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The 2018 Eater Holiday Gift Guide

There’s plenty to give the food enthusiast in your life, from cool restaurant swag to the best new cookbooks (and everything in between)

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The holidays are coming, meaning it’s time to start buying people stuff. Lots of stuff. And what better strategy is there for gift-giving than leaning into the one thing pretty much everyone loves: food.

Of course, not everyone loves food the same way. This year, Eater is catering to a few recognizable people in your life: the enterprising home chef or baker, the beverage snob, the perpetual host with the most Instagrammable home, and the restaurant obsessive.

In every category, we’ve drawn from the sources we know best: chefs and restaurants. In the spirit of our weekly shopping column, Buy This Thing, we asked the pros for their favorite items — Preeti Mistry’s preferred immersion blender, an olive oil cruet beloved by Anthony Mangieri — as well as items you might have spied (and coveted) at actual restaurants, like the gold scissors from Di An Di in New York or the enamel trays used at Houston’s Better Luck Tomorrow. These standout recommendations are sprinkled throughout the guide, along with great picks from Eater editors, at a variety of price levels.

Not finding what you’re looking for? Explore Eater’s city-by-city recommendations for gift givers (or receivers) in New York, Charleston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Denver, Detroit, Austin, and the Twin Cities. Dive even deeper into cookbooks with our spring, summer, and fall guides from this year; or nerd out over more kitchen gadgets with the comprehensive gadget guide for the adventurous home chef.

When it comes to gift giving, as with everything this season, the more the merrier.

For the Home Cook

For the person who hoards cookbooks, meal-preps like a pro, and was the first person you knew to own their own sous vide, we’ve got cooking and baking products (including cookbooks!) galore.

