Christmas/ Recipes/ Roundup

Best Gift Ideas for Foodies in 2020

16/10/2020

Looking for the perfect gift for a foodie friend or family member? This guide is jam packed with gift ideas for the food lovers in your life. From helpful utensils for the kitchen, to homemade recipes, edible gifts, hampers and more!

Eton mess with text overlay.

Who Is This Gift Guide For?

What’s a good gift for a foodie? What should I gift someone who loves cooking? What do you get a food lover for Christmas? If you’re asking these questions, then you’ve come to the right place!

Our list includes some of our favourite kitchen items that we use on a daily basis, as well as homemade edible gifts and stocking stuffers to make your gift recipients’ time in the kitchen fun, easy and full of flavour!

Keep reading for amazing gift ideas + helpful tips to make the whole process of choosing the right gift so much easier and impress your lucky giftee!

Or.. you might want to pass this list along to your significant other if you want to drop a few hints of what YOU want to receive as a gift. 😉

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we’ll receive a portion of the sale at no extra cost to you. All opinions are our own, based on what we use personally or what we think will help you or your gift recipient the most. If you do choose to buy, thanks for supporting our blog. We hope you enjoy these ideas!

Sarah & Laura, The Wandercooks

Stocking Stuffers

Silicone Spoonula

We bought our spoonula from Doguyasuji “Cooking Street” in Osaka, and use it pretty much every day! The soft edges make it perfect for scooping out every last drop, whether it’s a savoury pasta sauce or sweet pavlova meringue mixture. Licking the spoon is of course optional. 😉

Cooking Chopsticks

Extra long, these are perfect for cooking and flipping fried spring rolls or pandan chicken. Once you get the hang of using them, we think they’re even easier to use than tongs or spatulas, depending on the food. And since they’re made of wood, they won’t mark or scratch your frying pans.

Dipping Sauce Bowls

These beautiful ceramic Japanese dipping bowls are perfect for homemade dipping sauces like ponzu (citrus soy), goma dare (creamy sesame sauce) or nuoc mam cham (sweet & sour dipping sauce). Or use them as an entree bowl for yudofu (simmered tofu).

Bamboo Steamer

Bamboo steamers are not only convenient to cook with, but they also infuse the food with a delicate flavour from the natural bamboo wood. Use them to steam gyoza dumplings, fish parcels, pork buns or vegetables as a side dish.

Suribachi – Japanese Mortar & Pestle

This is a Japanese utensil similar to a mortar & pestle. We love it because, being smaller and lighter, it’s far easier to manoeuvre around the kitchen than a traditional stone mortar & pestle. It’s great for grinding sesame seeds to use in goma dare (sesame dipping sauce), as well as grinding garlic or spices for spice pastes.

Easy Homemade Gifts / DIY

If you’re putting together a food basket or you want a touch of homemade flair to your gift giving, try one of these:

Kaya Jam

Jar of Kaya Jam with slice of toast with kaya coconut spread in background.

This is a mouthwatering homemade kaya jam made from coconut milk and eggs. It’s a popular breakfast staple in Malaysia and Singapore, slathered over hot buttered toast and served with hot coffee or tea. This jam is best kept in the fridge, so you might want to make this the night before gifting, then wrap it up and store in the fridge.

Coffee Scroll Biscuits

A pile of coffee scroll biscuits on a white plate.

A batch of homemade coffee scroll biscuits will definitely make for a tasty gift! Not only will they fill your kitchen with the warming aroma of spices, you’ll also get to sample a biscuit or two before gifting, to make sure they taste just right. 😉

Scottish Tablet

Stack of four pieces of Scottish tablet.

It may look like fudge, but that’s where the similarity ends. Scottish tablet has a uniquely crumbly texture and sweetness. Customise it by adding your own festive flavours to suit the occasion – such as a splash of Scotch whiskey, peppermint or vanilla!

Japanese 7 Spice – Shichichimi Togarashi

Jar of freshly mixed shimichi togarashi.

This is a super popular spice blend in Japanese cuisine. Your foodie friend will love this sprinkled over Japanese dishes like okonomiyaki, yakisoba noodles and udon noodle soup. You can also use it on grilled steak or chicken!

Kitchen Upgrades

Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are so versatile and especially good for one pot recipes. You can use them on the stove and then pop them straight into the oven. We use ours most often for Korean dakgalbi stir fry, curried sausages or creamy sausage pasta. Season and care for them properly and they’ll be perfectly non-stick for many years to come!

Dutch Oven

These are another “last a lifetime” kitchen item. With an enamel coating, dutch ovens are super easy to clean, hard wearing and gorgeous to look at as well! We’ll use ours most often from smoky pea soups to goulash stews, spicy chicken curries and everything in between.

Pasta Maker

Not just for pasta, but noodles as well! We use ours for homemade udon noodles, which are so much fresher, chewier and tastier than store-bought noodles. If your giftee is a noodle lover, they can make big batches of pasta or noodles and freeze in portions to use later on. Then they’ll be just minutes away from udon noodle soup or a big bowl of napoli pasta when they need it most.

KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer

This is the ultimate foodie gift, especially if your lucky recipient is a baker. We love the mini stand mixer because it’s lighter and more compact than the full size version, so it’s much easier to store. We use ours every Christmas for pavlova or eton mess festive desserts, as well as making doughs for biscuits and homemade pizza bases.

