Holiday Gift Ideas

…With an Emphasis on food 🙂

 Holiday Gift Ideas

…All things food!

It’s that time of year again. Black Friday sales will soon be upon us, Friendsgivings will seem to outnumber Thanksgivings, and we’ll seem to remember all of a sudden that we forgot to start getting gifts for people. Or, perhaps you know it’s time to make your list, but you don’t know what to get your sister who has everything or your cousin you don’t talk to much. 

Enter, Stretchy Pants’ 2019 holiday food gift ideas guide. We’ve rounded up a bunch of our favorite food gifts – from local favorites to presents from around the world. Because that person who has everything still loves food, and you can learn more about that person you don’t talk to much through a meal (or better yet, a cooking class!). 

We’ve divided our list into five categories of food gift ideas so you can find the best fit. 

Who are you shopping for this season? 

  1. The Cook 
  2. The Takeout Queen 
  3. The Veghead 
  4. The New Parent 
  5. The International Traveler 

Food Holiday Gifts Ideas for the Cook (DIY)

Oaktown Spice Shop Gift Set

The cook in your life likely has a great spice collection already, but have they been to Oaktown Spice Shop yet? Walk over the threshold into this Lake Merritt gem and you’re surrounded by the warmth of hundreds of spices. From merlot salt, to sumac, tons of teas, and more, if there’s a spice you need, they’re bound to have it. For a no-fail food gift we recommend the Oaktown Favorites Gift Box, which includes Persian Lime Curry Rub, Shichimi Togarashi, Poivre a la Mode, and Zahtar.

Holiday Food Gifts - Oaktown Favorites
Holiday Food Gifts - Inna Jam

Inna Jam Set

Another local favorite on our food gift ideas list, the Inna company makes jams, shrubs, pantry items, and snacks out of their kitchen in Emeryville. The jam that sparked Inna’s revolution was their jalapeno jam, which they still sell today. Get a gift jar of two flavors or three jars plus coffee – they have combinations to fit different budget levels. If your gift recipient falls in love, you can take them to visit the kitchen at 1307 61st Street, Emeryville, CA 94608. 

San Francisco Food Tour with Stretchy Pants

Well, of course! We’re here, we love working with small groups (or big ones!) and there’s no better way to spend some quality time with the people you love during the holidays than tasting food together. Get a group together and try our San Francisco Food Tours – from Chinatown to the Painted Ladies, and everything in between!  

Holiday Food Gifts - Stretchy Pants Cooking Class
Holiday Food Gifts - Stretchy Pants Cooking Class

Book: The Flavor Bible

For the cook in your life, an excellent food gift idea is a new cookbook. We particularly like The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs. This book is nearly 400 pages of food basics – it’s like an encyclopedia for flavor. Thousands of ingredients are listed alphabetically and cross-referenced to present the best combinations possible. In 2009 this book won the James Beard Book Award for Best Book: Reference and Scholarship.

Food Holiday Gifts Ideas for The Takeout Queen

A gift card to seamless (or their fave food delivery service)

We all have that one friend who just loves to get takeout. With services like seamless (and countless others like Grubhub, Postmates, etc.) it’s even easier to get the food you want, when you want it, delivered straight to you. While a gift card can sometimes feel like an uninspired gift, a gift card to a service like seamless says, I see your love for food delivery, and I support it. To turn this food gift idea into something extra special, get yourself a cute ceramic takeout container and make a gift basket with a few other items on this list.

Holiday Food Gift Ideas - Seamless
Holiday Food Gifts - Vegan Jerky

Papalote salsa 

Your gift recipient will need something to smother on all that takeout, and what’s better than some of San Francisco’s finest salsa from Papalote. Brothers Miguel and Victor Escobedo, and Victor’s wife Jodi, teamed up in 1999 to open Papalote Mexican Grill on 24th Street in the Mission. If you’re local, visit their location in the Mission or near Haight-Ashbury to sample the salsas yourself. Choose from the original, serrano-tomatillo, habanero, and chipotle, but you really can’t go wrong.

A Subscription to Mouth 

For those who love takeout for the variety, a subscription to snack-delivery company Mouth is an excellent food gift. You can choose between a “best of” variety, pickles (if you’re reading this and a friend of mine, that’s what I’d pick…just saying), cookies, jerky, indie states of america, and snacks! If a subscription seems like a bit much (we all have budgets) check out a one-time holiday gift box that’s still sure to please.  

Holiday Food Gifts - Mouth Holiday Box
Holiday Food Gifts - The Chinese Takeout Cookbook

Book: The Chinese Takeout Cookbook 

If your Takeout Queen friend is the type who also enjoys cooking once in a while, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is a great option. Diana Kuan has filled this tome with more than 80 popular Chinese takeout recipes, and you’ll learn how to fill your pantry with the right ingredients to whip up something tasty in no time. This is also a great one to pair with a night out at their favorite Chinese food restaurant!

Food Holiday Gifts Ideas for The Veghead

Nut Cheese Sampler 

For the vegan or vegan-curious, nut cheeses are a great food gift. Often made from cashews, they can be on the pricier side, so they make a nice treat for that special someone. Miyokos vegan cheese wheels are classic – get a few plus some crackers and a cute cheese spreader. Another tasty option is a monthly cheese subscription from Rebel Cheese – there are so many great flavors to try. 

