In a year when we were finally able to sink into restaurant booths again, invite friends around an actual table (rather than raise a glass to yet another screen), and cook a meal for more than our immediate families—things have brightened up considerably. For all the real challenges the food & drinks industry has experienced in these unpredictable times, entrepreneurs have also found opportunities to strike out on their own, as late-night hobbies turned into burgeoning business plans.
And so, a gift in 2021 can be about celebrating and supporting the hard work and dizzying talent that went into, say, that jar of Persian orange jam, bottle of Brooklyn-distilled gin, book on fermenting traditions from around the world, or trays woven in Cambodia. It’s a connection to the people and places we might not have been able to experience first-hand. As our team assembled this guide—which started out as a wild (and soon unwieldy) spreadsheet peppered with enthusiastic tasting notes and impassioned pitches, as well as recommendations from some of our most trusted contributors and friends—it was clear we needed to edit this package on full stomachs. The through line? We kept returning to the items with a backstory that felt truly special, often thanks to a handmade touch. This holiday season, we wish you moments to savor, and to be near the ones you love—and hopefully enjoy one (or more) of the items on this list!
Our Gifting Experts
Ajiri Aki, Founder, Madame de la Maison; Kate Berry, Chief Content Officer, SAVEUR; Stephanie Burt, Host, The Southern Fork Podcast; Richard Christensen, Founder, Flamingo Estate; Jake Cohen, Cookbook Author; Kat Craddock, Editorial Director Recipes & Service, SAVEUR; Taffy Elrod, Chef and Recipe Tester; Bryan Ford, Cookbook Author and Baker; Ellen Fort, Senior Commerce Editor, SAVEUR; Lani Halliday, Pastry Chef and Founder of Brutus Bakeshop; Benjamin Kemper, SAVEUR Contributor; Katherine Lewin, Founder of Big Night; Hetty McKinnon, Cookbook Author and Food Writer; Shane Mitchell, Editor-at-Large, SAVEUR; Anna Polonsky, Creative Director, Polonsky & Friends; Austin Power, Owner, Accidental Bar; Alex Redgrave, Executive Editor, SAVEUR; Jancis Robinson, Wine Critic and Writer; Fanny Singer, Co-Founder of Permanent Collection and Author; Susan Spungen, Cookbook Author, Food Stylist, and Recipe Writer; Kelvin Uffre, “Sucio Sommelier”; Mozel Watson, Owner of Wines by Mozel; Marquis Williams, Founder of Highly Recommended; Samantha Weiss-Hills, Deputy Commerce Editor, SAVEUR; Maggie Xue, Founder & CEO, Us Two Tea; Megan Zhang, Senior Editor of Culture & Trends, SAVEUR
Coffee & Tea
Masha Tea, Genmaicha (from $25)
“Writer and naturopath Maria Geyman’s sourcing is of the utmost quality and all of her packaging is sustainable. I’ve been drinking a lot of her Genmaicha.” —A. Polonsky
Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Gaggia ($449)
Gaggia’s Classic Pro is the ideal entry to at-home espresso. Affordably priced when compared to other similar options, it’s a no-brainer for the budding coffee enthusiast.
Coffee Grinder, Fellow ($299)
“I don’t care how many Latinos drag me for saying this: F*ck Bustelo! (Unless my momma makes it, then I’m obligated.) Fellow has settings to accomodate any grind for any brewing style, even la greca. Just hit a button and poof.” —K. Uffre
Phin & Coffee Kit, Nguyen Coffee Supply ($30)
The first specialty Vietnamese coffee brand in the U.S., Nguyen brings organic green beans stateside and fresh roasts them in Brooklyn. The best way to brew your grinds? In a phin—Vietnam’s travel-friendly, paperless pour-over meets French press.
Small Teapot, Firebelly Tea ($50)
The drip-proof spout, ergonomic handle, and easy-to-clean stainless steel filter on this mini but mighty single-serve teapot enhance an already minimalist design. We love how it can turn a warm cuppa into a tea ceremony for one.
