FLAVORful Holiday Gifts for 2014

Along with the food and festivities of the holiday season, it’s also prime time for stepping up our generosity and lavishing our family and friends with the fruits of our gift-giving prowess. That being said, it can be pretty challenging to discover that perfect little something to surprise and delight the people we love… and I think we can all benefit from a little inspiration. Thus, this is a gift guide for my kind of people: people who love to cook, eat and obsess over food. If you love someone who sees the kitchen as a playground, I hope you’ll find something here that they can get excited about!

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Ultimate Locavorism: Victorio 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter

Yup, sprouting: the classic old-school health nut hobby. But you can’t deny that there’s something magical about growing your own fresh veggies on the smallest/simplest scale possible! And this multi-level design just seems so beautifully efficient compared to the older mason jar models. I actually just bought one for my own kitchen to test out before picking up extras for gifts, so look forward to more sprouting talk on the blog soon! If you go this route, don’t forget to throw in a sprouting seed variety pack so you can germinate in style!

    

Luxury Baking Staples: Valrhona Cocoa and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

If you know someone who takes pride in their homemade treats, make sure they’re using the GOOD stuff! I swear by Valrhona cocoa powder: deep and rich, with intense chocolate flavor. After baking with it the first time, I couldn’t believe I wasted so many years on lackluster random grocery store cocoa. And to round out the gift, Nielsen-Massey makes vanilla extract with such a heady aroma that makes me want to wear it as perfume. You’ve been warned.

Artisan Quality: Old Stone Oven Baking Stone

Speaking of things that have changed my baking life forever, this baking stone is another one. This low-tech solution holds on to your oven’s heat and distributes it evenly without fluctuations, allowing uninterrupted rising and the crispest crust on homemade bread and pizza. I know some people advocate for the cheaper unglazed quarry tiles from home improvement stores, but I recommend this instead because size (and mass) matters. The full half-inch thickness on this thing definitely gets the job done!

Adventurous Gardening: Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Grow Kit

If you’re shopping for a shroom-lover like me, this is the ultimate gift. The way that mushrooms grow is completely fascinating, and with this little kit, it’s super fun and easy! Kids, and really anyone with an intact sense of wonder, will love watching the oyster mushrooms grow from little pins to jumbo delicious fruits in a matter of days.

       

Annnnnd BOOKS! A few recent favorites include: Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson (epic treats with lots of wow-factor), The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and JoAnn Cianciulli (the most lovely veggie-driven recipes from the LA restaurant), and, naturally, Thug Kitchen.

So, I hope one of these things helps out with your gifter’s block! And don’t miss any chances to eat, drink and be merry with the people you love.

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