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What is your favorite "foodie" gift to give and/or receive?

With the Holidays fast approaching, I was thinking,
What is your favorite "foodie" gift to give and/or receive??

I love receiving:
Good olive oils

I love giving:
Homemade spiced nuts in a pretty jar
Homemade ginger crisp cookies

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  1. I love to receive things that I avoid buying for myself because the are baaaaad for me - alcohol and cheese, mainly. My brother gives me 5 cheeses from local farms each year - which has the added piquancy that he cannot eat cheese and this is the only time he goes into his local cheesemonger. On the flipside I hate receiving chocolate, because I'm really not all that keen on it.

    I love to give homemade goodies - everything including chutneys, pickles, cookies and cakes. Though circumstances will prevent that this year.

    Lately my friends and I don't 'do' gifts - instead we dine out in January, each picking up the others' tab!

    1. I can remember two really creatively packaged food related gifts I was lucky enough to receive. One was from my dear friend Jane for Christmas She knew I had quite the collection of houseplants and got me a cute little gardening set of tools that came inside a plastic frog. She found a wedge of cheese that resembled a lily pad and wrapped it in bright green gift wrap foil. The frog was taped down to perch on the lily pad made of cheese. The other one was from my mom at Easter. She got a really good quality colander that was bright orange and used it as my Easter basket, stuffing it with bright green Easter grass and candy. I still use that colander almost every day and it makes me smile every time I get it down from the shelf. I guess my favorite food gifts are ones that are creatively packaged to make me think of the items in a fresh new way.

      1. The BEST food gift I ever received:
        Could I say it any louder?

        5 Replies
        1. re: maddogg280

          Now that IS a dream come true, the only thing close would be a good Wine of the Month club...how about both?!?! TO ANYONE LISTENING... I don't want a diamond from Kay, a new Lexus w/a big red bow (have those commercials started yet??) just give me a hunk of awesome cheese and a great California Cab!

          1. re: care11

            As much as I would love the cheese and wine, I really could use a new car! Maybe leave a chunk of cheese and a bottle on the front seat? Thanks.

            1. re: care11

              There are also several bacon-of-the-month clubs. If my hubby wasn't borderline diabetic, I'd give that to him.

              1. re: Michelly

                What does being diabetic have to do with bacon?

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Potential weight gain from overindulgence perhaps?

          2. The best perishable food gift I ever received was from my dear departed father - a 6-qt basket of Ontario field tomatoes of several different varieties - brought to my place in relatively tomato-poor North Country NY.
            The best useful food gift was from a German friend, all kinds of German baking things - spice mix for Lebkuchen, lots of 200g blocks of marzipan, extracts, vanilla sugar, etc, packed in attractive snowman-decorated tins and accompanied by seasonal baking magazines. What a swell gift!
            Dream gift: I would be delighted to receive something I would not buy for myself, such as top of the line balsamic vinegar.
            Always on my list: marrons glac├ęs please.

            2 Replies
            1. re: buttertart

              Ditto on the balsamic vinegar...can't tell you how mnay times I have come close to getting a really great one, only to talk myself out of it! I have always wanted to receive Saffron...

              1. re: care11

                Last year, my sister gave me a gorgeous oblong pot filled with saffron bulbs that were just starting to develop buds. (This is especially nice because she had to take up an entire bin in her fridge fore weeks to force them because we both live in FL - crocuses need a cold snap!)
                [I'd been giving edible plants for gifts for *years* before someone took the hint!]

            2. GOOD wine. 2 buck chuck... not so much.

              Good Vodka..

              Gift Certificates to a nice restaurant!

              1. I like to give and receive good quality kitchen utensils and tools. A really nice set of tongs, high heat spatulas and good peelers are things that anyone can use, and may not usually spend the extra money on. I laugh when I give one of these gifts to a person who doesn't cook as much as I do. After 6 months or so there is no way they are going back to using those tongs they bought at the hardware store!

                I hate receiving 'gadgets', like a corn butterer, or melon wedge cutter!

                1. I love getting a bottle of wine selected with my tastes in mind, or anything really made with love.

                  I love giving my salted caramels. Hours of careful hand-wrapping really does seem to be appreciated.

                  1. I somehow never get foodie gifts, I think my friends think I can make it all myself (sniff, sniff) although I did have a boss that gave me some black truffles once.

                    I love giving homemade herbal vinegars, jams, cookies, breads and the "come over for dinner" invitations. I so enjoy cooking for others. I really don't need anything in return.

