No one ever asks for the receipt to return that mountain-made bottle of whiskey. For the adventurous foodie on your list, here are 14 delicious and useful gifts.
Linden & True Coffee ($18)
Stuff the stocking of your favorite runner with some magic speed beans—by which we mean coffee, of course. We wrote about this brand after a cup fueled marathoner Des Linden’s historic Boston win. The monthly subscriptions sold out in a hot second, but the company still has single bags for sale.
Trail Truffles ($23)
Can we buy stock in this company? Made from dates, almonds, coconut, cacao, and other whole-food ingredients, but tasting more like a treat than an obligatory calorie-replacement snack, my biggest issue with Trail Truffles is that I can eat an entire pack in one sitting. I love the mint-crème and peanut-butter-cup flavors, but the variety pack, with all four flavors, is guaranteed to please.
Garrison Brothers The Cowboy Whiskey (From $200)
OK, to be fair: if you can get your hands on a bottle of this, you may just keep it for yourself. No one will blame you. Garrison Brothers whiskey is a Texas favorite for good reason. Everything the distillery makes sticks with you long after your last sip is gone. The Cowboy is aged in barrels handpicked by founder Dan Garrison and master distiller Donnis Todd, and then bottled unfiltered and uncut. They only made 4,725 bottles, so may the odds be ever in your favor. If you can’t find the Cowboy, any of their other spirits makes a worthy stand-in.
Michael Symon’s ‘Playing with Fire’ Cookbook ($20)
A 240-page love letter to cooking with fire, this cookbook is for the pyromaniac in your life. The recipes are meat heavy—Symon’s last book was entitled Carnivore, so this should surprise no one. If you love brisket, pulled pork, fire-roasted chicken, and pretty much any other type of meat, you’ll be in hog heaven. Are there veggie recipes in here? Maybe. We were too transfixed by the smoked crown roast and homemade bacon to notice.
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine ($499)
So you want to live in your van, but you also want great coffee? This pint-size espresso machine delivers an excellent cup and only demands about one square foot of real estate. The unit heats up in three seconds, and the steam wand is adjustable, so you can make your latte just the temperature you love.
Best of Kakawa Chocolate Elixir Set ($42)
This Santa Fe-based chocolate shop wants you to know what chocolate used to be like before mass-market companies defiled it. The three drinking chocolates in this mix draw on Mesoamerican, European, and classic American chocolate traditions. The flavors are deep and complex, not cavity-inducing sweet (even in the American Elixir mix, which uses some milk chocolate). Drink them as they are, or mix the three flavors to create a cup that satisfies your exact craving.
Yeti Rambler Stacking Tumblers ($50 for a set of two)
This is the perfect gift to shame your friend who still uses solo cups around a bonfire. (You know those are going to be in a landfill for like 300 years, right?) We love that these tumblers are stackable—you can carry a bunch from the car without making ten trips—and have a serious level of insulation to keep your IPA cold until you’re ready for the next round.
Solo Stove Bonfire ($350)
We love our s’mores without a side of serious smoke inhalation, thank you very much. The Solo Stove bonfire uses a double-walled frame to bring oxygen efficiently into the fire. An efficient burn is a clean burn with way less smoke. The result is that you can sit by the campfire all night without smelling like you rolled in an ashtray the next morning.
Full Windsor The Muncher Multitool ($50)
A spork, knife, veggie peeler, and fire starter, plus six other functions in one cool titanium utensil—who doesn’t need this? It weighs less than an ounce, so it’s ideal for the weight weenie in your life. We particularly love that it comes in a case that you can snap right onto your pack, because digging underneath three days’ worth of dirty underwear for your spork isn’t exactly appetizing.
Sea to Summit Alpha 2 Pot Cookset 2.2 ($90)
Weighing just 27 ounces, this set has everything the backpacking chef in your life needs: two pots, two bowls, two mugs, and one dishrag. Even better, everything nests within the largest pot, and the handles fold flat for storage. Little details, like a lid perch and a built-in pasta strainer, make it clear that this set was designed for campers by campers.
Huckberry 128 UKeg Growler ($257)
This gallon-size growler keeps beer fresh and carbonated for weeks, and with a built-in CO2 canister, it’s almost more keg than growler. But it’s totally portable, and the double-walled vacuum insulation means it stays cool without having to be stuck in a bathtub full of ice. We love the shiny copper finish, though the matte black isn’t a bad choice either.
‘Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook’ ($14)
Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the best plant-based chefs in the world, and his dishes never make you feel like you’re missing meat. But in the past, we’ve recommended his cookbooks with one firm caveat: only buy them if you don’t mind intensely complicated recipes with long ingredient lists. Finally, he wrote a cookbook for mortals. This is not a true vegetarian cookbook; there are meat recipes mixed in. But the majority of the book is plant forward, and the dishes—like zucchini and ciabatta frittata or grilled beefsteak tomatoes with chili, garlic and ginger—shine.
Skratch Labs Mix It Up Box ($75)
For the person who keeps saying they’re going to start making their own energy bars but needs a push to actually do it, this is that push. Full of custom cookie mixes, other ingredients, recipes that use those ingredients, and fun Skratch-branded kitchen stuff (we covet the apron), this box would get pretty much anyone jazzed up about DIY bars. There are some premade bars in the box, too, in case your friend is still too lazy.
Truff White Truffle Limited Release Hot Sauce ($35)
Truffle oil is so 2010. For the gourmand who has to be cutting edge, there is this: hot sauce spiked with rare white truffles. It’s got the heat you’d expect, but it also brings both umami (thanks to the ’shrooms) and spice (thanks to the organic coriander). Will you feel silly spending $35 on a bottle of hot sauce? Yes. Will your loved one wince a bit when they pull the bottle—which looks like a garish perfume bottle—out in a greasy spoon? Yes. But they will regret nothing as they shovel truffle-spiked goodness down their pieholes.