Giving a gift always feels good, but giving the perfect gift feels even better. Check out this roundup of fun, festive gifts for all the food-lovers on your list.
GIFTS FOR THE HUNGRY READER
“Secret Restaurant Recipes From the World’s Top Kosher Restaurants” by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek
Kosher-food writers Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek gathered recipes and tips from more than 70 top chefs and compiled them in this beautiful book. Home cooks of all abilities will appreciate how approachable each recipe is—and the photos that accompany each one. The authors and chefs also include menu ideas, flavor pairings and a look at the history of each featured restaurant, including Reserve Cut and Prime Grill in New York City and Tierra Sur and La Gondola in Los Angeles.
“Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food” by Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps
Delancey Street in New York is the historical epicenter of Jewish immigrants and the origin of many of the Jewish-American staples we now love. (Think any menu item at your favorite Jewish deli.) “Eating Delancey” includes photos and recipes from the classic restaurants and diners in this area, including Russ & Daughters Appetizers and Katz’s Delicatessen, and stories from the likes of Bette Midler, Itzhak Perlman and Don Rickles. It’s great for home cooks who like a side of nostalgia with their recipes.
“The Mile End Cookbook: Redefining Jewish Comfort Food from Hash to Hamantaschen” by Noah and Rae Bernamoff
Though this book is a couple of years old, I first heard about it during Rosh Hashanah this year. I asked my cousin’s wife where she’d gotten the recipe for the amazing salmon dish she’d served, and she handed me this book. It features recipes from the Bernamoffs’ tiny Brooklyn restaurant called Mile End, where they recreate and modernize their family’s traditional recipes for Jewish comfort foods and delicatessen specialties. The photos are personal and engaging, and the recipes—from my experience—are very reliable.
GIFTS FOR THE HOME COOK
Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants Spice Blends
Christine Suydam started her line of spice blends in her basement in Maine in 2009. And she still hand-blends all of them, despite having expanded her business to gourmet shops around New England. Her inventive blends are a great way to introduce an adventurous cook to unusual spices such as nigella, sumac and berbere.
Star of David Bundt Cake Pan from Nordic Ware
Imagine the look on your baker friend’s face when he or she unwraps this Star of David Bundt pan. It’s perfect for the friend who wants to serve up a silly yet appropriate exclamation point to any holiday meal.
GIFTS FOR A FRIEND WITH A SWEET TOOTH
Walkers Shortbread Mini Festive Stars
How cute are these? They’re also really tasty—I ate an entire bag in one sitting and didn’t even offer to share. (My roommates can vouch for this.) These shortbread cookies are made without artificial colorings or flavorings, and they make a perfect gift for the cookie-lover in your life.
Lark Fine Foods’ Scourtins
Earlier this year, I made my own version of this French sweet and savory cookie. And this company based out of Essex makes the best store-bought version of them. They’re simple to make at home, but also make a great gift if ordered online or picked up from one of the many Massachusetts locations where they’re sold.
Lake Champlain Chocolates Hanukkah Chocolate Coin Box
This is a great gift for your friend whose gelt-y Hanukkah pleasure (ha!) is the ubiquitous chocolate coins. Instead of the waxy gelt you find at most grocery stores, these milk-chocolate coins are from the famed Vermont chocolatier. They might even be too good to risk in a game of dreidel.
GIFTS FOR THE PARTY HOST
Mike’s Hot Honey
One of my coworkers orders a case of this sweet, spicy honey every year and then dispenses them as gifts to family and friends. I received one last year and rarely use any other kind now. It’s super versatile and adds a zesty kick to everything from cheese to pizza to fried eggplant.
I don’t use the descriptor “obsessed with” often, but I’ve been obsessed with this popcorn lately, particularly the Vermont Maple & Sea Salt flavor. (It’s kind of like kettle corn but saltier and less oily.) I discovered this local brand at the Whole Foods Market in Brighton, but it’s carried in many stores. In addition to its excellent flavor, the brand’s reinvention of microwaved popcorn and “farm-to-bag” ideology is pretty cool. It’s a great gift for the conscientious snacker.
Big Spoon Roasters Chai Spice Nut Butter
Take peanut and almond butters and spike them with the flavors of Masala Chai (cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and black pepper), and you get this tasty product.