                    That Cheese of the Month Club that maddog280 got sounds excellent, though. Hello, anyone listening??

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      I was given a cheese and wine of the month club for 6 months once. The cheeses were all Canadian, from small artisanal dairies in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. One cheese was similar to Friulano but was speckled with black truffles. It was divine decadence. The wines were also Canadian, but from small wineries that I'd never heard of. I really loved that gift, though my waistline was a bit sorry.

                      After perusing my friends' kitchens while at their homes, I try to note items that they're using that are poor choices, then present them with a choice replacement they they might not splurge on for themselves ... until they've tried them! It's also thoughtful to note what they like to cook and eat, and give gifts that make enjoyment of those meals even greater. For example, for a friend that doesn't have time to cook or doesn't have the skills, a takeout menu and coupon organizer binder that has folders, labels, an order pad, pen and a quick reference phone number list, makes a thoughtful gift. For a friend that loves throwing sushi parties, we gave him a Santoku chef's knife. I also made miso soup from scratch at his next party (and a couple more after that). For a dedicated salt fiend, I opted for a selection of high quality salts, plus a Himalayan salt slab for cooking meats on the barbecue.

                      I think the key to good gift giving, particularly when it comes to food and drink, is to be observant and tactful. I'd never present giant cookbook bible to a friend who hates to cook. It sends a potentially hostile message that you think the friend should suck it up and learn to cook. Unless the friend expresses a desire to try something, don't be manipulative about your gift choices

                    2. I also love receiving cookbooks. And I love giving them especially copies of favorites of mine that I find at used book stores for a steal. I then go through them and put in duplicates of the notes I wrote to myself in my copy. People seem to like the personlized touch.

                      I also make jams and jellies and love giving them away as gifts. People love receiving something homemade. And never believe me how ridiculously easy they are to make.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KristieB

                        I agree, cookbooks. I consider them my addiction and try to avoid purchasing any new one so I let all my friends and family know I do not mind receiving them as gifts. I feel a little less guilty about adding to my collection if they are given to me as a gift.

                        I also give them, and just like a previous post I tend to give copies of ones that I have found I use the most. Inside I usually include a note with the recipes I use most often from the cookbook. I recently was in the local market and ran into a friend. She had a cookbook I gave her a few Christmases ago and was buying ingredients to make one of my favorite recipes. That made me feel good.

                      2. Last year for fellow foodies, I went to a great Italian store and got well aged balsamic vinegar and the good quality panetone.

                        This year a coffee roaster has moved into my neighborhood, so I am going to buy coffee mugs from a local pottery guild and pair them with locally roasted coffee and my homemade kahula.

                        For me, I am wishing for a great grill pan, and maybe new martini pitcher.

                        1 Reply
                        1. -Bacon of the Month Club
                          -Beverly Hills Cheese Shop Gift Certificate
                          -Opus One (any vintage, really)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Steve2 in LA

                            Seriously...Steve2 in LA, with those words or shall I say "dirty talk" and that Avatar...if I weren't married...LOL!!!!

                          2. I don't really have *a* favorite type gift to give out. It depends on the recipient's interests. For example, I have a friend who is a tea connoisseur and has been making serious plans for years now to open a tearoom when she retires from her current job. So I tend to buy her tea goodies for her personal consumption and china teapots (antique or new, but unique in some way) that she'll either be able to use in her prospective business or just enjoy in her own collection if her plans change. Another friend loves to bake, so I try to find things like high-quality, special cookie cutters, interesting tart and bundt pans, etc.

                            As for me, I also love to receive cookbooks, but from my family, because they buy from a list my hubby keeps in his wallet of the ones I want. When something new comes out that interests me, I let him know. I limit the number of cookbooks I keep, so I really don't want "surprise" titles.

                            Other than that, I will *never* turn down nice chocolates or interesting little bottles of spices and herbs. :-)

                            1. I really don't like getting cookbooks. I have so many, many of which I rarely or never use. I'm trying to weed them out since I don't have unlimited storage space. If I'm going to add a cookbook to the collection I am going to be very selective and want to choose it myself. I have received gift subscriptions to Gourmet and really enjoyed them. Well, I guess that's out this year (sigh).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pemma

                                I discovered Saveur magazine this year and am giving gift subscriptions to the foodies on my list.

