Gift buying can be a LOT – you want to find just the right thing for the people you love most that leaves them with a sense of being known and cared for. For the Foodies in your life, hopefully our 2023 Gift Guide can help!
Disclaimer – I do not take money from any of these people! I mention them because they’re all amazing small (and not so small) businesses that deserve some holiday joy, not because I’m getting paid to chat them up 😉
Let’s just agree – Gift Guides are useful, especially for the people in your life that are SO DIFFICULT to buy for, like Foodies (ANOTHER Apron?!). Our Gift Guide for Foodies is a handy go-to for your year of gift-giving. Hopefully you find an inspired and unique Gift amongst the list! And, don’t worry – we won’t tell anyone if you happen to also pick up a treat or two for yourself.
There are SO MANY gorgeous vintage Kitchen items on Etsy! And don’t get me even started on Etsy.fr (!!!FRENCH ETSY?!?!) and so on. Contessa Collection out of Scottsdale, Arizona is a favorite spot to hunt treasures. I’m still obsessed with this casserole pot that has the simplicity of my Limoges Collections but the durability of enamel for everyday use. You’ll also find dishwares, copper, silver trays, gorgeous cutlery, old cookbook pressings, etc on her Etsy site. Try finding a unique treasure across the site, such as a ‘Sardine Fork’ (YES they exist!) and pair it with a beautiful tea towel and some locally canned tins of Fish! Don’t forget to check your own local Antique shops, too.
Cookbooks and Cooks Books
A good cookbook never goes out of style! But neither do books by and about Cooks. And wine makers. And restauranteurs. And … You get the idea. I really enjoyed finally reading ‘The Widow Clicquot‘ recently (pub 2009) for a dose of history AND an inside look into one of the oldest Champagne houses in the world. On pre-order you can treat a friend to ‘The French Ingredient‘ and let them live in the Parisian moment, written by my lovely friend Jane Bertch of La Cuisine Paris cooking school, or take a walk in anothers culinary shoes with ‘Sofreh‘ Cookbook for a taste of Persia in Brooklyn NY. Lastly I don’t know anyone who ISN’T reading ‘Unreasonable Hospitality‘, written by Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park on extraordinary restaurant/hospitality experiences.
Online Classes – Globally
We can all use a boost of inspiration now & again. Why not treat yourself and a friend to a year of classes at Okay, Perfect ‘s RecipeKick? I love learning how to see food from different angles, how to improvise and to focus on the history behind ethnic dishes in their multi-Chef online classes. Added bonus – you can also catch up with their recent TV Show ‘La Pitchoune: Cooking in France‘ on Magnolia / HBO! Online classes are a great way to combine a love of food, and a love of travel as you can now find them almost anywhere in the world.
Did you know you can actually buy 100 – 200+ year old Sourdough Starters, Wine Vinegar Mothers, Kombucha Scoby’s (like Brew Your Bucha) AND old enameled pots to brew them all in – all on the webs?! While I can’t vouch for all their authenticity, it makes for a great gift for the Bread Makers, Wine Drinkers and Tea Totalers in your life.
No question, eating at any Michelin restaurant is a treat, indeed. Most stars and recommendations are well-earned by Chef’s who have been working decades to hone their crafts in a business that’s, simply put, never been easy. Find a well-rated venue (you can cross reference the Michelin lists with your favorite search engines) and grab some Gift Cards – any dollar amount can help towards a special night out. We’ve enjoyed seeing Vancouver enter its second year of the Michelin program, and I would definitely recommend Published on Main (disclaimer – my kid works there so, of course, but also YUM!), Burdock & Co, Pidgin, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Anh & Chi, Suyo, and Hawksworth. Yes, we are deliciously spoiled for choice. Not in a Michelin mood? Find local neighbourhood owner-run spots that also offer Gift Cards.
Now I realize small appliances are difficult to choose for someone else, but let’s just say that at least 8 people this year bought – AND NOW LOVE – their new Sous Vides based on my original recommendation! Chicken Breast has never been more tender, Salmon has never been more perfectly pink, and I just SV’d the most perfect egg yolk for a Bison Tartare. If the Foodie in your life is ready for a new adventure in the Kitchen, this is a great place to start. I currently use the Anova Precision Pro, which you can likely find at any locally-owned Kitchenwares shop near you. Try pairing with ‘Sous Vide at Home‘, found in YVR at Gourmet Warehouse. We’re equally in love with a modern SodaStream for sparkly fermented drinks, a handheld Smoker, or any fancy new KitchenAid attachment.
