Once again, the holidays are upon us, and The Food Section has compiled a guide to gastronomic gift ideas for (almost) everyone on your list, from the neophyte foodie to the highly educated oenophile.
For the conceptual culinarian: Limited edition prints by designer Jamie Wieck: "Danté's Tea Break" (left) charts Danté's descent into hell as seen through tea biscuits; "Decisions, Decisions" (right), is a massive flow chart mapping the myriad choices involved in dining out.
For the avant garde oenophile: Postmodern glassware that upends the traditional: Alissia Melka Teichroew’s Inside Out champagne (left) and liqueur glasses (top), Maxim Velcovsky's Sommelier Stemmed Cups (center) re-imagine plastic cups as stemware, and Claudio Colucci's carafe (right), blown from a single piece of glass, contains a wine glass within.
For the gastronome-in-training: The gyroscopic Löopa bowl (left) oscillates to keep snacks from spilling when tipped, even when turned upside down. Benders, bendable kids utensils from Boon, help toddlers successfully navigate food's journey from plate to mouth.
For the serious imbiber: So, maybe you can you distinguish between aromas of black currant and blackberry in a glass of Cabernet, but can you detect "wine faults" like vinegar, sulfur, glue, and onion? Le Nez du Vin’s Faults Kit contains an instruction kit with 12 aroma vials that will train your nose to recognize a bad bottle of wine.
For the not-so-serious imbiber: Cool Jewels (top) bring some bling to ordinary ice cubes, LEGO’s corkscrew and bottle opener (right) reinvents the plastic bricks as barware, and the Rossini (left) is a cocktail strainer with an idenity crisis (it’s also a pie server).
Save the planet: Bottled water is fast becoming the bête noire of the ecologically correct epicurean set. Reduce your carbon footprint and output of used plastic and glass by skipping bottled water in favor of tap. The Eva Solo Fridge Carafe, made to fit in a refrigerator door and available in five neoprene jackets, is a fine container for still water, and if you’re addicted to sparkling, carbonate your own with the Soda Club Penguin.
For celebrity chef wannabes: Be like Batali (and risk being a fashion victim) with a pair of signature Mario Batali edition orange Bistro Crocs, or test your culinary comprehension with Foodie Fight, a gastronomical take on Trivial Pursuit.
For the neophyte foodie: A reading list for entry-level epicureans: Adam Roberts’ earnest (and funny) The Amateur Gourmet is a confidence-builder for the uninitiated. Michael Ruhlman’s Strunk and White-inspired The Elements of Cooking combines a glossary of essential cooking knowledge with essays on cooking technique. To complete your education, David Kamp’s wry The Food Snob’s Dictionary sends up the people, places, and movements that comprise the contemporary food world.
For the carnivore: Give the gift of salumi from artisanal producer Fra' Mani, and you will please any conoisseur of cured meats (bottom left). Take out a second mortgage for a whole Jamon Iberico ham (bottom right), the legendary ham made from black-hooved, acorn-eating pigs in Spain, coming to the U.S. for the first time. Top left, a huggable plush pork chop from Sweet Meats, and, top right, Au Pied de Cochon: The Album, a cookbook and DVD from pigtastic Montreal chef Martin Picard.
For the mobile gourmand: The Tableless Meal Kit (top left), Outdoor Meal Kit (center), and Sigg's Cutlery Tool (right) make it easy to eat on-the-go. Bottom left, Clarkson Potter has reissued a series of cookbooks as portable decks of cards -- José Andrés' Tapas is shown here (others, including The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff and Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best by Max McCalman and David Gibbons, are also available). The Mappetite city guide (top right) maps New York City’s restaurants, food markets, and landmarks in a handy flip-and-fold guide (a guide for London is also available for pre-order and more maps are in the works).