gifts they might actually want

The Expensive-Looking Things I Put in the DIY Gourmet Gift Basket I Send to Friends

Less expensive than they look. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Gift baskets are always a solid choice for holiday giving, but all those premade versions can be pricey and uninspired — and the basket is usually the first thing to get tossed. I love the sentiment, but not the execution.

Recently, I’ve taken to buying beautifully packaged and unusual pantry items — all on Prime, so no shipping! — and creating my own gift baskets for cheaper. I’ll nestle them in a box zhuzhed up with some festive tissue for an easy gift box with extra personality. Each costs me 90-some dollars, but looks like I’ve spent twice as much. Below, everything I include in the custom gourmet gift baskets I make — I might switch it up a bit this year, but my recipients will just have to wait and see.

Pommery Mustard Meaux Moutarde in Pottery Crock
$13 at Amazon

This savory French whole-grain mustard in a gorgeous vintage stoneware pot looks like the sort of thing that’s been served at the tables of French kings since 1632. Because it has.

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce: Red Habanero & Black Coffee
$14 at Amazon

Addictive mouth-scorching hot sauce made with red habanero (and black coffee!) from a New York City-based, award-winning company.

Organic Ohia Lehua Blossom Raw Hawaiian Honey, Single Floral Variety by Big Island Bees
$14 at Amazon

Rare, delicate white honey from a flower only found in Hawaii.

Brooklyn Whatever “Shnuts:” Curry Flavored Nuts
$8 at Amazon

Twice-roasted, interestingly-flavored “shnuts” are a peanut-free combination of almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and, macadamia nuts. Mother-and-son business Brooklyn Whatever also calls their version of the pickle a “shpickle” and an olive a “shmolive.”

Taza Organic Chocolate Mexicano Super Dark Disc, 85% Dark
$7 at Amazon

Who wouldn’t want a chunky round of stone-ground, 85 percent dark Mexican-style chocolate?

Tiptree Black Currant Preserves
$6 at Amazon

Small-batch preserves from a legacy English company. Black currant is my favorite, in an appealingly inky color.

Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha
$11 at Amazon

Bold, aptly named “Weak Knees” sriracha, bottled by hand. The addition of fermented gochujang gives it a more pungent, complex flavor — — not better, just different — than the rooster brand we’re all so familiar with.

Lark Ellen Farm Grain Free Granola Bites, Vanilla Cinnamon
$10 at Amazon

Addictive small-batch vanilla-cinnamon flavored bites from an organic Ojai Valley farm. Nobody doesn’t like this.

La Española 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 24 fl. oz.
$8 at Amazon

This light, flavorful olive oil from Spain comes in an 1840 replica tin.

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Everything in the DIY Gourmet Gift Basket I Make for Friends