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Feature

September 13, 2021
43 Best Gifts For People Who Are Really Into Food
Chocolate bars, vegan jerky, tinned fish, and more.
JL
Written by
Bryan Kim & Justine Lee

There are two types of people in the world: those who eat for the sake of eating and those who love to eat (and cook and stock their pantries with the best available goods). For the former, just about any type of gift will do — but, for the latter, the proper gift is one of the edible variety. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, a housewarming, a congratulatory occasion, or the holidays, you’ll find something exciting on this list of food gifts from shops and restaurants all across the country. From gluten-free cookies and cereal-studded pies to artisanal tahini and world-class brunch spreads, here’s how to make someone’s day (or year, in the case of the Salami of the Month Club).

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For People Who Like Salty, Cheesy Things

With 1.5 pounds of cheese, 6 ounces of meat slices, and a few accompanying snacks, this box from Murray’s Cheese (an NYC staple) is the ideal gift for anyone who firmly believes that a cheese plate is appropriate for any dining situation.

Get Murray’s Cheese Slam Dunk Snacks →

For Chocolate Lovers

If you really care about your loved one’s wellbeing, supply them with six bars from Tony’s Chocolonely. Not only does this company adhere to ethical sourcing practices, but they make a great prooduct as well. As opposed to some other artisanal options, these assorted milk chocolate bars actually taste like candy (in a good way).

Get Tony’s Chocolonely Super Duper Milk Bundle ($47) →

For Fishheads

Tinned fish is officially hot girl food — but that shouldn’t stop you from gifting these sardines to sad boys, rad dads, cool moms, et al. Nowadays, there’s a wide variety of great brands and varieties to choose from, but we love Fishwife for their meaty, ethically-procured sardines that go well on toast, pasta, and a bunch of other dishes.

Get Fishwife Wild-Caught Sardines In Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Preserved Lemons, 3-Pack ($24) →

For Pastry Snobs

Now, you can make Mike’s Pastry’s iconic cannolis with an easy do-it-yourself kit. It comes with your choice of classic or chocolate ricotta filling, plus powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and pistachio bits for decorating. And, because the kit ships nationwide, you don’t have to travel to Boston to get it.

Get Mike’s Famous Cannoli Kit ($50) →

For People Who Keep Things Spicy

If you know someone who drizzles or douses their food with Fly By Jing’s classic chili crisp, they probably go through their jars at the speed of light. This is precisely why they would benefit from a giant-sized Big Boi jar.

Get The Big Boi ($50) →

For People Who Eat Peanut Butter By The Spoonful

Variety is the spice of life, and that’s also the case with nut butter. Give the gift of not just one, but four unique spreads — from Fiji ginger almond butter to wildflower honey-infused peanut butter.

Get Big Spoon Roasters 3oz Classic Variety Pack ($25) →

For Pasta Lovers

Sfoglini’s range of noodles proves that all dried pastas are not one and the same. When they’re seasonally driven and made with locally sourced ingredients — like the pastas from Sfoglini are — you can taste the difference. Gift this subscription box to a carb-loving soul, and they’ll never go back to the usual grocery store stuff.

Get Sfoglini Seasonal Pasta Subscription ($65-$120) →

For The Wine Mavens

You probably know someone who talks about wine like it’s a close personal friend, and this person would undoubtedly appreciate a big box the stuff. Give them the gift of our wine club. There are a few different options for all kinds of wine drinkers, and, if you don’t want to commit to a full-on membership, you can always just do a one-time purchase.

Get The Wine Club By The Infatuation And Zagat ($75-$150) →

For Cookie Monsters

These cookies from Brooklyn-based baking queen Lani Halliday have a mega fanbase that includes Yoko Ono, The New York Times, and yours truly. They’re perfectly balanced with a soft-chewy crumb and a subtle crunch, plus they’re completely gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free.

