I grew up eating the grocery-store couscous that comes in the box. While there's nothing wrong with that couscous, it's just a little on the boring side. Yes, you can dress it up with spices, vegetables, and sauces and make it into a better meal, but it's still pretty ho-hum.
As I got older, I discovered pearl or Israeli couscous — it's bigger in size, nuttier in flavor, and has a more toothsome flavor — and I started to like couscous a bit more. But it still fell a little flat to me. Until I discovered really good Israeli couscous like this hand-rolled version from Les Moulins Mahjoub.
Made with semolina flour, olive oil, and salt and then preserved in the sun, this couscous is a far cry from the tiny couscous grains from the box. The natural flavors add a richness to any dish you make with it — even if it's just mixed with some freshly chopped herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and a crumbly, salty cheese.
Learn More: Ways to Prepare Israeli Couscous
The other reason I love this couscous is that it makes for a wonderful hostess gift. It's inexpensive enough that you can take it to a simple dinner party without it being a big deal. Yet it's fancy enough to be a luxury that your host or hostess might not buy for themselves. And in my world, those are the perfect criteria for a hostess gift.