HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Ideas for holiday gift for foodie under $50?

My brother is a big foodie (he is not local though he lives in Madison, WI).

He said he wants "food" for Christmas.

I'm wondering if anyone has a good idea for a present for him. In the past, I've done the standard truffle oil, different kind of salts, charcuterie.

I'd love to find something really neat and unique this year.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Do you want to order or make it? I am making my own version of Nutella this year along with some spicy mustards and I just bookmarked on thread on seasoned salts I might make too. $50 will go a LONG way so you could make and put together some really nice things

    If you want to order I am partial to Zingermans. They have lots of gift options for $50 and under. If you can swing $60 I particularly like the custom ten piece sampler. Its $50 but there a $10 shipping charge. https://www.zingermans.com/Product.as...

    But there are lots more for less than that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      I love the Zingerman's catalog...just got it Sat....but it's really expensive. I also like the La Tienda catalog for Spanish products. But last year instead of ordering I went to Al Capone's in Union Square and selected an assortment of stuff for my parents and Al packaged and shipped it for way less than a catalog would have. I haven't been to the Cambridge shop in a long while so I'm not sure what is there vs.w hat is in Somerville. I'm sure that Formaggio Kitchen in either Cambridge or South End would do the same for you, but it's also quite expensive (and very high quality, IMO).

      1. re: Madrid

        Love, love, love Formaggio! Have not been there recently all I know is that place is like CVS to me. I go in for one thing and then walk out with $100 bucks of stuff I didn't really need, LOL.

        Schiavoni- I would agree with Madrid that if you can go someplace local do that. Tell them what you have to spend and what you have done in the past and I am sure they could come up with an amazing package.

    2. I copped out and bought family a Whole Foods Gift Card. They usually don't shop there because it's so expensive but this way they can go grab some high end items they wouldn't normally get. A nice grocery store or local market gift card for your brother would be a good idea. More personal could be a good restaurant certificate nearby if you know what food he likes.

      1. I recently purchased some gourmet nut butters, on line, from Spread in San Diego. They were pricey but OMG good. My favorites are the expresso white chocolate almond butter and the white chocolate pretzel infused peanut butter.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pegmeister

          Oh, I love nut butters, those sound wonderful.

          Cooking Light this month has a recipe for toasted pine nut butter. It was between than and the homemade Nutella for my gifts this year. Maybe next year!

          1. re: Pegmeister

            well that reminds me of all the great Armenian/Greek/Middle eastern food shops in Watertown, and Fataschi across the street from Arax has fabulous nut butters. You will find things there you've never seen before....you'd have to package and send yourself but could be really fun for both of you. Also try Christina's spices in Inman.

            1. re: Madrid

              Fastachi will do the shipping for you. You can even order online if you can't get to Watertown and include some of their roasted almonds in addition to the nut butters. Those lucious soft shelled almonds are addictive.


          2. La Tienda for Spanish products. I'm giving everyone on my list a bottle of their smoked olive oil. It's smoked over pine cones and is my newest love. It's not a cooking oil, rather a finish for chicken or fish, drizzled over a baked sweet potato, dip bread into. A smallish bottle for $18.50, but I'm getting free shipping emails almost every day. Go sign in and have it UPS'd to him directly for free. Their chorizo is also good if you want to do a theme thing. Smoked sweet and/or hot paprika is also a delicious gift, although we have not gotten any from La Tienda (last pack from Penzeys).

            Go to the on-line store and read the description of how it's smoked in small batches. It's a very delicate smokiness, but I recommend it without hesitation. I wish I could send you a taste so you're not buying blind.

            I'm not in any way associated with this company. Stumbled onto it when I was Googling tapas recipes.

            4 Replies
            1. re: nemo

              I positively loved LaTienda for a very long time, ordering from them on a monthly basis. For some reason they changed their packing for perishables and my order would come thawed out. Even when I explained what was happening the would resend fthe order packed the exact same way. While they did make good and refunded my money i really wanted the product. I haven't ordered in 2 years but find myself looking at the catalog a lot.

              1. re: Pegmeister

                wow that's too bad. I've never had any trouble, even with my frozen arroz negro....I look at the catalog way too much!