Breakfast Bliss, Joshua Tree Coffee ($14)
“Joshua Tree Coffee is a wonderful local company that uses only the best organic beans and roasts them in the Mojave desert. I keep their Breakfast Bliss in supply at home and in the office.” —R. Christensen
Loose-Leaf Cascara, Huskwell ($18)
“This Charleston, South Carolina-based company is run by the sweetest people and really focused on making a green product that tastes great! It’s fruity and raisiny and appeals to both tea and coffee drinkers.” —S. Burt
C40 MK4 Hand Grinder, Comandante ($360)
The newest addition to the mighty German-made Comandante line-up features stainless steel burrs that slice through coffee beans like a well-honed knife—rivaling an electric grinder in super-consistent grind size.
Bellocchi Medium Terra Cotta Casseroles, Il Buco Vita ($275)
“The artisan who formerly made these gorgeous covered dishes retired in 2019, halting production. Lucky for us, Il Buco Vita found a new maker and reintroduced the line this fall. Crafted entirely by hand, this impeccable cookware looks like a work of art.” —S. Weiss-Hills
Williwaw Salt Cellar and Spoon Rest, Virginia Sin ($84)
A practical nesting design doesn’t have to just deliver functionality. Virginia Sin brings plenty of playful form to this ceramic set, which wobbles—and, yes, stacks up neatly on your counter at the end of the meal. Have you ever seen such an attractive spoon rest?
Japanese Cast Iron Frying Pan, Vermicular ($160)
Lightweight and seemingly indestructible, these Japanese cast iron frying pans can do it all in the kitchen. They come in two sizes, and there’s no seasoning required. Add on the lid with a stay-cool handle that also doubles as a stand.
Garganelli & Gnocchi Stripper, Eppicotispai ($12)
Cooking up homemade pasta can be a peaceful ritual or a for-the-whole-family party. Whatever the vibe, this gnocchi and garganelli paddle is an attractive and affordable gift; it also comes with a handy wood pin to help roll with precision.
Essential Knife Set, Kilne ($165)
“This Canadian cutlery company sells European-style knives—think hefty German steel, comfortable, sculpted handles, and riveted full tangs—at less than half the price of big-name competitors. Kline’s new Essential set pairs three of the brand’s most popular blades with an acacia wood knife strip.” —K. Craddock
Karipan Roasting Pan, Tiipoi ($90)
Tiipoi, a London- and Bangalore-based design studio, works with artisans to create unique cookware. Made of river clay and serpentine rock sourced in Longpi, India, each pan is oven- and stovetop-safe, and makes a show-stopping conversation piece for the dinner table.
Copper Paella Pan, Mauviel ($530)
For that person who loves to cook but seemingly has everything, this handsome and sizable paella pan will take their meals to new heights. Crafted with copper and stainless steel, it’s finished with riveted bronze handles that make it easy to bring right to the table.
Everyday Pan, Saveur Selects ($130)
This sleek pan can be used as a skillet, wok, roasting pan or braiser—the perfect multi-functional tool for someone who might have tight quarters or is just starting to cook more. (Of course we’re partial to our in-house line, but trust us: this pan will become a go-to, and quick.)
Walnut Bread Lame, Zatoba ($35)
Scoring the surface of a perfectly-proofed baguette is a delicate art. Too dull a blade in too heavy a hand can cause doughs to snag, tear, and even collapse before baking. Treat your aspiring or professional baker to this gorgeous walnut-handled lame, which makes careful cuts a breeze—and a pleasure—to make.
Spun Iron Baking Cloche & Tray, March ($215)
Transport straight to the English countryside with this baking cloche and tray made in Shropshire from spun iron. The bell traps in steam so you can whip up loaves with a tender crumb and just-right crust. The non-stick factor (they’re pre-seasoned naturally with flax oil) guarantees a clean release.
Campbell’s Dough Knife, Rackmaster ($20)
“This is a cult item in the artisan baking community. My friend Campbell makes them in the UK and ships to the U.S. They’re nonstick and make a huge difference when dealing with wet doughs (he has never paid me to say this!).” —B. Ford
French Rolling Pin, Tomnuk ($89)
Give the gift of good design in the form of a handcrafted rolling pin by Canadian studio Tomnuk, made from maple wood and polished with beeswax and mineral oil for a smooth finish. The handy brass hanging feature means it’s easy to store and display. Rolling out sugar cookies has never been more stylish.
