It’s holiday gift giving time and I’ve got you covered with tons of great suggestions! I reached out to chefs, culinary professionals and passionate home cooks alike and they shared their ideas for great holiday gifts. (Check out all the links throughout this post!)
In this podcast episode Michele Di Pietro and I chat about the best holiday gifts for the passionate home cook or chef in your life.
It’s been a crazy year and we’re still impacted by COVID-19 but one way to bring cheer into our lives is to maximize gift giving season and let all your cherished friends and family members know you're thinking of them with a special gift this season.
Ideas range from stocking stuffers to great cookbooks to kitchen tools, plus some higher-end culinary items that make for extra-special holiday gifts.
We all love delectable treats over the holidays and sometimes a food or wine gift is just the right thing.
Food & Wine Gifts
A gorgeous linen pinafore apron
Every single person in the kitchen needs a great apron! I'm not a fan of frilly old-style aprons and instead adore this beautiful linen apron. It's a holiday gift for the cook anyone would love, myself included!
Tortellini is a classic Italian Christmas dish. Classic Christmas desserts include panettone (click on the small image below for link) and pandoro; all over Italy Italians purchase these delicious and beautifully packaged cakes to give to friends and family. Rosetta Costantino, author of the My Calabria cookbook, swears by local Calabrian fig treats or a fig-filled Colavolpe panettone.
*The Rimessa Roscioli Wine Club is one of my top three holiday gift picks for 2020!*
If you love Italian wine and fabulous hard to find specialty wines made by smaller producers then a truly amazing gift is a membership in the Rimessa Roscioli Wine Club. Rimessa Roscioli is one of my favorite spots in Rome so it’s fantastic that they’ve created their own wine club; now no matter where you live you can access their incredible wines.
There are wine clubs, and there are wine clubs but if you love fabulous artisanal organic wines from Italy's top small producers then this is the wine club for you. You can choose from Wine Club 1 (discover some new Italian grapes with these organic wines), Wine Club 2 (limited production artisanal wines: premium full-bodied, age-worthy wines including Barolo and Brunello), or the 12 bottle Collectors Club.
Rimessa Roscioli is all about wine but they also have a line of specialty foods that make great gifts, like this Cacio e Pepe Kit and this Roscioli Holiday Box. The Roscioli Forno (bakery) has a wonderful cookbook full of great recipes, along with the history of the Roscioli Family and it's included in this Deluxe Gift Box full of great specialty Italian food goodies.
A beautiful wine decanter and wine glasses are a great gift, especially when you're serving fabulous wines.
Stocking stuffers and small culinary gifts
Laurie Boucher from Baltimore Home Cook creates beautiful pasta art and origami; I featured her in the Traditional Italian Pasta becomes Art & Origami podcast episode. Laurie has an Etsy store full of wonderful small holiday gift items: pasta ornaments, pasta jewelry, pasta keychains that are just perfect for stocking stuffers. She also features fabulous handcrafted Sardinian brass pasta cutting tools that make any hand cut ravioli look gorgeous. Laurie also works with Wooden Essentials to create amazing wooden pasta tools like boula boards. Check out Wooden Essentials for their whole line of gorgeous kitchen tools.
Another special pasta tool that makes a great gift is an artisanal corzetti stamp. The top of the line are the hand carved tools from Romagnoli Pasta Tools, but you can also purchase commercially produced corzetti stamps like this one.
A microplane zester slips right into a Christmas stocking or makes a great small holiday gift package for the cook. Microplane makes other great slicing, zesting, grating and peeling tools like this cheese grater.
Not all citrus juicers are made alike, but this juicer by Chef’n is fabulous.
Decanter cleaning beads are fantastic and reach the part of decanters, vases and glass containers that a brush can't reach.
Other moderately-priced Kitchen Tools everyone should have
Rather than make recipes like Genovese pesto with a blender why not purchase a mortar and pestle and prepare this classic Genoa recipe the traditional way? A mortar and pestle is also a wonderful tool to mash garlic, grind seeds or make guacamole and hummus.
A beautiful wood cutting board makes a great holiday gift for the cook and all of these are great.
A potato ricer is indispensable for making gnocchi or mashing potatoes.
Most chefs and home cooks are moving towards weight measurement instead of volume measurement (teaspoons, cups, etc.). A good kitchen digital scale is something every cook should have in their culinary arsenal.
You can never have enough mixing bowls whether it’s glass or stainless steel. A set of extra-large lightweight stainless steel nested mixing bowls is a definite must. I use my large mixing bowls to make piecrust, pasta and bread dough, prep other ingredients, all right in a big bowl without making a mess on my countertop. They’re perfect for a large tossed salad.