The essential palette knife The chef behind Talde, Massoni, and Rice & Gold in NYC, Dale Talde is “obsessed” with the handmade palette knives from Town Cutler: “They’re perfect for cooking a delicate fish, and dope for flipping pancakes.” Town Cutler Palette Knife, $35
A pro-level rice cooker Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Chicago’s Monteverde swears by this rice cooker, which she loves for its ease, speed, and a new “crisping bottom function” which lets you make dishes like paella in a single pot. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer, $484
A traditional olive oil cruet This design is a standard for a reason. Pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana says this cruet is durable, washable, and sturdy, and “it pours out just the right amount of oil with a tip of the wrist.” Forza Forni Classic Olive Oil Cruet, $30
A marble mortar and pestle For grinding spices or making chutneys and pesto, nothing works better than a mortar and pestle. Chef Mei Lin of LA’s Nightshade collects them, always looking for ones with “good weight,” like this marble stone version. Food52 Natural Stone Mortar and Pestle, $135
A top-notch immersion blender Chef Preeti Mistry has been cooking more at home these days, so she prefers the smaller size of All-Clad’s stick blender to the ones she uses in professional kitchens. Either way, they’re “a super useful tool to blend soups and sauces.” All-Clad Immersion Stick Blender, $100
A classic Staub cocotte A Staub Dutch oven is more than a pot; it’s an instant heirloom. Chef Julia Sullivan of Nashville’s Henrietta Red loves the 8.5-quart oval cocottes, she says, because they’re the “perfect size for braising meats or slow cooking stews in the winter.” Staub 8.5-Quart Oval Cocotte, $410
Fancy lemon saffron marmalade Chef, writer, and instructor Klancy Miller is obsessed with this golden marmalade, which will take your friend’s baked goods to the next level. “It’s great on toast, but I also add it to stewed fruit like nectarines or peaches or apples and then I make a galette with the fruit,” she says. Brins Lemon Saffron Marmalade, $9
A copper pot for jam making For the friend who’s obsessed with preserving, this is the absolute best pot. The shape is the key, says Ginger Elizabeth Hahn of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in San Francisco. “The bottom of the pan has a smaller diameter than the top, which helps water evaporate and maintains flavor intensity with no caramelization afternotes.” Mauviel Copper Jam Pan, $280
Harissa-in-a-tube For those who love to mix “spice and sweetness,” like chef Carolina Santos-Neves, give Entube’s harissa. Santos-Neves mixes it with honey to make a marinade, which she drizzles over fish, sweet potatoes, or carrots, and even puts into a tagine with dried mixed fruit. Entube Harissa Chili Paste, $8
A tiny but powerful whisk For the home cook who has everything, this simple coil whisk is a game changer. “The rounded loop of wires is ideal for deglazing a pan or making sauces as the flatter shape constantly maintains contact with the bowl,” says Thomas Raquel, pastry chef at Le Bernardin, “preventing potential scorching or lumps.” Fox Run Flat Coil Whisk, $6
Extra-pretty olive oil Chef Kat Turner of LA’s Highly Likely Cafe is into California olive oil and loves the packaging on Brightland’s new line. She pours the Awake blend on burrata — “its bright, piquant, peppery vibes play beautifully with the creamy cheese” — and loves the “buttery profile” of Alive for chewy, crusty bread. Brightland “Awake” and “Alive” Olive Oil Duo, $74
Saibashi cooking chopsticks For the home cook with a small kitchen, these long chopsticks take up almost no space but can be used for countless tasks, from scrambling eggs and turning fish in a pan to plating food — and eating sushi. “They’re an extension of a sushi chef’s hand,” says chef Yoya Takahashi of Hamasaku & Umi, who swears by them. Saibashi Bamboo Cooking Chopsticks Set, $4.50
A baking basics primer Pastry chef and instructor Rose Levy Beranbaum is best known for Cake Bible, the 1988 classic. Her newest book is perfect for the beginner baker looking to master a few classics, with step-by-step photos to ensure each technique, from ganache and meringue to cobbler and cake, is a success. Rose’s Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, $22
A new essentials guide Give the cookbook that’s a new go-to for elegant weeknight dinners, dressed-up weekend brunches, and surprisingly easy large-format meals. Dorie Greenspan’s roasted chicken — stuffed with a scallion-herb butter and baked atop stale bread and sliced onions that soak up all of the chicken’s glorious juices — might just change someone’s life. Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook, $23
An ode to solo cooking “Some days you’ll want to eat light and healthy; on other days, butter is a perfectly good substitute for love,” writes chef Anita Lo, whose cookbook turns preparing a meal from a chore into the best sort of self-love. Plus, her professional experience translates into truly smart shortcuts for home cooks. Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, $18
The latest Chrissy Teigen installment Everywoman and pro Twitter user Chrissy Teigen has proved she’s not just a flash in the pan. In her second cookbook, she opens up about cooking for a family and offers dishes that will become new standards, as well as new takes on classic Thai food from her childhood. Cravings: Hungry for More, $19
Kitchen storage that’s also art Chefs Anna and David Posey of Elske in Chicago love pottery for their restaurant and home. This Keith Kreeger piece is similar to one they bought “that’s turned into the most amazing utensil holder,” thanks to its sturdiness. Bonus: “It’s a beautiful art piece in itself.” Keith Kreeger Hand-Thrown Turquoise and Matte Black Vase, $225
Bake-at-home Cuban pastries These flaky, buttery puff pastries from the famous Porto’s in LA, filled with sweet guava and cream cheese, now ship nationwide and arrive frozen, ready for baking — perfect to help a novice baker fulfill their pastry chef dreams. Porto Bakery Pastel de Guayaba (Guava Pastry) and Refugiados (Guava & Cheese Pastry), $17 for a dozen
The timeless delight of sprinkles “Literally everything needs sprinkles,” says Tiffany MacIsaac of DC’s Buttercream Bakeshop. Her store has an entire wall dedicated to sprinkles of every shape, color, and size, since “there’s no single best sprinkle — only the best one for the job.” Wilton Everyday Mega Sprinkles Set, $27
An attractive spice set For the friend or family member with a cabinet full of old spices, give the gift of fresh cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and chile. Packaged in sets of complementary blends, these make a great stocking stuffer. Spicewalla Collections, $14-$22

For the Drink Lover

For the beverage snob in your life — the one who’ll only drink single-origin beans roasted before their very eyes, or who prefers to whisk their own matcha lattes, or who can identify not one, not two, but three different fruit notes in their wine — check out these drink-related gifts.