Folding Bread Proofer, Brød & Taylor ($180)
For the impatient baker in your life, consider this clever home-sized proof box. With precise temperature controls and a humidity tray, they’ll never wait around for sourdough to rise again. It doubles as a slow cooker, as well as an incubation tank for fermented foods, and even folds flat.
Baking Slab, Made In ($89)
The “baking slab” from Nancy Silverton’s new line of ceramic cookware glides from sweet to savory with elegance. It’s great for a family-sized pecan pie, or a quick-cooking, crispy lasagna.
Yuzu Shichimi Togarashi, Yamatsu Tsujita ($14)
“What I especially love about this shichimi is that it combines my two favorite flavors: hot chili and bright citrus. I basically won’t eat a boiled egg unless it’s been showered in this stuff!” —F. Singer
Collards N Ghost Hot Sauce, Hot N Saucy Hot Sauces ($10)
“I have been collecting these hot sauces as they debut. With unique ingredients like pepperoncini, peri peri, and collard greens, each bottle is like another jewel in a crown.” —T. Elrod
Smoky Trio, Fishwife ($28)
Fishwife’s cans of fish have reached cult status (in part thanks to the adorable packaging). The female-founded company’s new trio set of smoked trout, albacore tuna, and salmon has been sourced from small boat fishermen everywhere from Idaho to Norway.
The Gourmand 52 Deck, Gourmand ($27)
“This fun deck was designed by the next generation of creators in the food space and a portion of the proceeds go to a very good cause: ROAR (Restaurants Organizing, Advocating & Rebuilding).” —S. Spungen
Saffron Tomato Living Vinegar, Julia Sherman & Acid League ($15)
Salad for President’s Julia Sherman teamed up with Acid League on a limited-edition tomato and saffron vinegar that pulls flavor inspiration from the pages of her new cookbook, Arty Parties. The culinary cool kid on your list will undoubtedly approve.
Handmade Jams, Nasrin’s Kitchen (from $9)
“As soon as my husband and I (and then, all our friends) discovered Nasrin’s traditional Persian cookies and jams, we became forever regulars. I love to serve her orange jam with hard cheeses, and the carrot-saffron jam is beautiful on its own or over sour yogurt.” —A. Polonsky
Green Tangerine Pu-erh Tea, Steep LA ($10)
“Pu-erh is one of my favorite teas for wintertime and it reminds me of home (Shanghai). Green tangerine adds slight sweetness and balances out the grassy taste. It’s great to sip and warm your stomach.” —M. Xue [Editor’s note: Scroll down to the Tea Ceremony section to order.]
Assorted Snacks, West~Bourne (from $7)
Every snack from West~Bourne is inspired by chef and founder Camilla Marcus’ California upbringing, from the House Granola with chia and flax seeds to the turmeric- and nutritional yeast-coated popcorn. Plus, each bag (and label) is zero-waste and compostable.
Organic Grass Jelly Herb (Mesona), Yun Hai ($12)
Yun Hai sources ingredients directly from artisans and farms in Taiwan, and imports the country’s popular Grass Jelly Herb to North America. Use it to make jiggly desserts or tea (for flavor profile, think: rooibos meets mint).
Wavy Pancake & Waffle Mix, Gastronomical ($20)
The new line of food products by Bronx-based culinary collective Ghetto Gastro lets you choose from ancestral grains, chocolate, matcha, or red velvet for your weekend brekkie (all gluten-free)—and in a playfully designed package, no less.
Wine & Spirits
Licor de Elote, Nixta ($32)
Biologist and master distiller Iván Saldaña creates spirits that showcase Mexican ingredients—and this highly giftable corn liqueur is his most recent invention. Use it to add sweetness and the unmistakable aroma of freshly ground masa to spirit-forward drinks and creamy desserts.
The Durand Corkscrew, Durand ($145)
“A corkscrew that is really useful for older bottles of wine and crumbly corks.” —J. Robinson [Editor’s note: Another premium gift is a one-year membership to Robinson’s site, including a searchable database of expert tasting notes, 13,000+ articles with new stories published daily, and more.]
