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Foodie Wedding Gift

Need some advice from people who've given or received a great food related gift. Friends of ours recently got married in a destination wedding, which cost us about $1,000 to attend. It was awesome, of course. And even though it was expensive, we do want to get them a wedding gift. However, I wanted to go off-registry and get something unique and food related that's not too expensive (around $100 maybe). It could be actual food (ingredients, etc.), serving dishes, books, gadgets, anything. If you can think of something special, I'd like to know about it. Thanks in advance!!

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  1. what about a piecemeal paella kit? saffron, smoked paprika, really nice arborio rice and real chorizo with a bottle of their favorite white. good eat it cold in bed food for the honeymoon, and the more expensive ingredients take it out of gift basket territory and into the realm of personal and thoughtful. if you are a cutesy type, you could opt to wrap it in a good paella pan, though i think that would take you past $100.

    1. I don't really know what your friends like to cook, but if they are interested in bread, the Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinheart plus a nice digital scale would be a great gift. A scale is an incredibly useful gadget for a kitchen that most people don't have.

      Other cookbooks which are great and basic (not in the sense that they are easy, just that they are fundamental) are On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, The New Professional Chef from the CIA, Ratio by Michael Ruhlman (plus the scale again, because most of that book relies on weight), Julia Child, and of course, the Joy of Cooking. A combination of those books would be a thoughtful gift that would be useful for years and years.

      Other gadgets that are both fun and useful are immersion blenders, a cast iron wok and the accessories (if they have a gas stove), a nice dutch oven (although that's probably a bit more than $100), and dehydrators.

      Another kinda fun combo gift would be some nice sushi rice, rice vinegar, nori, and the traditional tools for making sushi, like the bambo rolls and a flat paddle for cooling it. Combine that with a pretty cookbook, and you have a fun and unique gift.

      My last idea is to get them a share in a local CSA -- fresh veggies weekly for quite some time. That might be a bit more expensive than you are looking for, though, but if you and a few friends chip in, it is a really thoughtful gift.

      3 Replies
      1. re: justbecca

        Hi justbecca, I think buying a share in a local CSA an incredibly thoughtful gift idea. I have been researching different CSAs but haven't been able to get an approximate cost of doing so. I am hoping for a gift of this sort to be a collective gift from close family and friends. We were hoping to spend around $1000 on a thoughtful gift. Do you think this will be enough money for a gift like this?

        1. re: Exit 63

          It depends on where you live but I think $1000 should be plenty for a season, at least. Very generous. Have you checked out www.localharvest.org? I've found prices sometimes listed there.

          1. re: chowser

            Thank you for the feedback! The couple in question is not sure where they’ll be living these next few months, which makes it more difficult to decide on which local CSA to buy a share in. Your idea is great either way and I’m going to keep exploring the options to see if I can customize the gift a little better for this occasion. Thanks again.

      2. when i think of gifts - i think of something i wouldn't buy for myself.

        so, maybe some really expensive salt or pepper (along with a salt/pepper grinder)? along those lines - there are a lot of high end spices that you could make a gift basket out of.

        or a coffee grinder that they can devote to grinding spices.

        fancy mortar & pestle.

        engraved nut cracker.

        expensive cooking oils - and maybe a non-aerosol oil diffuser.

        1. What a nice thing to do for your friends.

          I would consider some specialty something they might not buy for themselves. Recently I received AllClad's fish skillet with fish turner. Been wanting that for the longest time, but just didn't want to spend the money on it. My spouse saw that it was on sale in the $150 range and got it for me. Now I can't wait to use it. Although this particular piece is more than you mentioned you want to spend, something along these lines would be great, imo.

          Do they like homemade pasta? Perhaps an assortment of some of the harder to find pasta making tools for some of the different varieties.

          Also I would think about luxury ingredients. Things like Amerena cherries, Luxardo (either cherries or the alcohol), saffron, specialty olive oils (maybe a selection?), etc.

          Crawfish are in season now. A number of places in Louisiana offer (through overnight shipping) everything you need for a crawfish boil, including the crawfish.

