Let's face it, holiday stocking stuffers are usually an afterthought -- a hastily tossed together hodgepodge of ho-hum food items, cheap gadgets and undesirable trinkets destined to end up in the junk drawer. It's understandable. You've spent all that time and money searching for the perfect big-ticket gift, why waste any more on the small stuff?
We hear you, we feel you and we're here to help. Below, find some last-minute stocking stuffers for foodies, fun ideas for the food lover in your life that won't empty your wallet this holiday season.
Peppermint reigns supreme this time of year, and peppermint bark may be the most festive expression of its flavor (the addition of chocolate automatically makes it better than candy canes). Slip this box of bark into the stocking of anyone with a sweet tooth who also appreciates a little holiday tingle.
Marshmallows make hot chocolate even better, but why settle for the standard puffs when you can get extra festive with snowflake-shaped marshmallows to top off your mug? Grab a box of these (with 6 marshmallow snowflakes inside) for yourself too, because otherwise it may prove hard to part with.
Contrary to popular belief, foodie gifts don't actually have to be food! Spice things up with this small yet sturdy bamboo mortar-and-pestle set. It will eliminate the need for ground grocery store spices, pulverizing whole peppercorns and fennel seeds for fresher flavor and stronger aromatics. You can also use it to muddle herbs like rosemary and basil for cocktails. In the process, you'll also get a nice workout and stress relief from the all-too-hectic holidays. There's a reason this ancient food processor has stood the test of time.
That's right, the most expensive spice in the world can be had for less than a Hamilton. It's not just saffron's vibrant color and unmistakable and delicious flavor that drive up its price. The spice is notoriously tough to harvest. The flowers that produce saffron are in bloom only six weeks per year, and each flower only produces three saffron stigmas (or threads). In other words, 170,000 flowers are required to produce a single pound. It's no surprise this particular package of real-deal Iranian saffron is about a pinch of threads -- 1 gram to be exact -- but that's plenty to take the paella, risotto or seafood stew to the next level. Stocking stuffers for foodies can be so basic, but you'll earn serious culinary cred with this gift.
Add plastic straws to the list of wasteful one-time-use items that are cancelled. There are plenty of reusable options to choose from -- but we're particularly fond of this all-encompassing set, which features four bent and four straight options in a variety of fun sizes, ensuring all your drinking needs are covered. It also includes a pair of cleaning brushes and eight silicone tips for really hot or cold beverages. These are fun stocking stuffers that are also topical.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that garlic is delicious. But peeling garlic by hand and prying away those last stubborn flecks of skin is never easy — it's always a chore, resulting in fingers that smell like Dracula's worst nightmare, and pre-peeled grocery store garlic never tastes quite right. Enter this oh-so-simple garlic peeler. Load up to three cloves in the nifty silicone tube and roll it back and forth a few times and... boom. Fully peeled garlic that's actually fun to prep? That's a perfect stocking stuffer gift.
Hold up the tradition of gifting oranges during the holidays -- without actually sticking someone with a bulky piece of fruit. Gran Gala is a blend of brandy and fresh orange: A lively Italian orange liqueur that can be enjoyed on the rocks or in a margarita. A lively bottle of Italian orange liqueur that can be enjoyed on the rocks or in a margarita. Or, if cocktails aren't your giftee's thing, it goes great in whatever they might be baking up this holiday. And for sweet tooths -- this airplane-size bottle offers just the right amount of sweet boozy goodness for a citrusy soufflé.
If you know someone who loves wine but hates hangovers -- that's a lot of people -- here's an easy and thoughtful stocking stuffer idea. This effective, easy-to-use rubber bottle stopper provides an airtight seal that keeps bottle contents fresh. It's great for virtually any capped container, be it booze or olive oil, though it's a particular asset for fans of bubbly beverages such as beer, Champagne and soda, helping to prolong carbonation.
There's nothing more delicious and decadent than a truffle, the elusive delicacy that delights the senses of both gourmands and pigs alike. Even a light shaving of the 'shroom will set you back a very pretty penny. But this luxury salt, made in Italy by famed French truffle house Pebeyre, is the perfect way to experience the joy of truffles on any food without breaking the bank. A light sprinkle elevates any combination of ingredients from steaks to French fries and is an absolute game-changer on popcorn.
Maine condiment king Raye's produces some of the best small batch mustard you'll ever slather on a wiener. There are plenty of varieties to choose from -- but it's hard to top Down East Schooner, a classic American yellow mustard that's been in production since 1900. It comes in multiple sizes, but the 4-ounce jar will keep you under budget and makes a great gift.
These single-serving hot chocolate spoons are pure magic. Turn a hot mug of milk into creamy cocoa in seconds with a simple dip and stir. And the results are way superior to the run-of-the-mill powdered product and maybe more impressive than even the best coffee and tea. And if you're in the mood for more festive treats, all you need to do is add a couple of candy canes!
Never get caught without a bottle opener again! These sleek tools are constructed out of stainless steel dipped in turquoise and coral paint. They slip right into any wallet or pocket, and look good, too.
Originally published last month.