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what to give for a host gift?

doesn't sound too complicated right? i've been invited to a dinner party where i'd like to impress the host and will for sure be bringing a host gift. all threads on this board seem to agree that a host gift is a gift. meant for them to enjoy at their own discretion.

so here's where i feel the tricky bit is. my host is definitely much spendier than me and i feel that bringing something homemade will have a much bigger impact. the dinner party will be vegan, for the main guest of honour, but the host is definitely not a vegan. do i bring something vegan or not? or should i just bite the bullet and buy something nice and spendy?

i was originally thinking of a tin of madeleines in interesting flavours (i've been playing with recipes for a while) or something else that would equally have eggs.

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  1. I'd bring something non-vegan - which would ensure that the gift gets enjoyed by the host, who will also not feel obliged to put them out. I think the madeleines sound lovely.

    1. Vegan or non-vegan, doesn't matter but do make sure that the host knows that the gift is for him, for the cellar, for later, whatever. Madeleines are lovely--I would certainly love a tin as a hostess gift--but will your host be able to eat all of them before they go stale? Or do they freeze well? I don't think you have to buy something--homemade is great, esp if it's something that's your specialty and/or that you know the host likes.

      1. Are you set on bringing a food gift? A lovely plant or bouquet could be a nice gift that isn't automatically categorized by price. It also completely avoids the vegan/non vegan issue.

        Are they wine drinkers? A nice bottle, corkscrew, stopper or wine journal could be good also.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Suzy Q

          It does not really work well to bring a bouquet. I am usually running around when guests arrive and when someone brings flowers I have to find a vase, where do I put them, I usually have alot of extra flowers when we entertain. A plant is a great idea though!!!

          1. re: Alica

            i agree with the plant idea. beautiful plant pots are really fairly cheap and so are plants. you just buy the two at your local nursery or home depot - and you're all set. it also looks very expensive (esp. if you put rocks on top of the soil), but is actually really affordable. and no one dislikes plants.

            1. re: dtud

              I love your ideas, though I also know quite a few people who dislike plants and something like this would totally stress them out, so just to make sure they actually "do" like plants. Also while I have nothing against plants I found that when I get potted plants as gifts I end up with a gnat problem, which lasts for months and months, so I don't bring any foreign soil in my house anymore, flowers I'd prefer. Just a thought.

            2. re: Alica

              Just generally, if you are going to give flowers as a host gift, do it thoughtfully. A host can be quite stressed out by the time guests are arriving. You can bring the flowers in a vase which is always appreciated. You can drop by earlier in the day with a bouquet, or have them delivered. Or you could go for a plant (orchids or bamboo tend to appeal to almost anyone). Whatever you do, don't make more work for the host.

            3. re: Suzy Q

              i deleted my answer b/c it was suited for a female or a couple
              id bring burbon, good vidka, or whiskey or maybe cigars

            4. Need to know more...Is he single? Hobbies? I never bring food, why?, not sure. Sending a plant/flowers in advance is nice with note "looking forward to a lovely evening" kind of a thing. Also, nice not to walk in with something when others might not have been as thoughtful as you.

              1. I'd go for a crazy old bottle of balsamic (if he's a foodie)... I don't know where your idea of spendy begins or ends... you can go up to $1,000 (waaaaaaaay crazy) or a nice one for $50 (doable crazy).

                If you want to make something what about a gorgeous glass jar of preserved lemons? That's something usable that he might not take the time to make himself. And something he doesn't have to use right away.