The holidays are fast approaching, and my mother has been chasing me for weeks for some ideas for stocking stuffers. What’s on your list of smaller/less expensive, food-related items to give and receive? A special spice blend, a nice extract or vinegar, a new and improved gadget?
My parents have requested elderberry jelly, which I make and gift every year, but this year they’ll also be receiving some homemade Luxardo-style cherries in pit syrup, and maybe a jar of homemade chili crisp. Not sure what to put on my own wish list, though - inspire me, HOs!
I like the idea of spices and vinegars if you know what your family/friend might like, or would really expand their cooking comfort zone. The tricky thing is definitely getting a dud. If you find smaller quantities as a test amount that might work - easier with spices, and even some oils than vinegars. I don’t see a lot of small sized vinegars. Maybe a special sauce? I’m thinking something like anchovy sauce to someone who loves Italian but has never used it; they often come in cute small little bottles.
Home made is always a nice touch! If you make a special chili sauce or flavored oil that might also work.
Vanilla beans, as many as you can afford.
Nice quality olive oil.
How about a tin of tuna in each stocking?
If you’re the type for ‘home made’ gifts:
HOME MADE MAGIC SHELL. It’s so freaking easy and if people don’t know, they’re terribly impressed.
6oz chopped chocolate, or good choc. chips.
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil.
melt gently in microwave or in small saucepan until small lumps of chocolate remain. Continue stirring off heat 'til chocolate is completely melted. Pour into clean jars or other appropriately sized container.
Affix rustic dried grass ‘ribbon’ or other hipster, faux-artisan touches.
If you use UNREFINED coconut oil, your magic shell will taste like coconuts. If you want that, go you. If you do not, make SURE you get the REFINED stuff.
The chocolate you use will (obv) be the star, so choose with that in mind. Mind you, no one has ever said “oh, I’m sorry, this Magic Shell isn’t made with Valrhona. It won’t do…”
This can be readily customized with the addition of a 1/4 tsp or so of the extract of your choice. Mint works particularly well.
This will solidify in the jar at room temp (below 78F or so). Do not refrigerate or you will spend a LONG time remelting it to use.
Are these actually going in stockings ie is there a size constraint? Also - any cost considerations? (At one point we started putting a $ cap on total stocking spend)
Little jars or small tools if it’s going in the stocking. I’ve done litte silicone spatulas (like the kind that scrape jars), truffle honey, truffle salt or other finishing salts, turkish pistachio paste, hazelnut paste, small packets of unlikely-in-their-pantry spice mixtures, a small jar of preserved lemons, one year I gave small jars of (indian) pickle with a list of non-indian ideas for it, and so on.
For someone interested in cocktails, different types of bitters (or pretty bottles for them to go in), jarred cherries for muddling (TJs had lovely wild strawberries one year), different salts for a glass rim, even a nice muddler, limoncello or other liqueur in a small bottle.
For a stocking stuffer, I would enjoy receiving some nice sesame oil… Its not too expensive and would make me happy!!
Not necessarily on either count - my question wasn’t actually self-specific, but more of a conversation starter (that might lead to some good ideas for my own situation, lol).
I’d appreciate Penzey’s spice blends like Mural of Flavor or Fox Point. Aged balsamic vinegar would be great too. Marinated mushrooms.
Our friend gives us a Christmas Chutney each year. Here is Harters’ Recipe . I’ve been making coronation chicken a lot lately so it’s meant I’ve gone through more chutney than typical for me. I think I might give some people chutney this year.
I made mini-stollen 2 years ago, and mini fruit cake last year… Might do that again.
Planning to send one person cardamom bitters and gluten-free panettone.
Locally roasted coffee. I sent some coffee last year and will do it again this year.
A tiny box of really good chocolate truffles or salted caramels. A decent chocolatier will sell a little box of four truffles or six caramels.
For tuna salad lovers… a jar of Tonnino’s filets in olive oil - Yum.
For folks that luv Mexican… an assortment of dried chiles and Mexican oregano. In fact, if you have easy access to local Mexican and Asian markets, there are all kinds of sauces, spices, dried herbs/chiles, curry pastes, oils, etc.
You just gotta kinda know your recipients cooking habits… but these are for the most part low cost items I think most foodies would be thrilled to receive, especially if they aren’t familiar with or know where to shop for them.
Sorry, I did read that in your OP but forgot by the time I responded later.
For myself, I’d want specialty stuff, but I’m also wary of shipping costs for one or two items.
For eg, something specific from Diaspora or Spicewalla. The salt from the Red Boat fish sauce folks. Or seaweed salt, for vegetarian flexibility.
Cardamom bitters or something small-batch.
I always have a specific brand or two of truffle salt on my list, but truffle honey I end up buying for myself because I think it’s harder to find for people who don’t use it.
A small bottle of champagne vinegar (or other less-standard options). Similarly small bottle of less-standard oils like walnut.
I’ve been wanting a bread lame for a while - not expensive, just haven’t gotten around to it, so maybe that will go on my list. I had an inexpensive probe thermometer on my list but bought it over the summer, so that’s done.
I want some more smaller-sized bakeware but storage is a struggle, so I have to be thoughtful about what I’m really going to use.
I’m thinking Vietnamese food gifts for myself this year. I got a bottle of Red Boat fish sauce last year that has been finished. It’s right at that sweet spot. It’s excellent but at £14 a bottle more than I would pay, but not too expensive for someone to buy as a present.
I’ve also broken my chopsticks that I got from Hội An, and have been dropping heavy hints.
No doubt I’ll be getting a bottle of Islay malt whisky. Apparently I’ve reached that age, not that I’m complaining.
Ooh. Chopsticks and bourbon can go on my list.
What I’d like to get in my stocking, in no particular order:
Vanilla beans (as mentioned above)
bread lame (also mentioned)
small jar of saffron
Oxo vegetable peeler (I get a new one every year since I use it so much)
a jar or two of fancy jam or preserves
battery powered milk frother
some really good chocolate–a bar of Scharfen Berger would be lovely
A gift card to Williams Sonoma
Most of my ideas have already been mentioned . . . but now I’m in the mood to stuff some stockings.
Chocolate–a small 4 or 6 box or a nice bar or two (or for a chocoholic like me both).
I too like the small bottles of Penzey’s spice mixes.
I once received a small Penzey’s box with vanilla beans, some star anise and flavored sugars. That was nice.
Oils used for candy (mint, lemon, almond, etc) are great, but only if the recipient is a known candy maker.
Also once received an assortment of small bottles of bitters to spice up my cocktails. Oh, and also some amusing cocktail napkins accompanied them.
Small jars of jelly or marmalade (and perhaps a decorative spreader).
Some loose teas and teaball (and a lemon squeezer). Some flavored honeys go well with this.
Cooking tools have been less successful for me (as recipient). I got a very nice candy thermometer and a small offset spatula that I use pretty regularly. The small whisk (cute . . . a footed egg) and scissors designed specifically to cut herbs from the garden are largely drawer dust collectors.
World Market has a good selection of small sized sauces and condiments, jams, coffees, etc, that could be a great introduction to new flavours. Less guilt inducing for the giftee because of the size if they decide they don’t like one and it ends up lurking in the back of the cupboard.
Yes . . . I love World Market. I have a friend with a very small apartment (no storage) and cooks for one. One year I made her an entire basket of coffees, teas, candy, cookies, jams etc. from there. It was a hit.