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Gift Ideas for Foodies | The Best Presents for a Foodie

Updated on September 2, 2013
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The Best Foodie Gifts

Finding the perfect gift for a foodie can be agonizing, especially if you don't consider yourself a food and beverage connoisseur. You want to get this person something he or she will enjoy, but you also don't want to risk buying an unknown 'gourmet' item that turns out to be a less than welcome present.

My dad has always, always been the family cook. To this day, he remains the only individual I know has made French onion dip all the way from scratch - all the way from the raw onions! Over the years, I've figured out what types of gifts my foodie father does and does not enjoy. I've also enjoyed some pretty spectacular gifts from him! My list of foodie gift ideas can help you pick the best gift for the foodie in your life, and my tips on what to avoid can help you avoid gift-giving flops.

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Books for Foodies

Many die-hard foodies have favorite cookbook authors or publishers. Even if you think the pictures in a specific book are beautiful, your foodie might not enjoy it, at all. Unless you're going with a tried and true standby, like The Joy of Cooking, that you know s/he doesn't already have, (or the individual specifically requested a certain book) I think it is best to avoid cookbooks. This does not mean you can't give a foodie books - just buy him or her interesting books on food, foodways, the Slow Food movement, etc. These are my top picks:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This book is the tale of one family's efforts to only eat locally for the entire year. It's entertaining, well written, and includes some bonus recipes!

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan literally changed my life. He's written several other food books, but I think this is, by far, his best. Pollan traces the history of corn, discusses modern food shipping and processing practices, and examines four different ways of eating. To tell the history of food, he purchases a meal at McDonalds, cooks dinner with 'organic' ingredients found at a chain grocery store, dines on local ingredients farmed by others, and puts a lot of effort into a meal made from ingredients he foraged or hunted. It is an eye-opening read!

Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating by Ari Weinzweig is a decade old now, but it is still an invaluable resource for the foodie who wants to learn more. The book isn't really a cooking book, even though it does include recipes. It's more of a buyer's guide and consumer manual that teaches you how to find and select real olive oils and vinegars, the differences between types of pasta, how honeys made from different flowers taste, well, different, and so much more. Weinzweig is a founding partner of Zingermnan's Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of the United State's foremost foodie establishments.

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Swiss peeler in action
Swiss peeler in action | Source

Kitchen Gadget Gifts for Foodies

Kitchen gadget gifts are tricky. Foodies simply aren't imporessed by a lot of novelty kitchen items! Instead of reaching for the latest gizmo that seems cool, find a highly-rated, high quality tool s/he actually needs and will use. Here are my top picks, all presents given to me by foodie father:

  • Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers. These little guys are far from ordinary! They're easier to hold than a traditional peeler and light years better. I have a set of three and I love them. Their blades are super sharp carbon steel and they cut through pretty much anything. I use them to peel mangos and they have no problem with the tough skin, and I regularly use them to slice carrots, too. They do need to be hand washed, though - a dishwasher can rust and dull them.

Tovolo spatula
Tovolo spatula | Source
  • A Tovolo silicone spatula. This is the best spatula I've ever used, hands down. Kids may hate it, though, because it gets the bowl so clean they'll be nothing left to lick! I recommend the stainless steel handle model for its durability. This one is dishwasher safe, making it very easy to take care of.

  • The Taylor instant read thermometer. Granted, a lot of foodies already have a good thermometer, but if they happen to be struggling with an annoying dial thermometer or you're buying for a foodie in training, I highly recommend the Taylor instant read thermometer. It claims to be waterproof, but I've never put mine through the dishwasher just to be safe. It has, however, been accidentally left outside in the rain a few times after some grill-side use. Even with consistent use, the original battery in mine lasted for more than 8 years.

RSVP colander
RSVP colander | Source
  • The RSVP Precision stainless steel colander. This colander puts all other colanders to shame! It comes in both a 3 quart and a 5 quart model, so you can pick whichever suits your budget better. It was awarded the "Favorite" rating by Cook's Illustrated in their 2011 colander review with very good reason. The numerous tiny holes drain anything quickly without sending pasta, beans, rice, etc. down the drain. Yes, you can actually wash or drain rice in this colander. That is impressive!

There are countless other kitchen gadgets in the world, but these three are my top picks for foodies because they're genuinely useful, don't break the bank, and I know how well each one of them works.

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A simple web search can usually find artisan farmers in your area.
A simple web search can usually find artisan farmers in your area. | Source

Food Gifts for Foodies

Food gifts are the trickiest of all! It seems like companies today slap 'gourmet' on every box and package mediocre items with fancied up labels to trick unsuspecting customers. The best way to buy an outstanding edible for your foodie is to only use a trustworthy source.

