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This year has been a challenging year for finding thoughtful gifts for those I love. I don't usually buy things to be buying, and gather gifts on my travels throughout the year. So this year required really thinking about each person and what interests them the most. One thing I love to gift is anything related to food. I consider myself a foodie, and I love getting things related to food and cooking, so decided those items would be ideal gifts for 2020. I know I'm not alone doing more cooking at home than ever, but I still enjoy discovering new tastes, trying new techniques, and checking out new cooking tools. These are some of my recommendations for the best gifts for foodies.
Bokksu Japanese Food Journey
I wasn't sure what to expect when I sampled the Bokksu box, but it is perhaps the most fun subscription box ever. With your subscription, you get a snack box filled with Japanese treats. Each box is centered around the seasons—a different box for spring, summer, fall, and winter.
I received the spring box and, as for each box, there are about 24 snacks included. Since they are all direct from Japan and packaging is printed in Japanese, the included guidebook is essential. In addition to a description, it lists whether it's sweet or savory, any common allergens, and whether or not it is vegetarian.
My favorite is the Mocchan Dango Mochi. It shows that it's made by Kyoushin Seika, a small Japanese company. I also enjoyed the Matcha Chocolate Stick Cake and the Black Sesame Taiko made in Kumamon. Oh, and the plum-flavored potato sticks are fun. They're like those salty potato sticks I enjoyed as a child, but with the sweet plum tones. I did pair them really well with a sparkling rosé from Gruet. You can choose a single box, or keep the foodie gifts in the mailbox for those you love with a 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscription.
Customized Words With Boards
I've written about these beautiful, customized boards in the past. You can check out the article for some great photos of more of their customized boards, but who wouldn't want one of these beautiful boards?
Hand-crafted in Maryland, these are great for cheese and charcuterie boards. They make a beautiful gift and there are so many options. You can choose a holiday theme, something for an anniversary, a family name, or anything creative.
Most boards come in maple, cherry, or walnut. I have the maple board and it's simply gorgeous. Personalized round boards start at $159 while live edge boards start at $169. Mini boards, with a monogram or initial, start at $49.
Explore the Shelves of World Market
One of my favorite things during most holiday seasons is to spend some time exploring the shelves of World Market. This was one of the things I always used to do every year with my mom. We would drive to World Market, grab a basket, and look at every item. We ended up with candies and cookies from around the world—and usually some new item for the foodies on our list. I remember one year picking out a special cookie jar for someone on my list who collects cookie jars.
Even though you might not be able to wander the shelves this year, or maybe you don't feel comfortable going out to shop or don't have a World Market nearby, never fear!
Click here to wander through the shelves of World Market's virtual store.
Surprise the Bakers on Your List
One of my discoveries this year is Cratejoy. This is one place where you can go to find subscription boxes from all around the world. Many of these are small, independent makers who use the Cratejoy platform to sell their boxes. They create unique collections of gifts and you can subscribe yourself or give a gift. You might get just one box, or send several months to the lucky recipient.
Cratejoy has a great selection of special boxes just for those bakers on your list. For example, you might choose the Culture Cakes Kit, which sends everything you need monthly to travel the world from your own kitchen. The kit includes snacks from around the world, some exotic ingredients, and everything you need to bake a dozen themed cupcakes. For just $29 per month, it's a fun way to bring travel home.
Looking for something less exotic? How about a Baking Kit for Kids? I know in my family, I have some serious foodies who are under age 15. These are great for the kiddos, with everything your little foodies need, plus lots of photos and easy directions.
Click here to find your special Cratejoy boxes just for those bakers on your list.
Essential Tools are Perfect Gifts for Foodies
I used to question the reasoning for gifting some essential tool for the holidays. But, when you really are a foodie and love to cook, getting that special knife, set of pans, or unique gadget under the tree on Christmas morning is a delight. Here are a few of the essential tools I think would make great gifts for foodies.
Every foodie wants a great knife. Misen is a fairly new company that started out via Kickstarter. The name is taken from the culinary term mise en place, which means to “put in place”. This is the process of preparing all of your ingredients before you begin cooking. The basic Misen chef's knife sells for $65. All of Misen's knives are available with blue, black, grey, or red handles.
The gold standard in appliances, every foodie wants a KitchenAid mixer, food processor, and blender. These really do withstand a beating and are an essential part of any kitchen.
I love that they're available in red! Since my kitchen accents are all red, KitchenAid is essential, right? The KitchenAid stand mixers have a variety of attachments that do everything from peel and juice to make pasta.
Calphalon cookware is my preference in the kitchen and I use it exclusively. The foodie in your life will love Calphalon cookware.
I have several different types of Calphalon and use them for different things. My favorite is the Calphalon Signature series. I use the Calphalon Signature Hard-Anodized Nonstick pans every single day. I also have a couple of stainless steel Calphalon pans that I enjoy.
Yes, I had to include the Instant Pot. I know this is a controversial one for many foodies, but most of us also realize the potential for being able to go from frozen to the table in less than an hour. I have the basic 7-in-1 Instant Pot and I love it.
I have heard that if you prefer, the newer 11-in-1 Instant Pot is amazing and includes an air fryer.
International Treats Make Great Gifts for Foodies
While every foodie loves getting into the kitchen and cooking up the basics, most of us love to experiment with fun products. While I usually pick up spices when I visit places around the globe, I wasn't able to do that this year. I did discover that you can find so many international products online.
Some of my favorite international foods include:
Mustard Pommery from France. I don't use mustard on sandwiches, but I do cook with it. This has a wonderfully rich taste.
I love the flavor of Indian food and an essential is Garam Masala. I like Laxmi Brand Garam Masala. It's not as spicy as traditional, but I can adjust the amount to get the right level of spice.
Hungarian Sweet Paprika is a must-have for my kitchen. I use this all the time. this one is imported from Hungary and retains that smoky flavor I discovered during my travels in Hungary.
Cookbooks Make Great Gifts for Foodies
Most of the foodies I know do a lot of their own concoctions and seldom actually follow a cookbook recipe. But they love cookbooks.
There is something about that beautiful book, filled with colorful photos of gorgeous food, that is a draw for most food lovers. There are thousands and thousands of amazing cookbooks available today. I've reviewed quite a few over the years, so do check out the cookbooks we recommend on Wander. Along with those, here are a few of my current favorites, along with some old standards that always have that classic appeal.
With so many amazing gifts for foodies, you will be sure to find something for everyone on your list. And perhaps a thing or two for yourself along the way. Be sure to check out more gift ideas on Wander and ways that our Wander writers are helping you bring travel home this year.