In a year where most of us spent more time in our own kitchens than we thought possible, it’s safe to say that we’ve all expanded our horizons even just a little bit when it comes to our cooking abilities and recipe repertoire. As a long time home cook, it has been especially fun to share my favorite recipes with friends who were, for the first time, really learning to enjoy their time in the kitchen while trying things they never had before. And as an advocate for always growing our own global kitchens, it’s been even more fun to share some of the ingredients, tools, and cookbooks that I’ve continued to learn from when it comes to trying recipes and techniques from different cultures and cuisines. In that spirit, I’ve created my ultimate guide with the best gifts for foodies.
It includes a list of ingredients, cookbooks, treats, and more, from some of my favorite brands. They are bringing the cuisines and ingredients from different cultures around the world into my home. For the friends who are either just beginning their home cook journey or for the long-time foodie who loves spending extra time in the kitchen, get ready to receive the award for “best gift” this season.
Keep scrolling for the best gifts for foodies, and a few you’ll want to keep for yourself!
Diaspora Co. Build Your Pack
You might have seen Diaspora’s brightly colored pink boxes all over social media, but what’s inside the box is even better. Founded in 2017 by Sana Javeri Kadri, Diaspora Co. is a direct trade, single-origin spice company dedicated to building a better spice trade. That means putting money, equity, and power back into the hands of Indian farmers, to disrupt, and decolonize an outdated commodity spice-trading system.
After receiving my spices in the mail a few weeks ago, I can truly say that these are some of the highest quality spices you will cook with. It was like I had never tasted coriander or black pepper before trying the spices in the Diaspora jars. Whether you gift the full trio or one of their amazing collaborations, any home chef will appreciate these spices in their cooking arsenal.
Diaspora Co. Build Your Pack , $60
Yolélé Fonio Every Night Gift Set
Yolélé was founded in 2017 to create economic opportunity for smallholder farming communities, support biodiverse, regenerative, and resilient food systems, and to share Africa’s ingredients and cuisines. This is the ultimate gift set for fonio fans or anyone who is curious to dive into the “Seed of the Universe”, West Africa’s gluten-free ancient grain. This gift includes not only includes five Fonio Pilaf mixes, it also includes the incredible Fonio Cookbook that provides dozens of beautifully photographed and yummy recipes for fonio. The book also tells the story of fonio’s origins and its cultural importance and of the people who grow it, against all odds. Give the gift of adventure and inspiration to the culinary enthusiast in your life.
Yolélé Fonio Every Night Gift Set, $95
One Stripe Chai Co. Haldi Doodh
I have been a long time fan of One Stripe Chai’s chai concentrate. I’ve been searching the market for a while and it’s the closest to my mom’s version—it perfectly balances sweet and spicy. When Farah, founder of One Stripe, announced their new product, Haldi Doodh (aka a golden milk latte) in collaboration with Diaspora Co., I knew I needed a bag of the blend ASAP. Lucky for your gifting needs, both the chai and Haldi Doodh come beautifully packaged and are ready for any stocking. Don’t just take my word for it, Bon Appetit’s executive editor, Sonia Chopra, is also an avid fan.
One Stripe Chai Co. Haldi Doodh, $22
Esteban Castillo Chicano Eats Cookbook
Building on his blog, Chicano Eats, Esteban Castillo shares a bicultural and bilingual cookbook by the same name that includes 85 traditional and fusion Mexican recipes that are as gorgeous to look at as they are to cook and eat in your own kitchen. For the foodies wondering how to recreate some of their favorite Mexican recipes at home, this book is a wonderful addition to any collection. In addition, Castillo also has virtual cooking classes including tamales, salsa, and churros—a super fun idea for the friend who loves experiences more than gifts.
Esteban Castillo Chicano Eats Cookbook, $17.49
Rice Blossoms Flowers & Leaves Cookie Cutters
How sweet are these cookie cutters? They are perfect for making songpyeons and other small goodies. Get them for the aesthetic friend who appreciates a pretty package as much as they love a delicious product, these would make the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s the kind of beautiful gift that I might just treat myself with!
