Buying a gift for self-proclaimed foodies can be daunting, especially if you aren’t as knowledgeable as they are on the subject.
You can’t go wrong with a gift card or a dinner at one of the nicer places in town. On the other hand, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, here are a few engaging gift ideas for your food-and-beverage-loving friend.
Think inside the box
For friends who loves to learn about what they are consuming, try a basket or box equipped with tasty treats and tools to learn more about them.
Cured, the wine and cheese shop east of the Pearl Street Mall, offers Cured of the Month Clubs that cover a variety of food-loving levels and include educational material about the products.
There is a club for “dairy lovers” that consists of just cheese, an “omnivore” that has both meat and cheese, and a “perfect pairings” that includes cheese, meat and a paired dose of wine or beer. Each month the boxes will also include a bit of education about your snacks and what pairs well with each item.
Recipients of the Cured of the Month Club can retrieve their package each month at the store, where they can meet the owners and learn more about the food they are picking up, or can have it delivered to their home. Subscriptions can be for three, six or 12 months, and prices range from $150 to $1,020.
Cured also offers a series of Holiday Gift Boxes filled with a selection of goods planned with vacations in mind.
“The concept behind the gift boxes is travel and how you relate to food, how one bite can bring back so many memories,” says Coral Ferguson, co-owner of Cured. “With these, you can have a travel experience, whether it is a day trip, a weekend away or an entire vacation, without leaving your home. It still feels like an escape.”
The boxes come in four different varieties: the Day Trip, the Weekend Away, the Sojourn and the Colorado Road Trip. Each box includes a variety of meats, cheeses and accoutrements, and prices range from $75 to $250. Patrons can also select the Side Car, a gift box with nonperishable goods to accompany any selection of cheese and meat, for $30.
Boxcar Coffee Roasters also has gift boxes available that are meant to be both educational and engaging, says Cara Rich, co-owner of Boxcar. Customers can choose from four packages, ranging from $65 to $250. Each gift box includes three kinds of coffee, an array of high-quality coffee brewing equipment such as a Chemex coffeemaker or a Cafepresso coffee press, and a one-on-one training session on how to properly use the equipment and brew the coffee.
The gift that could give back
For the friend who likes to cook, consider an all-inclusive package to create a dish. Inevitably, some time in the next year, you’ll get an invitation to dinner, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to taste the final product.
For ideas, take a look in the local Penzeys Spices. Penzeys sells more spices than many people know exist and is the place to go for finding the seasonings for more exotic dishes. The shop also has a large collection of gift boxes that are themed around different cuisine, like the Indian Curry, Taco Seasonings and Baker’s assortment sets, which can help pick a theme for your cook’s gift.
Kaylyn Bopp, an employee at Penzeys, says the mini boxes are popular around the holidays. These boxes can fit in a stocking and they are less overwhelming than the boxes with eight to 12 spices. Prices for the smaller sets range from $11.95 to $49.95.
The shop also has recipe cards and ideas for how to use various spices. If you find a recipe you like, grab the accompanying spices and start putting your gift together.
Once you have your recipe and your spices, collect the other required ingredients. You can leave out the basic items that the recipient likely already has, like salt, butter and milk. It may be easiest to simply include the dry ingredients, especially if your gift is going to be sitting out for a while or if you want the recipient to have unlimited time to try out the recipe.