A New York Food Lover's Holiday Gift List

Staff Writer
Go beyond restaurant gift certificates with unique and tasty NYC-centric gifts
Murray's Cheese

You can probably wrap up something better than meat for your NY food lover

Food lovers in New York City are not few and far between; many have an affinity for ethnic cheap eats while others make a hobby of splurging on fine dining.  The cooking, dining, and eating scene in all five boroughs is fantastic, so this year, move beyond a restaurant gift certificate and give a creative New York City food gift to the food lover in your life.  

Feet and food may not always go together, but Soho's Brazilian spa and salon, Maria Bonita offers a unique hot chocolate pedicure that gives the avid cook a few minutes off her feet or the sweet tooth a chance to relax and enjoy a chocoholic experience. Alongside a serving of steamy hot chocolate (for the mouth, not the feet), the pedicure starts with a warm, soothing foot soak in a combination of cocoa, almond oils and dead sea salts followed by a chocolate and almond scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells and heal sore and rough feet. An almond oil, vitamin E and chocolate mixture is than massaged into the feet and legs and feet are then soaked in a warm hot chocolate parafin infusion.  A cozy and relaxing 90-minute treatment, this is the ideal treat for anyone in need of serious relaxation and the foodie theme will please food lovers in your life. $40.00.

Chocolate is a gift that barely lasts longer than its wrapper, but Mast Brothers makes sustainable, one-of-a-kind burlap bags created from recycled cacao bean sacks emptied in their Williamsburg factory. The totes are waxed and hand-crafted to ensure long lasting quality and filling them with a few Mast Brothers chocolate bars isn't a bad idea either. Starts at $150.

If there's any food that's iconic to New York, it's the pizza.  Pizza a Casa Pizza School offers hands-on pizza-making (and mozzerella making! and pasta making!) classes for individuals, couples, and private groups. The school is unique in that it uses a 500 degree oven, not pizza-specific special equipment, so you can re-create the pies at home, which the school's founder, Mark Bello,  believes people closer together, united in the love of creating and sharing good food. The school's store also sells everything from pizza stones to herb scissors for any pizza afficionado. You can teach a man to order Seamless, or you can teach him to throw his own crust.... Prices start at $150.


Everyone's a food blogger these days.  Whether you're aunt is a professional restaurant critic or your dad is sending out his Yelp reviews in the annual family newsletter, it seems that New Yorkers have a lot to say about food.  While a nice camera is great gift for a food lover, chances are they're not going to be carrying around an SLR or even a point-and-shoot when they randomly stumble upon that awesome taco place on the way to an appointment in Queens. Photojojo makes attachable lenses for iPhones and Androids, creating a professional-style photo with the small portable accessories. The book, Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling has applicable and useful advice for aspiring food photographers, such as how to style your at-home recipes to feature them online. And for the friend who always Instagrams gooey dishes post-flash, share this Serious Eats post with him too.


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And in the vain of saying cheese, a subscription to a Murray's Cheese club is the gift that keeps on giving food year-round.  Choose from cheese, meats, or pairings, and the West Village's favorite cheese shop will send hand-picked, seasonal assortments every month of their limited production items. In her Favorite Things, Oprah Winfrey (not a New Yorker) stated, "Gooey, creamy, rich—this is the ultimate gift for food lovers. Three half–pound cheeses are sent every month with a description of each one. I'd encourage the recipient to either do a lot of sharing or get the name of a good cardiologist."  So yeah, these dairy products are Oprah endorsed.  


Anyone interested in the New York food scene should own I Heart NY, by Eleven Madison Park's Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. The two chefs provide an in-depth look at New York's centuries-old farming traditions, including 150 recipes for the home cook that highlight its outstanding ingredients—from apples, celery root, and foie gras to nettles, scallops, venison, and chocolate. Gorgeous photographs, narratives, and food inspirations create this unique ode to New York regional cuisine, local producors, and a celebration of the bounty of this exceptional state.


For young food lovers (or those who are just young at heart), a trip to the world's largest gingerbread exhibit at the New York Hall of Science is a necessity. GingerBread Lane is a 1.5 ton, 300-square-foot village made entirely of 500 pounds of edible gingerbread, 1,900 pounds of royal icing and 400 pounds of candy, and it is a contender for the Guinness World Record as the largest gingerbread exhibit. 152 gingerbread houses, 65 trees, four gingerbread cable cars, five gingerbread train cars, an underground candy subway station, candy trees and sugar signage create the village, which will be up for grabs starting at 10am on January 12th.  The cookies might be a bit stale, but what a cool and unique gift!  Bonus: this Queens museum is located heart of Flushing's Chinatown, so a visit pretty much requires an epic food adventure. 

For adult sweettooths, you can't go wrong with a gift from Tipsy Scoop. This New York Ice Cream company creates custom, made-to-order alcoholic ice creams in flavors like mango margarita, kir royale, and cake batter vodka martini.  Order a batch of artisinal ice creams for Christmas dessert or gift a Tipsy Scoop class for a social and delicious evening. 
For more ideas of local food gifts, check out Made in NYC, a comprehensive directory of thousands of fantastic New York products, from Brooklyn beer to mini homemade pies!