An edible gift is always a good idea – but step away from the chocolate aisle. From tiled salt and pepper shakers to genuinely beautiful tinned fish, we’ve rounded up some less obvious ideas for your foodie friends.
Fact: foodies are fun to buy for. This is the moment when all your worries about hunting down cult beauty products and quirky home decor melt away, and you get to indulge in some truly inspired shopping.
Traditionally, foodie gift guides contain the same old culprits: cast iron grill pans, recipe magazine subscriptions and ‘special’ boxes of chocolate. But it takes much more to inspire the mind and tickle the taste buds of a true culinary connoisseur. People who really love food – those who start thinking about dinner at breakfast, and who book holidays based on the local restaurant scene’s reputation – want gifts that will enhance their usual recipes, inspire them to try new ones, and immediately get their minds ticking over about what to make (and eat) next.
With that in mind, we’ve gone in search of presents that genuinely do justice to the delights of food, glorious food. We’ve got aromatic coffee beans used in cool London cafés, seasonal cheese subscription boxes to satisfy every savoury craving, and a spice collection to transport you to a Middle Eastern bazaar – and that’s just for starters.
Whether you’re buying for a budding cook, a gadget-loving foodie or a seasoned gourmand, you’ll find something in our edit of inventive gifts for food lovers below. Bon appétit!
Rogue Negroni Marmalade
The foundations of great toast? Fresh bread cut into doorstep slices, creamy butter and a dollop of no-nonsense preserve. Made in South Wales’ Rhondda Valleys, all of Rogue’s mouthwatering products are vegan, free from major allergens and majorly tasty. Its luxury Negroni Marmalade contains blood oranges, gin, Campari and red vermouth: if that doesn’t say Christmastime, we don’t know what does.
Rooted Spices Middle Eastern Spice Set
Your partner/friend/relative wants to create Ottolenghi-style cuisine, but they’re not going to whip up any authentic Middle Eastern food with the half-empty jars of supermarket spice languishing in their cupboard. With this deliciously aromatic set – containing aleppo pepper, za’atar, sumac and more – they’ll be making you fattoush and man’oushe in no time.
Pong Cheese Subscription Box
As any seasoned cheese lover will know, keeping up with the gruyeres, camemberts and stiltons in the world takes serious dedication. Happily, Pong Cheese has an amazing monthly subscription service which delivers a box of hand-picked, seasonal treats directly to your door. You’d cheddar get a move on.
Alziari Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Is there anything more pleasing than having top-quality staples in your kitchen? We’re talking sea salt flakes, a good balsamic, and, of course, an excellent bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Give someone the gift of smugness with Alziari’s beautiful oil, made from olives grown in rural France and pressed in traditional stone mills.
Anthropologie Bistro Salt and Pepper Shakers
Nobody needs beautiful salt and pepper shakers. But would everyone love them? Yes. This tiled set is the perfect gift for someone who loves interiors as much as they love food – and they come on a delightful little tray. *beams*
Allpress Espresso Blend
Shopping for someone who knows their cortados from their ristrettos? Cult Kiwi roasters Allpress supply beans to some of the world’s best independent cafes (they have a very good outpost in east London), and their signature Espresso Blend is smooth, subtly sweet and utterly delicious. Trust us – coffee lovers will be impressed.
A Portuguese Love Affair Tinned Fish
We love everything about Portugal, from the patterned azulejo to the colourful winding streets and the cinnamon-dusted pastel de nata. London shop and deli A Portuguese Love Affair celebrates all these things and more – and their tinned fish will make a perfect gift for that friend who can’t stop talking about all the amaaaazing food they ate in Lisbon.
Peckham Sauce Co Batch One Hot Sauce
To quote Beyoncé: “I got a hot sauce in my bag.” Know someone who lives by that maxim? Get them a bottle of Peckham Sauce Co’s Batch One Hot Sauce, a complex (and very spicy) blend of Dutch chillis, Scotch bonnets, garlic, paprika, mustard seeds, coriander and cardamom.
Audenza Pink Martini Gin Glasses
We’re all juggling multiple jobs these days, so it’s only right that our home decor works equally hard. Case in point: these exceptionally pretty pink martini gin glasses. Not only will they bring Jazz Age vibes to a drinks trolley, they’ll double up as posy vases for the mantelpiece, too.
Rivsalt Original Salt Set
Anyone prone to liberal salt sprinkling will be inordinately pleased by Rivsalt’s set, which comes complete with a Japanese-style grater, natural oak stand and pink Himalayan salt rock. It’s ridiculously OTT, and we absolutely love it.
Champagne Cocktail Screen-Printed Tea Towel
A tea towel might seem like a boring gift, but it can be quite the opposite – a beautiful graphic version will brighten up any kitchen. This cool screen-printed tea towel has retro artwork and a recipe for the classic drink: useful.
Nordal Stainless Steel Coffee Clip and Spoon
Sometimes it’s the small things in life that spark joy, and this nifty stainless steel coffee gadget will cheer up any coffee lover. After spooning their ground coffee, they can seal the bag with the integrated clip at the end of the handle. Genius.
Oxfam Bamboo Lunch Box
If you’re not regularly browsing Oxfam’s gift section in the run-up to Christmas, where have you been? The charity shop has a whole host of gorgeous presents that are as stylish as they are ethical, like this graphic patterned lunchbox made from sustainable, biodegradable bamboo.
Le Creuset Stoneware Espresso Mug
Any cook worth their salt knows that Le Creuset are the kings of stoneware – but if you can’t stretch to buying someone a cast-iron casserole dish, get them this beautiful mug. Their morning brew won’t ever have felt so fancy.
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Main image: Getty. All other images courtesy of brands
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.