For foodies, Christmas stockings start in the kitchen

This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season: thinking about all the people I would like to give a little package to, thinking about what that gift voucher should be. This year, perhaps more than any other, it feels good to give all of your associates something thoughtful and joyful, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

The kitchen is a great place to find inspiration in choosing the perfect gifts. Maybe it’s a treat that recognizes a friend’s sweet tooth. An ingredient that inspires a budding chef. A kitchen utensil to brighten up their kitchen.

The gift ideas below cost $ 30 or less, so you can bring some holiday cheer to everyone on your list, from the teacher who outdid himself, to the neighbor who shared his flour to the niece. or the nephew who has just started in the kitchen.


A variety of maple syrup products by Runamok, a Vermont company.
– Katie Workman / Associate press

Many of these items also have nice packaging; add a small card and skip the wrapper.

Vermont-based Runamok makes organic infused maple syrups that not only beg to be drizzled with pancakes and waffles this winter, but can also be incorporated into recipes and cocktails. Choose from varieties like Banana Rum, WhistlePig Rye, Coffee, and Hibiscus. Note that some of these limited edition syrups sell out quickly. There’s even a maple syrup with edible sprinkles. The beautiful bottles sell for around $ 18 each.



A variety of chocolate bars by Chocolove.

A variety of chocolate bars by Chocolove.
– Katie Workman / Associate press

Can we go wrong with a high-end chocolate bar? It was clearly a trick question.

There is a dazzling range of beautifully packaged, high quality fair trade chocolates. Choose from classic chocolate bars with different levels of pure cocoa; chocolate with creative additions; chocolate from a particular place with a personal meaning; or just the most eye-catching labels in the store.

Chocolove of Boulder, Colorado has choices that include salted almond butter in dark chocolate and pink grapefruit in ruby ​​chocolate. Chicago-based Vosges Haut Chocolat have their own classic bars, as well as options like pink salt caramel and turmeric ginger. Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco makes single-origin bars, like those in Camino Verde, Ecuador, or Anamali, India.

More Chocolate Ideas: Enzo’s Table Chocolate Almond Butter (made with Guittard chocolate) is a perfect holiday treat, as is Nocciolata, the sophisticated, organic Italian hazelnut and cocoa spread ( go to Nutella). Choose from milk or dark chocolate versions, or double and wrap both.



A variety of cloth napkins are presented with a Halo Dish blanket pack.

A variety of cloth napkins are presented with a Halo Dish blanket pack.
– Katie Workman / Associate press

Yes, gifting a bottle of wine may seem trivial at first, but not if it comes from a winemaker or a region that means something to the recipient. For example, Sonoma Cutrer in the Russian River Valley is run by an all-female winemaking team (from the vineyards to the cellars and the lab) and produces wines that are certified as sustainable.

Or consider supporting black-owned wineries like The Guilty Grape (also female-owned; $ 30 for their Cabernet Sauvignon), or the burgeoning natural and eco-friendly wine industry. Choose a wine that connects geographically with the recipient, such as a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Bulgaria, to remind them of a destination on their travel list.



Measuring cups, left, and a set of reusable, expandable straws.

Measuring cups, left, and a set of reusable, expandable straws.
– Katie Workman / Associate press

Other inexpensive gifts for the oenophiles around you include coasters, a pair of vintage wine glasses, a wine cooler pouch and a wine bottle stopper.

How about a small bottle or box full of hot spices, perhaps paired with a small pitcher of cider or large mugs? This budget-friendly gift lands big in terms of seasonal joy – pour the cider into a saucepan, add the spices, and in 15 minutes the kitchen will smell like the height of the holidays.

Melissa’s makes an excellent blend of hot spices, made with cloves, cinnamon and orange zest, available in supermarkets and online.

A cute new set of measuring cups and spoons are always welcome for the bakers in your life. Sustainability-focused Bamboozle makes durable, colorful products from natural bamboo fibers in three pretty, understated colourways. $ 28 for cups and spoons together.

For the Experimental Cook, give a few boxes of hand-picked spices or spice mixes. The world of spices has come a long way in recent years, with much more attention to origin, process, freshness, authenticity.

Award-winning chef James Beard, Meherwan Irani, founded Spicewalla with the aim of bringing his experiences of buying and using spices in India to a wider market. It now offers 100 herbs and spices plus 30 house blends, and the boxes are brilliantly designed. The Masala collection includes garam masala, tandoori masala and Madras curry powder. Or get a few boxes of individual herbs and spices like fenugreek, sumac, or smoked paprika.


A variety of spices by Burlap and Barrel.

A variety of spices by Burlap and Barrel.
– Katie Workman / Associate press

Penzeys and Burlap and Barrel are two other brands to look for, for quality and attractive packaging.

For the eco-friendly cook in your life, a small collection of Halo plate covers would be well received. These reusable, washable and adjustable bowl and dish lids reduce the use of plastic wrap and add a cute touch to your leftovers. Or maybe a reusable, expandable straw set, complete with cleaner and a carrying case, from OXO.

Help a friend raise her table top by offering her a small stack of cloth napkins; Williams-Sonoma offers a range of linen models. Pick a color that will click with the recipient, stack them, roll them up and tie them with a pretty ribbon.

Keep your eyes peeled, because you might find these perfect little food gifts to think of for yourself, whether it’s in an online store, supermarket, or kitchen utensil store.

• Katie Workman writes regularly on food for the Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focusing on family cooking, “Dinner Resolved!” and “Mum’s 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at [email protected]

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