We can debate back and forth about how, when, where, and what to eat, but there’s no denying food is an important part of our lives. From professional chefs to hobbyists and Food Network buffs, some people love to cook things up in the kitchen. Others have a flair for exotic drinks for all seasons. Impress your friends of all dietary needs with your flair for kitchen and bar essentials.
Chefs and Gourmet Cooks
Beekman 1802 Blaak Cheese ($48 at Beekman1802.com)
Based in upstate New York, the Beekman 1802 farm has been around since…well…1802, and it’s still cranking out handcrafted goods created by local artisans and farmers from around the area. Blaak is a world-famous artisanal cheese produced from the goats at the Beekman Farm. It’s a semi-hard cheese with an edible black rind that’s aged for 3 months in caves before being released in limited batches to the public. Grab one while you can.
Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Cookware ($377.99 at Calphalon.com)
Serious cooks need to save some serious space after their kitchens get filled with so many things. While the chef in your life already has pots and pans they love, you can’t go wrong giving them this 10-piece set of hard anodized nonstick cookware from Calphalon, one of the most recognizable brands in the industry. They take up 30% less space than competing brands, are rugged, and look absolutely beautiful.
Dreamfarm Garject ($37.95 at Dreamfarm.com)
Fresh garlic is a delicious and essential part of a lot of great meals. Unfortunately it’s also a bit of a pain to peel, press, and chop. Dreamfarm fixed this problem with a very simple device that grates, peels, and presses garlic in one motion. Pick one up for your favorite chef to shave hours off their prep time every month.
Emmi USA Swiss Cheese (Price Varies at Emmiusa.com)
Growing up in Europe, Emmi cheeses and fondues are as commonplace as Kinder Eggs, and I still appreciate the taste of them over most American cheeses to this day. If you know a professional chef, they likely have a taste for fine cheeses and will appreciate being gifted one of Emmi’s premium cheeses.
Hammer Stahl Electric Slow Cooker Base w/ 4-Qt Casserole Pan ($169 and $249 at Hammerstahl.com)
Hammer Stahl is a premier brand of New Era, one of the oldest cookware manufacturers in North America. The American Clad Cookware line continues the tradition with 7-ply stainless steel that makes for durable and professional level cookware. Odds are the chefs in your life already have pots and pans, but they’ll still appreciate these beauties.
Kettle Pizza Outdoor Pizza Oven ($119+ at Kettlepizza.com)
Whether you have a gas, wood, or charcoal grill, it would be nice to occasionally turn it into a professional pizza oven for fresh, homemade pizza. Kettle Pizza makes this happen, and that makes it the perfect gift for the foodie or cook in your life. Give a Kettle Pizza, and you’re sure to make up your investment in the form of delicious pizzas throughout the year.
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Omega Blend 6160S ($279.95 at Omegajuicers.com)
Professional chefs need a professional blender, and the Omega Blend 6160 is perfect for juice bars, smoothie spots, ice cream shoppes, and more. Or just bring that convenience home with you and mix up professional drinks for friends and family. Perfect for the bartender or chef on your list.
Le Trois Petits Cochons Pates and Charcuterie (Prices Vary at 3pigs.com)
For over 30 years, Le Trois Petits Cochons has been producing fine pates, mousses, sausages, smoked meats and more. Impress the Chef in your life with the gift of fine meats to make exquisite culinary creations or fancy meat and cheese platters for your next party.
Planches Labell End Grain Butcher Block ($78.49 at Plancheslabell.com)
A serious cook needs a serious cutting board, and this butcher’s block made from 100% premium Canadian maple hardwood is naturally antibacterial, eco friendly, and non-toxic. It can handle even the heaviest of meats and sharpest of blades, and still cleans up with ease.
Roth Grand Cheeses (Price Varies at Rothcheese.com)
Great chefs like quality ingredients, and Roth has been in the business of crafting premium, artisanal cheeses for over 150 years. Impress your chef friends and turophiles with your knowledge of flavorful, American-made cheeses that can stand up to anything you’ll find in Europe.
Smith and Wollensky Zwilling Steak Knife Set ($77 at SmithandWollensky.com)
Smith and Wollensky is a renowned steakhouse that’s been impressing patrons for decades. They’ve partnered with revered knife manufacturer Zwilling J.A. Henckels to provide this 4-piece steak knife set for the holidays. Pick one up for the steak fan in your life.
