Gifts for all kinds of food lovers

Here are five collections guaranteed to satisfy the gourmets on your list.
By Amanda McClements
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 30, 2010; 3:38 PM

Finding the ideal gift for a food lover can be a tricky proposition. Pinpointing someone's personal tastes or knowing what's already gathering dust in a kitchen cupboard can be a haphazard guessing game.

We've spared you the guesswork by curating five stylish gift collections, based on some of the passionate food-loving personalities we know best.

The locavore

For the person who doesn't miss out on a farmers market and can tell you exactly where (and how) that holiday turkey on the table was raised.

Toigo Orchard's Birth of Pain bloody mary mix. Made with Toigo's plump summer tomatoes and practically set on fire by scotch bonnet peppers, this is the rare bloody mary mix that needs no doctoring. Except vodka, that is. 36 ounces, $6.

Find it: Arlington Farmers Market, Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market or check out for locations.

PollyStyle pecan curry shortbread and honey graham crackers. We love the kick of curry that local baker Polly Brown adds to her buttery shortbread cookies. The graham crackers are excellent with blue cheese. 6.2 ounces, $5.50.

Find it: Cork Market and Tasting Room, 1805 14th St. NW ( or

Copper Pot Food Co.'s apple cardamom jam. Chef Stefano Frigerio sources local produce for his pasta sauces and jams. This jam is perfect for winter. 7.75 ounces, $6.50.

Find it: Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market or

Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay. Keep it local when you raise a glass over the holidays with one of Virginia's best sparklers. 750 ml, $27.99.

Find it: Schneider's of Capitol Hill, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE, 202-543-9300, or check for more locations.

Sydney Hale Co. candle. This Arlington County candlemaker uses recyclable and sustainable materials for the stylishly packaged soy candles in subtle scents such as sea salt with bay rum, cocoa with espresso and mint with geranium. $20-$22.

Find it: Covet Boutique, 5140-B Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-247-9797 and

Cavanna Pasta's cranberry-pistachio biscotti. Perfect with morning coffee or after-dinner drinks. $5.

Find it: Alexandria Farmers Market, Arlington Farmers Market, Falls Church Farmers Market.

The cocktail connoisseur

For the friend who always mixes the coolest cocktails, maintains an enviable collection of vintage martini glasses and keeps a bar full of the greatest liquors.

Whisky stones. Chill fine spirits without watering them down with these nifty stones from Vermont soapstone crafters that you store in the freezer. (Ice chewers, beware.) $19.99.

Find it: Home Rule, 1807 14th St. NW, 202-797-5544.

Schott Zwiesel cocktail cup. Created in the 1930s, this vintage shape has made a huge comeback, thanks to the craft cocktail movement. $12.95.

Find it: Sur la Table stores in the District, Tysons Corner and Arlington.

Claw bottle opener. Too intriguing not to leave out on the bar. $24.

Find it:

Silver swizzle sticks. A chic, vintage-inspired set of six swizzle-stick stirrers comes in an elegant silver-plated vase. $24.

Find it: Pottery Barn stores.

Stainless-steel cocktail shaker. A super-sleek shape gives this shaker a modern profile. $14.95.

Find it:

The Bitter Truth Celery Bitters. Recognized at Tales of the Cocktail as the best new product, these bitters add a vegetal note to cocktails. $15.99.

Find it: Ace Beverage, 3301 New Mexico Ave. NW, 202-966-4444, and at Pearson's Liquor and Wine Annex, 2436 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-333-6666.

The world traveler

For a wanderlust spirit drawn to ethnic inspiration.

Salts of the world. The six-pack sampler includes black lava salt from Cyprus, Kechil crystals from Indonesia and pink Himalayan salt from India. $34.

Find it:

Suzani coasters. Showcasing a traditional, embroidered Central Asian suzani design. $8 each.

Find it: Timothy Paul, 1404 14th St. NW, 202-319-1100.

Ikat bowls. The prints on these bone china bowls resemble those on hand-loomed ikat cloths, making a chic vessel for snacks or winter soups. $14 each.

Find it: Anthropologie stores.

Curry sampler. A great way to explore the diversity of curry powders, the sampler includes Malaysian ginger curry, Thai red curry, Indian yellow curry and garam masala. $16.30.

Find it:; made to order at Spice and Tea Exchange, 1069 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-333-4540.

Spanish smoked paprika trio. Peppers are hand-harvested and smoked over oak fires for 15 days in Spain to create this trio of sweet, bittersweet and hot smoked paprika. $14.95.

Find it:

Yuzu juice. Satisfy winter's citrus cravings with the tangy juice from Japanese yuzu, great in vinaigrettes, cocktails and desserts. 12 ounces, $16.50.

Find it:, which also sells yuzu marmalade.

The baker

For the "I don't cook, but I bake" types or anyone who cherishes an afternoon spent elbow-deep in dough and sugar.

Capitol dome and Washington Monument cookie cutters. Good for the holidays and all national election days. $3.25 each.

Find it: Hill's Kitchen, 713 D St. SE, 202-543-1997.

Sprinkles and pearlescent beads in ruby, emerald and more colors. Elegant, cut-above shimmer for cookies and cupcakes. 6.5 ounces, $6.95-$8.50.

Find it: Hill's Kitchen, 713 D St. SE, 202-543-1997.

Set of measuring conversion magnets. In liquid and dry measurements. $8.95.

Find it: Crate and Barrel stores and at

Nielsen-Massey baking extracts. This set of six extracts covers the flavor bases with almond, lemon, orange, peppermint, coffee and chocolate. $56.99 the set, or $10.99 per four ounces.

Find it:

Nesting bowls and cups. Two mixing bowls, a colander, a sieve and four measuring cups take up precious little storage space. $50.

Find it:

The homebody

For anyone who has craved a night in, with creature comforts.

Di Bruno cheese spreads. Includes Gorgonzola, roasted garlic with herb and spicy Abruzze spread with hot peppers. $24.95.

Find it:

Laguiole Natura cheese tool set. The covetable French knifemaker's eco-friendly knives have a friendly price point as well. $29.95.

Find it: Crate and Barrel stores and at

Midnight Popcorn. Striking black corn kernels pop up white. 24 ounces, $5.95.

Find it: Crate and Barrel stores and at

Melamine popcorn tub. Just like at the movies, but without the lines. $14.95.

Find it: Crate and Barrel stores and at

Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate mix. A natural blend of Dutch-process cocoa powder and cane sugar, adorably delivered in a classic glass milk bottle. $7.95.

Find it: Hill's Kitchen, 713 D St. SE, 202-543-1997.

Eco Food Storage Containers. An attractive, Earth-friendly way to store leftovers and snacks. $39 for a set of three.

Find it:

Asian snack mix. Savory Asian rice crackers and spicy wasabi peas come coffee-table ready in a sleek wooden box. 13 ounces, $14.

Find it: Dean and Deluca, 3276 M St. NW, 202-342-2500, and at

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