Kitchen Gifts

By Sharon Naylor

September 20, 2012 6 min read

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Give a foodie a fish spatula and he makes many delectable seafood meals for his family and friends.

If you have people on your gift-giving list who love to cook and experiment with new recipes and exotic cuisines or always serving up amazing dishes at meals and get-togethers, you can't go wrong by choosing kitchen-oriented gifts for these so-called foodies this holiday season. They love everything culinary since these gifts work with their passion for cooking, and even the most inexpensive, unique kitchen gadget or spice mix thrills them.

You can buy for the experienced chef or for those just starting out, such as newlyweds, engaged couples and those who have discovered a love of cooking later in life. "My mother started taking cooking classes at her retirement home, and she fell in love with organic and Asian cooking," says Dena Guerrard, a mother of two. "Now, she wants cooking tools, sauces, cookbooks and other items for her new interest, which makes it far more exciting to shop for her gifts."

Here are the top types of gifts to consider for all the foodies on your holiday shopping list:

*Flavored Balsamic Vinegars

These subtly- or powerfully-infused vinegars open up whole new worlds of flavor profiles in salads, seafoods, poultry and red meats. At the Cape May Olive Oil Co. (http://www.CapeMayOliveOilCompany.com), some of the top creatively designed balsamic vinegars include:

--Pomegranate balsamic. This balsamic vinegar has the tartness of the pomegranate right in it making it slightly sweet, slightly tart! Enjoy it on salads, in desserts and in sauces and marinades.

--Mandarin orange balsamic. Bold orange aroma and flavor. Perfect for vinaigrettes, salads and sauces for Asian dishes. Use with pork or chicken dishes.

--Cranberry balsamic. This is a wonderful flavor to add to meats, such as pork or turkey. Works great on a salad with nuts, or try it on vanilla ice cream.

*Flavored Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Flavored olive oils add gourmet flair to the foodie's treasured recipes and allow them to follow celebrity chef recipes to the letter. You'll find such flavors as jalapeno, lemon, rosemary, garlic and even bacon-flavored olive oil. Look especially for black truffle garlic olive oil, which the experts at Cape May Olive Oil Co. describe as "an elegant oil to use as a final touch to your dish. Drizzle over pasta, vegetables or scallops, and it makes for a wonderful risotto."

*Spices

Quality essential spices are an essential in a foodie's kitchen, and you'll wow them with your gift of exotic spice blends, like Marrakesh, a Moroccan blend used for lamb, fish, meatballs, couscous, soups and roasted vegetables; and Cataluna, a blend of pimento and smoked cinnamon, for stews, soups, bean dishes and pork.

*Flavored Sugars

The Cape May Olive Oil Co.'s website shows off more than a dozen inspiring uses for flavored sugars, including Ginger Flavored Pure Cane Sugar

Sweet: Top lemon sorbet or pumpkin pie.

Fresh: Use Ginger sugar in stir-fry to add a sweet zing.

Savory: Perfect on grilled salmon.

Liquid: Ginger sugar will be your new favorite when added to a steaming cup of tea.

Twist: Caramelize ginger sugar on top of creme brulee.

*Kitchen Tools

Browse the kitchen gadgets at such popular stores as Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma and other upscale entertaining and foodie delight sites and you'll see chef-worthy kitchen gadgets that turn the everyday cook into a master chef. From top-quality, ultra-long zesters to strawberry hullers to chef-quality mandoline for fine slices of cucumber, to a julienne peeler, specialty tools elevate an indoor and outdoor kitchen's creations. Shop FoodNetwork.com to buy gadgets from the recipient's favorite chef's line, such as Guy Fieri's sauce squeeze bottles and expert paring knives.

*Cookbooks

There are so many gorgeous cookbooks on the market today, from elite chefs' French cuisine to colorful cookbooks on Panini sandwiches, healthy appetizers, Tuscan foods, and of course the newest cookbooks from the Food Network celebrity chefs. Rachael Ray's new cookbook on burgers pleases male and female gift recipients, and Melissa D'Arabian's "Ten Dollar Dinners Cookbook" adds budget-friendly recipes to the foodie family's collection. If you know your foodie owns many cookbooks, give him the gift of choice with a gift card to Amazon, BN.com or the FoodNetwork.com store so he can buy the new cookbooks he desires.

On a budget of $20 or less, give subscriptions to foodie magazines for gifts that arrive fresh each week or month or packs of pretty recipe cards so that they can share their recipes with others the old-fashioned way. Gadgets also range under $20, so you can thrill your gift recipient without spending a fortune. And every time he uses your gift, every winning dish he creates, he'll be grateful to you.

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