Some extra-special Kitchen Gifts for the Cook
Copper pans make beautiful and super special gifts. This one is absolutely exquisite and I'd be thrilled to receive it as a gift!
If you like to make wonderful slow cooked dishes and are still uncomfortable with a classic pressure cooker then the Insta Pot is a perfect holiday gift for the cook. I gifted one to my daughter last year and it’s revolutionized her home cooking; she can make traditional slow cooked dishes in a flash after a full day’s work and have it ready for that night’s dinner.
If you’re contemplating purchasing a pasta machine then go for a Marcato electric pasta machine beloved by both culinary professionals and home cooks.
I have a KitchenAid mixer and it’s the single most important piece of cooking equipment I have in my kitchen. It’s sturdy with a high powered and durable motor and so many wonderful attachments it’s dazzling: a grain mill to grind your own flour from corn, farro and other grains. A meat grinder to make your own ground beef, combine and grind different cuts of meat or fish for sauces, burgers or meatballs. The vegetable sheeter is wonderful to make paper thin slices of vegetables like zucchini or potatoes with sheets that are large enough to use as a wrapping for foods or to make an all vegetable lasagna, totally gluten-free with no pasta. All kinds of pasta attachments, and the list goes on.
The Vitamix Blender is another wonderful item that’s super sturdy with a high powered motor; a great item for your culinary arsenal.
On-line Cooking Classes
An online cooking class makes a great gift as many of us are at home and not able to travel but love cooking classes.
*These online Italian cooking classes for two are one of my top three holiday gift picks for the cook in 2020!*
Take a look and pick your favorite for an amazing holiday gift! Tons of great choices and here are just two of the many:
Julia Griner from Grano e Farina Cooking School offers a wealth of in person and online incredible cooking classes. She is the homemade, hand-rolled pasta guru and along with her chef husband and partner Pino (the expert on everything else other than pasta) they make a dynamo of a pair. Grano Farina is based in Rome and offers in person classes as well as online classes. Be sure to listen to my wonderful podcast episode with Julia.
If you’re interested in online cooking classes with an emphasis on Northern Italian cuisine then A Small Kitchen in Genoa will fit the bill for you. Enrica specializes in cooking classes that focus on Genoa cuisine, and Liguria region cuisine. She runs in person and online classes, plus you can also purchase some of her downloadable classes. Don't miss my podcast episode with Enrica!
Culinary Magazine Subscriptions
If you’re into food and love to page through delectable food magazines then a magazine subscription makes a great gift. In Italy my favorites are Cucina Italiana, Sale e Pepe and Baccus. These magazines are in Italian but there are some wonderful English language culinary magazines as well. One of the best is Saveur. A few others are Food & Wine, Cook’s Illustrated, Gastronomica, Eating Well.
Cookbooks and Food Reference Books
New Cookbooks out this year
Soupified is Michele Di Pietro‘s very first book full of wonderful recipes that turn your favorite dishes into a luscious soup.
Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark is a fabulous book featuring Sardinian recipes and cuisine.
The Ultimate Pasta Machine Cookbook by Lucy Vasefirer is a great book, almost a pasta bible, for anyone who wants to make homemade pasta using a pasta machine. It’s full of fabulous recipes and recommendations for the best pasta machine equipment on the market.
*Cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi are one of my top three holiday gift picks for the cook in 2020! Links below*
Yotam Ottolenghi has wonderful cookbook publications: Plenty, Plenty More, Jerusalem and Sweet. He has a new book out, Flavor, and it’s just as beautiful as every other cookbook he has ever published. There are both a U.S. and a U.K. version of this gorgeous book. Original and delightful recipes with beautiful photography.
Classic & Timeless Cookbooks
Julia Child’s two volume Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the most treasured in my cookbook collection. My sister gifted me these books many years ago and I’ve used them regularly ever since.
Another similar book is Marcella Hazen’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Culinary Reference Books
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat explains exactly how these four key food elements work together in recipes. What can I say? It’s a must!
The Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini De Vita and translated by Maureen Fant is an exhaustive and thorough deep dive into just about every kind of Italian pasta imaginable. It’s a delight to read and a wonderful reference book for anyone who loves pasta and all its amazing shapes.
Michele swears by Culinary Artistry, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. Michele has been using this book since she purchased it a few decades back during her culinary school years, and at that time she read it cover to cover as soon as she purchased it.
A few more Cookbooks We Love
A few other books we love that anyone would enjoy receiving as a holiday gift are Rosetta Costantino’s My Calabria, Domenica Marchetti‘s Ciao Biscotti and one that I love is the Big Book of Breakfast by Maryanna Volstedt full of great comfort food recipes.
Have we missed any? Send me an email and I'll include them!
Check out last year's Holiday Gift Guide for other great gift ideas!
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