Negronis by the bottle An ever-satisfying Italian cocktail, the next best thing to a freshly stirred negroni is one of these single-serving bottles from Brooklyn-based distillery St. Agrestis. St. Agrestis Ready-to-Drink Negroni Four-Pack, $25
A scientifically constructed whisky glass The ergonomics of this carefully crafted glass allow your favorite whisky drinker to sip and smell their whisky at the same time. Norlan Whisky Glass, $48 for two
A Stagg electric kettle Recommended by Allie Caran, director of education at Toby’s Estate Coffee, this gorgeous kettle is perfect for the caffeine fiend(s) in your life looking to change up their coffee routine. Stagg EKG Electric Pour-Over Kettle, $149
An alternative for an Aprerol Spritz Classic negronis and boulevardiers are safe, but they’d be equally as crushable when Campari is swapped for its cousin, Cappelletti. Same goes for the Aperol in those all-the-rage spritzes. Cappelletti Aperitivo Rosso, $19
A classic amaro Italy celebrates this liqueur as one of its best; a blend of sweet and bitter notes mean it’s an ideal digestif or cocktail ingredient. Amaro Montenegro, $27
The chicest to-go cup ever If there’s a better accessory for an outdoor picnic than a leather Thermos, we haven’t found it yet. Sol&Luna Leather Thermos, $95
A mini cocktail library The gang’s all here in this set of cocktail recipe books from the editors of Punch. Each book is dedicated to a beloved spirit. PUNCH The Mini Bar: 100 Essential Cocktail Recipes Set, $13
Cocktail glasses with personality Looks delicate, is functional: These ripple highball glasses each vary slightly in shape and demand prime real estate on bar carts. TRNK Ripple Long Glasses, $75 for set of four
Alcohol-free libations This line of booze-free craft cocktails comes in two flavors; the No. 2 is like a cross between a margarita and a dark and stormy with a little pineapple mixed in. Curious Elixirs No. 2 Cocktails, $35 for four bottles
An eye-catching wine vessel Meet your new party trick. A glass porron — a staple around parts of northern Spain — allows for wine to be poured directly into your guests’ mouths. Hand-Blown Glass Porron Wine Pitcher, $50
A playful water jug We’re slightly obsessed with jugs, and this curvy number from the MoMA Design Store in amber glass will look good on any table setting. HAY Glass Jug, $35
A portable wine cooler Keep your bottle of wine (or sparkling water) cool when lugging it to the beach, the park, or just around the dinner table. Vinglacé Single Wine Cooler, $90
Fancy-shmancy coasters Quite literally elevating any glassware are these elegant brass coasters, which even look good sitting on the table when not doing their job. FruitSuper Design Brass Lift Coasters, $68 for set of four
Retro tumblers A dreamy addition to any curio cabinet or bar cart are these toffee-tinted, vintage-inspired glasses. Schoolhouse Textured Lowball Glasses, $18
A dainty creamer This petite piece of porcelain, with its cloudy swirls, is perfect for morning coffee, evening cocoa, and everything in between. Haand Porcelain Cloud Creamer, $24

For the Home Entertainer

For the person whose Instagrams are less about the food and more about the beautiful ceramic plates underneath, or for the perpetual host with the perfectly set table, we’ve got gorgeous picks for the home.