Rice Blossoms Flowers & Leaves Cookie Cutters, $18
Sol Cacao Bronx Craft Chocolate
IMHO, no kitchen is complete without good chocolate on hand. And by that, I mean a reserve drawer of chocolate bars that can result in chocolate chip cookies at a moment’s notice. The Sol Cacao chocolate bars are so delicious and beautifully packaged, they make for a perfect stocking stuffer without any additional frills. And if you keep a few bars for your own secret stash, I promise I won’t tell.
Sol Cacao Bronx Craft Chocolate, $7
Sonoko Sakai The Curry Brick Kit
For the home chef who lives for flavor but needs help prepping, this curry brick kit will set them up for success. Writer, teacher, and cook, Sonoko Sakai says that the five keys to her cooking philosophy are freshness, seasonality, simplicity, beauty, and economy. At its most fundamental level, her philosophy is about respecting ingredients and letting their natural flavor come through, and she does just that through her curry brick kit.
All you need to do is toast, grind and blend the kit spices together to create a curry powder that’s ready to be used in a number of wonderful recipes, or turned into a roux for a Japanese Curry. The curry brick recipe—featured in the New York Times—comes from the Japanese pantry recipes in her latest book, Japanese Home Cooking, and is the ultimate way to use flavor in your kitchen.
Sonoko Sakai The Curry Brick Kit, $18
Omsom East Asian Omsom Sampler
Vanessa and Kim Pham, the sisters and co-founders behind Omsom, grew up at their family’s kitchen counter, watching their mom cook Viet dinners from scratch every night. “Like so many Asian moms, this was her love language to her children.” They started Omsom to bring proud, loud Asian flavors to your fingertips any day of the week, sitting in your pantry right between the tomato sauce and olive oil. The sampler includes starters to get Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, and Chinese Mala Salad on your dinner table in under 30 minutes! The most amazing gift for the friend who loves flavor and needs as much help budgeting time as they can.
Omsom East Asian Omsom Sampler, $29
Hawa Hassan In Bibi’s Kitchen Cookbook
If you don’t already follow Hawa, please do yourself a favor and change that, stat. The video personality and CEO of Basbaas released her first cookbook with Julia Turshen this fall and it is a must-have for any chef expanding their kitchen repertoire. The book shares recipes and stories from bibis, or grandmothers, hailing from eight African countries, including Hassan’s native Somalia. What I love so much about the book is its beautiful documentation of intergenerational cooking.
Hawa Hassan In Bibi’s Kitchen Cookbook, $18.69
Seed + Mill Sampler
If you’ve never been to the Seed and Mill counter at Chelsea Market, now is the perfect time to order some of their tahini straight to your door. The three founders, Lisa, Rachel, and Monica, grew up in three different countries: Israel, Australia, and the USA. Their paths crossed in NYC, and determined to show Americans how versatile and delicious tahini and halva could be, they became the first store in the US dedicated to sesame products, connecting customers over nostalgic tastes and introducing new audiences to traditional foods, rooted in centuries of culture and history. Their sesame seed-based desserts and spreads are the most delicious addition to any kitchen. For the friend who loves quality ingredients, having great tahini to use in a wide array of recipes is such a special gift. (A pack of halva is also a great alternative to a box of cookies!)
Seed + Mill Sampler, $48
Just Date The California Date Gift Box
For the date obsessed or date curious, this gift box is a richly wonderful and surprising gift. A pound of juicy Rancho Meladuco organic Medjool dates, 3 bottles of my favorite alternative sweetener, Just Date Syrup, and a book that celebrates date deliciousness, The California Date Cookbook. A collaboration between Just Date Syrup and Rancho Meladuco Date Farm—two women-owned California date companies who share their love of dates—this cookbook inspires more people to savor and delight in the Coachella Valley-grown Medjool Dates and Medjool Date Syrup through beautiful recipes and incredible photos of California food bloggers, authors, and photographers.
Just Date The California Date Gift Box, $60
The Qi Shangri-La Rose Tea
As a child who grew up in a coastal town in Asia, Lisa Li drank a lot of herbal teas with her grandmother. Holistic wellness for her was simply a way of a joyful life. Fast forward 20 years later living in NYC burnt out, stressed, and anxious, Lisa wanted to return to a time where wellness was simple. She took a trip to Shangri-la and came across the one-of-a-kind Roses the locals enjoyed. Then she quickly realized that unless you’re from these small remote villages on the high mountains next to Tibet, you would never have access to those flowers. Li set out on a mission to bring these high-quality food-grade flowers to the world and the rest, as they say, is history. For the friend who lives for wellness and beauty, these flower teas are the ultimate treat-yourself gift.
