The year's most ridiculous food gifts
December 24th, 2013
12:30 PM ET
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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."
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Think outside the bottle for wine gifts
December 23rd, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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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?
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Filed under: Christmas • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Gifts • Holidays • Sip • Wine


Spirited gifts for cocktail lovers
December 16th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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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 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.
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Filed under: Christmas • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Gifts • Hanukkah • Holidays • Sip • Spirits


December 10th, 2013
01:30 AM ET
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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 -

Spirited sauces
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)

Marshmallow wonderland
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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Filed under: Christmas • Gifts • HolidayShopping • Kwanzaa


Gifts for people who like to cook, host, read, eat and drink
December 13th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
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Raindrops, roses, whiskers, kittens - all lovely items to be sure, but perhaps not the gifts that will make the holidays glow as brightly as you'd like. Certainly not* if they're for the food lover in your life.

With that in mind, as a person who lives, breathes and, yes, eats food for a living, I'm sharing my personal list of beloved foods, drinks, gadgets, books and save-the-world gifts to fill the hearts and mouths of your favorite food freaks. And yes, they're all available online.
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Filed under: Books • Christmas • Cookbooks • Gifts • Hanukkah • Holidays • HolidayShopping • Tools


Ben & Jerry's promises good times with Schweddy Balls
September 8th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
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No one can resist Pete Schweddy's balls.

The seasonal treat was first made iconic in the Saturday Night Live skit by Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon as hosts of NPR's fictional program "Delicious Dish," and Alec Baldwin as guest Pete Schweddy – the owner of holiday confectionary company Season's Eatings that specialized in spherical sweets.

Now, after thirteen years, you too can be a sucker for Mr. Schweddy's misshapen, glistening balls - so long as you don't mind them frozen.
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Filed under: Bite • News • Products


Who's inventing your food? Probably a corporate chef
June 9th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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Unless you’re grinding peanuts into butter and emulsifying egg yolks into mayonnaise at home, Einav Gefen has probably touched your food in some way.

Since 2008, 39-year-old Gefen has acted as corporate chef at Unilever in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Unilever is one of the world's leading consumer product companies, encompassing more than 400 brands including such pantry, refrigerator and freezer mainstays as Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Lipton, Breyers, Skippy Peanut Butter, Ragú, Hellmann's, Knorr and Wish-Bone.

Having spaghetti and dumped on a jar of Ragú pasta sauce? Thank Gefen. Cooled down in the summer with a Popsicle®? That’s her team’s doing too. Worldwide, the corporation has close to a 50 percent share of the global grocery market and invests nearly $1 billion every year in research and development – including in the edible category with Gefen as top chef.
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5@5 - Nate Whiting
May 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Nate Whiting is the executive chef of Tristan restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. He's also one of dried pastas biggest advocates - a 'fresh is always best' naysayer, if you will - and serves it every day at his restaurant in dishes like spaghetti with English peas, morel mushrooms, pickled ramps, thyme and oregano.

"These days the use of dried pasta in professional American kitchens is almost always looked down upon, which has trickled down to home cooks as well," said Whiting.

"Now, most self-respecting chefs consider it a short-cut. Dried pasta is thought of as bulk and infinitely inferior to its fresh cousin. However, I think it is one of the most misunderstood ingredients in the country. I think people just need to learn some of the nuances and how to use it correctly."

Five Things You Should Know About Dried Pasta: Nate Whiting
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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Products • Think


Under wrappers - secrets behind a cult cupcake
May 17th, 2011
10:30 AM ET
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Devna Shukla works on CNN's AC360° and co-edits Eatocracy's Fame Bites series. She really, REALLY loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles Cupcakes, and a judge on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."

We visited with Nelson at the opening of her first New York City outpost to discuss the Oprah effect, what's next and how to beat the "just another cupcake shop" rap.
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Filed under: Bite • Business and Farming News • Cupcakes • News • Obsessions • Products • Small Business • Think • Trends


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