Thread & Whisk Grace Apron ($125 at Threadandwhisk.com)
Amazing cooks love amazing aprons, and Thread & Whisk provides quality handcrafted products fresh out of Portland, Oregon. With generous pocket sizes, swappable flounces, and a classic design, this apron is sure to please whoever you get it for this holiday season.
Winc Curated Wine Boxes ($50+ at Winc.com)
Wine lovers can be hard to please, especially if you don’t know their preferences. Winc makes it easier with a questionnaire to determine your flavor profile followed by a curated delivery of exactly what you’ll love from their deep archive of wines and accessories. If the thought of choosing a wine for someone else is overwhelming, a Winc gift card is the perfect way to show you care.
Work Sharp Culinary E5 Powered or M3 Manual Knife Sharpeners ($199.99 & $49.99 at Worksharpculinary.com)
Work Sharp Culinary has been providing world-class knife sharpeners for four generations out of its Southern Oregon manufacturing plant. These sharpeners are guaranteed to remove dullness from your expensive knives and keep you working hard. These are great for anyone in your life who works with knives, and whether a chef or Dexter.
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Meals Delivered to Your Door
Dartagnan Ultimate Wagyu Burger Recipe Kit ($89.99 at Dartagnan.com)
Dartagnan has been serving up free-range, sustainable, humane meat with no antibiotics or hormones, and they’ve provided the most premium burger you ever saw. Four 8 oz wagyu beef patties are filled with a medallion of black truffle butter before being cooked to perfection, then covered with 4 oz of grade A fois gras. Pick your favorite bun, and you’ll soon be eating the most extravagant burger of your life.
Dinnerly Meal Delivery Service ($5/person at Dinnerly.com)
Meal delivery services can be expensive. My personal favorite is Plated, but that’s because I didn’t have to pay to try any of them. If I actually did have to pay, Dinnerly is a much more affordable option. Although it does use canned goods (something I’m about to go off on Purple Carrot for, too), it’ll allow you to feed your family (especially kids) at an affordable price.
Purple Carrot Plant-Based Meal Delivery ($12/plate at Purplecarrot.com)
While most meal plans have vegetarian options, they’re typically bland and unfulfilling. Purple Carrot specializes in providing healthy, plant-based recipes on par with Plated. The only part I haven’t liked is the use of canned goods, which can rust when condensation builds in the bags. Other than that, they have great recipes and quality meals to please the whole family. Even meat eaters will be pleased.
Snake River Farms Wagyu Filet Mignon ($65 at Snakeriverfarms.com)
Snake River Farms has been providing sustainable, premium-quality meats since 1968, and their filet mignon is the best thing you’ll ever eat. Make your friends and family happy with the gift of the juiciest, best-tasting steak they ever had in their entire life. They’ll thank you.
U.S. Wellness Grass-fed Meats (Price Varies at Grasslandbeef.com)
Only the best meats will do for a serious chef, and you’re unlikely to find these at your local chain grocery store. If raising their own cattle isn’t an option, then perhaps your chef friends need some Grassland Beef and other premium meats from U.S. Wellness Meats.
Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day ($20 at Penguinrandomhouse.com)
John Currence is an acclaimed author and Top Chef Masters contestant who’s serving up the best holiday brunch and breakfast recipes around. This book is filled with southern-style recipes to make any breakfast you want from scratch. Not only that, but he has a great sense of humor sprinkled throughout.
1 celery stalk
2 green olives
1 pickle spear
The Real Dill makes one of the best Bloody Mary mixes on the market. Mix it with your favorite vodka over ice in a highball glass, stir, and garnish with vegetables of your choice. Take it up an extra notch with peppers or hot sauce. It’s the perfect drink to cure your holiday hangover.
Crown Maple Trio ($59.95 at Crownmaple.com)
Crown maple began at Madava Farms in the Hudson River Valley in 2010 with the goal of making the best syrup for your breakfast, cocktails, and whatever else you want the flavor of sweet maple on. This trio includes a full-sized bottle of three different flavors of premium maple syrup that’s sure to please the foodie on your gift list.
Krups Belgian Waffle Maker ($49.99 at Krupsusa.com)
Waffles are an essential part of a holiday breakfast or brunch, and they can even make for a great dessert at night. Krups knows breakfast and this waffle maker is a cost-effective way to make crispy, buttery, warm, gooey waffles for the entire family.
Champagnes and Sparkling Wines
Mix one part of your favorite champagne above with one part of your favorite juice (orange, pomegranate, pineapple, grapefruit, etc.). Stir and enjoy at your holiday brunch.