KitchenAid Blender

This is the perfect gift for smoothie lovers, you can also use it as a food processor for homemade curry paste, spice paste or pasta sauce. If you’re making homemade cookie butter, this might be a present for yourself instead!

Multi-Cooker

While technically this is a multi-cooker and you could cook soooo many things with it, we most often use it for cooking rice to serve with choo chee chicken or hand-rolled sushi. Just use the cup measure included, then top up with water to the same amount as marked on the bowl, and you’ll have perfectly cooked rice every time.

For the Japanese Food Lover

Okonomiyaki Kit

This is a perfect starter kit for learning to make Japanese Okonomiyaki Pancakes. It includes the flour mix pancake base along with two sauces (Okonomiyaki sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise) as well as aonori seaweed flakes and bonito flakes.

Japanese Style Saucepan – Yoshikawa Yukihira

We have these pans in a range of sizes to suit different kinds of recipes. They not only look gorgeous, the wooden handles won’t overheat while cooking. Perfect for homemade miso soup or Japanese hot pot (shabu shabu).

Takoyaki Grill Pan

This one joins the ranks of cooking equipment we originally bought overseas and tucked in our backpacks for the trip back home. Being cast iron, it’s non-stick when seasoned properly, and perfect for making homemade takoyaki that tastes just as good as the original Japanese street food dish. You can use chopsticks or a proper takoyaki pick to flick the doughy balls into shape until they’re crispy and delicious. Top with takoyaki sauce, aonori and bonito flakes for the ultimate Japanese snack!

Electric Hot Pot Pan

Cooking hot pots on the table is such a fun and entertaining way to eat. Whether it’s shabu shabu (Japanese style) or Korean army stew, you can have fun adding ingredients to the pot and slurping them down once cooked.

How to Make the Ultimate Foodie Gift Hamper

This is a collection of our best homemade sauces and seasonings. Your lucky foodie will be set with all of these tasty additions to their pantry and fridge. Many of these recipes include easy pantry or fridge staple ingredients. Chances are you’ll already have everything you need on hand to make some or all of these suggestions! Why not make a double batch and keep half for yourself. 😉

A couple of tips to help you assemble your hamper:

  • Pair items that need to be refrigerated for easy storage.
  • Consider how long each item lasts. You’ll want plenty of time to make them and your recipient to have plenty of time to enjoy them.
  • Make it a themed hamper, for example just sauces, just seasonings, or just cookies or baked goods. Of course, if you really want to, you can pop everything in all together just before gifting.

Food Lover Gift FAQs

How do I choose the right gift for a foodie?

An easy way is to think about what the person likes best (ingredients, cuisines flavours) and how they like to enjoy it (cooking at home, travelling, restaurants etc). What could they use in the kitchen that they don’t already have? What do they love to eat but never splurge on for themselves? How could you help make their time in the kitchen more easy, fun or streamlined?

We like to save lists in a notes app on our phones, one for each special family member or friend that we need to organise gifts for. Throughout the year, if they mention anything useful that they need or don’t have, or you have spontaneous ideas of what to get them, jot it down in your notes app so you won’t forget! It definitely helps to take the stress out of thinking about what to get for each person. You’ll be armed and ready with perfectly tailored gift ideas, whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas or other special occasion.

For example, last Christmas we got Sarah’s Wanderparents a new wok as their old one had broken. They’ve used it so much throughout the year and we’ve gotten many compliments from how much they use it and love it!

How can I surprise someone with food?

There are so many ways! From homemade hampers, cookies or preserves to restaurant vouchers or even a homemade voucher for you to cook them a delicious three course meal or special celebration dessert. It’s a good idea to consider the food you’re planning to gift. Will it need to be refrigerated? How long will it keep? Then you can plan to cook it close enough to the time you plan to give your gift. If it’s an experience, do you need to book in advance or can they choose their own date?

What if I want to gift an experience?

Gift an experience and you’ll not only get the chance to have a fun, entertaining (and tasty!) food experience, you’ll also be creating special memories together too. Here are a few foodie experience gift ideas:

Take them on a picnic – Choose a beautiful or special location, and pair it with your favourite snacks. We recommend a hike – that way you’ll both be hungry and appreciate the food even more!
Book in a cooking class – Learn new skills, techniques, recipes or food pairings. Book a class around their favourite cuisine (ie Vietnamese, Japanese etc) or cooking style (such as baking).
Go on a food tour – You could book into a paid organised food tour or create your own by choosing their favourite places for a personalised experience. If you’re looking for a theme, why not go on a dumpling tour around the city, or visit boutique chocolate shops for a sweet treat.
Visit international grocers – This would have to be one of our favourite pastimes, without a doubt! We love visiting our nearby Asian grocer or Italian mercato and spend time roaming each and every aisle to see what we can discover. This can be great for those who are uninitiated so they know exactly where to get ingredients to recreate some of their favourite international dishes at home.
Gift fresh herbs – Bonus points if you grow them yourself. We find rosemary, thyme, parsley and oregano to be the hardiest herbs that will happily grow year after year. Rosemary in particular will grow really easily from a cutting – just pop it in a glass of water for a few weeks while new roots develop, then it can be planted in the garden or a cute pot ready to be gifted.

Planning a celebration? Here’s some recipe ideas to help you impress!

★ Did you like these ideas? Please leave a comment below and share this post!

Best Gift Ideas for Foodies in 2020

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