Food

31 Best Food Gifts Under $20

Impress and delight your favorite food lover with any one of these budget-friendly presents.

1. Dave’s Coffee Syrup, $11

Made by a family-owned business in Rhode Island, this stuff is great mixed into boozy hot chocolate or drizzled on ice cream. Get it here.

2. PIXO Apple Cider Vinegar Pearls, $12

A great gift for someone who likes to host dinner parties. Think of these little pearls of apple cider as caviar; they’re wonderful on top of canapes. Get them here.

3. Spoonable Salty Caramel Sauce, $8.50

Spoonable founder Michelle Lewis is awfully humble considering she has created some kind of addictive magical witchcraft in her line of caramels. Add to brownies. Add to ice cream. Eat out of jar. Get it here.

4. Delice de Bourgogne, $11

This pasteurized triple creme is outrageously rich and perfect with champagne. No living human could possibly resist it. Get it here.

5. Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Almond Butter, $9

For your favorite peanut-butter-on-toast lover. Big Spoon Roasters in Durham, North Carolina, makes a super-delicious line of all-natural, handcrafted nut butters. This is our favorite. Get it here.

6. Thomas Keller’s Gluten-Free Flour, $19.95

The promise of this stuff, made by the celebrity chef behind The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon Bakery, is that it can be used “cup for cup” instead of all-purpose flour in any regular recipe for gluten-free results. Get it here.

7. Empire Mayonnaise Bacon Mayo, $8

Former WD-50 pastry chef Sam Mason has an extensive line of small-batch mayonnaise flavors. This one is a great gift for obvious reasons. Mason suggests using it any time you’d use bacon, including on a “Skinny” BLT — Lettuce, Tomato and Bacon Mayonnaise. Get it here.

8. Oregon Pinot Noir Flake Salt, $10

Jacobsen Company hand-harvests sea salts from the Netarts Bay, Oregon. They have a beautifully clean taste and texture. Get them here.

9. Cookies and Cream, S’more, and Banana Pudding Marshmallow Bundle, $14

Toast. Place between graham crackers. YUM. Get them here.

10. Boccalone Cotechino, $20

Boccalone salumi are the work of chef Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore, the duo behind San Francisco restaurant Incanto. They recommend this cotechino — which should be sliced and seared — with polenta, broccoli rabe, or lentils. ALSO, it’s traditionally considered a food that brings good luck and prosperity for the new year. Get it here.

11. Camembert Fermier, $14

The folks at NYC’s best cheese shop, Murray’s, think this is “the next great Camembert.” They are not wrong. Get it here.

12. Rick’s Picks Smokra, $17

This stuff is SO GOOD. Okra, pickled in a blend of smoked paprika, cayenne powder, and a little curry powder — it kind of hogs the spotlight on any relish plate. Get it here.

13. Red Bee Honey Cox Comb, $18

Here is a great party trick: Put this out with the cheese-and-cracker plate with a sign that says, “Eat the wax. It’s good.” Prepare to answer lots of questions about where you got it. Use the phrase “textural contrast” as many times as you want. Get it here.

14. Scrappy’s Bitters Gift Pack, $17

One bottle each of Lavender, Aromatic, Celery, and Orange. Maybe you know someone who might want to try each of these in a classic Manhattan and observe the difference? Sounds like a pretty good Wednesday night activity. Get it here.

15. Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup, $12

Obviously this is great in cocktails BUT it’s an unexpected hero in salad dressings as well. Get it here.

16. Chocolate Bark, $17

These fancy numbers were served at the 2012 Academy Awards. The dark chocolate has figs and almonds; the white chocolate has sesame and Szechuan pepper. Get them here.

17. Heart coffee, $12

The beans from this Portland-based roastery are endorsed and sold by lovable coffee snobs all over the country. They make for some damn good coffee. Get it here.

