, breads and more—all with nary a trace of waste. Hand-washable, they last for up to a year with regular use.
Some folks appreciate a fragrant bouquet of flowers; others, a fragrant bouquet of...meat? For the latter set—fans of fine charcuterie—send this clever six-“stem” “bouquet” of salamis from Olympia Provisions, Portland, Oregon-based makers of excellent, handmade cured meats. The ultra-romantic arrangement includes two Italian salamis, two French salamis, one Spanish salami and one Greek salami.