Zingerman's Deli, co-founded by Weinzweig, operates on online store with affordable flat rate shipping. I was once lucky enough to attend a week long foodways conference co-hosted by Zingerman's and it was amazing. I had a behind the scenes tour of their bakery (and got to take home a bag of bread!!), visited their store, and had so much deliciousness to eat I'm surprised my clothes still fit me at week's end. In the shop, I tasted balsamic vinegar that was so delicious a person could drink it. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but it's true. I would trust anything purchased from the Zingerman's website as a gift to the most discerning foodie.

Farmer's markets are a great way to find unique, local items for your foodie.
Farmer's markets are a great way to find unique, local items for your foodie. | Source
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Locally-sourced items are also a good bet because chances are really good they're superior to whatever you'll find at the local supermarket. Grass fed beef, free range eggs, and fruits picked fresh off the tree really do taste better. Not sure how to find these farmers? A good place to start is by looking at the Slow Food website and searching for local chapters. Then, navigate to your local chapter's website and look for information about partners, events, and farmer's markets. The Slow Food USA local chapter search page is useful in the states, or use the international Slow Food page to find a chapter near you!

Have you given foodie gifts that turned out to be flops?

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Foodie Gift Ideas

Buying the perfect present for a foodie can be a daunting task, but you can't go wrong with a foodie book, tried and true kitchen gadget s/he can actually use, or some unique, local products. If you're still looking for more ideas, find a local kitchen store and go talk to the folks working there to find out what items are most popular and which are just novelties. Or, when really, really stumped, just ask your foodie what s/he wants. I know it sort of spoils the surprise, but people who want specific items are pleased to get them, even if they know what's coming.

No matter which route you take, you can make this year the one you give the foodie in your life a gift he or she really enjoys and uses!

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The first two books had me laughing. Great titles!

      Honestly, I've never thought of a foodie gift. Interesting write, Natasha!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks! They're pretty interesting books. I honestly don't really know where I got the idea for this one. I was about to go to bed last night, but then I wrote most of this hub, instead!

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      I thought these were great gift ideas for foodies. I have a few of those in my life. It is kind of difficult figuring out what they want so sometimes I give gift certificates from their favourite specialty shops attached to a bottle of wine or champagne. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Gift certificates are also great options, especially if they have a favorite local store! Foodies can be so difficult to buy for. Thanks for commenting and voting up!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Natasha, this is a great hub! It's a great idea, and you have provided some very useful ideas.

      If you don't mind, I would love to add a link of this to one of my gift hubs. It would tie in very well, I think!

      I am definitely keeping these ideas in mind. I enjoy finding creative gifts that people would like.

      Voted up and sharing.

      I'm usually pretty good with gifts, I think, but I bought things related to a kind of food my mother doesn't care for, without realizing until later. But at least my father likes them, so hopefully they didn't go to waste.

      Have a wonderful day, and thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for voting and sharing! Once I get home, I'll try to find your gift hub and link back to it, too.

      I find some people so easy to buy for and others can be so difficult! It's always a disappointment to pick something out and then realize it wasn't really wanted - I'm glad your dad liked them, though!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 3 years ago from Nottingham UK

      I find most foodies already have a good selection of books so they often just end up in the pile unless they're of a particular interest.

      I thought there might be a few more interesting suggestions here. A friend of mine lusts after anything le creuset based in terms of cookware and most people now seem to be switching to silicon bakeware already.

      There's so much on offer for people that love to eat and cook that I'd love to see more sophisticated options. This is a great hub idea but I just felt uninspired by your selections personally as there's so much on offer

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I am sorry you didn't feel personally inspired - I was trying to stick to affordable things that I know work quite well. It sounds like you don't need any further inspiration, though!

      I stayed away from things like Le Creuset, for example,because it is quite pricey and, in my experience, there are other, less expensive options that offer the same quality cookware. I have an enamel Dutch oven that is not from them and it works just fine. Also, unless you know which piece they specifically want, you'll just end up spending hundreds on something that, once again, goes unused. The same goes for some for some of the stainless and aluminum cookware. They're all expensive (and amazing), but the big name brands have a bigger price without bigger benefit.

      As for books, I totally agree - that is why I selected three books that are about food culture that have a broader audience than a very specific book s/ he may not be interested in.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi,

      I have received cookbooks as gifts, some I use and others, well, I just look at the pictures. So I would agree with you there. I personally would like that type of silicon spatula and the colander. I am not a gadget girl but I love things that make my life easier such as my zester, a good peeler, and my garlic press (which I have been complemented on). I would give my right arm for a decent can opener!

      I remember when my son was invited to a birthday party when he was young, I asked what his friend like to do. He said, 'he likes to cook.' I thought okay, most like to play soccer at his age. We bought him a waffle maker. He loved it and used it. He went on to become a chef so I think we were on the right track with our present.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Oh, man, when you find that can opener I'd love to hear about it! I agree that a lot of random gadgets are too specialized/too much bother, but high quality basics make life so much better.