Get Lani Halliday Miso Chocolate Chip Cookies ($25) →

For Those Who Know Good Bread

Your friends are still working on their sourdough skills. Until they get there, let them eat some loaves from the Bay Area experts at Tartine. This gift pack also includes a mini tea cake, and, of course, some of the bakery’s chocolate chip cookies.

Get Tartine Gift Pack ($65) →

For Those Who Brunch

Russ & Daughters is a legend when it comes to bagels, babka, lox, and other Eastern European Jewish staples. This epic bundle — the definition of a perfect New York-style morning spread — will bring any brunch fanatic to tears.

Get Russ & Daughters New York Brunch ($175) →

For The Person Who Loves Korean BBQ

Should your loved one still feel iffy about eating at restaurants, consider this kit from NYC Korean BBQ joint Cote Steakhouse. For $249 (with free shipping), you get an incredibly satisfying meal for four people with all the works: a quarter pound of USDA Prime marinated galbi, four tubs of pickled veggies, lettuce, and a jar of ssamjang for making ssam.

Get Prime Galbi Steak Feast for 4 ($249) →

For Those Who Appreciate Quality Spices

Diaspora Co. has been known to sell out of their spices — and that should tell you something. This company sources their single origin spices from over 100 farms in India and Sri Lanka, and they offer everything from Kashmiri Chili to Anamalai Nutmeg. Their Pragati Turmeric is always a good call, but we suggest a customizable variety pack.

Get Diaspora Co. Build Your Own Pack →

For Anyone Who Loves A Good Date

Medjool dates will never forget to call you back. So if you (or someone you know) needs a light snack after going on a terrible (human) date, a box of Medjools is perfect — especially when they come straight from Rancho Meladuco Date Farm in California.

Get Rancho Meladuco Signature Hand-Packed Medjool Dates ($20) →

For Deep Dish Aficionados

Your friends deserve good deep dish. Unfortunately, this regional specialty is mostly just found in Chicago. But if you don’t happen to live there, you can always get your pies off Goldbelly. Our top Chicago deep-dish pick, Pequods, has a few different nationwide delivery options, such as this mix-and-match three-pack.

Get Pan-Style Deep Dish Pizza, Choose Your Own 3 Pack ($99) →

For Pizza Traditionalists

Looking for pizza of the non-deep-dish variety? Go with Di Fara. This is a top-five (and arguably the best) pizza place in NYC, and you can get their pies shipped frozen to someone’s doorstep through Goldbelly. They’ll even come with basil and parm on the side. Don’t forget to add those. They’re important.

Get Di Fara Classic + Pepperoni Neapolitan Pizza Combo, 2 Pack ($95) →

For Your Vegan Friends

Your non-dairy friends are going to love this variety pack of I-can’t-believe-it’s-plant-based scoops from Blue Marble that come in three creamy vegan flavors.

Get Best of Vegan Blue Marble Organic Ice Cream, 6 Pints ($99) →

For The Aspiring Chef

It’s no secret that we love Omsom. Their seasoning kits are not only laughably easy to use (which allows you to be sort of lazy), but they taste great as well. Gift this big bundle with all of Omsom’s starter packs, including their Krapow, Larb, Spicy Bulgogi, and Lemongrass BBQ kits (among others).

Get Omsom The Try ’Em All Set ($70) →

For People Who Top Everything With Salt

Should your friend’s Instagram feed be saturated with gorgeous pics of food dotted with flaky sea salt, consider it a sign that they need a big tub of Maldon in their lives.

Get Maldon Sea Salt ($25) →

For People Who Eat Out Of Mixing Bowls

Ready-to-eat cookie dough isn’t necessarily something you’d buy for yourself. It’s a luxury, and an offbeat one at that. That’s why you should surprise someone with this variety pack of doughs from Doughp — which has emphatically received our seal of approval.

Get Doughp Bestseller 4-Pack ($34) →

For Coffee Enthusiasts

A lot of people are particular about their coffee choices, but we’ve never met a coffee drinker who doesn’t like a nice cup of cold brew. And Grady’s is the crème de la crème. This just-add-water pouch is perfect for anyone who wants a caffeine buzz as fast and easy as possible.

