Edible presents are pretty much foolproof. There’s something out there for everyone, whether they’re an accomplished home cook who will appreciate a fancy olive oil or an avid eater who doesn’t know the difference between a fish spatula and a rubber spatula. There’s also an appropriate pick for every occasion, whether you want a small, inexpensive stocking stuffer (hello, truffle-flavored potato chips) or you’re looking to channel your appreciation with something bigger (like a pie with a cult following delivered straight to their door). We’ve written a lot about all kinds of foods and ingredients over the years, so I dug deep into our archives and gathered the most special, unexpected, and delicious ones — plus plenty more expert-vetted and Strat-approved items.
We’ve checked that the gifts below will arrive before December 25, but stock and availability change quickly, so don’t put off ordering. (We’ve noted where you’ll need to choose expedited shipping.) Head here for more gift ideas, and remember, you can always give a gift card if you don’t want to cut it too close. If you want to continue holiday shopping after you’ve perused this list, check out the rest of our highly curated gift guides.
For the food lover who enjoys a spicy snack
Your recipient can easily find a way to incorporate these traditional basque peppers into a meal. They’ll add a nice bite to any dish, but according to Laila Gohar, a food artist and the founder of Gohar World (who introduced us to them when we asked chefs about the best canned foods), they also make a pretty good snack. “I just like to nibble on them plain, too,” she says.
For the food lover who enjoys a salty snack
Lydia Richards, sommelier and founder of Vino Concierge, suggested these chips for our story on the best gifts for wine lovers. “I came across these amazing chips while I worked with a wide range of Spanish wine producers and attended multiple events focused on Spanish gastronomy,” she says. The Torres line includes foie gras, Iberian ham, smoked paprika, and, of course, black truffle flavors. “In my mind, they are built to pair with wine, as flavors are elevated and amplified during the pairing experience.” Now these chips plus a nice bottle seem like a sure bet to win someone’s heart.
For the food lover who wants their truffle fix in a more traditional way
Day Joseph, executive chef of Apt 4B in Atlanta, loves this truffle olive oil, which she calls “an amazing gift, since it won’t spoil and can be kept in the pantry.”
[Editor’s note: Order today and choose overnight shipping for arrival by Christmas.]
For the food lover who prefers their olive oil sans truffle
Graza makes two types of extra-virgin olive oil: Drizzle, shown here, which is meant as a finisher for dishes because of its more intense flavor, and Sizzle, a cooking oil in a bigger bottle with a more mild flavor. They both come in squeezable bottles, allowing even distribution and control. Gift the set for an especially thoughtful gift.
For the food lover who likes a tangy condiment
Try this preserved lemon paste, recommended by chef and writer Lauren Joseph. She loves to shake a spoonful into a refreshing spritz — but it has earned a permanent place in her pantry due to its versatility. It can be whisked into sauces, swirled into yogurt, brushed over meat, and more.
For the food lover who generally needs more condiments
Brooklyn Delhi’s tomato achaar, made with tamarind, sesame oil, and chili, and its garlic achaar, made with roasted garlic, lemon, oil, a mix of Indian spices, red chili powder, and unrefined cane sugar, will bring so much flavor to pretty much whatever they’re cooking.
For the food lover who’s a honey snob
If they refuse to use honey from a plastic bear, they’ll love this more refined (and tasty) option. It’s made by the same company recommended to us by Brooklyn Grange’s head beekeeper, Geraldine Simonis, but the fact that it’s raw honeycomb makes it extra special. They can use it just as they would the jarred stuff, mix into a cup of tea, or drizzle over cheese and fruit.
For the food lover who can’t get enough chocolate
Last year, singer Bebe Rexha revealed her unexpected expertise on the topic of chocolate-covered almonds, and these are her favorites by far. “I’ve tried every type of chocolate-covered almonds out there, and I swear these ones are the best,” she says. “They’re so addicting, like it’s really hard to stop.” Plus chocolate is a classic, anytime gift, so you really can’t go wrong.
For the food lover who prefers a chocolate bar
If you’d rather go bar, you can’t do better than Tony’s Chocoloney’s substantial offerings, which come in tons of flavors and cocoa percentages. Not only is the chocolate particularly delicious but “the company’s mission is a really great one to support,” notes pastry chef Anna Selke. “They’re making chocolate humanely (working against child labor and slavery), which is an issue with cocoa farming across the world.”
For the food lover who has a sweet tooth for something other than chocolate
When we asked experts about their favorite pies to order online, this Brooklyn-based shop, which ships nationwide, came up again and again. “I still dream of their pie slices,” says Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin and a former New Yorker. Her personal favorite is the custardy salty honey pie.
For the food lover who prefers to bake their own dessert
Heilala is the vanilla of choice for pro bakers for a reason. Its flavor is pungent and deep — so close to an actual vanilla bean that you can truly taste the difference between this and the bottled stuff. Plus, the company works closely with farmers in Tonga, keeping sustainable growing practices and fair-labor practices top of mind (not always the case in what is otherwise a fairly fraught industry).
For the food lover who takes pride in their salads
Anyone who makes salads regularly should have multiple vinegars in their arsenal. This one comes recommended by Harlan Turkell, author of Acid Trip and a true vinegar connoisseur. He calls it user-friendly and says “it can go on beans, in dressings, and in marinades.”
For the food lover who puts hot sauce on everything
Zab’s Original is a favorite of Strategist writer Dominque Pariso, who says it “has a very vinegary kick, and I put it on everything.” Strategist senior editor Winnie Yang, meanwhile, loves the St. Augustine style, also vinegar based but with a slightly sweeter heat. Do your favorite hot-sauce hoarder a favor and gift them both.