                              2. To give or get - high end/special occassion spirits. You know, a bottle of single malt scotch at least 12 years old with a name you can't pronounce, a bottle of vintage port twice as old as your kids, whiskey in a clear bottle, self-corked, and without a label. A gift that comes with the impication that it should be shared by the giver and the getter.

                                1. Love to give and receive family recipes, good wines and beers, different cheeses, homemade pickles, relishes, chow chows

                                  I am new to Chowhound and really love this site. I have watched the videos all morning!

                                  1. Gifts I've made & given: dark chocolate/coffee truffles w/rum or cognac/armagnac, liver pate with c/a

                                    1. I love having items on hand for last minute hostess gifts. I love to give bamboo cutting boards, bamboo or wooden spoons. I brought back wooden spoons from Italy made with olive tree wood and my co-workers loved them and they are all guys!

                                      I love to take a block of fancy cheese or butter. I always scour the clearance racks at TJMax or dept. stores and buy cute little dishes or olive trays and take a little appetizer with me and let them keep the dish.

                                      And lastly, love to buy deviled egg trays and take deviled eggs and let the hostess keep the tray. No matter how fancy the party, people love deviled eggs. Even if they are kept hidden!

                                      I also love to take a margarita basket, with some homemade sour mix, made quickly with juice bought in the OJ section of the grocery store. The brand is Simply, 50% Lime, 25% Lemon & 25% OJ and a bottle of Tequila go a loooong way!!!

                                      My absolute favorite gift to receive is Champagne!

                                      1. Anything that says "Le Creuset".

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. Based on my (arduous) research for a recent column on indulgent home meals for two:

                                          28-ounce prime, dry-aged ribeye from Lobels (approx. $95, delivered)
                                          Lobster Pot Pies from Hancock Lobster Pound (approx. $85, delivered, for 4)
                                          Dungeness Crab from Wild Salmon Seafood Market (approx. $80, delivered, for 2

                                          1. My sister went to Di Bruno Brothers (she lives in Philly) and hand selected a large assortment of their *fresh* sausages (chicken and sun dried tomatoes with feta, pork with apples, that sort of thing...) and had it shipped overnight for my birthday, one year. Those were marvelous, and unlike anything I could get in SUX.

                                            I've sent Edwards's hams and sausage, Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, Hub's peanuts (hubby grew up near both Edwards and Hubs), Pittman and Davis grapefruit (my mother grew up down there; my grandfather was a citrus inspector for the Government during the Depression), maple syrup, and this year I'm sending (from here in Iowa) La Quercia prosciutto.

                                            I love getting ANY kinds of cheese (we live in a cheese desert!) and smoked salmon, too.

                                            1 Reply
                                              1. re: whs

                                                We were disappointed by most of the selections. I do like David Rosengarten's olive oil club, however.

                                                1. re: whs

                                                  I hear they serve Grateful Palate bacon in heaven.

                                                  1. re: whs

                                                    Grateful Palate bacon... YUMMMM.

                                                  2. A friend of mine gave me the Foodie Fight game last year and I love it.


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sparkareno

                                                      This game would be a great Christmas present for foodie friends. My daughter had played it with friends, and invited me to play (confident that her prior knowledge would give her the upper hand). I cleaned her clock, of course.

                                                      1. re: ritabwh

                                                        rita, my long lost sister.... can I give you my address?

                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                          Hi Gryphon,
                                                          You'll have to stand in line.

                                                          1. I like getting unusual mustards and chutneys, and I'm sorta hoping someone will spring for a good sherry vinegar for me this year.

                                                            I give hot-sweet dill chips, sugared pecans, chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, and dinner-at-their-house certificates (I bring & cook & clean upeverything, they can eat & imbibe to their heart's content without having to worry about getting home or fixing up the mess).

                                                            1. Well, for me this is more of a "wino gift." I give the Vac-u-vins, wine storage pumps with stoppers, and most folk love them. Now, though I own many, I receive them graciously, and then put them into each empty piece of luggage, that we own. There is little worse, than arriving with a piece of luggate, that has not been used in some time, picking up a nice bottle of wine, and then finding that one can only re-cork that wine. Each piece (about 10), has an Ah-so opener, a waiter's friend, a Champagne stopper, and a Vac-u-vin with about 4 stoppers. So far, TSA has not stolen any, but that time will probably come.


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. I love getting Honeybell Oranges from Florida as a gift. They don't ship until January but a note may be sent that they are on their way. These are delicious.

