The Daily Meal Gift Guide

Santa, are you listening? Our editors share what is at the top of each of our lists this year.
Japanese Sea Salts
Maryse Chevriere

Japanese Sea Salts

Looking for the perfect gift for your foodie friend, or classically-trained chef sibling? Taking cue from the channels on our website, the editorial team at The Daily Meal shares a variety of foods, trips, products, and gadgets that all rank at the top of our wish lists this year. From cast-iron pans to the elusive reservation at Minibar; inexpensive Ziploc bags to culinary trips to Napa and Croatia, there is certainly something for every food lover on your list.



Murray's Cheese of the Month Club

I love cheese, especially Murray's cheese selection, but sometimes I don't have time to shop around for new ones. With the Cheese of the Month Club, I'll get to taste a new cheese each month without having to do anything. It'll be like a new present each time it arrives! —Yasmin Fahr


Cougar Gold Cheese

Cheese in a can. Really good cheese. Tart, slghtly sweet, vaguely nutty yellow-white cheddar-type stuff from the Washington State University creamery. Keeps forever. Actually gets better the longer it sits unopened. The regular Cougar Gold ($18 for 30 ounces, plus shipping) is terrific; the three-year old ($25) is even better.           — Colman Andrews


Reservation at Minibar

Arguably one of the most difficult restaurants to get a reservation at in the country. From what I've heard, it's an amazing dining experience-- interactive, unique, and the food is supposed to be fantastic. — Maryse Chevriere


Planeta Extra Virgin Olive Oil and O&CO Gold Balsamic Vinegar

For those who have never been to Italy, but have always wanted to, bring Italy’s finest to them with a bottle of syrupy Balsamico and a full-flavored Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Perfect for any foodie. — Allison Beck


Napa Wine Train Tickets

It’s a meal and a trip all in one. Buy a $94 gift certificate for a gourmet lunch on the train – daytime is the best for watching the Napa scenery the very elegant train chugs through. — Valaer Murray


Masa Gift Certificate

Cause it's all about money, ain't a damn thing funny, you got to have a con in this land of milk and honey. Seriously though, otherwise at $450 per person not including drinks and tip this storied New York dining experience may have to be put on hold for a book advance. — Arthur Bovino




SodaSteam Penguin Water Carbonator

I'm an avid tap water drinker, and try to avoid buying bottled water as much as I can. But sometimes I just want that sparkling, special feeling that comes with carbonated water -- that's when I cave and buy one. But with this brilliant invention, I can turn my beloved tap water into a fun, fizzy treat whenever I want. — Yasmin Fahr


Taylor Fladgate 40-Year-Old Tawny Port

Expensive, yes (it's available pretty much nationwide at prices anywhere from $125 to $200 a bottle), but anything over a 20-year-old tawny is rare, and this is an unforgettable treat.   Tawny port is a blend of vintages aged in wood rather than in the bottle like year-specific vintage port (its age usually indicates the oldest wine in the mix, not the average age); it oxydizes, turns honey-brown, mellows, and develops a wonderful depth of flavor. Dole this one out in small portions (so it lasts) with desserts that aren't overly sweet—or, hey, with Cougar Gold. — Colman Andrews


Williams-Sonoma King Cube Silicone Ice Cube Trays

In case you haven't read, I have a thing for craft ice in cocktails. — Maryse Chevriere


Insulated Growler Beer Bag

Now that all the big-city Whole Foods are offering beer on tap, growlers are the best new way to tote home fresh craft brews. Your resident beer geek will appreciate this case from KegWorks that keeps the beer cold and has straps to make the slippery glass jug easier to carry. — Valaer Murray


Blomus Acqua Carafe

Fill this multi-purpose glass carafe with water and some lemon, orange, or lime slices in the morning, and drinking your eight cups of water a day will be a whole lot easier. It’s also perfect for holding a couple servings of a mixed cocktail, and its spout will eliminate any spills while pouring. Margaritas anyone? — Allison Beck


The Macallan Fine and Rare Collection

They say that no one's going to be able to try Shackelton's whiskey. You kind of can't believe that's true. No one? Really? But if you love whiskey, it gets you thinking about the other impossible, or near impossible dreams out there. At $38,000 a bottle, and $3,300 per dram, it's not likely you'll be buying everyone a round of the Macallan Fine & Rare Collection anytime soon. If you are, wait til I'm there. — Arthur Bovino




Japanese Sea Salt Set

These Japanese Sea Salts, ranging in color, smell and taste, are perfect finishing salts. At The Meadow, where they are sold, it's almost impossible not to want to buy all of the salts that line the walls (there are over 120) -- but these glass-encased ones are a great way to start. — Yasmin Fahr