Maroxx Champagne Cooler and Stand ($299 at Maroxx.com)
Keep your champagne chill on the balcony, by the pool, or wherever the mood hits you with this luxury product from Maroxx. Its double wall stainless steel insulation keeps ice frozen longer so your drink will last. Also it makes you look classy.
Mouth Small Batch Subscription Boxes ($54/month+ at Mouth.com)
We all know a connoisseur whose life mission is to travel the culinary flavors of the world. Mouth makes this easy with a variety of subscription boxes that pair local, small businesses with customers around the country. Whether snacks or liquor, they’ve got the perfect gift for your hungry friends and family.
Mug Scout Champagne for Breakfast & Rise and Shine Mugs ($15+ at Mug-scout.com)
Mug Scout features retro-styled mugs of all types, featuring fun and witty slogans, designs, and characters everyone can enjoy. Check out their website for a wide selection of premade designs, or customize your own.
Drinks for Every Occasion
1 1/2 oz Ardbeg An Oa scotch ($60/bottle)
1/2 oz Drambuie Scotch
1 twist lemon peel
An Oa is the latest addition to Ardbeg’s ultimate range, featuring the peaty taste fans love with a smooth, silky butterscotch twist. Pour over ice in an old-fashioned glass with Drambuie, stir, and garnish with a lemon twist for a tasty drink straight from the 1960s. Without ice, call it a Straight Up Nail.
3 oz Bayou Spiced Rum ($20/bottle)
1 can cola
juice of 1 lime
2 lime wedges
Bayou rum is made in New Orleans and aged for 30 days in a blend of creole spices to give it a taste unlike any other rum. Squeeze a lime over ice, then drop two of the wedges into a highball glass. Add the rum, then fill the glass with coke and stir for a traditional drink from 1900s Cuba.
2 oz Codigo Tequila Rosa ($65/bottle)
1 oz creme de cacao
1 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp Grenadine
Codigo is made with old-world codes and customs in the Los Bajos region of Mexico to create a premium blanco tequila that’s then rested for 30 days in uncharred Napa Cabernet French White Oak barrels that gives it a pink hue and light floral finish. Mix it in a shaker with creme de cacao, heavy cream, grenadine, and ice and then pour into a highball glass. Garnish with a cherry and sprinkle of cinnamon to stay warm and cozy this winter.
1 oz Egan’s Irish Whiskey ($56/bottle)
1 tbsp mild honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup boiling water
For six generations, the Egan family has been making Irish whiskey, and a hot toddy is the perfect way to enjoy it during the cold winter months. Pour it in your favorite coffee mug with honey and lemon. Then top off with hot water, stir until the honey dissolves, and enjoy the warm feeling in your stomach.
Rum Egg Nog
2 cups Flor de Cana dark rum ($30/bottle)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Nutmeg to taste
Flor de Cana’s Centenario tops my list of favorite rums, and their entry level rum fuels one of my favorite holiday drinks. Separate egg yolks from whites (and remove the umbilical cords) and whisk yolks vigorously, while slowly adding 1/2 cup sugar, rum, cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Refrigerate overnight. Prior to serving, whisk egg whites until foamy and gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla. Pour on top of eggnog and gently mix. Grate nutmeg on top, and enjoy.
Gin & Tonic
2 oz Hendrick’s small batch gin ($30/bottle)
3 oz tonic water
1 lime slice
3 slices of cucumber
Hendrick’s has been distilling gin since 1999 in small batches, and recommends garnishing a gin & tonic with cucumber instead of lime. squeeze lime slice over ice in highball glass. Pour gin and tonic in, stir, and garnish with lime slice.
2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila ($20/bottle)
3 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
A dash of Grenadine
Milagro is a premium tequila, and its barrel reserve has the most beautiful glass agave sculptures inside. If you can’t afford the good stuff, pour the brand’s entry-level tequila into a chilled highball glass. Add orange juice, then gently pour in pineapple juice and float grenadine on top. Garnish with a cherry and citrus slice of your choice for a refreshing drink.
The Elegant Spice
1 1/2 oz white rum
2 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1-2 dashes Scrappys Cardamom Bitters
Mix ingredients (add lime to taste) in a shaker, shake, and pour over ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit.
Christmas in Hollis
1 oz Benedictine DOM Liqueur
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
2 oz Orange Crush (or similar orange soda)
Pour ingredients in a tumbler glass over ice, stir, and enjoy.