The best food gifts to give this holiday season

The best way to a person's heart this holiday season is through their stomach.
The best food gifts
Give the gift of food this holiday season. Brandt Ranj / Popular Science

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Holiday shopping can involve asking yourself tough questions like, “What type of phone do they phone do they have?” “Do they already have a smart speaker?” “Is this really their style?” You can avoid that stress by sending high-quality food to your friend, family member, coworker, or any other important person in your life. If you know a person well enough to send them a holiday gift, it’s almost certain that you know something about their taste. Knowing just something basic—like whether they prefer sweet or savory foods, like to cook themselves, or are adventurous eaters—can be a good jumping-off point. Below you’ll find the best food gifts to satisfy any foodie—don’t worry, all of these are designed to share, so if you’re lucky, you may end up tasting them yourselves.

Goodnow Farms Chocolate Complete Collection

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It’s hard to go wrong with gifting chocolate, but the Complete Collection from Goodnow Farms is in a league of its own. The artisanal chocolate is flavored with almonds, maple, coffee, and other tastes that perfectly complement the level of cacao in each bar. The folks at Goodnow Farms have gone out of their way to globally source cocoa beans specifically for each type of chocolate bar, which is a lot of effort for something that most people consider an inexpensive commodity. We can almost guarantee the person you gift this to will come away with a better understanding and appreciation for chocolate as a food, which is a pretty tall order.

Luças Conserva Wooden Gift Box

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Are we recommending that you gift someone in your life a wooden box full of imported sardines and other seafood? Heck yeah we are, but only because the Luças Conserva Wooden Gift Box is so good. Each contains 11 tins of seafood cleaned, cooked, and sealed by hand. The labor of love is evident in how this food tastes—rich, pungent (in a good way), and very strong. This may not be the most universally appreciated gift in our guide, but the person who would like it would really like it.

andrè's Cofiserie Suisse Swiss Heritage Gift Box

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The Swiss Heritage Gift Box from Andrè’s Chocolates is a tribute to the country’s classic confections. It’s hard to go wrong with a box that includes a hazelnut and nougat chocolate par, marzipan stick, and Salt of the Swiss Alps Chocolate Caramels among its contents. This is the gift we recommend for a more all-around sweet tooth who wants a bite of something to munch on after dinner, and while it’s very chocolate-forward, there are a couple of other prominent flavors to be found here.

Best for meat eaters: Vermont Waygu Spread The Joy

Vermont Waygu Spread The Joy Box

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Vermont Waygu’s Spread the Joy box is hands-down the best holiday gift for anyone who enjoys high-quality meat. The company prides itself on raising cattle humanely and sustainably, with no hormones, steroids, or unnecessary antibiotics. You can notice the difference in quality and taste from the first bite of your meal because of the meat’s tenderness and beefy flavor. The gift box we’re recommending includes one extra-large ribeye steak, one large sirloin steak, a package of artisanal butters, one package of Harbison cheese, and a maple cutting board. If you’re shopping for someone who always orders a steak at restaurants, this gift will blow them away.

Best for bakers: Crumble Crate Cranberry Ginger Tea Bread

Cranberry Ginger Tea Bread

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Know someone who’s eager to bake more but doesn’t know where to start? Crumble Crate’s Cranberry Ginger Tea Bread is the ideal gift. The box contains most of the pre-portioned ingredients necessary to make the cake (they’ll need to provide perishables like eggs), equipment (in this case, a loaf pan and rubber spatula), and a beautifully designed recipe card. The cake bakes quickly and, while it requires more effort than just opening a package, the limited elbow grease is totally worth it. The company offers several other baking kits if you’re shopping for someone who isn’t so big on cake.

Best charcuterie set: iGourmet 2022 Ultimate Party Collection

iGourmet 2022 Ultimate Party Collection

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If there is a person in your life who loves to entertain, iGourmet’s 2022 Ultimate Party Collection is the perfect food gift. The set contains a wide assortment of meats and cheeses, from Irish cheddar and brie to serrano ham and Italian speck. Crackers, cookies, spreads, and other accouterments are also included. The sheer variety of ingredients will allow the person who receives this gift to experiment with different combinations or see how they gel with other tastes like honey or dried fruit. On the other hand, this gift could be a huge time saver if they’re hosting a holiday party and need a big, impressive appetizer platter.

