I’m often asked to provide gift ideas — for birthdays, special occasions and the holidays. More often than not, the person who will receive the gift is a food or kitchen enthusiast which makes my job even easier!
Summer is filled with gifting occasions. I travel, friends move into new homes, there are plenty of birthdays and endless plans for get-togethers, picnics and pool parties. These are moments when gifts (both big and small) are appreciated — and I think it’s important to have a list of items ready to go. You never know when a beach party will pop up, a friend will need a pick-me-up, or someone special will have a reason to celebrate.
Before you buy anything, always consider the gift of food. There’s something so special about taking the time to share handmade goodies from your kitchen. During the next few weeks, I will be jarring fresh pesto, boxing lemon bars, sanding pates de fruit pieces and delivering fresh pies to the people I care about. Just little reasons to make every day brighter!
I also shop and ship gifts around the world. Here is a list of gift items I’ve recently purchased for friends, all of which received rave reviews!
Himalyan Salt Tablets — These wonderful salt blocks can be used on a grill, in the oven, or on your tabletop. They impart just the slightest bit of salt onto food and the resulting taste is fantastic! Use them for foods like grilled shrimp, baked vegetables or even cold sushi! It’s such a unique gift kitchen cooks and home entertainers will enjoy. Sold at places like Sur la Table and specialty grocery stores.
Boos Cutting Boards — These are my favorite cutting boards. They are sturdy, durable and above all, beautiful to look at. These are the boards that all the kitchen pro’s use, in fact, they are mostly distributed through restaurant supply stores and industrial warehouses. Thanks to the internet, you can find them online!
Whisks and Spatulas — As a cook, I find I can never have enough good whisks and spatulas in my kitchen. On my countertop, sits jars and jars of whisks, spatulas and cooking utensils all ready to be used. I have a preference for strong stainless steel whisks and a love for heat resistant flat spatulas. I own quite a bit of wooden and silicone tools, but my favorites are the stainless steel and rubber tipped. When I give cooking tools as gifts, I tie several together with a pretty ribbon. No need for gift wrap as the steel is sparkling by itself!
Bottled Imports and Specialty Condiments — People love to receive regional wines and champagne. I find they are just as thrilled with locally crafted bottles of oils and condiments. The Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon sells condiments handmade by monks and nuns, while nearby farms and vineyards make their own preserves and fruit baskets. If you’re not in the Pacific Northwest but have access to ethnic grocery stores, I find that a basket filled with small bottles of Middle Eastern orange blossom water, Italian fruit flavored vinegars, Mediterranean infused oils and even marinades (like HP sauce) are considered thoughtful and unique.
The best gifts, of course, are made from the time and thoughtfulness put into them. I hope these ideas spur moments for you to reflect on someone special and that you share in the joy and fun of great friends. It’s the best gift of all!