Wednesday, November 28, 2007


12 Holiday Gift Ideas for Chefs, Cooks, Foodies & the Like


Why hello my peaches, and Happy Holidays to you all!

What with super shopping day, Black Friday (heavens, what a foreboding title!) behind us, and the holidays (Hanukkah! Christmas! Kwanzaa! New Years!) looming large, I thought I would break out my top twelve off-the-beaten-path holiday present suggestions for all of the foodies, chefs, cooks and more in your life...all road tested and Fresh Approach approved!



1. The exceedingly fabulous Mary and Chris of Maryink in Tennessee, have conjured up what can only be described as the must have item of the year. The Fruit Basket Waist Apron.

Sweet, but not cloying, these beauties are too good to be true.

They are hand screen-printed on natural cotton duck and cost $12 each. Really kids, at that price, how can you go wrong?

Available online from super-site Etsy.

Based in the Alps, Sarah Finn is an wood-working artist extraordinare. Her incredibly stunning laser cut (that are sturdy and wipe-able!) place mats...well, sigh, right?

They measure 14"w x 17" and are just so darned stylish, I can't get over it. She also makes napkin rings and all sorts of other kitchen-centric fantasticness.

These beauties run about $25 each.

3. How sweet is this hand-crafted Pea Pod necklace? I love it so much!

Created by the brilliant Aimee Addison of Wear Me Jewels, in Eugene, OR, it is sterling silver and Russian Serpentine on a leather cord.

Pick yours up for $35

She also offers jewelry making classes if you are in the area!

4. Looking for something with an old school vibe? Want a way to bring that extra something special to your next cocktail soiree?

Look no further than the taste-titillating bitters brought to you by the Fee Brothers. ("Don't Squeeze, Use Fee's!) I personally have been using the limited edition Whiskey Barrel Bitters for months now and cannot imagine my mixology without it on hand. They also offer Grapefruit, Lemon and much more.

If you haven't experienced old fashioned, (since 1835!) hand-made bitters, I suggest you get your hands on a bottle, stat.

5. Why not get all those recipes you have been collecting organized into your very own personal cookbook from TasteBook? For me, this was a dream come true. Stunning results and easy as can be follow along directions. Get over there and be on your way to becoming the (self) published author you know you should be! 100 recipes for $35

6. Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield, PA offers the most incredibly delectable Rosemary Jelly. This truly artisan product is made one batch at a time with certified organic herbs from their own garden. Use it to make their famous thumb-print cookies, or go wild (as I did) and keep a jar on hand until next summer, so you can glaze fig tarts in the most unexpected way. One 4 oz. jar is $3.75 and they are available online, unless you want to go visit the farm! (I certainly would if I were anywhere nearby!)

7. Now, under normal circumstances I always advocate buying the absolutely highest quality (forged!) knife you can afford...but if you're picking up a gift for someone more focused on style, well, Los Angeles based CulinHome Decor knives are just too whimsical to pass up.

Available in three patterns, Hibiscus, Jax and Splash, they are just the coolest darned things goin'. Prices vary...check their site for where to buy in your area.

In LA they can be picked up at Illiterature on La Brea starting at $35.00

8. Wanna get your ham-on? (Jamon?)

If you are serious about the pork, and trust (me, and) the ultimate food lover, Jeffery Steingarten's taste (and who doesn't, really) - the man who declared this is the tops - then get thee over to La Quercia Rossa for their ethereal Heirloom Breed Culaccia Prosciutto. "The only single-breed, dry cured ham in the USA."

Hand crafted in Iowa. Prices vary. Also available from Williams-Sonoma.

9. And since we talked ham, I figure the next logical step, is cheese!

In this case, a sublime Gouda Boere Kaas, made right here in Southern California by the Dutch craftsmen of Winchester Cheese.

Their cheese is award winning and rightly so.

Available online or at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. And they offer a Cheese Club option. Could anything be more wonderful?

10. The Crystal Dragon low ball, heck, the whole bar set, makes me dizzy with desire.

Could anything be more swank? Glamour, glamour, glamour.

The imperial design is sand-etched onto mouth blown clear lead crystal from Hungary and ready to make all your Eastern dreams come true.

Starting at $95 these beauties are available exclusively from Gumps of San Francisco.

11. Tell the truth, how excited would you be to receive an upside down tomato garden this holiday season? Seriously. Local tomatoes! As in, from your own kitchen! Too amazing!

"Hanging vines need almost no attention as tomatoes ripen in the air (not on the ground) where they wont rot. Complementary plants like basil, parsley, rosemary, and peppers can be planted on top, which holds up to 80 lbs. of topsoil. The compact planter can fit in any space with ample sunlight, even condominium balconies."

All this for $75 plus shipping!

12. Choco LA LA Fair Trade Chocolates. Those cheeky chocolatiers. Sassy and ethical, not to mention, makers of glorious, fresh, hand-made chocolates!

Try the dark chocolate truffles - "a rich dark center with a hint of chili and coconut, all enclosed in a dark chocolate shell."

For me, a trip to England is never complete without getting my hands on a box these (which also includes their chocolate covered mango...sigh.), and now, they are available online!

Prices vary.

Well there you go my dears, I hope you found something you like!

All of the photos in this post come from their respective websites. Credit where credit is due.

Wanna see my suggestions from years gone by? Check it out here and here.

One last gift suggestion...make a donation...there are a few worthy causes listed on the left...


I am so on my way to make a TasteBook for my son for xmas! Glad I stopped by!
Ann - Cool!

I was just looking over this again, and realized this list is awfully girly, so Im glad there is something for your son!

Happy Happy!
It's a great list and I just gave you a shout-out on my weekly "Items of Interst" post. :-)
'Cause I need more temptation! ;)
Ohhh, my mom got me hooked on Gump's -- they have great stuff. And those are beautiful!
lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this
Oh, I know someone who would love that apron--me! It's precious. Thanks for the idea, Rachael.
Temptress! I want that tomato garden now.
Great tips - I love that little apron! Just right for wiping your hands on :-)
Organic Holiday Cookies made from scratch are available for Christmas time, visit I think they only ship baked goods in the usa though...

Additionally their slogan is, "Ending world hunger, One Bite at a Time", and are donating 10% of sales to Gleaners Community Food Bank and Other Charities...

The Cookies are just delightful, it is rare to find made from scatch, delicious Christmas Cookies and Wildflours has them. Check it out, also they care Gluten reduced and other organic products, cool place...
Lady - I am SO glad you noticed that the tomato garden is on the Menu for Hope! I was hoping you would bid on it and you did! Yipeeee!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the write-up on my peapod necklace. I got a few sales from your site. Email if you ever want to purchase something and I'll give you 15% off. Thanks again,
Wear Me Jewels
hey i didn't think about gift ideas for foodies, chefs.
Thanks for sharing the information :)
It is very useful!

These ideas are great, but it probably makese sense to split with friends since it may be costly. I

especially love the vacation idea!
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