Be sure to check our list for great tasty culinary gift ideas!
Fri., Dec. 3, 2010
AMCO Houseworks Adjustable Cookbook Holder ($29.99) is uniquely suited for giving; very few cooks have a dedicated cookbook stand, even though they need one. This adjustable stand can comfortably hold any cookbook, from the massive Larousse Gastronomique to the tiny Eating in Season: Recipes From Boggy Creek Farm, and the acrylic splash guard not only protects the pages but also has handy measurement equivalents engraved on it for quick reference. – Kate Thornberry
Microplane 4-Sided Box Grater ($34.95) is another sure winner. This is the Cadillac of box graters: Every grating surface is sharp and will stay sharp for decades. One side is a slicer for quick thin onions, cucumbers, etc. – perfect for those times when washing the food processor or mandoline is just not worth it. It's solid and sturdy, has a rubberized handle and feet, and cleans with a quick rinse. I found this item and the cookbook holder on a recent trip to Faraday's Kitchen Store, but they can also be found at most of the better culinary supply stores. – K.T.
Canning and preserving are regaining popularity with the grow-your-own and farm-to-market trends. Callahan's General Store has everything needed to get started. Get a Granite Ware enameled canner and a seven-jar capacity wire rack for $22.99. Callahan's also has pressure cookers, canning and freezing jars in every size and shape, funnels, tongs, racks, and special kits that include all necessary tools, as well as ingredients such as pickling spice, pectin, and spice kits for making salsa and other condiments. Alternately, you can buy a canning kit for yourself and make gifts yourself! – Claudia Alarcón
Pies from Royers Round Top Cafe make it easy to send your relatives in New England a taste of Southern comfort. Order online or by phone (979/249-3611, www.royersroundtopcafe.com); they ship anywhere in the country with just a few days' notice. My favorite is the butterscotch pie, which has a gooey, buttery center topped with caramelized sugar and toasted pecans. Whether it's buttermilk, coconut chess, pecan, or chocolate chip, just about everything that comes out of the Royers' oven is memorably good. $26.50 per pie plus shipping. – Rachel Feit
Olive oil from Texas Olive Ranch is made from Spanish Arbequina olives, which produce mild, sweet-tasting oil, freshly pressed at the ranch near Carrizo Springs. Texas Olive Ranch makes plain varieties as well as flavored oils infused with basil, roasted garlic, lemon, orange, chipotle, and even mesquite; they are available at the Downtown Farmers' Market (three bottles for $25), Central Market, Whole Foods, and other specialty food stores. $10 per 8.5-ounce bottle. – R.F.
Cocoa Puro Kaka'wa Cocoa Beans If you haven't tried Tom Pedersen's whole roasted cocoa beans layered in white, milk, and dark chocolate, you are missing a taste adventure. They combine the crunch and bitterness of a coffee bean with the sirenlike allure of creamy chocolate. Available at the Downtown Farmers' Market, Central Market, and at www.cocoapuro.com. $28 for a 12-ounce bag. – R.F.
Preserves from Confituras Stuff your loved ones' stockings and mouths with salted caramel pear butter and cranberry tangerine sauce from master canner and cosmic cowgirl Stephanie McClenny. In business only a few months, Confituras is already a finalist in the national Good Food Awards. The locally sourced small batches of jams, jellies, and preserves (4- and 8-ounce jars, $4-7) change with the seasons; they are available online (www.shop.confituras.net) and at Barton Creek Farmers Market, Downtown Farmers' Market, the Triangle Farmers' Market, Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Breed & Co., Con' Olio Oils & Vinegars, Farmhouse Delivery, La Boîte, and Whip In. – MM Pack
Go Local Austin discount card is a wallet-sized gift that provides discounts at small local businesses, both food-centric and otherwise. Good for a year, this $10 card offers discounts to farmers' market vendors, restaurants, food purveyors, and trailers. It's available online (www.thegolocalcard.com) or at booths at Austin-area farmers' markets. – MM.P.