For the food lover who wants to expand their collection of spicy condiments
If they already have hot sauce covered, introduce them to the many wonders of chili crisp, which can be put on just about anything, from pizza to ice cream. For purists, there’s Lao Gan Ma, the original chili crisp and a favorite of Strategist contributor Mia Leimkuhler. In fact, it’s only mildly spicy, so this would also be a good bet for anyone who can’t take too much heat.
For the food lover who already has Lao Gan Ma in the fridge
Or for nontraditionalists, opt for Fly by Jing’s all-natural, non-GMO chili crisp, which leans a little funkier and a little spicier.
For the food lover who’s obsessed with spices
Sure, they probably already have cinnamon in their spice cabinet — but they might not have one as deeply flavorful as this (professional baker and author Hetal Vasavada calls it “naturally sweet”). Fair-trade spice company Burlap & Barrel has an extensive selection of jars, each as good as this one.
For the food lover whose go-to meal is tacos (or burritos or quesadillas)
Inspire them to make their own tortillas with what Rick Martínez says is the best masa harina you can find in the States. Masienda sources heirloom corn from farmers in Oaxaca (“the heartland of Mexico’s heirloom corn production,” as the website describes the area), and then dries and pulverizes it to a flourlike consistency.
For the food lover who eats peanut butter by the spoonful
If you want to stick with peanut flavor, what could be better than actual peanuts? But not just any old peanuts. Helena Barquet and Fabiana Faria, owners of New York City’s beloved design shop Coming Soon, are both obsessed with CB’s peanuts. “They taste like really good peanut butter,” says Faria. “They have a long shelf life. It’s a fun snack to put out when you have people over. They’re just delicious.” The brand also makes peanut butter, peanut brittle, and their own take on Cracker Jack.
For the food lover who adds salt to everything
If they’re the kind of person who puts flakes of sea salt on their steaks, chocolate chip cookies, and anything and everything else, you can’t do better than an entire bucket of cult favorite Maldon salt. Vogue sustainability editor Tonne Goodman told us it “seems a bit extreme, but then again, salt fanatics do exist. I gave it to my brother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook, and he laughed and loved it.”
For the food lover who already has Maldon
For a different finishing salt, try this smoked version, recommended by Strategist contributor Hannah Howard. She adds it to savory dishes like roasted potatoes and sweets like chocolate chip cookies alike, saying the flavor makes a “noticeable impact.” She also notes that the consistency is crunchier and slightly chunkier than Maldon’s flakes.
For the food lover who wants to up their cocktail game
Regular Visitors co-founder Daniel Sorg told us if his Brooklyn shop were still around, he would stock this liqueur made with black currants “grown just a few miles down the road from where the product is made.” Your recipient can drink it straight or top it with some seltzer for a spritz.
[Editor’s note: This liqueur should arrive in time for Christmas if you select expedited shipping.]
For the food lover who’s working on their night cheese
As Nobu 57 executive chef Matt Hoyle put it to us not too long ago, “I live in New York City, so no room for more pans, knives, or KitchenAids. I want something to eat.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s why he recommends giving chefs (or people who just love to eat) the gift of the ultimate cheese platter. This one, from Murray’s Cheese, features Roquefort, Comté Saint Antoine, goat bucheron, as well as Jambon De Bayonne (a.k.a. French prosciutto) and Castelvetrano olives.
[Editor’s note: Depending on where you live, Murray’s may be able to deliver in time for Christmas.]
For the food lover whose main cheese intake is a box of Annie’s
If they consistently eat boxed mac and cheese for dinner, help them up their game with this fancy cheddar powder — it tastes much more like actual cheese than the stuff you find in the packet. It’s also a perfect popcorn topping and can bring an unexpected flavor to roasted vegetables.
For the food lover who snacks on charcuterie
Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng recently tried this jamón ibérico, which “made me finally get the hype,” she says. “It’s just the hammiest jamón I’ve ever had.” She calla out the pronounced floral and nutty notes as well as the melty quality of the fat. “I also gave a tiny bit to a cat, and she went nuts,” Peng says. “She loves cured meat and is very picky, so that’s also a compliment.”
[Editor’s note: This jamón should arrive in time for Christmas if you select expedited shipping.]
For the food lover who is a tinned-fish enthusiast
Tinned fish came on the scene in a big way a few years ago and never really left — good news for those of us who can’t get enough. Fishwife makes sustainably caught, beautifully packaged cans, like this tuna that Strategist contributor Rio Viera-Newton says is the “tastiest and flakiest” she’s ever had.
[Editor’s note: This tinned fish should arrive in time for Christmas if you select expedited shipping.]
For the food lover who needs a night off
Nothing says “I love you” like giving an overworked friend or spouse or partner or parent the night (or week) off — even if they usually enjoy cooking. These ready-made soups are a favorite of Eater senior editor Jesse Sparks, who tells us, “I lean on Egunsi’s array of deeply comforting, soul-stirring soups and stew on days when I’ve barely had time to focus on one task for more than 15 minutes.” His favorite is the “robust and soothing Obe Ata,” which “channels my nostalgia for tomato soup on sick days, but elevates the cold-day classic with red and Habanero peppers.” This four-pack includes Sparks’ favorite Obe Ata as well as a melon seed Egunsi soup, peanut-based Groundnut soup, and brown-eyed-pea-based Gbegiri soup.
For the food lover who thinks breakfast is the most important meal of the day
These jams come in unusual flavors: rosemary grapefruit, chili pepper, and lemon saffron. While each would be a welcome addition to a slice of toast, they can be used in other applications, too. Set any of them out with cheese and crackers, or try one rubbed on a roasted meat.
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