Get Grady’s Ban Bag Cold Brew Kit ($30) →

For Seafood Lovers

Walk into the main entrance of Pike Place Market, and the first thing you’ll see is a vast quantity of seafood (some of which is being thrown around, for the benefit of tourists). Let a friend see what the hype is about with a dozen live Kumamoto Oysters. (Oyster shucking is a highly underrated at-home activity.) If you’re attempting to win a gift-giving award, you can also do a whole king salmon.

Get Pike Place Market Kumamoto Oysters, 1 Dozen ($30) →

For Anyone Who Loves Tea

Yuja cha is a super soothing Korean tea made from the yuja citrus fruit (also known as yuzu). It might be a bit different from your typical bagged or loose leaf blends, but it’s just as versatile, no matter how you like your tea. Add a little to your hot water for a subtly sweet drink, or use a generous scoop for a comforting cup with bold citrus and honey notes.

Get Ottogi Honey Tea, 35 oz ($20) →

For Sesame Obsessives

Seed + Mill makes some of our favorite tahini (made from organic Ethiopian sesame seeds). Gift someone this set that comes with a few types of Seed + Mill halva, and — if you have yet to try this tahini — be sure to pick up a jar for yourself.

Get Seed + Mill Sampler Set ($48) →

For Bubble Tea Fans

Anyone who’s been to one of Bar Pa Tea’s locations will know how amazing and well-crafted their bubble tea is. Their sampler box is the perfect thrifty gift for anyone in your social circle who might spend a hefty chunk of their paycheck on going out to get bubble tea. The next time that craving hits, all they’ll need to do is head to their kitchen.

Get Bar Pa Tea Premium Bubble Tea Kit ($35) →

For People Who Keep It Zero-Proof

Nowadays, there are a lot of great non-alcoholic drinks that mimic spirits like gin and whiskey. But Ghia goes another route. Their apéritif is unique, herbal, and lightly sweet, and it feels like a fully realized bottled cocktail. Get it for anyone in your life who likes to sip on zero-proof stuff.

Get Ghia Apéritif ($33) →

For Zero-Proof Cocktail Fans

Another zero-proof option, Wilfred’s is an apéritif from the UK that’s great for mixing up non-alcoholic spritzes at home. It’s a lightly sweet blend of sharp orange and rosemary with hints of clove and rhubarb, and it’ll go perfectly with some seltzer, a lemon twist, and a cheese board.

Get Wilfred’s Non-Alcoholic Bittersweet Aperitif ($32) →

For Fish Sauce Connaisseurs

Red Boat fish sauce is great, and, if you want to give that as a gift, go for it. But for something a little more out of the ordinary, try this wax-dipped, barrel-aged collaboration between BLiS and Red Boat.

Get BLiS Bourbon Barrel Red Boat Fish Sauce, 2-Pack ($38) →

For Someone Who Needs To Stock Their Pantry

Moving into a new place is hard. Stocking a new kitchen is harder. Fortunately, New York Shuk offers a thorough set of Mediterranean spices, sauces, and other staples for filling your pantry. As a housewarming gift, it’ll be highly appreciated.

Get The New York Shuk Pantry ($139) →

For Someone Who Doesn't Know How To Make Drinks

This gift is only food-adjacent, but it’ll help a friend upgrade their next dinner party — especially if this friend has no clue how to stir or shake a drink. DRNXMYTH’s cocktails are expertly mixed and made from the same quality ingredients you’d find in a high-end bar, and this comprehensive pack comes with 10 different drinks that are ready serve.

Get DRNXMYTH The Full Bar ($118) →

For Anyone Who Loves Umami

Momofuku is a master in umami. This bundle of chili crisp, soy sauce, and savory seasoned salt is from the company’s latest venture into pantry staples, and it can instantly elevate even the blandest of dishes.