18. Sucre Carré Petit Sugars, $15

These delightful handcrafted sugars are made by a 270-year-old family-owned business in Japan that has long provided sugar to the Japanese royal family. They are a big hit at tea parties, wedding and baby showers, and with anyone who likes to smile. Get them here.

19. Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup, $29

Noble Handcrafted Tonics will be familiar to media-happy food lovers; they’ve gotten a lot of press in the last year. The company that makes them — Mikuni Wild Harvest —sources maple syrup from Québécois sugar shacks and matures the syrup in Tuthilltown charred American oak barrels. None of this will really matter that much when you try it on some French toast. You’re just going to be like, WOW OK thanks I have to eat this now. Get it here.

20. Rocky Road Chocolates, $17

According to Droga chocolates, this is the candy that launched the company. Its recipe comes in part from founder Michelle Crochet’s mom and combines handmade marshmallows and salted peanuts with dark chocolate. Get it here.

21. Blackberry Farm Pickled Ramps, $17

Ramps — the darling of the foraging trend that’s taken over America’s ingredient-driven restaurants — are like little leeks that only grow in the wild. They taste a little bit onions and garlic but more subtle. Since they are only available for a few weeks in the spring, the act of pickling or “putting them up” them is a good idea. They’re great on eggs, sandwiches, and even in place of pickled onions in an adventurous martini. Get it here.

22. 2 Sisters Isabella Gouda, $18/lb

You know that cheese on the cheese plate that no one can stop eating because it’s weirdly dense but also creamy and has a surprising crunch sometimes from tiny crystals formed during aging? This is that cheese. Get it.

23. Little Flower Caramels, $14

These treats from a tiny cafe and candy kitchen in Pasadena, California, have a cult following. They are so good. Get them here.

24. June Taylor Jams, $14

June Taylor makes some of the country’s most interesting and delicious flavors of jam. Her tiny company based out of Berkeley works with small family farms to find heirloom, forgotten fruits, so they can create combos like Rose Diamond Nectarine & White Sage Blossom, Strawberry and Rose Geranium, or Summer Sweet Peach & Greek Bay Leaf. Get it here

25. Herbs Seed Bombs, $15

William-Sonoma’s user-friendly line of “throw and grow” balls require no digging. Anyone who cooks with a lot of herbs will love their new supply of Italian parsley, cilantro, and basil. Get it here.

26. Momofuku Clay Pot Cooking Sauce, $17

Twelve years after chef David Chang opened his insanely popular and insanely tiny ramen shop in the East Village, his restaurants are still some of the most popular among New York tourists and locals alike. You might know someone who took a trip to New York and raved about eating there — this is a nice gift for that person! It’s full of lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon, and coriander, and it works wonderfully added to a braise or noodle soup. Get it here.

27. Ad Hoc Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix, $19

Chef Thomas Keller uses his aforementioned Cup-4-Cup flour in this mix. It’s a more user-friendly gift for a gluten-free friend who is a less ambitious cook. Get it here.

28. Torn Ranch Wine Truffles, $18

Everyone knows somebody who is going to squeal when presented with a box of wine truffles. The flavors in this selection are Chardonnay, Cabernet, champagne, and port wine. Get it here.

29. Liddabit Sweets, The Snacker, $8

Roasted peanuts, caramel, and chocolate nought. It’s kind of like a Snickers but better than a Snickers in a way that’s going to confuse but delight anyone who finds it in his or her stocking. Get it here.

30. Jacques Torres Classic Hot Chocolate, $18

Hot chocolate should be made with solid chocolate, not cocoa powder. (Here are our tips for how to make it amazing.) BUT if you want to buy someone a good mix, this is the best one. Get it here.

31. Aged Black Garlic, $14

This stuff is WEIRD and AMAZING. Imported from Aomori, Japan, it’s been naturally fermented so that it has a milder smell, a sweet-sour flavor, and a melty texture. Buy it for someone who loves to cook and watch him or her freak out about it. Get it here. Read more about it on White on Rice.

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