If you have to come up with a present for an aspiring cook — or just a friend who loves food — look no further than the following gifts, which are sure to impress this holiday season. Who knows? You might even score yourself some free meals.
For the Chef:
Carapelli Olive Oils, prices vary
High quality olive oil is a must-have for any serious — or eveb amateur — chef. The all-purpose ingredient can add a fuller flavor just about any dish, and it's packed with healthy fats. For a subtle nuttiness that pairs well with almost anything, Oro Verde if the one to buy. It’s also made from the first ever cold pressing of the olive. But, if your cook wants a smoother finish, Carapelli also has a more subdued organic extra virgin olive oil, as well as a peppery artisan unfiltered olive oil for the bold.
Carapelli oils available for purchase at various grocery stores.
BLADES by Rick Moonen, $199.99
A little on the pricey side, but any chef worth their salt will say a good meal comes down to the cutlery. Chef Rick Moonen, finalist on “Top Chefs Masters,” crafted his 12-piece knife with the intention of offering something for the everyday cook. The assortment comes with the standard chef’s knife, paring knife and serrated bread knife, among others — but also includes a zester to help elegantly top off meals with a touch of parmesan or orange peel, and a diamond sharpening rod to keep your blades at their sharpest.
Full knife sets available for purchase at Blades by Moonen.
Marble Cutting Board, $19.99
A functional cutting board that can go from slicing to serving is a must for chefs who want to show off their culinary creations. The solid marble core of this cutting board makes for a great flat surface for non-slip cutting, and the intricate patterns mean you can use it as a serving platter. Plus, the rustic faux-wood accents in gold will keep your food fashionable in any season.
Available at Marshalls stores nationwide.
For the Baker:
This kit comes with all the tools a baker needs to get into the holiday baking season: a versatile whisk, giant mixing bowl and seasonally appropriate apron. It also conveniently comes with pancake mix, if your baker wants to stay away from the oven mitts for a bit. Maybe give this present early and hint at an early Christmas pancake breakfast. After all, the syrup is already included.
Available at Marshalls stores nationwide.
Nature Nate’s Raw and Unfiltered Honey Gift Tins, $12
Christmas is a time for sweet treats, so what better way to celebrate than by sweetening your family-favorite baking recipes with an all-natural sweetener? The 100 percent American-made honey is raw and unfiltered, giving the sweetener a robust flavor and aroma. Plus, the tins are so cute and festive, you might not even have to wrap them. If you’re looking for more of a stocking stuffer option, Nature Nate’s also has individually wrapped honey packets you can throw in for someone who has been very good this year.
Available for purchase at Nature Nate's.
Ree Drummond’s 'Come and Get it,' $16.99
Food Network star and famed "Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond published a cookbook filled with classic recipes like zucchini bread and breakfast-approved baked oatmeal, but with an easy, comforting twist. While technically not solely a baking cookbook, there are plenty of baker-friendly recipes. Plus, there are helpful plating pictures to help transform your creations into confections worthy of the Food Network limelight — or at least an Instagram post.
Available on Amazon and in bookstores.
For the Eater:
La Brea Bakery’s Bread, prices vary
Bread is a simple staple at most Christmas feasts and parties, so if you’re signed up to bring the carb-ey appetizer, don’t go for a basic roll or baguette. Punch up the holiday flavor with a tart and sweet Cranberry Walnut Loaf, or go the more savory and aromatic route with the Rosemary Olive Oil artisan loaf. If you're looking for a more sinful addition, the gingerbread cake loaf packs all the sweet spiciness of the holidays into one dense bread. They run a little small, though, so you may want to bring two.
Available for purchase at grocery stores nationwide.
Max Brenner’s First Aid Chocolate Box, $44.90
For the stressed-out chocoholic, this is the cheeky gift to give. The life-saving pack contains decadent chocolate confections like cocoa cookies rolled in rich dark chocolate, cubes of silky chocolate filled with espresso and hazelnut, and caramelized pecans coated in — you guessed it — chocolate. The collection of smooth chocolatey goodness is also packed in a kitschy bright red “First Aid” tin — no medical background required.
Available for purchase on Amazon.
Bang Cookies, from $4.50 each
Cookies aren’t just for Santa — and especially not these gooey, made-to-order confections. Each of these giant cookies are perfectly soft in the middle and crispy and chewy on the outside. The completely organic desserts ship nationwide, and come in individual, half dozen and dozen orders. But with flavors like classic Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk, S’mores, and the delicious seasonal Ginger Molasses Cookie, you might have to choose a dozen — and upgrade to the deluxe size.
Available for purchase at Bang Cookies.