Since I already own just about every food and wine gadget, I can imagine what a pain in the ass I am to shop for. Some tools I use regularly, like my J Vineyards branded Champagne opener or Microplane grater. But some ended up either being re-gifted or donated, like the cordless, electric corkscrewoddly resembling a vibrator – the thought of using it puts a smile on my face, although my old-school Screwpull openergets me there quicker. As we all know, the best gifts are the thoughtful ones; even if inexpensive, they’ll show that you took the time to be creative or find the unique. To come off as someone who thinks, here are my gift suggestions for the wine and food lovers on your list, whether they be newbies or connoisseurs. It’s always nice to give the gift of great food and wine.
- A newly released book that is already a go-to of information in my house: The Big Fat Surprise. It clears up the myth that fat is bad for you… a fallacy propagated by the U.S. government for the past four decades. With meticulously researched data and a sense of humor, she will prove to you that cheese, butter and meat should be back on your table. $20.
- Cast Iron Pan. Seasoned or not, these pans truly bring seared protein to a whole other level of deliciousness. Buy any number of them on Amazon.com. $20-$80.
- On my wish list this year are silicone pan liners for all the vegetables I’m roasting these days. Makes clean up less of a chore and saves all that aluminum foil I’ve been recycling lately. Pair the pan up with this recipe for roasted kale. On Amazon.com for $10- $20.
- A gift membership to a local food co-op or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that offers up vegetables and fruits grown in and around where your giftee lives. Local Harvest has searchable list of of them all over the U.S. Price varies.
- The gadget that EVERYONE is talking about, the Coravin — the system a surgeon developed that extracts wine from a bottle without having to remove the cork. Thus, it prevents spoilage. I’m seeing these in San Francisco wine bars so the discerning wine lover would love one of these in their house. Buy Coravin here. $299.
- Sleek and Fashionable Revolution Stemware. Minimalist, chic and freakin’ cool, these double-duty wine glasses are both water glass and wine glass, upside down. Check ’em out. $84 for two.
- Wine Starter Kit: Fill a holiday bag with: Screwpull wine opener ($25), Vacu Vin Wine Saver ($9), Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Chiller ($9 for two), two good Speigelau or Riedel red wine glasses ($20), and an inexpensive bottle of wine ($10). If you’re feelin’ the love, add a foil cutter, which efficiently slices the bottle’s seal for $8 more. All available on Amazon.com. Start shopping here.
- Mixed case of sparkling wine: A slightly more expensive gift that I’d covet. Assemble 12 sparkling wines, not just French Champagne, from all around the world and put a big bow around it: Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco or Spumante, German Sekt, and Australian and American sparkling wines. Plenty of sparkling wine suggestions here (and more coming next week) but trust your neighborhood wine shop advisor.