                1. re: Pegmeister

                  I'm new to them. Haven't had any shipping problems, but then, I've only ordered non-perishables. I seriously love the smoked olive oil, which is why I posted. Good to hear other input. Thanks, Peg M

                  1. re: nemo

                    I would second the olive oil smoked over pine cones. It really is delicious. Other items I ordered regularly were the Galacian razor clams; the blue cheese spread that was blended with cider; chestnuts; many of their cheeses; artisanal chorizo and even their breads. When I first ordered from them they used dry ice PACs, when I started having a problem they had switched to a piece of dry ice in a cellophane bag which would be dissolved by the ttime it reached me so my Spanish potato omelette never made it. Thinking about it, I really do miss those monthly packages ;(

              2. I love the Rent Mother Nature leases....rent a honey hive, rent a goat....get the bounty at the end of the season!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Science Chick

                  This is also incredibly cool. I think my bro would love this.

                2. saffron. I found little bottles on sale at William Sanoma a few years ago and bought a half dozen for holiday gifts.


                  It's such a luxury spice that people often don't splurge on. I'm sure you could search on line for some great product.

                  You could even make a fake Tiffany's blue box to put it in.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    That is a dandy idea! Thanks, Bellachefa.....I think I'm going to go for that one! :)

                    1. re: Bellachefa

                      I have found and bought small botttles of saffron at TJMAXX for the past few weeks. Great deal!

                    2. How are the Asian Markets in Madison? You could go to one of our great Asian Markets in Boston, Quincy or even HMart in Burlington and put together an interesting assortment of asian products.

                      6 Replies
                        1. re: foodieX2

                          I'm loving the idea of either good saffron or the Asian. Do you have any suggestions of what you would put in an Asian product basket?

                          1. re: schiavoni

                            I think you could do one w/ a variety of hot sauces and chili pastes. Kind of an Asian hot box. There so many varieties that I am often to tempted to buy them all, LOL.

                            Last time I was KAM they had these small metal "jugs" of pumpkin, avocado and grape seed oils. None of them were more $5-7. You could add to that different chili oils and rice wine vinegars, I saw so many different types.

                            You could build your own "make your own dumplings" basket with dried wrappers, dried shrimp, maybe dried mushrooms too, along with some cool dipping sauces, oils and vinegars. You could then type up a recipe. Something like this one where he could add his fresh ingredients. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                            1. re: schiavoni

                              If you go the asian route, I would pick up a copy of Lucky Peach Magazine to include in the package. The latest edition is on Chinatown. It is a magazine put together by an eclectic group of chefs, food writers, travellers and artists. I've had a subscription from the start, but it can be found at Barnes and Noble.

                          2. re: Bellachefa

                            Any particularly good shop recs for spice in Chinatown, preferably close to Chinatown Park and the FiDi (so I don't have to walk too far during lunch to get there)?

                          3. Here's an idea in a totally different direction, maybe as part of your gift- Macarons- colorful and festive.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gracenote

                              If you decide to go in the macaron direction, I thought Macarons from Macaron Sweeterie in Lexington were good. http://macaronsweeterie.com/

                            2. If you like to make your own, you still have time and would likely be a bit cheaper than gourmet shippers. I've got a few liquors and vinegars infusing right now for gifts:

                              pomegranate vodka
                              pumpkin bourbon
                              pumpkin vodka
                              cranberry vodka
                              cranberry vinegar
                              pom vinegar
                              ginger vinegar
                              vanilla bean vodka
                              vanilla bean bourbon

                              You still have time for some of those. Will also do the carrot/pepper hot sauce from CHOW again for a buddy who loved it (needs refrig but I personally would be okay shipping it quick).

                              Roasted nut butters are easily be made at home w/oven or toaster oven and food processor: honey almond butter, peanut butter with (milk or white) chocolate, sunflower-agave butter.

                              Edited to add: the CHOW hot sauce recipe link:

                              1. I hate to admit this, but I would order a special spice or one time ingredient myself, but I'd never order the bacon of the month for myself, even though it would be my favorite present ever. A true treat. to me.