                                                                1. Love to give and receive:

                                                                  Unusual Honey and honey comb
                                                                  Homemade cookies, this year 10 different recipes
                                                                  Custom made breakfast in bed gift, my signature gift

                                                                  I rec'd these at Thanksgiving and they are so so good!

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    I started keeping my own hives 4 years ago so honey is a gift that I have been giving. Surprisingly I have received more cards and notes throughout the year thanking me for that gift than for anything else I have given.

                                                                    1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                      Retired Chef, a gift of honey from a friends hive would make me very happy. I think the thank yous say it all.

                                                                  2. For anyone who cooks meat, either on the grill or in the oven, I have given those digital timer/thermometers with remote probe (attached by wire). Takes the guesswork out of a turkey. Polder makes a good one for about $20.

                                                                    1. If you are in NYC, stop in at Kalustyans's (Lex between 28-29) and go nuts - after you buy nuts wander around and find terrific selection of rice (green bamboo for example), dried beans and spice mixes (like Dukkah) and mustards and endless exotic but practical kitchen treats.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. Cheese from Carr Valley Cheese in Wisconsin. Really unique inventory and they deliver by mail!! Sent my parents a cheese package last Christmas and they loved it.

                                                                        1. A friend gave me a mason jar with the ingredients for lentil curry soup, as well as very simple cooking instructions. The instructions were handwritten on a cute notecard and tied with a ribbon around the top. Very cute, and tasty.

                                                                          1. I prefer to get gift cards to places like Surfa's, Sur le Table, and bookstores (for the cookbooks). This way I can get what I need and not what someone else thinks I need.

                                                                            For giving, I tend to give either baked goods or, if the person is one who has very little time, a coupon for a batch of cookies or a cake (birthday or other), with a 7-day notice.
                                                                            This way, a harassed parent can ensure that their kid's birthday cake will not only be taken care of, but will taste better than any of the ones they would normally order from the local megamart.
                                                                            But we recently discovered the Foodie Fight game, which would also make a nice gift. They make a wine version, but my husband would always win that one.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Michelly

                                                                              Maybe your friends would enjoy gift certificates too. Then they could pick out what they need rather than have you as you stated "not what someone else thinks I need." Not to be snarky here, but why make one assumption for yourself and another over your own gift giving.

                                                                            2. Some of the things I have loved recieving.

                                                                              * A friend from Zurich sent me fancy swiss chocolates for christmas. It was such a devine indulgence

                                                                              * Penzey Spices

                                                                              * Instead of getting flowers, one year my mom gave me potted herbs.

                                                                              * Wines that my friends pick out as their favorites, it seems more sentimental that way

                                                                              * Nice liquers

                                                                              * Local Orange Blossom Honey

                                                                              Things we have given to friends and family that they have enjoyed

                                                                              *My Husband is a smoking meats guy so he made his own bacon and smoked cheese for christmas and gave them to family and friends.

                                                                              *We also made homemade beer for the New Year

                                                                              *We brought back Salmon from our trip to the Pacific Northwest

                                                                              * Homemade Pasta

                                                                              * Penzeys spices.

                                                                              * Theo Chocolate gift sets and pairing kits https://www.theochocolate.com/store/p...

                                                                              1. This: http://www.igourmet.com/shoppe/prodvi...

                                                                                The Dorothea is amazing, but overall it's a nice assortment, and fun to give - and eat.

                                                                                1. I love to receive:
                                                                                  Exotic ingredients and condiments (ie, spices, hot sauce, etc), cookbooks, specialty tools (ie, a spiral cutter), pretty serving dishes and utensils.

                                                                                  I love to give:
                                                                                  Lesser-known booze (ie, ice wine boosted with brandy), local specialties (ie, blueberry juice), home-baked goods, fancy spice mixes, fancy honey/oil/vinegar.

                                                                                  1. My dear friends are so sharply tuned to my chowhoundish ways. I've received Ted Drews frozen custard in the mail, Crumbs cupcakes, fancy pants salted caramels, blondie mixes...and more.
                                                                                    I'm hoping someone might get me that deep dish sausage pizza that Duff said was the Best Pizza he's ever eaten for my upcoming 40th.
                                                                                    Lastly I tried the Centerville Chicken pie this year and am considering giving it as a gift to my stepmother (who doesn't cook much).

                                                                                    1. It seems that most people who give homemade stuff as a gift don't like to receive it....(or don't mention it as something they like to receive). hmmmhhh
                                                                                      I, also, don't really like receiving homemade things.... especially flavoured oils.