Get Umami Essentials Pack ($30, was $36) →

For Vegetarians

For veggie-eating pals who want to go to the farmers market everyday but can’t, get them this produce box straight from Norwich Meadows Farm. Based outside of NYC, the farm holds a reputation for supplying high-end restaurants with exceptional, hyper-seasonal vegetables.

Get Norwich Meadows Farmer’s Choice Box, Small ($59) →

For People Who Keep It Sort-Of-Healthy

Anyone who eats their veggies but never turns down a dessert will love this middle ground. For $40, Bubble Goods provides an assortment of five ayurvedic chocolate bars and a bag of crunchy cacao nibs. Every product is raw and either dairy-free or completely vegan.

Get Ayurveda Chocolate Gift Box ($40) →

For Those Who Like Meat And Exciting Things

Some people gift bathrobes and slippers. Others gift subscriptions to a salami of the month club. The latter is obviously preferable, and you can easily go that route with this offering from Olympia Provisions. Sign someone up, and, once a month, your friend or loved one will receive a different salami from this Portland-based cured meat specialist.

Get Olympia Provisions Salami of the Month Club ($240) →

For Experimental Home Cooks

Flavor-infused vinegar is the trendiest cooking ingredient as of late. So if you have someone in your life who loves to experiment in the kitchen, gift them a trio of cooking vinegars from NYC-based crafters Ramp Up. Black garlic, red miso, and ramp vinegar will provide a refreshing departure from the standard balsamic.

Get Ramp Up Trio Collection ($38, was $42) →

For People Who Use Olive Oil In Just About Anything

We’ve spoken before about our love for Brightland. The yawn-inducing green bottles you find in stores often claim they’re extra-virgin but, in all likelihood, they may be mass-manufactured blends of olive oil and filler oils (like palm and canola.) In Brightland’s aesthetic jugs, you can count on finding pure EVOO from heirloom California olives.

Get Brightland The Duo ($74) →

For The Bakers In Your Life

No baker will deliberately ask for this — but they will get pretty emotional if they receive it as a gift. Vanilla extract is nice, but rich, thick, potent vanilla paste is an absolute luxury.

Get Heilala Pure Vanilla Paste ($61) →

For Anyone Who Just Needs A Pie

At the very least, five to ten of your acquaintances could really use a pie right now. And that number doubles when the pie in question is a Fruity-Pebble-and-Fruit-Loop filled one from LA dessert shop The Pie Hole. This is their signature pie for a reason.

Get Cereal Killer Pie ($65) →

For Barbecue Enthusiasts

Summer might be over, but, for some, barbecue is forever. This lineup of full-size bottled sauces from Kansas City’s top BBQ establishments — from Jack Stack to Zarda — is perfect for major grill enthusiasts.

Get Kansas City BBQ Sauce Variety Sampler Gift Pack ($43) →

For Fans Of Jerky (And Biltong)

Slim Jims walked so that biltong, a South-African air-dried jerky, could run. The biltong from Kalahari Snacks is paleo and free of hard-to-pronounce chemicals — which we can’t say about Slim Jims.

Get Kalahari Biltong Variety Pack ($30) →

For Vegan Fans Of Jerky

Because your vegan friends deserve to eat jerky too.

Get Urban Cowboy Foods Vegan Jerky ($30) →

For Someone Who Needs Better Snacks

Yes, we’re telling you to gift frozen pizza bites. Why? Because these ones from Snow Days are grain-free and organic, made from ingredients like cassava and grass-fed mozzarella. Also, they’re delicious. Anyone you send them to will agree.

Get Snow Days Grain-Free Pizza Bites 2-Pack ($31) →

For Anyone With A Sweet Tooth

We all have something that makes us feel like a kid in a candy store, be it expensive sneakers, jewelry, or houseplants. For some, it’s straight-up candy. Should this sound like someone you know, we suggest this giant box of sweets, both classic and modern.

Get GoldBelly Classic CandyCare Pack ($89) →

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