Truffles to Balsamic: 15 Yummy & Useful Food Gifts

Truffles to Balsamic: 15 Yummy & Useful Food Gifts

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Faith Durand
Dec 3, 2010

We are wrapping up our gift guides this week (winter holiday comfort food coming next week!) so here's one last set of ideas for you. We may have saved the best for last, too. These gifts are all edible — they won't take up permanent room in the cupboard, and they can be enjoyed by nearly any cook or food-lover. From truffles to licorice jam, and flaky salt to special olive oil, here are 15 tasty ingredients, luxuries, and curiosities for the kitchen.

Most of these are priced at low to mid-level gift ranges — $10 to $30 or thereabouts. But many (vanilla beans, for instance) can be bought in lower quantities for

TOP ROW
• 1 Mugolio (Pine Cone Bud Syrup) from Primitivizia - Sweet syrup from pine needles - so unique and different. $24 at Market Hall Foods.
• 2 Sabatino Tartufi Whole Black Summer Truffles - Nothing says Christmas like a few black truffles! $30 at Sur La Table.
• 3 Espresso Powder - This hard-to-find ingredient is called for in many cake and cookie recipes, and a bottle would be a treat for a baker. $10 at Williams-Sonoma.
• 4 Licorice Jam - An unusual jam for a true licorice-lover! $16 at Zingerman's.
• 5 Tonga Vanilla Beans - Three fat beans of supposedly the best variety available. $8 at Beanilla.

MIDDLE ROW
• 6 Good Mother Stallard Beans - The perfect intro to heirloom beans. The most flavorful beans you can imagine. They're so pretty, too, you don't even need to wrap them! $4.95 at Rancho Gordo Beans.
• 7 Marques de Valdueza Extra Virgin Olive Oil - A gorgeous and well-crafted finishing oil for salads and crostini. $28 at Sur La Table.
• 8 Sweet Potato and Purple Corn Flours - From Zocalo. A great gift for a curious or gluten-free cook. $13.95 per pound.
• 9 Maldon Sea Salt - I've tried a lot of fancy sea salts, but I still return to this classic. I'd love a box of this in my Christmas stocking! $7.50 at Market Hall Foods.
• 10 8 Ounces Neilsen-Massey Vanilla - How about an extra-large bottle of good-quality vanilla? Practical, and would be appreciated by many cooks. $19 at Williams-Sonoma.

BOTTOM ROW
• 11 Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - 4 Leaf Private Reserve - Aged balsamic is seriously pricey, but it's used in tiny drops for years. This bottle is still accessibly priced at $49.99 at iGourmet.
• 12 Piment D'Espelette - The wonderful pepper from the Basque region. $11 at Market Hall Foods.
• 13 Duck and Veal Demi-Glace - This may seem prosaic, but to a certain sort of cook, highly-reduced sauces like this demi-glace would be the best gift. So much flavor in such a little package! $8.99 at iGourmet.
• 14 Pasta Sampler - I have some serious pasta conoisseurs in my family, and I love giving them fancy pastas for Christmas. $24 at Market Hall Foods.
• 15 Askinosie Chocolate Hazelnut Spread - Our chocolate allegiance has recently been won by Askinosie. This hazelnut spread will blow Nutella right out of the cupboard. $13 at Askinosie.

OK your turn. What edible gifts and cook's treasures are you hoping to find under the tree this year?

Here's a similar list from last year, too:

Holiday Gift Guide: 15 Small Luxuries for Home Cooks

Also check out Nora's recommendations for liquor gifts:

Holiday Gift Guide: 6 Beautifully Bottled Spirits

(Images: Courtesy of shops linked above)

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