Holiday Food Gifts - Dr. Cow Sample Cheese Box
Holiday Food Gifts - Vegan Jerky

Vegan Jerky

It’s salty, chewy, and meat free…it’s vegan jerky! A great present if you need to ship it since it will keep over time, vegan jerky is a fun food gift for the holidays. Try a variety pack from Louisville Vegan Jerky Co and treat your friend to five flavors: smoked black pepper, smoked chipotle, perfect pepperoni, carolina BBQ, and maple bacon. Gift the jerky sampler along with the vegan cheese sampler for a fun vegan charcuterie board! Even bigger bonus: Get a customized cutting board to bring it all together.

Indoor Herb Garden 

Who wouldn’t want fresh herbs all year round? Help your gift recipient start an indoor gardening tradition this year with a cute indoor herb garden. This version comes in two colors, includes all the soil you’ll need, a moisture meter (that looks like a frog, adorable) and six types of Heirloom herb seeds. Fresh herbs go great on everything, and your veg-loving friend will love spicing up salads, soups, and more with their own herbs.

Holiday Food Gifts - Stretchy Pants Cooking Class
Holiday Food Gifts - Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Book: The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Yep, the authors of The Flavor Bible come through for all of our Vegheads with their fantastic book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Similarly structured to the original, this hefty book gives an alphabetical guide of ingredients from açaí to zucchini blossoms, cross-referenced with the herbs, spices, and other seasonings to bring out the best flavors. It’s a great food gift for people who like to cook, and think those sunchokes at the store look delicious, but aren’t quite sure what to do with them.

Food Holiday Gifts Ideas for The New Parent

Ms Food Face

For the new parent, what could be more fun than encouraging their kids to play with their food! The Ms. Food Face plate from uncommon goods allows anyone to create a fun hairdo, spectacles, jewelry, whatever you can imagine, out of food, onto a face plate. It is as fun as it sounds and might just help a new parent encourage their kid to eat their veggies.

Holiday Food Gifts - Food Face Plate
Holiday Food Gifts - Coffee

Just coffee 

Yep, just get them some coffee, they’ll appreciate the lift. In the Bay Area, we’re surrounded by amazing coffee brands, and many release special holiday blends this time of year. As a food gift, you can’t go wrong choosing from places like Highwire, Blue Bottle Coffee, Bicycle Coffee, and more. Make this extra special by purchasing a mug to go with it – most roasters sell them!

Root Beer Science Kit 

Especially great for parents who brew their own beer, or parents with an older kid, this Root Beer Science Kit is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This fun food gift kit includes everything you need: sassafras extract (aka their kid’s favorite new word), yeast, a funnel, labels and instructions. Gift this together with some vanilla ice cream so they’ll be ready for a night of root beer floats!

Holiday Food Gifts - Root Beer Science Kit
Holiday Food Gifts - Parents Need to Eat Too

Book: Parents Need to Eat Too

Preparing for a growing family comes with plenty of excitement, but oftentimes also a dash (or heap) of nerves. With a totally new routine to plan for, mealtime can become an afterthought. In the cookbook, Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents you’ll get easy-to-make meals for a new parent lifestyle. From dinners you can eat with one hand, slow cooker haute-cuisine, and full courses to cook during naptime, this is more than just a recipe book.

Food Holiday Gifts Ideas for The International Traveler

A Subscription to Goldbelly 

For the months that your friend isn’t traveling, send them a delicious monthly gift from Goldbelly (three months is $200 and each box is enough to feed at least four people). Goldbelly’s mission is to, “Discover America’s most loved regional foods and ship ‘em to your door!” It’s a great way to try Chicago deep dish, Lobster mac and cheese from Maine, Key lime pie from Florida, and more. Satisfy a traveler’s need for the new and exciting, even when they’re not on the road with this fun food gift.

Holiday Food Gifts - Goldbelly
Holiday Food Gifts - Vegan Jerky

Best of Italy gift basket

Whether your gift recipient has been to Italy or not, the Best of Italy gift basket from Williams Sonoma is a fun food gift. It comes with three different types of pasta (fusilli, orecchietti and linguini) parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and…wait for it…wine-infused salami. This is a great one to ship, just be sure to make your purchase in time!

Travel Cutlery Set 

When you’re always on the go, knowing you have the right tools to chow down or quench your thirst is a blessing. Knowing that comfort was gifted by someone awesome, is priceless. We love Devico Portable Utensils because the set includes a knife, fork, spoon, AND chopsticks, along with two straws and a cleaning brush. You can also choose from different cutlery colors like classic stainless steel, blue, black, gold, purple and more.

Holiday Food Gifts - Cutlery Set
Holiday Food Gifts - The Food Journal

Book: The Food Journal 

Everyone can instagram their lunch, but a real foodie traveler wants even more detailed memories. Enter, The Food Journal: A Scrapbook for Food Lovers. Each entry has space for a business card or a photo, details about the restaurant, and of course lines for recording a review of the meal. This food gift idea is a winner for the truly dedicated traveler.

Bonus idea for everyone: Instant Pot 

Everyone loves an Instant Pot. It’s a pressure cooker. It’s a slow cooker. It cooks for you while you’re not home. Help your friends get on trend and make sure they have this indispensable appliance in their kitchen. If you get someone an Instant Pot, you should also get them a cookbook to go with it. The Instant Pot Bible has over 350 recipes for all different types of Instant Pot. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and any meal in between, this book, and the Instant Pot, have got you covered. 

That’s our list! We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about some local food gift ideas, and you’re ready to bring some holiday cheer this year. Remember, we’re always around for a cooking class or food tour over at Stretchy Pants, and we’d love to host you and some friends, coworkers, acquaintances, family members – you name it, we’ll have a good time.  

By Alexis Croswell

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