The Food Lover's Gift Guide

Culinary literature, fancy butter knives, chef-approved kitchen gear—recommendations for those who love all things food.

Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

This gift guide is dedicated to the friend who enjoys food beyond mere sustenance. Not only does she relish a well-marinated olive, but she also admires the aesthetics of one; not only does she frequent the buzzy restaurant, but she also dresses to be mistaken for the chef.

In this guide, you won’t find any edible delights like fancy tins of fish or jars of gourmet chili crisp, but you will find food-adjacent goods that are sure to put smiles on the faces of those obsessed with food culture at large. Really great gifts serve certain functions (see: Japanese butter knife), but the best gifts serve no function at all (see: paella ornament).

From microgreen growing systems to garlic-shaped candles, here are all the best gifts to get the foodie who really wishes you’d stop calling them that.

'my first popsicle' book cover
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

Instead of gifting your loved one a cookbook they probably already have, consider a collection of food essays. This “anthology of food and feelings” is centered around the memories we associate with different meals in our lives, featuring the voices of chefs, actors, musicians, and other celebrities. Patti Lupone shares her childhood memories of seeking out shellfish, while Jia Tolentino reflects on the chicken dish she makes to escape reality. It’s a double win if your giftee is a fan of Girls, because this collection features a piece from Andrew Rannells and just so happens to be edited by Zosia Mamet.

leath fieldhouse
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

If you have any self-reliant growers on your list, consider setting them up with a hi-tech microgreen sprouter. The Leath Fieldhouse, which features full spectrum LEDs, can grow everything from broccoli microgreens to pea shoots. These greens are harvested just days into their life cycle, so they can contain up to 40 times more nutrients compared to full-grown vegetables. With this machine, your pal will always have a nutritious garnish at the ready. Plus, the contraption itself is inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design, so it’ll look ultra chic on any countertop or bookshelf.

john derian paella ornament
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

This one’s for the friend who embraces a food-themed Christmas tree. Encourage them to ditch the boring old candy cane hanger or popcorn garland and treat them to this exquisite paella ornament, hand-blown in Poland. But if Valencian cuisine isn’t their style, John Derian has an overwhelming amount of kitschy food ornaments to choose from, miniaturizing everything from sushi boats and avocado toast to caviar cans and bacon-wrapped asparagus.

garlic bulb-shaped candle
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

The only thing that would make this one-pound allium sculpture better is if it actually smelled like garlic. But Yui candles, which are hand-poured and made in small batches in Brooklyn, are not meant for burning. They’re there for home decor; for your guests to pick up and put down; for starting conversations at parties. This guy is composed of natural soy and beeswax, featuring a lead-free cotton wick.

birkenstock kitchen clog
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

We declared 2022 the year of the rubber clog, and for good reason. The water-resistant footwear provides the protection you need when cooking in a slippery kitchen or tending to a garden. But, more importantly, they are the ultimate gift for anyone who obtains style inspo from The Bear. In line with the chefcore trend, Birkenstock’s Super-Birkis can make any outfit look oh-so-utilitarian. These come in a number of fun colors.

japanese butter knife
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

It’s also been a year for butter, apparently, and this tiny gadget is sure to change any dairy lover’s life. If you’ve ever struggled to spread refrigerated butter on toast—and simply have no patience to wait for it to thaw—look no further than this Japanese butter scraper. Featuring a line of tiny holes, the stainless steel knife creates thin ribbons of butter, softening them for easy spreading.

olive pick barrette
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

Jewelry designer Susan Alexandra is known for her whimsical designs, often featuring food and drink favorites. This hand-beaded barrette is made for fans of the dirty martini. This accessory, which comes straight from the ’90s, will be sure to elicit envious stares from across the bar and copious olive puns.

staub tomato-shaped cocotte
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

Life is simply too short to cook in regularly shaped cocottes. Not only will this ripe, red stunner fill the cook in your life with a sense of joy, but it’ll also provide for a wonderful display at any dinner party. Made in France, the Staub Tomato Cocotte is fashioned out of enameled cast iron, which is great for retaining heat while making soups, stews, pot roasts, and other slow-cooked meals.

papier recipe book
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

For many of us, recipe organization comes in the form of bookmarking various tabs, never to be opened again. Preserve your precious creations the old fashioned way with this beautiful journal, sectioned off by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and treats. Each recipe card layout contains space to note ratings, dietary requirements, and tips for each recipe. There’s even a spot to list favorite stores, restaurants, and places to try, as well as an index for handy measurements and conversions. It’s the ideal gift for recipe developers, organizational nerds, and those who simply enjoy putting pen to paper.

tak tak face cup
Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

The squiggly, wiggly barware trend is here to stay, and these glasses, which are handmade to order in Austin, each contain a personality of their own. When designing your critter, choose from a range of human emotion: “Happy,” “Sad,” “Surprised,” “Salty,” or “Not impressed.” You can even toss some earrings on them if you’d like. These Tak Tak Face Cups are sure to bring charm to any bar cart.

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Food & Drink team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram