Gift Guide 2016

The best holiday gifts for serious food lovers.

SHOP GIFTS FOR THE:

Drinking Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum—with its dark caramel and vanilla on first whiff, and its rich and velvety-smooth feel as you sip—is like drinking a crème brûlée, but with a long, dry finish. Add an ice cube if you must, but it's really worth it to give it a try without first.  — Serious Eats Staff

This cookbook has been my guide to learning how to use my donabe cooker, and thus far it hasn't let me down. It offers a wide range of recipes to help give you an idea of just how many one-pot dishes can be made using a donabe, plus background on the history and variety of donabe cookers.  — Daniel

On more than one occasion, I've been tempted to try out the cool new pepper mill on the block, but none of the ones I've used have held up over time. That's why I've settled on a good old classic, a wooden Peugeot pepper mill. The steel burrs last and deliver whatever grind I want, from fine-as-silt to chunky and coarse.  — Daniel

I must admit that I'm predisposed to like any confection that's simply called a "finger." A finger implies a certain size and scope that speaks to me. When the box of Nuubia SF's chocolate fingers I'd ordered arrived at our office, I made a beeline for the countertop that serves as Food Central at Serious Eats World Headquarters. It's a good thing, because they were gone in a minute—and with good reason. Creamy hazelnut praline mousse, surrounded by smooth and not-too-sweet dark chocolate, is my idea of a perfect finger food.  — Ed

When Serious Eats builds a customized gift basket, it looks something like this heady, pork-heavy array. Start with a bag of addictively salty-hot white cheddar–jalapeño popcorn, and then move on to the main course: smoky-sweet bacon-caramel popcorn, alongside a bag of sriracha-spiked bacon jerky. Finish off with a few hunks of salty-nutty-sweet peanut butter crunch toffee, and let the food coma begin. Bonus: Your giftee will also get a handy tote bag from our friends at Mouth, to commemorate their feast.  — Serious Eats Staff

These days, I keep this solid slab of steel permanently atop one of the burners of my stove. One side has a pebbled surface—ideal for getting extra-crisp, better-than-a-baking-stone crust on homemade pizzas. And, unlike a baking stone, this thing is going to last forever. The griddle arrives as shiny steel, but with just a few uses, it seasons up into a dark, slick nonstick surface that can be used for everything from pancakes to eggs to hamburgers to grilled cheese.  — Kenji

Another essential kitchen tool, the Microplane grater does fine grating work way better than those tiny, raspy holes on a box grater. Whether you're quickly grating fresh nutmeg or cinnamon, taking the zest off a lemon, or turning a clove of garlic into a fine purée, the Microplane is the tool to reach for. It'll make a great stocking stuffer for the budding cooking enthusiast. Just be sure to keep the safety guard on it—the idea is "stocking stuffer," not finger-shredder.  — Daniel

For years, I thought citrus presses were overhyped, absurdly specific, rarely useful, space-consuming, money-wasting gadgets. But it took only one use to see just how wrong I'd been—not only does a citrus press guarantee that you'll get way more juice out of every lemon and lime you squeeze, but you can say good-bye to stinging papercuts and all those infuriating attempts at pinching slippery stray seeds from your salad dressings and cocktails.  — Niki

A good bench scraper is one of those tools people don't think they need until they start using it. I use it for everything from transferring chopped vegetables or herbs from one place to another, to portioning dough, to giving my cutting board a quick clean. Next to my chef's knife, the bench scraper is the tool you'll see in my hand most often.  — Kenji

These wine glasses feel fancy enough for an elegant dinner party—and you can throw them in the dishwasher after, which is a pretty rare attribute. Their sturdy construction means you (or your giftee) can expect to hang on to these for several years.  — Serious Eats Staff

I'm a sucker for bentos, tiffins, and other tidy ways to carry lunch to the office, and the fact that I don't technically have an office to carry lunch to anymore has only slightly dampened my enthusiasm. This two-layer tiffin is neat and attractive without being too cutesy, and it's small enough that it won't occupy too much space in a shared fridge. In the warmer months, it'll do just as well for packing sandwiches and individual portions of salad or fresh fruit for a picnic.  — Miranda

Old cast iron has a perfectly smooth nonstick surface that's surprisingly easy to maintain. You can sear, bake, roast, braise, stew, and deep-fry in it, and there's nothing more thoughtful than a gift that you have to expend a bit of effort to find (check out eBay, yard sales, and flea markets). Of course, these modern Lodge pans will do in a pinch if vintage isn't in the cards.  — Kenji