Tebinari Glass, Aderia ($7)
“We gave these organic-shaped glasses to each of the guests at our wedding. Made by Aderia Glass, a 200-year-old Japanese brand, they’re versatile, ergonomic, and durable.” —A. Power
Rose De Meunier, Laherte Frères ($55)
“I’m particularly drawn to this rosé for its lush, bright, tangy fruit notes, and gentle bubbles. The finesse is just flawless. And the price-to-quality is unmatched.” —M. Williams
Cocktail Kit, Ghia ($42)
Ghia, a deliciously herbaceous, dry aperitif, bucks alcohol and keeps all of the flavor. This cocktail kit includes a little jar of edible flowers, nifty pour spout, and limited-edition holiday coasters, along with the bottle. It’s refreshing on ice with a dash of soda, or check out Ghia’s website for a library of non-alcoholic drink recipes.
Tiki Whiskey Cup, Knotwork LA ($40)
“Are you tired of serving tropical drinks in a vessel that’s indicative of religious idolatry you have no connection to or business exploiting? Don’t wanna put a Zombie in a Collins glass? Meet Linda Hsiao, whose ceramic artwork is inspired and thoughtful.” —K. Uffre
Gin, Ode to Babel ($49)
Eye-catching bottles are always a good gift bet. Go bright, citrus, and floral with Ode to Babel’s gin, punctuated with botanicals like makrut lime, ylang ylang, jasmine—and, yes, a touch of juniper. Pour it long with lemon and club soda, or make a martini with a citrus twist.
Tío Pepe Fino Sherry, Gonzalez-Byass ($37)
“The Tío Pepe Finos Palmas line is the crème de la crème of the Sherry DO. The more palmas, the older the wine. I like the entry-level Una Palma for its saline freshness, which perks up any appetizer or tapas spread. It’s also an absolute steal!” —B. Kemper
Books & Periodicals
Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia ($33)
This new volume from Bogota-born food stylist Mariana Velasquez is a stunning exploration of the rich heritages and diverse regions that make up the tapestry of Colombian cuisine. Photography by Gentl & Hyers captures the colorful tablescapes you’ll want to recreate at home well beyond the holidays.
The Joy of Pizza: Everything You Need to Know ($35)
Dan Richer, chef of Jersey City institution Razza, and Rome-based writer Katie Parla team up on this exuberant celebration of one of the world’s favorite hand-held meals, replete with tips and recipes for how to achieve airy yet crispy crusts and masterful flavor combinations.
Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora ($40)
“Marking the launch of Bryant Terry’s new imprint, 4 Color Books, Black Food is a joyful collage of essays, art, playlists, and recipes (almost all of which reflect the celebrated vegan chef’s plant-based cooking) that is, according to the author, a “communal shrine to the shared culinary histories of the African diaspora.” —A. Redgrave
Sandor Katz’s Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from Around the World ($35)
James Beard Award-winner Sandor Katz is back with another effervescent guide that will captivate fans of fermentation. This time, Katz’s recipes are deep dives collected during his travels around the world, from Croatian kraut to Chinese pickles to Mexican-inspired kimchi.
Bavel: Modern Recipes Inspired by the Middle East ($40)
With a cover evoking the restaurant’s plant-laced canopy, the eponymous cookbook from L.A.’s Bavel invites readers to celebrate and cook from a variety of Middle Eastern cultures. It’s as beautiful to flip through on a coffee table as it is to test out in the kitchen.
The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes ($32)
“This guide is for my friends who became home-trained cocktail connoisseurs last year when we couldn’t travel. I love the way Julia Momosé shares Japanese cocktail culture but also the elegance and intention of the process.” —A. Aki
Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora ($40)
American Filipino chef Angela Dimayuga and food writer Ligaya Mishan pepper classic dishes from the archipelago with a contemporary twist—resulting in a history lesson, Tagalog crash course, and culinary love letter in one.
Mold Magazine Subscription ($38)
Packed with interviews, essays, profiles, and reported features, a gift subscription to the bi-annual Mold magazine will enlighten and educate any reader interested in the future of food and how it intersects with design.
Food & Pantry
Gjelina Dates Pantry Box, Gjusta Goods ($86)
Indulge the date devotee in your life with a gift box that interprets the fruit (sourced from California’s Coachella Valley) in myriad delicious ways—whether pickled in a flavorful condiment or added to a sweet-and-savory trail mix.