The Qi Shangri-La Rose Tea, $28
Sean Sherman The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen
I’m so excited to dive into this book and expand my knowledge of indigenous cooking techniques and recipes. In his first book, Sherman shares his approach to cooking boldly seasoned foods that are vibrant and easy. The book is a wonderful education and introduction to modern indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. For the friend who is endlessly learning in the kitchen and loves trying new recipes, this book will be one they want to add to their cookbook collection.
Sean Sherman The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, $25.15
Toiro Kitchen Mushi Nabe Donabe Steamer
I’ve been eyeing a donabe (clay pot in Japanese) for a few months now. The clay earthenware pots are ideal for operating at high temperatures. They build heat slowly and once at peak temperature they keep the heat longer. A gift for the true kitchen fiend, a donabe is just as beautiful as it is functional, and will be a longstanding staple of your friend’s kitchen for years to come.
Toiro Kitchen Mushi Nabe Donabe Steamer, $220
Brightland The Mini Essentials
Aside from making a pretty addition to any home chef’s kitchen counter, Brightland’s olive oil is incredibly delicious for finishing any dish. This gift set also includes two of their mini vinegars which I can’t wait to try. Every good dish starts with great ingredients, and these bottles of oil and vinegar will set any of your cooking friends up for success.
Brightland The Mini Essentials, $70
Fly By Jing Triple Threat
There are a few brands that I am truly obsessed with and this is one of them. Founded by Jing Gao, you might recognize the chili oil that has made the rounds on social media. Produced in Chengdu, and crafted of fried chilies, tribute pepper, mushrooms, sesame oil, and more, this Triple Threat three-pack has been called “good on everything”, and I can attest from the noodles to the salads and the ice cream (YUP!) this spice set is the flavor-packed gift your friend wants.
Fly By Jing Triple Threat , $45
Maru Coffee Kenya Gatomboya
Consider this your reminder that sometimes the simple gift of great coffee beans or tea is a real winner. Because is any kitchen really complete without coffee? Maru Coffee is a favorite of mine from LA. I love their coffee beans as much as I love their selection of Ippodo Matcha and their packaging is just as beautiful as what’s inside. Another great option is to support your own local coffee shops by sending coffee from your local shop to friends or family who may not be able to make it home for the holiday!
Maru Coffee Kenya Gatomboya, $25
KonMari Handmade Ceramic Matcha Bowl
What matcha collection is complete without a designated matcha bowl and whisk? This sweet gift is a wonderful choice for the design-minded minimalist who loves their morning wellness rituals as much as really great quality matcha. Pair it with a nice matcha powder and you’ve got a stellar gift on your hands.
KonMari Handmade Ceramic Matcha Bowl, $45
Chitra Agrawal Vibrant India Cookbook
As a long time fan of Chitra and her recipes, I can personally attest to the flavors and recipes she captures in her cookbook, Vibrant India. Even more special is her brand, Brooklyn Delhi, which is a wonderful curation of condiments and sauces from Indian culinary tradition.
Chitra Agrawal Vibrant India Cookbook, $18.69
Zach & Zoe Wildflower Honey With Ginger Root
Really good quality honey should be a part of every foodies’ kitchen. We often won’t splurge on the good stuff for ourselves, which makes it the perfect gift to indulge our foodie friends. I love the wildflower honey that Zach and Zoë have for their incredible flavor—perfect for drizzling on peanut butter toast, in your morning tea, or straight off the spoon.
Zach & Zoe Wildflower Honey with Ginger Root, $46
Uno Casa Cast Iron Tortilla Press
Making homemade tortillas is shockingly easy and even more surprisingly delicious. This cast-iron tortilla press is perfect for the Mexican food devotee in your life. It’s pre-seasoned and ready to use, bringing fresh, authentic Mexican flavors to your kitchen.
Uno Casa Cast Iron Tortilla Press, $39.95
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking
If you have a friend who has never met a Russian treat they didn’t love, then you’ll have to send this lovely cookbook their way. It covers the wide world of Russian cuisine and includes over 100 recipes that show how easy it is to eat and drink Russian food.
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, $20.49
This post was originally published on December 2, 2020, and has since been updated.
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