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What are the best hosting and home cheffing gifts you've ever received?

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I'm in need of about 8 host gifts and holiday gifts for some really talented home chefs and entertainers. These are the folks who put on more than their fair share of parties, and have every kitchen gadget they need. They are also the ones who have the whole menu figured out and handled, so there's no need to contribute something to the meal I'm about to enjoy.

I usually bring wine and flowers. But this time, I want to reach into a new category or two.

So I thought it wise to put a shout out to the Chowhounders who cook and entertain a lot, and ask: what are some of the best hosting or home chef gifts you have ever received (up to $40)?

Your suggestions appreciated!

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  1. Are you looking for a food to make? I assume yes, since you're posting here, but you threw me a bit with the up to $40, unless you mean ingredients?

    My Christmas gifts this year include (all homemade) lard, spaghetti sauce, spicy bourbon pecans, cranberry liqueur, stropwaffels and maybe pecan caramel turtles.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chris VR

      Wow! Homemade lard! I hope your friends will all give you homemade pies in return. :). I had never heard of stroopwafels until now. Wow, they sound amazing. Can you make them with a regular waffle iron or does it require even more specialized equipmen?

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I have a waffle iron that flips to be a pizzelle iron, and use the pizzelle side. They're a lot of work, but so good!

        1. re: Chris VR

          Neat. I've been thinking about getting a pizzelle maker and using it to make krumkake. It's not 100% perfect for krumkake, but I really try to avoid single-use appliances. So, now you've just given me one more reason to get one!

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Mine is an unfortunately discontinued appliance, called a Toastmater Grillerie, I think. it's got 4 irons: waffle, pizzelle, flat and something I cant remember right now. The plastic housing is starting to really crap out after about 12 years of use and I'd love to get another like it.

      2. re: Chris VR

        No - sorry. Not food to make...these hosts are the type who have the whole meal planned from top to bottom. So I am looking for a gift to bring, besides flowers and wine.

        1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

          The best place for such a question would be the General Topics board, so we've moved it here, from the Home Cooking board.

          1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

            I know that this is late, but there's always next year. I wish I'd seen this sooner, it would have been on my Christmas list....

            National Geographic Food Journeys of a Lifetime

            http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ng...

            1. re: Axalady

              Thanks for the heads up...it will make a nice gift to someone I know. Amazon has it for $23 & change: http://www.amazon.com/Food-Journeys-L...

        2. Breakfast for the next morning (special coffee, baked goods, etc.). On the same thought, pan fried foon noodles for dinner for a brunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chowser

            I love this line of thinking -- quality ingredients for later. One of my business colleagues says she brings home spices and other gourmet items from the places she travels. Ras el Hanout spice blend from Marrakesh, etc.

          2. Really high end chocolates, particularly chocolate covered caramels. Don't need to bring tons, but everyone loves them and most of us don't buy them for ourselves. Also they keep, and so no pressure to consume them immediately in the midst of the holiday binge.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sholli

              i agree with this line of thought... candies tend to keep well and are items one does not make/buy for themselves much.

              one item i'm happy to give away this year are these layered caramels. they are superb and i'm not generally a fan of bonbon type items:
              http://www.wendyboys.com/products/cho...

              i've also received some modena 12yr balsamic that was very delightful. in that vein there are many specialty vinegars out there that have gained in popularity. sherry vinegar might be another good one. really any small amount of high quality product would be awesome. if i could get a sampler set of vanillas from of different origin or extraction method it would certainly be a very prized gift.

            2. Homemade limoncello and limoncello glasses
              a pretty glass jar of vanilla beans
              deep dish pie plate and a 1/4 bushel of Washington apples, I forget the exact variety

              1. Monogrammed Sferra linen dinner napkins (if you keep an eye on sales, you *can* get the for about $40).

                1. A beautiful wooden spoon.

                  1. A really nice bottle of Italian lemon infused olive oil. The good stuff.

                    Truffle salt. Pure indulgence and so easy to blow through!

                    Or...if someone gave me a bundle of gorgeous vanilla beans, perhaps tied up with a ribbon, I think I'd break into tears of joy!

                    1. What about a non-food item along the lines of the Chef made out of wire and nuts and bolts? (Scroll down to the 4th item) http://www.occupationgifts.com/chef-g...

                      A salt box? http://www.findgift.com/gift-ideas/pi...

                      Different types of gourmet salts? http://www.salttraders.com/Categories...

                      1. I make infused vodkas or tequilas, put them in bottles with pretty labels I make on the computer, and tie a ribbon around the neck. It's always been appreciated thus far.

                        1. This has gotten me thinking that it would be nice to make several bottles of vanilla, ready to give as gifts. Most people use vanilla in the home and home chefs would appreciate the ready to use bottle.

                          1. My favorite gifts-
                            - coffee table cookbook
                            - macy's giftcard tucked inside an oven mitt
                            - glass vial of vanilla beans
                            - a mini gift set of salts in little dishes
                            - an apron

                            My favorite was a homemade 'gift certificate' good for 'scrubbing the pots and washing the dishes.' I thought that was really sweet, especially coming from a friend who could have easily bought anything.

                            1. A guy I used to date- we're talking thirty years ago here- had a wonderful mom that got me a round cast-iron skillet for Christmas. The boyfriend turned out to be a loser, and his mom passed away last year, but I use the skillet several times a week to this day.

                              Thanks again, Phyl, I think you started me on the road to chowdom with that skillet.