          This really depends on what your friends like. My suggestions are based on things I would/do enjoy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: decolady

            Thanks - the crawfish boil is a great idea! Plus, they got married in New Orleans, so maybe a gift cert would be the way to go so they can have it next year to remember their wedding. I love that idea! Thanks everyone. I'm going to look into some of these great tips and will let you know what I decide. Thanks again!

          2. Great serving pieces are one-of-a-kind gifts. They'll use them for years. Good platters, a punch bowl that doubles as a wine chiller or salad bowl, a fish platter, something they would not buy for themselves but will need if they entertain at all.
            This site has hundreds including custom chip-and-dip sets for your favorite team.

            1. For people who seem to have everything, I give two bottles of nice wine--one for now, one that will be ready on a 10th (or another) anniversary.

              1. A really nice pepper grinder--you know, you can get those brass turkish coffee mill (use as a pepper grinder per The Frugal Gourmet) or even those beautiful wood ones. I love mine and hated to spend that money.

                A favorite wedding gift I received and use weekly and to this day always think of the person who gave it to me was a beautiful heat-proof platter, I want to say it was Nambe or some other brand similar to it. I use it while grilling, finishing meat in the oven, etc. Most of the other gifts I received, I can't remember.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cheereeo

                  Nambe is beautiful. Something that can be used for a lifetime. Excellent design, recognized by MOMA http://www.nambe.com/namb/ctl10101/cp...
                  This would make a truly memorable gift.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    Oh gosh, that looks amazing. I wish someone had given that to me at my wedding!!

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      I wish I had LOOKED that good at my wedding.

                    2. re: MakingSense

                      We got one of these for a wedding gift. After 25 years its the ONLY wedding gift I still have and use REGULARLY. The best gift EVER!

                  2. Without knowing what they like to cook, I'd suggest a nice gift box from Penzey's or The Spice House.

                    If they are into ethnic-ish cooking, here's what we do for friends who like to cook -

                    A few nice knives.

                    A Chinese food gift box with a 50.00 wok, and 50.00 worth of goods from the Asian mkt like:
                    A really nice oyster sauce
                    chili garlic sauce
                    rice wine
                    black bean paste
                    sesame oil
                    chili oil

                    A sushi gift box with a 30.00 rice cooker, and then:
                    sesame oil
                    ichmi togarashi
                    rice vinegar
                    some brand of rice
                    bamboo mat
                    sake set
                    lilttle bottle of sake
                    wasabi powder
                    sesame seed
                    a small kewpie

                    We'll also throw in a few cans of a Thai curry paste, and some coconut milk. It's gard not to for the price.

                    1. Do you know what type of things they have? What they like to eat/cook? That's always a great place to start.

                      I find that those around me have terrible kitchen knives, so I've given good quality chef's knives as gifts, though that might be a bad omen as a wedding gift, hahaha.

                      1. Penzeys.com has great gift boxes and a gift crate of assorted spices that you can hand pick. Their spices are off top quality and I am slowing replacing all of my supermarket spices with Penzeys as I run out. You can order online at www.penzeys.com or they may have a brick and morter store near you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rosemary Tagliatelle

                          +1 for a Penzey's spice box

                          And on the theme of something they wouldn't buy for themselves...(and totally dependent on if they have room to store things they don't use a lot) I suggest a tagine along with the requisite ingredients and a recipe. Exotic, different, but definitely a uni-tasker as Alton says.

                        2. How about things to remind them of where the wedding was held? Spices and utensils and a cookbook from their special destination.

                          1. I know some people mentioned Penzey's gift boxes, which are nice, but I have a suggestion for some spice collections that are a little less mass-manufactered. This has recently been my go-to shop for gifts: http://www.etsy.com/shop/cookoutsidet... (mostly because I really wish someone would get something like this for me!). There are various ethnic spice collections, themed spices, meal kits, tea kits, and everything is really nicely presented!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mleighn

                              Thought the piecemeal paella kit was pretty good too! How about a cocktail dressing kit if the groom likes to try his hand as a bartender at home? Couple that with some beautiful cocktail glasses and a good recipe book and you're good to go for that.

                            2. Get a wedding cake decorated with foods of all kind. haha

                              1 Reply