Best for pizza lovers: The Taste of Talia Gift Box

The Taste of Talia

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Talia di Napoli is offering up one of the tastiest gift options we’ve seen this season, with the eight-pizza Taste Of Talia gift box. Your giftee will receive two double cheese margherita, two cacio e pepe, two tartufina, one four cheese, and one artichoke pizza. Each pie is made in Naples, Italy, frozen using the company’s own cryogenic technology (no preservatives or additives are used to increase the pizza’s longevity) and shipped to your recipient’s doorstep. All they’ll have to do is heat the pizza up in their home oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 10 minutes. That’s less time than it’d typically take to decide on which pizza to order, much less get it delivered or picked up. If you’re shopping for someone who can’t stop talking about the pizza they had in Italy—or are planning to go—this is the best gift to give.

Best for bread lovers: Wildgrain

Wildgrain

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of dough in your hands. Unfortunately, enthusiast bakers don’t always have time to wait for fresh bread to rise or to whip up homemade croissants. Enter Wildgrain. This service ships frozen, ready-to-bake bread and pastries to your door with instructions on how to cook them properly. Your favorite baker will be able to have fresh grains on their table that are made with climate-friendly and seasonal ingredients without running out to the local bakery. Nothing beats fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven bread, anyway. Maybe consider a selection of hand-crafted butters to go with their crusty creations.

Best for “Hot Ones” enthusiasts: Fuegobox Three-Bottle Subscription

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Fuegobox makes a wide assortment of hot sauces at all spice levels, and this subscription will ship three bottles to the person of your choice. Because the spice levels can vary wildly, we recommend gifting this subscription to someone with a high heat tolerance. If you’re shopping for somebody who loves condiments but doesn’t see each meal as an opportunity to test their might, you can pick up a few milder bottles a-la-carte.

Best for the enthusiastic home cook: Savory Spice’s Seasons of Spice

Seasons of Spice

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Winter, spring, summer, or fall, the top chef in your life will call upon items in the Seasons of Spice box from Savory Spice for inspiration or encouragement when they feel like they’re in a rut. Each season’s box contains spices specifically chosen by chefs to complement meals typically prepared during that time of the year. Each spice includes a short description and suggestions on how to use it, which is helpful if it’s unfamiliar to the person who receives this box.

Best for the discerning foodie: Corto

Corto

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A good olive oil can change the composition of a dish, and if you know someone who understands that, get them a subscription to Corto immediately. Every six months, the recipient of this gift will receive a couple of 500-milliliter bottles and one three-liter FlavorLock Box of 100 percent virgin olive oil. Subscribing now will also net them a 2022 Harvest Olive Oil and discounts on an expert-led tasting and chef-led cooking class. The olives from this oil are harvested from a family-run farm in California and are guaranteed to be of the highest quality.

Best for snack fiends: Bokksu

Bokksu

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Japanese snacks are known worldwide for their flavor, packaging, and (unfortunately for us here in the United States) inaccessibility in much of the West. Thankfully, Bokksu will send a crate of 22 Japanese snacks to your friend or family member’s door each month. These snacks come directly from Japan and come with a booklet explaining each item. Bokksu includes a mix of sweet and savory snacks in each box, so there’s something for everyone.

Best for coffee connoisseurs: Danger Coffee

Dnager Coffee

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Know someone who lives life to the fullest and starts off every day’s new adventures with a cup of Joe? Get them a bag from Danger Coffee. The coffee company offers whole beans and grounds, augmented with 50 trace minerals, nutrients, and electrolytes to remineralize the body and ensure more than a caffeine buzz. Danger Coffee prides itself on sourcing the best beans and blends them with regularly depleted micronutrients to make the discerning, daring connoisseur feel more energized, engaged, and powerful. And none of the antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, etc., take away from the rich aroma or robust flavor. A cup of coffee is a part of the routine for millions of people, so this gift may literally be enjoyed every day down to a cellular level. Heard of butterproof coffee? It’s from the same mind, biohacker Dave Asprey, so Danger Coffee pairs perfectly with the original recipe for coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil.

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Brandt Ranj

Staff Writer, Commerce

Brandt Ranj is a commerce reporter at Popular Science. He writes about the latest and greatest gadgets, from headphones and TVs to chargers and cables. He splits his time between New York City, Long Island, and Croatia, carting test gear around the U.S. and the globe.