• 2012 Culinary Gift Guide

    Our picks for the most delicious gifts this holiday season

    By Jenna Helwig

    Give the gift of good taste this season with one of these sure-to-be-a-hit culinary-themed gifts. From cooking classes to monthly wine deliveries to handmade chocolates–plus a special deal on a global dinner club–there’s something here for everyone… including yourself. (It’s okay, we won’t tell.)


    Sweets for Your Sweeties
    Ladybug chocolates almost too cute to eat, but too delicious not to. Honey caramel bees sure to fly off the plate. Decadent figs stuffed with whiskey ganache. Not to mention salted caramels, cinnamon & cashew tortoises, pistachio toffee, and irresistible fruit squares. Philadelphia-based chocolatiers John Doyle and Kira Baker-Doyle source their ingredients from local and family-run farms, including urban school gardens in Philly, making their confections something to feel good about as you devour them. Chocolates from John & Kira’s make a terrific hostess gift… if you can keep your hands off them long enough to share.


    Global Eats
    For many parents, their planet-hopping days may be temporarily behind them. But thanks to Hungry Globetrotter’s World Dinner Club, you don’t have to give up eating your way around the world just because you have to stay at home. Every month, this San Francisco-based company sends its subscribers a box with goods focused on one region of the world. The box includes recipes, a grocery list, and specialty ingredients. You gift the subscriptions, so that a friend can provide the fresh produce and proteins, then use the dinner club treats to whip up simple, mouth-watering dishes that will expand her family’s palates and tickle their taste buds. Upcoming themes include Mexican, Thai/Malaysian, and Middle Eastern. Enter the code NYFoodieFamiles at check-out to receive $20 off a three-month subscription. ($34.95 a month)


    Let Them Eat Pie!
    Ever fantasize about ditching the city for life on a country farm? Gesine Bullock-Prado did just that, chucking her career as a Hollywood exec for the baker’s life in her Vermont kitchen. And it’s lucky for us: Delicious pies and scrumptious candies can be yours all year ‘round when you cook from her tantalizing cookbooks Pie it Forward and Sugar Baby. Standout recipes include Gesine’s Damn Good Peanut Butter Fudge and a decadent nutella tart. Gesine’s laugh-out-loud stories and passion for her craft will inspire you. Give these books as a gift and cross your fingers that your recipient will thank you with the fruits of their culinary labors.

     


    Wine & Dine
    Keep adults happy this holiday season with a subscription to the September Wine Club from September Wines & Spirits, a Lower East Side mainstay. Choose from a variety of different monthly boxes, all of which include two to three bottles of wine, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions. September’s experts choose the wine and deliver the bottles right to your door. (From $35 a month, plus shipping)

     


    Stock the Larder
    Give a taste of Brooklyn with these wooden crates packed with delicious, gourmet foodstuffs from Brooklyn Larder, one of the borough’s best-loved gourmet food shops. Several scrumptious boxes are available, including: “The Brooklyn: Kings County” packed with Brooklyn-made granola, pickles, chocolate, and more; and “The Chef’s Larder” highlighting some of the globe’s top gourmet staples. (from $35-$199, plus shipping)

     

     


    Get Out of the Cold, Get Into the Kitchen
    In the spirit of teaching a man to fish rather than buying him a fish, treat your friends and family to the culinary gift that will endure, by giving them a cooking class. Various organizations around the city offer hands-on culinary instruction for all ages, interests, and budgets. At the Institute of Culinary Education in Chelsea, choose from a bevy of recreational classes ranging from Best Homemade Pizza to Mastering Butchery to Simple Meatless Meals. My fellow Yummy Delicious blogger Jessi Walter Brelsford’s Taste Buds Kitchen offers popular kids cooking classes like Gingerbread House Decorating. For private, in-home cooking classes or cooking parties visit me at Rosaberry.


    The Mother of All Cookies
    The nearly half-pound cookies at Levain Bakery bring out the kid in everyone–crisp on the outside, pillow-y and almost doughy on the inside. (My mouth is watering as I type this!) These one-of-a-kind cookies are a New York institution, and they’ll be sure to make your friends and family swoon. Cookie varieties include chocolate chip walnut, oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate chocolate chip, and dark chocolate peanut butter chip. Gift boxes of four to 12 cookies available. (From $22 plus shipping)

     

     


    Have a Cow (Or a Chicken or a Goat)
    The holidays are a great time to remind children to help others, and Heifer International asks people to “think outside the gift-wrapped box” and give the gift of a livelihood to struggling families across the globe. In a friend’s or child’s name, buy anything from a flock of ducks ($20) or a trio of rabbits ($60) to a pig ($120) or a heifer ($500 or $50 for a share), then Heifer will give the animals to a family in need. Those families will then have a way to generate income–and you’ll have a gift that epitomizes the true meaning of the holidays.

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