As I look back at the gifts I’ve been lucky to receive on various occasions, the ones that stand out most are all food-related. An exquisite box of shortbread cookies, a basket of peak-season sungold tomatoes, an epic care package from loved ones in Asia, artisanal salts and various pantry provisions, and big bags of homemade cereal just to name a few.
Maybe it’s because I’ve just always been an eager eater or maybe it’s a testament to how the memory of taste is so powerful that the treats have left such an impression on me years later. Whatever the case, I’m a staunch believer that the best gifts are the ones you can eat, drink, slurp, and munch up right away, and I’m pretty sure you'd agree.
Here are the 30 best gifts for the food lovers in your life—which is basically everyone.
1. Milk Bar Chocolate Mint Chip Cake, from $62
We’ll never say no to cake, and this newest limited drop leans into the season’s yummiest flavors. A double chocolate chip cake with layers of chocolate jam, chocolate mint chip frosting, and minty milk crumbs will have you thinking you're diving into a pint of mint-chip ice cream. Choose from a classic 6-inch cake or a larger 10-inch cake, if you're looking to bring it to a party or holiday dinner.
2. Ina's Coconut Cake, $94.95
You could follow Ina’s recipe and make her coconut cake, or you could just grab one from the Barefoot Contessa herself on Goldbelly. The cake comes frozen so be sure to thaw it in the fridge before you cut into it.
Even the most talented of bakers would love learning new skills, especially ones that’ll help them master the art of a raindrop cake. This online class is taught by the recipe’s creator Darren Wong, and comes with all the ingredients needed for the recipe.
For someone who prefers breakfast foods for all meals, a dozen of Martha’s fave pastries will be a surefire hit. They arrive frozen and unbaked, so pop them in the oven and get ready for freshly-baked goods.
5. Recess Sampler, $29.99
For a bit of bubbly, these cans of sparkling water are infused with calming hemp and adaptogens. The cans are as pretty as the drinks are tasty, and there's even a subscription so you're never low on your new favorite drink.
With the weather getting chillier, there’s no better gift than being able to make a warm mug of hot chocolate and cuddling up in a giant burrito blanket (a real thing, I can confirm!)
7. Runamok Glimmer of Hope Sparkle Maple Syrup, from $18
Grubbing on a stack of flapjacks drizzled with maple syrup is nothing short of a magical way to kick off your morning. But add a literal dash of glitter with Runamok’s small-batch maple syrup with food-grade mica powder, and you just might restore your belief in fairy tales.
Cooking during the week can be a drag—even for the biggest food people in your life. Give them a head start with bottles of balsamic vinegar so aromatic and flavorful that they'll confidently safeguard against sad desk lunches.
Another fin-tastic gift for eating enthusiasts is tinned fish. Portuguese canned sardines from Pinhais works swimmingly (okay, we'll stop) for speedy lunches and festive dinners—that is, if it makes it that far.
After all these years, I’ve still yet to understand why Pitbull refers to himself as Mr. Worldwide. But it only takes one bite of this cookie to grasp why Jacques Torres holds the title of “Mr. Chocolate.” Big molten cocoa-y pockets encased in a thin soft-yet-chewy dough, they'll definitely want to eat three of Mr. Chocolate’s famous creations in one sitting.
11. Wildgood Plant-Based Ice Cream, from $36
Ice cream churned using extra-virgin olive oil is as tantalizing and silky smooth as it sounds. It just so happens to be dairy-free, too.
12. Immi New Variety Pack, from $39
Good news: better-for-you instant ramen exists. And guess what? It tastes great. Immi noodles are vegan, light in carbs, and highly flavored with familiar soup bases like black garlic “chicken” and tom yum “shrimp.”
13. Il Colle Del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread, $22.18
This is for anyone who has powered through all of Stanley Tucci’s Italian cooking content and is now experiencing serious wanderlust. No? Just me? No matter. A spoonful of deep, creamy pistachio spread is an excellent way to help a friend taste their way through Italy.
14. Jot Ultra Coffee, from $19.50
Being a full-time eater can be...exhausting. A strong glass of cold brew can help.
15. Tokyo Treat Subscription, from $32.50
A solid option for anyone who’s been wanting to wander the aisles of a Japanese 7-Eleven (hands down, the best), but hasn’t booked their ticket yet. Like a super-thoughtful international pen pal, Tokyo Treat curates a big box of conbini (convenience store) snacks and other goodies each month based on themes like “Anime Marathon Munchies” and “Okinawa Snack-Out.”
Life is like a jar of pickles, so you have to relish in the sweet and the sour. That’s pretty easy to do with Olympia Provisions’ quad of perfectly pickled veggies at your disposal for hot dogs, salads, or straight from the jar.
On the topic of snack spreads, here’s another one with those salty, sweet, funky notes—only this time it’s in the form of cheese, nuts, jams, and cured meat. Oh, and did we mention the gift set comes with a nice block of pâté? And unlike others, this one’s ultra-meaty and soaked with red wine and citrus for tangy, fruity notes. See, all the good things do come in threes!
18. Matcha Chocolate Almonds, $17
These roasted almonds dressed in white chocolate and premium matcha powder make for a simple, elegant, and delicious gift. The sleek tin is finished with a gorgeous green ribbon, so you can put down the gift wrap.
19. Rancho Gordo Desert Island Sampler, $38.95
Few will ask for this, but many will happily unbox a beautiful bounty of dried heirloom beans when the opportunity strikes.
20. Saltverk Hand-Harvested Icelandic Sea Salt, $26-$50
Much akin to its powers in transforming a bland dish, the sheer variety that salt comes in is far from one note. This set of flavored salts is for people who know that salt in all its glory makes everything taste better.
What makes Lloyd’s stand out as a bakery is just how it excels in making the most tender and moist carrot cakes slathered in that quintessential tangy cream cheese frosting we all adore. The beloved NYC institution ships nationwide via Goldbelly, meaning carrot-cake-heads based in Kansas to California can indulge without voyaging all the way to the Big Apple.
22. Maazah 3-Pack, $24.99
Here’s to the self-proclaimed condiment fanatics who have just about every hot sauce and mayo jam-packed in their fridge door. They’ll gladly make space for these small-batch chutneys from Maazah the moment they learn it’s based on a super-special family recipe.
23. Stash Tea Bags Sampler Assortment Box, $42.94
However they take their tea, this box has got it all. They can grab Irish Breakfast with milk and sugar in the morning and wind down in the evening with a Decaf Meyer Lemon.
24. NPR Wine Club, from $79.99
All Grapes Considered, It’s Vin A Minute, a literal Pop Culture Happy Hour. What I’m listing off aren’t clever puns but actual names of wines sold through the National Public Radio’s wine club. You can gift a monthly subscription of 12 bottles for $79.99.