What’s the Best Gift a Dinner Guest Can Bring?

November 16, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Hold the wine -- we've got unique gift ideas to help you earn the title of "Best Guest Ever."

The Best Gift for Your Host or Hostess, from Food52

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We all aspire to be better guests, and a little gift is a nice way to thank your host and earn a repeat invitation. Flowers are a lovely choice, unless you have to go over the river and through the woods, in which case you want something a little more travel-friendly. A bottle of wine is always a safe bet, but sometimes it helps to stand out and break away from the norm with a more unique token of your appreciation. When it's possible to plan ahead, we're partial to homemade food gifts -- Brette likes to give cookies packaged in a cute cookie tin.

This week on the Hotline, Kate was in search of a thoughtful little present, and asked the community for the best host and hostess gifts they're received (or given!):

  • Arcane54 had guests arrive with a basket full of the the next day's breakfast: "a nice eggy dish to pop into the oven (it was a delicious cheesy item, too!) along with muffins, good butter, jam, and tea. After spending all afternoon cooking and the evening being "the hostess with the mostest," it was nice to have a ready breakfast for me and my overnight guests the next morning -- tasty, thoughtful and appreciated!"
  • Greenstuff recommends a bottle of olive oil.
  • Sdebrango received a beautifully packaged bottle of homemade spice blend from QueenSashy.
  • Boulangere always has pots of herbs growing in the kitchen bay window -- tie a ribbon around one, and off you go.
  • EmilyC suggests a Weck jar (or other cute jar) of homemade preserved lemons.

What do you think makes the perfect show of gratitude for a host or hostess? Give it to us in the comments!

Photo by Jennifer Causey

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • christine cozzetta
    christine cozzetta
  • Exbruxelles
  • AntoniaJames
  • ChefJune
  • Bevi
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


christine C. March 20, 2014
Salted caramels or home- made glazed nuts are big hits!
Exbruxelles November 18, 2013
A nice bouquet of flowers, delivered the afternoon of the party. I love having flowers around, but I don't want to be dealing with them as guests arrive. Having them delivered is a little luxury.
AntoniaJames November 18, 2013
Once for a December holiday party, I brought the host and hostess a ring of my Epi rolls http://food52.com/recipes/8324-rosemary-epi-rolls along with some ganache-filled truffles. After the party was over, while I was in the kitchen helping with clean up, the hostess sat down, pulled apart one of my rolls, and then thinly sliced a couple of truffles, which she spread on the roll. She bit into it, sighing and saying she'd been looking forward to doing that all evening. ;o)
ChefJune November 18, 2013
Almost any homemade item makes a lovely hostess gift. A jar of jam, a plate of cookies or brownies, a loaf of bread, a bottle of homemade limoncello, a box of homemade candy/truffles.
Bevi November 18, 2013
Homemade jams, or a pie or bread loaf baked in a beautiful pie dish or loaf pan that I leave with the host(ess).
sticksnscones November 17, 2013
I love the idea of a breakfast basket. The hosts deserve a relaxing morning after all the cooking/cleaning from the night before. My basket usually contains; a jar of homemade jam, a bag of my granola & some scones or muffins.
jeana November 17, 2013
A freshly baked panettone or cinnamon rolls for breakfast the following morning would be a welcome gift for a relaxing morning after.
LMarkum November 17, 2013
I make a cake and bring it on an antique cake plate that I leave with the hostess. I look for them when I'm browsing in antique stores. They are usually no more than $15, which is probably what I would spend on wine, but is something that can be re-used.
landseergirl November 17, 2013
I always bring a boule of bread Dan just made and I add a jar or 2 of my "put up" pickles or sauerkraut.
Assonta W. November 17, 2013
I like bringing homemade goodies on vintage china plates. They look pretty, plus the hostess can either hang it or re use it to give to the next person.
Felicia M. November 16, 2013
Homemade jam/Nutella/vinegar etc...
skb November 16, 2013
I love bringing a jar of homemade hard candy.
Josh November 16, 2013
Beautiful scented candles or good olive oil.
julia B. November 16, 2013
A great loaf of artisan bread is nice. If it doesn't fit in with the meal...it makes breakfast the next morning something special. And it may be kind of old hat, but I love receiving fresh flowers. Cheap bouquets are easy to grab but a large bunch of the same blossom is the prettiest~ and when the party is over, I'm reminded of the lovely time we all shared.
SusanRubinsky November 16, 2013
Specialty teas, my favorites are from Harney & Sons. Festive candle holders with candles. Specialty spices, lately I'm into specialty salts. Whenever I see something interesting along these lines, I buy it and keep it in a storage bin in my basement so I always have something on hand to bring.
AntoniaJames November 16, 2013
Locally, I usually bring a trio from my pantry of preserves: a jar of blueberries in light syrup (from my bushes out front), a chutney and a jam; when traveling, as I almost never check my luggage and the TSA doesn't take kindly to home preserves), or when going to the home of a fellow preserving fanatic: a big bag of Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Granola + the recipe (always a bit hit!), or, if local, just-baked artisanal bread from my oven. Also, when visiting grown nieces and nephews, I usually bring a useful kitchen tool of one sort or another, plus some great recipes for whatever types of things the recipient enjoys making. ;o)
lfox18 November 16, 2013
My sister-in-law has over 20 people for Thanksgiving. It's a lot of work! I usually bring wine but this year I pre-shipped 3 pounds of cob-smoked bacon from Dakin Farms. It is becoming my go-to house gift because it is so good. (NOTE: I do not work for Dakin nor am i affiliated in any way. We have stopped taking tchochkes that no one wants and focus now on consumables that might be a little pricey but of great quality.
jeanmarieok November 16, 2013
I have a stash of fun cocktail napkins and cheese spreaders - I usually tie the cheese spreader to the napkins. Depending on the event, I'll sometimes make up a batch of cinnamon buns or cheese/sausage scones for the next day's breakfast.