Treats from Abroad
We can’t all be traveling as much as we’d like to be. And what Chef can’t use an extra Paring Knife or set of Skewers from an all-time favorite haunt like E. Dehillerin? If you’ve got enough time for shipping, you can find all kinds of spices, kitchenwares, etc from small shops abroad. And not just Kitchenwares – in the right season, you can treat your Foodie by importing a real French or Italian Truffle or other local-to-elsewhere delicacies, to cook an extra special meal (and hopefully invite YOU!). It’s actually quite impressive what you can ship these days…
It’s Pasta Time!
ANYTIME is fresh Pasta Time! I’m obsessed with these wood Ravioli molds – and they’re definitely on the top of my own Christmas list! (Someone pls whisper that to my Husband …) Originally found on Instagram (FOLLOW!) these John Francis molds make any level Pasta-maker look like a pro. You can pair these with matching cutters for ultimate cuteness.
In Person Classes
Most in-person Culinary Schools – even at the Cordon Bleu level – also have one-off classes for passionate home Cooks. AND it’s the perfect date night out because Dinner is automatically included! I love the ‘One Night’ programs at Northwest Culinary Academy here in Vancouver. For those traveling Foodies, try pre-buying a local class in their next destination (real or dream – they have online, too!), such as a Macaron Class at La Cuisine in Paris.
Bunches of Things
I mean, if you really LOVE something … Why not stick with a simple food, multiplied? Last Christmas one son gifted the other an entire laundry-sized basket of various instant Ramens, along with a big ceramic bowl. He was THRILLED. I’ve been known to gift a whole wooden box (wine box!) of specialty Cheeses from Les Amis du Fromage (including a famous Mont d’Or) along with a fancy cutter. Craft Beers by the buckets? If you love one, you’ll probably also love a dozen, right?!
CSA’s – the Gifts that Keep Giving
Community Supported Agriculture programs are a great way to not only ‘buy your groceries’, but also to ensure you’re buying as local as possible all while supporting local farmers. Win-win-win! If you need a gift at *just the right time* for sign up, this all aligns beautifully as a (fairly generous) gift. I found this fantastic round up of local CSA’s for Greater Vancouver – and there’s sure to be just as many in and around your area.
Did Someone Say Aprons?!
There are Aprons, and there are APRONS. Outside of beautifully aged linen aprons found at a Parisian flea markets, my next ‘giftable’ would be a *real* Chef’s Apron. Locally places such as Search & Rescue Denim sell both to Restaurants for staff and to the general public, so you can actually own the aprons featured at your favorite Restaurant. I’m sure wearing it also helps you cook better, no?!
Looking for something personal? We love gifting vintage old France Michelin books found in the year of someone’s birth, which sometimes even feature personal notes by original owners in them – you never know! Magazine subscriptions from Chef favorites such as YAM Gastronomy Magazine can renew (yay!) annually on that special day (avail in French).
For the Chef Kid in my life, the #1 gift on his list is always a Gift Card to our local professional knife shop, Knife Wear. Knives are personal, so I wouldn’t dare pick one for him other than darling paring knives from travels abroad. But with a Gift Card he can happily shop for himself when the mood – or need – hits. For me it would be a gorgeous set of straight-edged steak knives for hosting delicious dinners. Either way, more often than not, Chefs = Knives. When they don’t? Try locally sourced whole animal gifts – a fresh salmon, small pig, half a lamb – along with butcher paper for your Foodie to practice ‘head to tail’ sustainability. It’s the gift that gives back, as you may also get to enjoy the spoils of their labour. Or who wouldn’t want an entire slab of beef, dry again away with their name on it, like at Sebastian and Co? Comes complete with the glorious anticipation of an exceptional meal, 60 days in the future.
Anyone who cooks at home a lot goes through dishes. If they photograph food, if they entertain, if they take their plating seriously, then they are probably always keeping an eye out for ‘those special pieces’. In our neck of the woods, Janaki Larsen is a local go-to for such treasures. She’s designed dish sets for Noma Restaurant for one. Stay tuned for her next collection! I’ve been known to purchase and bring back gorgeous JDessign Ceramics while in Provence for gifts, as well, with her beautiful Provencal blues…
Last, but not least! It wouldn’t be a full list without sharing a SERVICE amongst the treats listed. Is your Foodie building a new Kitchen? Renovating and not sure where to start? Consider giving a 1-hr Kitchen Design Consult (via Zoom) to get them going – I’m happy to help! Check it out at thehomekitchen.com.