Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
It looks like gift card sales will hit an all-time high this holiday season. E-gifting is expected to top $118 billion this year with the most popular cards being from: 1. department stores; 2. restaurants; 3. coffee shops; and 4. gas station cards.
Still, maybe you’re one of those people who hates impersonal gift cards, who has to deliver a present with “personality.” For all of you, I’ve asked my excellent Food & Wine colleague Daniel Gritzer to troubleshoot some of the more questionable food gifts out there.
Happy holidays, everyone! Now here’s Daniel, who says:
"There are many great gift options for the food-obsessed; there are also some real doozies. Do everyone - me, your friends, family, yourself - a favor, and consider not buying any of the below for the holidays."
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
The simplest answer to the eternal question of what to get your wine-loving best pal for a gift is, of course, a bottle of something. But where’s the originality there? No, the real trick is to find some supremely nifty, never-before-seen, wine-related doodad, so that the recipient will be filled with warm, generous feelings in return - and will immediately open bottle after bottle of grotesquely expensive grand cru Burgundy for you. After all, what’s the holiday season about if not shameless emotional manipulation?
The gift-giving season is upon us, and amid the stress of dealing with family members for whom it is perennially impossible to find an appropriate gift (here, Dad, have another tie!), we should give thanks for cocktail fanatics.
The reason for that is that there’s an endless and ever-changing world of cocktail-related widgets, tools, ingredients, glassware and whatnot out there, and cocktail fanatics never tire of adding new items to their collections. Of course, there are limits. An antique silver punch bowl like the one that sold at Sotheby’s back in 2010 for $5.9 million seems a little over the top to me. Similarly, you could fly him (or her) to Vegas, jump into a limo to the Wynn’s XS Nightclub and splurge on a couple of Ono cocktails at $10,000 a pop. But honestly, why bother? There’s so much out there that’s so cool for so much less money. Here, for instance, are some great cocktail-related gifts for those on more modest budgets.
Chances are that if you're a carbon-based, two-legged life form, some people in your sphere eat food. More than one of them probably likes it enough to read, talk, blog or take pictures of it in a manner that borders on obsessive.
Receiving any or all of these items for the holidays will bring them great joy.
- Gifts for eating -
A little kiss of whiskey makes any dish better. Locally-sourced ingredients and small-batch craftsmanship turn it into a masterpiece. This "Kentuckyaki," barrel-aged Worcestershire, and Bluegrass soy sauce gift box may just ruin the lucky recipient for non-bourbon-barrel-aged condiments for the rest of time, but at least you know what you're giving them next year. And the year after that.
Bourbon Barrel Foods ($25)
Plastic bags of jet-puffed pillows are fine and dandy, but once you've floated on a flavor cloud of sugar cookie, peppermint, bourbon and honey marshmallows, you'll forever be chasing that high. They're crafted with cane sugar and a whole lot of love by Jenn and Nathan Clark (a couple who are really into 'mallow-making) and this Christmas gift set will seriously up anyone's cocoa dunking and s'mores making game.
Wondermade ($27 for four boxes)
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