25 Delectable Gifts Under $25 for Foodies
Finding a holiday gift for the serious foodie who uses only the snazziest cookware and knows where to find the most authentic late-night ramen can be intimidating. But a frugal shopper can delight an epicure for $25 or less. A dash of budget-savvy imagination can lead holiday shoppers to gourmet ingredients and practical kitchen gear.
Related: 10 Gifts Under $25 for Wine Lovers (Besides Wine)
This useful holiday gift adds a brilliant pop of flavor to gourmet and everyday dishes. Small-batch artisan salts from Chef Salt start at $10 each, or $25 for a decorative gift box of any two jars plus recipe cards. Volcanic and sea salts are blended with herbs and spices to create varieties such as Bamboo Curry and Holy Mole.
What's salt without pepper? Tellicherry black peppercorns deliver a deep, complex flavor with a bite. A full pound costs less than $14 on Amazon and should last about a year. Alternatively, divide the haul into four stocking stuffers. A little jar of peppercorns bedecked with a ribbon promises to spice up any meal.
Unleash the barbecue beast within and give the gift of Cave Tools Meat Claws ($13 on Amazon). Strong enough to shred slow-cooked, grilled, or smoked meat, the claws also can be used to pick up food and carve large pieces of meat without slippage. More than 400 reviewers award the claws an exceptional 4.8 stars.
Truffle flavor is incorporated everywhere from pasta and pizza to fries and even high-end sushi. Truffle mushrooms are expensive, because they must be sniffed out by trained hogs or dogs, but truffle oil ($14 for 100 milliliters on Amazon) is a cheaper alternative. Choose black truffle oil for a stronger, more pungent flavor.
Bacon now enhances nearly every type of food, from cupcakes to beer. Cooks often use pancetta, pork belly, or the standard smoked variety, but guanciale -- cured meat from the jowl of a pig -- makes a singular Christmas gift for a pork-loving foodie. Popular in central Italy but little known on this side of the pond, guanciale is leaner and boasts a more pronounced flavor than bacon. Olio&Olive offers 4 ounces for $5 or 2 pounds for $26.
A common sight at holiday gatherings and parties, Hickory Farms' Hickory Farmhouse Sampler (about $9 at Walmart) contains sample-size summer sausage, sea salt and olive oil crackers, Mission Jack blend cheese, and sweet hot mustard. It averages more than 4 stars from several dozen reviewers on multiple retail sites.
This two-in-one tool is a space saver and multitasker for cooks. The handheld device ($10 at Target) grates everything from cheese to citrus zest and also slices small fruits and veggies (similar to a mandoline but on a smaller scale). The flat design makes it easy to store or take along for gourmet picnics that call for freshly grated cheese.
Although most people keep their recipes in digital form these days, there's still something special about a handheld recipe book, like a personalized binder with a rustic design for $24 on Zazzle. It can inspire culinary-minded loved ones to start a tangible collection to be passed on for generations.
Good enough to eat with a spoon or inspire an entire menu of sweet treats, a sampler of six caramels is $20 at Uncommon Goods. This indulgent gift set works as a personalized token of affection for someone who loves caramel or a Secret Santa gift for someone you don't know very well.
This gift is a surefire way to inspire a foodie to dream up an endless variety of thirst-quenching creations. In addition to inspiring creativity, a fruit infusion pitcher ($20 at Target) will encourage the recipient to drink plenty of water and save money (and the environment) by cutting down on plastic water bottles.
An inexpensive indulgence during the cold of winter, a tea gift set from Stash ($25) has a complete lineup of seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice and holiday chai to last through the holidays. A tea lover on your list will appreciate the variety of flavors and the superior quality of the brand.
Mostly known as a cocktail flavor enhancer in the United States, aromatic bitters are actually considered a food flavoring in most of the world. Recommended uses on the classic Angostura label include adding a few dashes to soups and sauces or morning coffee. A secret blend of botanicals gives it a unique flavor and, at $10 a bottle at BevMo, it makes a low-cost option for foodies.