Five Culinary Gifts to Supercharge This Giving Season

Giving the gifts you’d love to get is always a smart move

We’re not recommending anything here that we wouldn’t want for ourselves or our families or the dear friends who've stuck with us through thick and thin (or through pizzas that were thick or thin), through booze and blather, through Covid plague and cringe-y playlists, and so on in that BFF way.

We’re presenting this fiver of truly awesome culinary gifts at a variety of price points for your shopping ease and pleasure, as the annual winter holidays come a-rushing in like a ravening horde of celebration once again.

1. ANTONELLI’S MONTHLY CHEESE CLUB The goodness of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop is already well-known in this town and – thanks in part to their many videos and Zoom sessions, especially during that first pandemic year of 2020 – all over the world. And a trip to Antonelli’s in Hyde Park is always among the finest of culinary retail therapies to be had anywhere, even moreso if it includes one of their cheese classes. On the other hand, who wouldn’t also like to have a batch of curated cheeses and other comestibles delivered right to their home, month after month? Mmmhmm, Antonelli’s offers a standard membership for $72 and a deluxe membership for $92, and “each month's selection varies, generally offering three to five cheeses and sometimes including a pairing (like regional preserves, honey, or chocolate).”

2. JACOBSEN SALT SLIDE TINS There are so many different kinds of salt out there, especially when it comes to salts that have been smoked, salts that have a variety of flavors enhancing their rich minerality, salts in the form of grains or flakes or pebbles … Yes, the saline sector of the food market is well-covered by many different companies, to the delight of all our palates. And now the good people at Jacobsen Salts out of Oregon offer just such a diverse wrangling of salts in a collection of thin, elegantly designed, eminently collectible sliding-top tins that work well – ah, hell, they work perfectly – as stocking stuffers. And, at around $10 each, they’re an easily affordable bang for any would-be Santa’s gifting buck.

3. MÄNNKITCHEN PEPPER CANNON Yeah, this thing: It's the single most expensive item on our list – $200 – but it's also the most impressive. Still, we can almost sense you wondering: Why the hell would anyone want to spend so much of their hard-earned money on a, what is it, a pepper grinder? Oh, we’ve got a whole blogpost that tells you why, citizen – and you won’t believe what happened to the Horse Leg.

4. HIGH CAMP FLASKS Sometimes we prefer to enjoy our imbibing outdoors – on beaches, at parks, in the mountains, among live fires and perhaps a few tipsy tales of youthful indiscretion. You know: While camping. And, as sure as the word glamping was coined as a combination of glamorous and camping, the surgical-steel vessels of High Camp Flasks are precisely what you need to bring a bright melding of practicality and style to your wildest or most casual excursion. These hardworkin’ flasks and tumblers come in a handy variety of sizes, colors, and configurations, yes; but, since we’re very rarely camping alone, we especially recommend the Firelight 750 Flask, which includes two six-shooter tumblers and a 750ml vacuum-insulated flask – enough to contain an entire fifth of your favorite spirit or a full bottle of wine. At $125, tell you what, it’s just the thing to keep you and your Significant Camping Other properly lubricated.

5. A GLOWING OF CANDLES Okay, candles may seem a bit out-of-category for this particular Gift Guide list. But candles do, after all, add a touch of classic romance to a good meal, a certain mellowing (or witchy) atmosphere to any gathering. But, also, the candles we’re considering here are trés fancy candles from local hospitality venues: The South Congress Hotel Candle – a 100% soy candle, with notes of mint leaf, smoky vetiver, silvermoss, and sandalwood, that will burn for 60 hours; June’s Candle by Boy Smells, inspired by June’s All Day and redolent of bergamot, cassis, anise, coriander, daffodil, and tonka, and created from coconut oil and beeswax; and the Hotel St. Cecilia Candle, produced in collaboration with Lola James Harper, that effuses the warmth of musk and cardamom throughout a lucky room. And that’s just what’s easily linked to. (We’ve also got intel that Sway, the excellent Thai restaurant on Bee Caves Road, has its own candles (and soaps) for sale – and who doesn’t like even the slightest excuse to visit that veritable temple of satisfying cuisine?) Soytastic bonus: You can also find an array of candle-licious action from Brooklyn scent savants D.S. & Durga among the eclectic snacks and fine sundries of Neighborhood Goods (1007 S. Congress).

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