Gift Guide – Holiday 2017 – What to Buy NOW!

It’s that time of year again – Gift-mas! What do you get for the Foodie/Chef/Cook on your list? Here’s the Holiday Gift Guide for this year. Sorry for my absence, but I have been playing with, experimenting, and doing recipe trials with one of the items on this list.

Carnivore Club 

If you have been following along, you know I am a Charcuterie Whore. I simply love cured meats in all forms. The Hubs bought Carnivore Club as a surprise for me and it comes monthly until he cancels. Of course you can opt for a single box as a gift for someone on your list. Each box comes with 4 -6 artisanal meats created by small producers, so not only are you giving a unique gift, you are indirectly supporting small businesses. $50/month

Photo from their website


Instant Pot

I was skeptical about this “wonder appliance”, the Instant Pot. Whenever there is a ton of hype online, I am wary. So, I borrowed one from friend Kristie and was suitably impressed enough to buy one for myself. Several sizes and options are available depending on household size and cooking needs. The 6 quart Ultra (pictured below) is the one I chose and have yet to figure out all the options. I can tell you I whipped up a lamb stock in about 45 minutes using the “soup/chili” pressure cooking option. My crockpot, rice cooker and pressure cooker have all been donated because this pot does all three tasks and so much more. It’s a great gift for busy households. I’ve been playing with this a lot and I will be posting in depth about it soon. It’s a little pricey, so watch for specials at retailers. Starting at $139.

Instant Pot 6 Qt Ultra model Photo from their website


Rock Crok™ Slow Cooker Set – The Pampered Chef

While on the surface, the Rock Crok™ Slow Cooker Set may seem like a repeat of the Instant Pot, trust me, it isn’t. The insert goes in the microwave, freezer, fridge, oven, on the stovetop and on the grill on its own for optimal versatility. Sear your meat on the stove and pop the “crok” into the base and use it as a slow cooker. I have bought this as an engagement gift 4 times this year. It’s a perfect gift for cooks just starting out, or households where both heads of household work and getting dinner on the table is a challenge. If someone you know loves their crockpot, they are going to flip over this. Again, a bit pricey, but every time I gift this, the recipients are delighted! Bonus, not sold in stores, only available through a Pampered Chef sales rep, so you’ll be supporting a small business person. You can order here! $169

4 Qt Rockcrok set from The Pampered Chef – photo from their website

Raw Spice Bar

That person on your gift list that loves to cook and is impossible to shop for because they have everything? Raw Spice Bar has you covered! This fab company sends freshly ground spices once a quarter complete with recipes to spark the imagination. You can select the type of recipes you want to send, vegetarian, omnivore, paleo, light & healthy are all available as options. Tired of making the same old recipes? Buy it for yourself! All the recipes are seasonally appropriate and this is REALLY affordable. $52 for a two quarterly shipments or get an annual gift of 4 quarterly deliveries for $88.

Raw Spice Bar – photo from their website

Cooking Classes

Is there a budding cook on your gift list? A perfect solution is to gift them with a cooking or tasting class or two! Here in Vegas try Artisanal Foods to shop local. They have both tasting and cooking classes on a variety of topics and at various price points. While you are there, check out the tremendous selection of hard to find comestibles. Don’t live here in Vegas? No problem! Sur la Table (nationwide) offers classes in stores with demo kitchens and many local bakeries, restaurants, cooking schools, and chefs offer cooking class experiences. My friend Maureen recently took a bread baking class at her local bakery and the photos were mouthwateringly good! Check locally for availability. Prices will vary.

These are some of the loaves Friend Maureen baked in her Bread Baking Class at Wide Awake Bakery

M(sqd) Knife Bag

Is there a chef on your gift list? Someone who does live cooking demos? Anyone who travels with their knives? THIS is the bag! I have a knife roll, like most traveling “knives for hire”, and I don’t really like it, but I like the hard and semi-hard cases that are available even less. This knife bag is so smartly designed, rugged and USABLE! Nice leather detailing and pockets for everything (including a tablet), make this the perfect gift for any traveling chef or cook. The messenger bag design means hands free flexibility. $99, free shipping and available online only at this time.

Messenger style knife bag from M(sqd). Photo courtesy of M(sqd). Visit the website for more images.

It’s On Me – Gift Cards Reinvented

I know I have included this gift idea before, but I still love It’s On Me and I love it even more now. Digital gift cards that people can’t forget if they have their phone with them. You get to treat your giftees to a round of drinks without even being in the same city. Easy to gift and easy to redeem, all they do is show their phone with the gift image to the server. You can buy lunch for a friend, gift a round of drinks at their fave bar, or treat a friend to dinner. Chef’s table dining experiences, golf packages and so much more are available to choose from. You can shop from your phone with the app or from your computer via the website linked here. Digital delivery, via text means no shipping charges. They have expanded their markets to include Detroit, San Francisco, and Seattle among others. Bonus – It’s On Me is locally owned here in Vegas, and all of the participating merchants are selected for their excellence so you don’t have to worry about giving a dud gift. Prices vary, but basically starting at $10.