Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Bites: 10 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Foodie under $80

It's the day after Thanksgiving - have you started your holiday shopping yet? (Semi-sarcastic) Retailers seem to push the holidays upon us earlier and earlier each year.  This year there were tree-lightings at outdoor malls in LA before we so much as started to think about Thankksgiving! 

And now Black Friday is here.  And I am afterall a big fan of thoughtful gifts (that is the whole point, right?) so I do tend to look way ahead of time.  So here's a head start on some fun gift ideas for your favorite food-loving friend/family member/lucky secret santa target.  The natural thing to give to a gourmand would be something edible, I know - but I wanted to start off with items that make more lasting/memorable gifts.  Where there are deals, or high/low cost options, I have noted them below.  Look out for a separate post on edible gift ideas.

1. Play with your food: Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit
Know someone who's always wanted to try their hand at molecular gastronomy but can't afford to take out a second mortgage to get the gear?

This kit lets the amateur spherify, gelify and emulsify their way to creative dishes that will at the very least be great conversation pieces. Make spaghetti from tomato soup or arugula; caviar from fruit-juice; foam, gels, creams...

Kit includes DVD that walks you through recipes with helpful videos - because not everyone was born with mad molecular gastronomy skills like Michael Voltaggio.

So go ahead, give the gift of playing with food: Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit   $79.99

[Deal alert: $10 Off Orders $60+ - use code "SUPERSECRET123"]

2. Feast your eyes on this: Food Landscapes by Carl Warner

Carl Warner is a London-based photographer who creates unique works of art with food - fantasy landscapes made with vegetables, herbs etc.  Some of these are inspired by iconic cityscapes (e.g. London Bridge with asparagus and crackers), and some are purely from his imagination.  Fans of food+art will appreciate and be inspired by the gorgeous collection.
Food Landscapes Hardcover book ($22.50 SRP)

Meh acquaintances:
2012 Calendar ($13.99 SRP)

3. Hands Off My Cookie Jar: Verdant Canister

This Italian ceramic jar is a gorgeous piece for any kitchen - and the olive wood lid can double as a serving tray!  And as a bonus, it's dishwasher safe which makes it much more convenient to use.

For a personal touch, fill it with homemade cookies and include your recipe with the card. 

Buy from: Anthropologie $78

4. Form & Function: Himalayan Salt Plate
These are not just gorgeous to look at - they have style and substance.  The salt’s crystal structure makes it good at holding any temperature you bring it to for a while. And its non-porous / dry composition allows them to be safely heated or chilled to virtually any extreme (other companies have tested theirs from 0°F to 900°F). This means you can cook and serve on these plates - from searing/sauteing steak/scallops to serving sushi. When used hot, the plate also adds a mineraly saltiness to the food while it cooks!

Love 'em:
Buy from: Oliana Oil $59.95

Meh acquaintance:
Buy from: Oliana Oil $18.95

5. Brilliant Scents - Vanilla & Fig Illume Candles
Candles with scents inspired by kitchen finds - like Vanilla & Fig - will have your rooms smelling like something fantastic is in the oven!

Buy from: Anthropologie $16

6. For the Home: K Hall Designs Reed Diffuser - Fig 
K. Hall reed diffusers smell amazing and draws from scents that will appeal to foodies.  My personal fav is Fig, which looks like it's unfortunately discontinued, but there are many others in her line that are fantastic.

[Deal alert: 15% off all items at Monarch's Heaven until midnight Sat 11/26 - use code "BlackFriday"]

Buy from: Gifts That Give $46

7. Happy Tea Hour: Tea Forte Mixology Kit

Get your daily dose of antioxidants with Happy Hour...

Tea Forté is known for its gourmet whole-leaf teas and elegant, pyramid-shaped silken infusers. Now you can use them for your cocktails as well!

The kit comes with flavored tea infusers, glass infusion chambers and recipes.  To mix up unique cocktails such as martini with white tea and lavendar, or mojito with lemograss and spearmint, just place an infuser into one of the chambers, pour alcohol over it, then wait as tea flavors release. Just add remaining cocktail ingredients and you're good to go.  Fun for the amateur mixologist who wants to mix up a unique cocktail!

Buy from:  $24 for starter set (Love 'em? Get them the supplemental box of 40 teas for an additional $42 - which would still keep your total under $80)

8. Shaken, Not Stirred: Martini Travel Bar Set in Case

Shaken or stirred, this dapper, locking, travel-ready Martini bar set has the essentials for serving up Martinis whenever and wherever the mood strikes.

Buy from: Kegworks $59.95

9. Serious Tea on the Go: Yixing Tea Tumblers
For serious tea drinkers and travellers / on a time crunch - this mixes thousands of years of Asian tea tradition with modern day convenience:  stainless steel exterior with Yixing interior (clay used in traditional tea service pots which absorb tea flavors over time). Comes with removable stainless steel strainer so you can brew loose leaf teas on the go.  Only drawback is that it's handwash only - NOT microwave nor dishwasher safe.

Buy from: Teavana $29.95

10. Beauty Buff - Skincare That Smells Good Enough to Eat: Eminence Organics
Eminence Organic Skincare products are made in Hungary using all organic ingredients that smell amazing.  This little starter gift set includes a 4oz Cranberry Pomegranate Sugar Scrub, 2oz Naseberry Cranberry Body Wash, 2 oz Naseberry Body Lotion and a loofah in reuseable spa bag.

Buy from:  $49


Ok, this is kind of a bonus one beyond the main 10 gift ideas.  Just because they are that delicious.

Ganache for Lips chocolate hazelnut lip balm 
Buy from: Surfas or Au Marche $3.80

Gift set of 4 'Chocolate Parfait' flavors
Buy from: Beauty Habit $18

This is just a start.  Got any cool gift suggestions? Send 'em my way or post in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Some of these ideas are so neat! I've never seen such creativity. I love the food landscapes. I'm glad I found this just in time for this year's Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.



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