      It's awesome your son's friend loved his waffle maker. That is so cool! You never know what will inspire a kid later on.

      Thanks for stopping in!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I like the idea of your "Tovolo silicone spatula"... there would be nothing left to lick in the bowl.... but plenty on the spatula :-)

      The "Precision stainless steel colander" seems quite practical! Are the holes small enough to not let the quinoa go through?

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      According to the company's description, quinoa won't go through the holes. I personally can't vouch for it, though, because I haven't used it for that!

      Thanks for stopping in!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thanks! I will try to see the product first because it seems quite practical. I love stainless steel for cooking especially with hot food.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I'm actually not 'at home' right now, but I'll try quinoa out in it in August!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thanks :-)

      Have a great weekend!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love the range of options here! There is something for everyone.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Sure thing, kidscrafts, and thanks, Randomcreative!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      It's definitely not easy to find a good gift for a foodie but you have found some great options. Thanks for sharing.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great ideas. I want a Swiss peeler, for sure!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Janetwrites!

      Rebeccamealey - Those peelers are super awesome! I love how affordable they are, too.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      I do have some foodie friends..and this is a great resource. Going to vote up and bookmark,,,,and pin.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Natasha,

      Great ideas here, love the week you spent courtesy of Zingerman's Deli, sounds fabulous and perfect idea for a foodie too! How wonderful to see the behind the scenes and have lots of goodies to sample and take home. i often look for ideas for some foodies in the family and I always love receiving cook books myself or gadgets!!

      Voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome ideas for such gifts always good to try something new and a healthy treat is most useful

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I love finding things at farmer's markets! Smaller farmers seem so much more willing to be adventurous and make some really interesting things.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      It was such a cool week! It really is what sparked my interest in food. Thanks for stoping by and sharing - it's so kind of you!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I appreciate the pin and you taking the time to stop by and read/comment.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Good ideas and nice, informative and useful hub! There are a lot of thigs to consider next time I will have to give a gift.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I'm glad you found it useful and appreciate you stopping by.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      My hubby's birthday is approaching and this is a great suggestions as he loves to cook.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! My dad's birthday is really soon, too, but I don't have him anything yet...

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      The Tovolo silicone spatula appeals to me...I'll have to toss some low key questions at my wife to see if it's something she'd be interested in. I'm just really lousy at picking up gifts for the women in my family, so I appreciate every bit of help I can get. Thanks, Natasha!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      That spatula is amazing! I hope your queries work out and you end up getting one - it's the best spatula I've ever used.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, you really do know what foodies like! Your father has trained you well. : ) I've added these to my shopping list for my next trip to the States. Being familiar with the Zingerman empire, I'm especially interested in the book you mention here. I'm looking into the spatula right now! I love Kuhn Rikon's garlic press but didn't know about the peeler....will be looking into that, as well. Thanks so much!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      And I haven't heard of their garlic press! I'm in the market for one, as it were. I need to check it out! The Zingerman's book is a little old now, but it's a really interesting read. Amusingly, I was bemoaning not having my spatula (as I am currently as far away from my things as I can be while remaining in the US) when I noticed your comment! Thanks for stopping in. If I get my hands on one of those garlic presses and I like it as much as the peeler I'll be adding it to my list!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Your gift ideas are wonderful and thoughtful. I consider myself a foodie and enjoy gifts that take that into consideration. I love when people bring the simplest of things that can't be readily found. I like things like fresh fruit picked straight from their tree.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Absolutely! I just enjoyed a fresh mango from the tree in my yard and it was incredible. Thanks for stopping by and for the complements!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      A neat and useful idea for a hub. The books are especially interesting to me--thanks!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for stopping by! I really love The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's a great book to check out if you get the chance!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      This is a really good read Natasha..I love giving foodie gifts & both of the books pictured sound great to include..thank you & love the sound of that great deli..a good deli is worth it's weight in gold I reckon..good job am pinning this one..cheers

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      They are both fascinating, informative reads. I hope you get the chance to check them out! The deli is great. Tanks so much for pinning!

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 3 years ago

      Interesting and helpful hub. The books sound like real eye-openers- will have to check some out.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      They are fantastic! It sounds silly, but they were pretty life-changing for me.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

      Really delightful ranges of ideas there. Food items of course are the best choices but I also want to check out your other suggestions :)

      Maybe it depends on the foodie if he/she wants a basic kitchen tool or something else that will make his/her life in the kitchen a bit easier.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Definitely! Everyone has unique tastes. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great suggestions. I'm still trying to find last minute ideas and there are a couple of foodies on the list. I think the cookbooks are a winner. Thank you!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much and good luck with the last minute shopping!

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      These are great ideas. I am a foody and kitchen shops are dangerous for me to hand out in.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Ahahaha. Oh, yes, I understand the feeling. I can't even pass by the kitchen section of a store without a look!

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