Saffron Threads, Moonflowers ($40)
“Saffron is considered the world’s most precious spice, and Tahmina Ghaaffer’s fragrant Moonflowers, from Afghanistan’s province of Herat, is the highest quality. She pays the Afghan women who harvest it directly, which is now more important than ever.” —S. Mitchell
Pantry Collection, NY Shuk ($149)
“This collection will take your cooking in exciting directions. Some of my NY Shuk favorites are the signature matbucha and rosey harissa. Having them in your pantry opens up a whole new avenue in your kitchen.” —S. Spungen
Boozy Jelly Cake, Solid Wiggles ($109)
Who wouldn’t want a wiggly, jiggly cake, decorated with interstellar designs or floral motifs and spiked with champagne or lemon and gin delivered to their door? (Non-alcoholic options also abound.)
Kiri Wood Rice Container, Tortoise General Store ($150)
“Storing uncooked grains can still be made special—and this stackable container, made from natural Paulownia wood in Japan, is proof. It repels insects, controls humidity, and resists heat, ensuring rice stays fresh while looking incredibly elegant doing so.” —M. Zhang
The Entertainer Box, Jasper Hill Farm ($150)
For the cheese lover, this impressively stocked gift box has everything necessary for hosting a snacky happy hour or festive holiday gathering—with no fewer than five of Jasper Hill’s most loved cheeses and six accompaniments. Just add wine, and the party is complete.
Golden Brownstone Gift Set, Harlem Chocolate Factory ($63/Set of 6)
“This set is like Willy Wonka in Harlem. The chocolate is incredible—smooth, rich, and pairs perfectly with a nice glass of Bordeaux—and I love that founders Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon name the products after places in their neighborhood.” —M. Watson
The A5 Japanese Wagyu Sando Kit, Regalis (from $185)
“A sandwich kit that’s the ideal gift for your best friend (or someone you’d like to be your best friend). Buttery Japanese Wagyu, fluffy milk bread from NYC’s Win Son Bakery, and Bachan’s barbecue sauce make for a next-level holiday treat. For the true bon vivant, add on caviar, raclette-style cheese, or foie gras.” —E. Fort
10-Ounce Old Fashioned Glass, Kimura ($21)
“These Japanese crystal glasses are delicate and refined, but durable enough for the dishwasher. They simply go with every table setting.” —K. Berry
Trinket Dish, Morgan Levine Ceramics ($50)
These little hand-marbled plates, ideal for condiments, are all one-of-a-kind. Gift them in a set to serve sauces, dressing, or spices at the table.
Dipped Taper Candles, Floral Society ($15)
“Candlelight in winter is the forever mood. Ease into the season of flickering elegance with modern tapers that are hand-dipped and clean burning.” —L. Halliday
Splatterware Pitchers, March (from $50)
Each piece of this splatterware collection is painted in Italy’s Puglia region and can elevate everyday household tasks, from pouring water to arranging flowers.
Napkins, Madre (from $28)
A stack of hand-crafted table linens is just the right gift for the consummate host. Designed and sewn in Portland, Oregon, Madre’s napkins are woven in a mill run on green energy. (Having trouble choosing between the food-inspired colors? Oyster is a Saveur favorite.)
Dishes, Material Kitchen Tableware (from $60)
“For friends who love timeless classics, I’ll be gifting Material Kitchen Tableware. These gorgeous everyday plates, a collaboration with Korean ceramicist Hye Rin Yang of Soil Baker, bring some class to everyday meals.” —H. McKinnon
Mosaic Trays, ARKElements ($92/Set of 4)
Woven in Cambodia, these graphic and colorful trays are a lovely addition to someone’s coffee or tea routine, and layered with a napkin for pastries.
Color Sticks Chopsticks, Hay ($40/Set of 6)
Each bamboo and beechwood chopstick pair features a cheerful color-blocked wrap. The different chromatic combinations make it easy to know which set is whose at the dinner table.
Walnut Serving Set, Hawkins New York ($70)
Salad servers are under-the-radar special: you don’t realize until many meals later that by using them—in this case, a handsome hand-carved pair that patina nicely over time—you’ll always be reminded of the gift-giver.