Cast-Iron Comal

Picture a nice, well-seasoned black cast-iron skillet with no sides beyond a modest lip. It heats fast and evenly, cleans easily, and is readily available in the $10–$20 range. Use it as it's used in Mexico and Central America, to warm tortillas (or cook them if you're making them from scratch), sear fish or meat, char chiles, or roast spices. — Colman Andrews


Anthropologie Winter Iris Apron

I have a lot of cookbooks and cooking gadgets. What I don't have? A really cute apron. — Maryse Chevriere


Kuuma Balcony Grill

This amazingly handy little gas grill can be mounted on the railing of a balcony or – dare we say it – fire escape. Not everyone has the room for even a Weber Smokey Joe, so this is perfect for those tight spaces but you can still fit, say, 10 kebabs or six fat juicy burgers on it. — Valaer Murray


Edward Wohl Cutting Board

A big cutting board is not only functional, providing ample space for prep work in the kitchen, but can also be decorative. I’m lusting for one of Ed Wohl’s #5 bird’s-eye maple cutting boards this holiday season. Beautiful enough to hang on the wall, but perfectly functional for chopping. — Allison Beck


Modernist Cuisine

A six-volume, 2.400-page set that could quite possibly completely revolutionize cooking as we know it. What's not to want about this? It's scheduled for a March 2011 release, but a Christmas preorder would be a nice stocking stuffer. — Arthur Bovino




Le Creuset 6 Piece Classic Set

This winter, I really want to make a lot of braises, stews and soups, so I figure if I have great cookware, then I'll be even more motivated to make them... (right?). — Yasmin Fahr


Opinel Carbon Steel Fold Out Knives

Old-timers in France sometimes bring their own well-honed Opinels—wood-handled pocket knives with a collar at the bolster than turns to stop the blade from closing—to restaurants with them, an unspoken rebuke to the banality of ordinary cutlery. Opinel makes fixed-blade steakknives, but these are much more fun and you can buy exactly as many as you need—just two, four or five, 17. — Colman Andrews


Antique Champagne Saucer

I love the look of the champagne coupe. These, with intricate etching and a great vintage feel. Great for New Year's Eve party entertaining. — Maryse Chevriere


Marimekko Teapot and Tea Cups

This year, we learned How to Host a Tea Party, and these are exactly the accoutrements needed for a hip high tea. — Valaer Murray


Pasanella & Sons Vino and Cookbook-of-the-month Club

If you love cooking and trying new wines, with Pasanella & Sons’ Vino and Cookbook-of-the-Month Club is for you. Armed with a new cookbook, and one red and one white wine each month, adventures in the kitchen are guaranteed. — Allison Beck


A reenactment of chef Auguste Escoffier's legendary banquet originally served at the Hôtel Ritz.

You can have as many tatsting menus as you like, to understand the scale, scope and undertaking that must have gone into these feasts, you probably have to experience it first-hand. — Arthur Bovino




A Weekend at Blackberry Farm

This would be my ideal long weekend, preferably in the spring or summer, so that I could relax, hike, bike, work on the farm and eat incredibly fresh food -- all in an idyllic location. — Yasmin Fahr


3-gallon Ziploc Bags

Unglamorous? Sure. But any food lover who travels a lot will find these indispensible for bringing back, oh, say, a fresh-baked baguettes from a Parisian bakery, some stinky cheese from Peck in Milan, a bottle of wine from the Priorat (in your checked bag, of course)—anything that needs protection from the rigors of travel, or that your other belongings need protection from. And I'm not even mentioning the wet bathing suit or the dirty laundry...   — Colman Andrews


A Culinary Vacation in Croatia

I've always wanted to go to Croatia, and their cuisine is something I know nothing about. This trip sounds like it would be an exciting new travel and culinary adventure. — Maryse Chevriere


GPS Homing Device

After visiting some of New Orleans’ Oldest Bars, even the most seasoned traveler may need some help getting back to the hotel. Before going out, set the GPS device and then at the end of the night, the device will point the way home and tell you how far away you are. — Valaer Murray


Bella Viva Dried Fruit and Nuts Mix

Wherever your travels may take you, go prepared with your own healthy mix of dried fruit and nuts to stave off hunger. With a gift certificate to Bella Viva Orchards, you can create a mix of your own choosing! — Allison Beck


A round the world ticket, or a round-trip ticket to Chico's Tacos in El Paso, TX

The six months I spent backpacking through Europe and South America were enough to clue me into the fact that given funds and the ability to leave the country for an extended period, I'd be very comfortable doing a trip around the world. A round the world ticket would take care of the funds part of the equation. A paid-for weekend food excursion to Chico's Tacos in El Paso for their flautas might hold me over til I could manage to find a way to make that round the world trip happen. I've been wishing to revisit Chico's for ten years. — Arthur Bovino