Porcelain dumplings These hand-made dumplings will look great on any shelf, desk, or bedside table. For an extra-special gift, consider picking up a the limited-edition one plated with 22-karat gold. Stone Dumpling House Dumplings, $30 each for white, $108 for gold
A pair of bud vases Spotted at what was arguably this year’s trendiest restaurant, MeMe’s Diner in Brooklyn, Ikea bud vases are long on charm but low in price. These stoneware vases, nearly identical to those at Meme’s, make for restaurant-worthy centerpieces. Ikea Gradvis Vases, $6 for two
Gold scissors for the table The best — and easiest — way to cut a pizza is with scissors, and the best scissors are gold. Buy this pair, which Vietnamese restaurant Di An Di sends out to tables that order the crispy rice-paper pizza, for the friends who love a good pizza night. Youzhixuan Dragon Relief Design Shears, $11
A gold-plated steamer basket If anything says “whimsical luxury,” it’s this gold-plated serving dish that looks like a steamer basket. For someone who loves a fancy novelty item, this is a great gift to keep dumplings or flatbreads warm or to use as a chic cookie or candy jar. CB2 Gold Steamer Basket, $15
A plastic container upgrade These metal containers take a cue from Japanese bento boxes — perfect for preppers committed to portioning out well-rounded meals. LunchBots Trio II Food Container, $27
Colorful serving trays Used to serve drinks at Houston hot spot Better Luck Tomorrow, these enamel trays are a good-looking gift for that friend who’s always busting out the bar cart. Target Project 62 Enamel Tray, $20
A stylish cake stand The only thing better than a beautiful cake is a beautiful cake on a just-as-lovely cake stand. This retro jadeite piece — the same one used by star pastry chef Jen Yee to display her desserts in Atlanta restaurant C. Ellet’s — is sturdy and photo-ready. World Market Jade Colored Glass Pedestal Stand, $20
A multipurpose ceramic bowl Heath Ceramics is an industry favorite for restaurants across the country, thanks to impeccable quality and a wide range of products. This deep bowl is great for individual portions of salads or pastas, serving sides, or just sitting pretty as a fruit bowl. Heath Ceramics Deep Serving Bowl, $65
Stackable mini bowls Prepping ingredients is a pain, but these small, stackable bowls at least make it look cute, and the rainbow assortment of colors will jazz up any tablescape or mise en place. Anthropologie Mini Latte Bowls, $18 for set of six
Modern silverware Artfully arranged flatware elevates any mealtime Instagram. This modern, elongated set is so chic that it could even make cutting into a slice of pizza with a knife and fork look cool. Anthropologie Spindle Flatware, $24
A beautiful baking dish A baking dish with a fun interior just begs to double as a serving platter, right? The bold, blue-and-white swirls of this enamel pan from the MoMA Design Store are a fun surprise when cutting into brownies or a casserole. Swirl Baking Dish, $27
A clever chopstick rest It’s the little touches that take presentation to the next level. These lotus root-inspired chopstick rests — spotted at New York hot spot Hunan Slurp — are both functional and cute. White Glazed Lotus Root Chopstick Rest, $4.70
A slab of marble It’s hardly a surprise: Marble makes everything look a little more elegant. Get this trivet with cool copper edges for someone who is always trying to one-up their last party spread. Crate and Barrel French Kitchen Marble and Copper Trivet, $20
Not-too-fancy cloth napkins Everyone knows someone who loves throwing dinner parties. These indigo-printed cotton napkins are pretty and sustainable, making them the ideal gift for any great host (even the one who already has everything). CB2 Indigo Stripe Napkins, $20
A quirky lunch box Who among us hasn’t eaten — or hashtagged — a #saddesklunch? Help a friend take their work lunch to the next level with metal lunchboxes inspired by traditional Indian tiffins. Happy Tiffin Lunch Boxes, $20 for the two-tiered

For the Restaurant Obsessive

For the dining-out enthusiasts who rarely prepare their own food but spend all their time bookmarking new hotspots to try and planning trips around the restaurants, we’ve got some ideas.

A workwear jumpsuit Tilit supplies workwear and uniforms for restaurant servers and chefs, including Missy Robbins of Lilia. But its first-ever jumpsuit — available in white, black, navy, gray, or green — works just as well worn out to eat as it does on the job. Tilit Jumpsuit, $165
The ultimate restaurant soap Aesop is the fancy bathroom soap of choice for countless restaurants, and for good reason. The mandarin, rosemary, and cedar scent would make even a cramped apartment bathroom feel a little bit luxurious. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, $39
The of-the-moment cookbook The first cookbook from the duo behind more than one of New York City’s most buzzed-about restaurants, A Very Serious Cookbook offers a glimpse into how chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske execute the casually elegant dishes at Contra and Wildair — and convinces readers that just maybe they can do it, too. A Very Serious Cookbook, $44
The tehina hookup The second cookbook from chef Michael Solomonov and restaurant partner Steve Cook contains the recipe for the excellent tehina shakes served at Philly falafel shop Goldie. Enough said. Israeli Soul, $22
A Momofuku hat Here’s an on-trend hat for the David Chang fan who’s convinced that Momofuku’s Ssäm Sauce is indeed good on everything. Momofuku Ssäm Sauce Dad Hat, $18
Wine bar-approved wine accessories Let your favorite enthusiast tote bottles to their go-to BYOB spot with accessories from cool Brooklyn wine bar and restaurant the Four Horsemen. The Four Horsemen Wine Tote, $30, and Pulltap’s Corkscrew, $12
A Roberta’s tee Brooklyn pizza destination Roberta’s consistently turns out some of the best restaurant merch around. This long-sleeved tee commemorates the decade-old restaurant’s recent LA expansion with a throwback ’90s-vacation motif. Roberta’s Fisherman Long-Sleeve Shirt, $45
Months and months of Sqirl jam The LA cafe that launched a thousand toasts will send club members two jams every other month, in seasonal flavors like mulberry and elephant-heart plum, for a steady dose of California sunshine all year long. Sqirl Bimonthly Jam Club, $180 for 12 months
A bread lover’s sweatshirt For the enthusiastically pro-gluten set, consider a cozy sweatshirt from Manresa Bread, the bakery offshoot of chef David Kinch’s renowned San Francisco fine dining restaurant. Manresa Heather Grey Crew Sweatshirt, $42
A “vintage” sandwich shop tee We love the worn-in feel of this T-shirt from one of 2017’s best new restaurants. It may not be as zany as some of the New Orleans sandwich shop’s creations, but it’ll go with just about anything. Turkey & The Wolf Classic T-Shirt, $30
A leather-bound notebook The person who keeps a running restaurant bucket list could use a notebook that will last from Pujol to Noma. This one provides a worthy space for recording the very best eating and drinking experiences: Each page in the leather-bound book asks for a date, location, and notes. Smythson Travels and Experiences Panama Notebook, $75
Carbs that do good We’ve recommended Hot Bread Kitchen before, but supporting women and immigrants in the restaurant industry has never felt more crucial. Each purchase — from Parker House rolls to the Women Producers treat-filled box — helps fund the nonprofit’s programs, including food-business incubator HBK Incubates. Hot Bread Kitchen Parker House Rolls, $28 for four dozen
The fermenting bible As Noma stans know, Noma’s fermentation lab is one of several reasons the restaurant is considered so groundbreaking. The new book offers a masterclass on fermenting foods from chef René Redzepi and lab lead David Zilber, and it goes way beyond kombucha (though there’s a section on that, too). The Noma Guide to Fermentation, $24

Editor: Ellie Krupnick
Art direction: Brittany Holloway-Brown
Writers and market editors: Patty Diez, Daniela Galarza, Sonia Chopra, Monica Burton
Photography and prop styling: Heidi’s Bridge
Special thanks: Esra Erol, Milly McGuinness, James Park, Jackie Goldstein, Adam Moussa, Terri Ciccone, Emma Alpern
See past Eater gift guides: 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014

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