Your search for an awesome gift for the food traveler in your life starts and ends here! Read on to discover 30+ gifts for that special person. By the way, we won’t judge you if that special person is YOU.
As professional food travelers, we’re picky when it comes to items we use both at home and on the road.
In our prior lives, we were typical Americans with addictions to acquiring things, many of which ended up in our Philadelphia basement. Three years on the road taught us to appreciate the ‘less is more’ concept which we practice now that we live in Portugal.
Gift Guide for Food Travelers
Our gift guide features items that we currently either use or covet. Buy one or buy them all.
Each one will make a great holiday, birthday or ‘just because’ gift.
Things We’re Loving Now
We’re always looking for new things that make us say wow. These are a few of our recent finds that accomplished this goal:
The holiday season is the ideal time to wear tacky clothes and this festive t-shirt tickles our fancies. We think it will tickle your fancy too.
The Wok: Recipes and Techniques
We’ve been fans of J. Kenji López-Alt since his days at Serious Eats. Buying his newest cookbook, The Wok, has been a game changer for its XO pepperoni sauce recipe alone.
Colorful Striped Straws
We kind of love these colorful striped straws. After seeing them at bars around the world, we finally found them on Amazon. Not only will they make our holiday drinks festive, but we’ll surely enjoy drinking with these fully biodegradable straws all year long. Winning!
Gifts for Travel
The following items are perfect for travelers who want to spend time planning where to eat instead of worrying how to pack:
Universal Travel Adaptor
Having a universal adaptor reduces our challenge of adapting to new destinations since we can charge our phones, laptops and camera without a hitch. We also use it to charge our electric toothbrush which makes our teeth happy.
Briggs & Riley Spinner Suitcase
We won our first Briggs & Riley spinner suitcase at a blogging conference in 2014 and have been fans ever since. We later bought matching B&R suitcases for our one-year round-the-world trip that turned into three years. Not only did those suitcases survive the journey, but we still use them when we need bigger bags for extended trips.
Lewis N. Clark ExpandableTravel Cubes
Are you a packing cube person? We agree to disagree on this matter since Mindi can’t travel without them and Daryl thinks they’re a waste of space. These are the cubes that Mindi uses and loves.
Oscaurt Theft-Proof Travel Backpack
We bought this backpack after a pickpocket tried to get into another backpack and it has exceeded our expectations in both in form and function. Not only do we use it when we travel, but we also use it at home to carry our laptops to local cafes. It’s super comfortable to carry and has just the right amount of pockets to help keep our stuff organized.
USB C Power Bank Portable Charger
We’re always on our phones when we travel since it’s part of our jobs. Having a portable power bank phone charger allows us to stay connected on the road so that we can photograph our food and post Instagram stories on a 24/7 basis. Hey, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.
AeroPress Coffee Maker with Tote Bag
Traveling doesn’t have to involve drinking bad coffee. This AeroPress Coffee Maker comes with a tote bag for this very purpose. The coffee loving traveler in your life can use it to brew excellent coffee on the road. All that’s missing are the beans and a mug.
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker
Wearing this Fitbit motivates us to walk the extra steps required in order to eat the world. Let’s face it, food travel creates the challenge of extra calories. It makes a great gift for anybody who enjoys epic city walks, plus it negates the need to wear a watch.
Lowepro Passport Sling II Camera Bag
We bought our first Lowepro sling bag in 2014 and bought it again after our it was stolen in South Africa. This ergonomic bag can hold a DSLR camera, a couple lenses plus some odds and ends without screaming camera bag. Hopefully, we won’t have to buy a third bag.
Gifts for Cooking at Home
Traveling is fun but being home has its merits. For starters, we can cook great food for ourselves and host friends for dinner parties.
We recommend the following gifts for people who love to cook and entertain when they’re not exploring the world:
Shun 8″ Chef’s Knife
Having a good, sharp knife is priority one for any home chef. This 8″ Japanese Shun Chef’s Knife fits the bill with its high-carbon VG-MAX steel cutting core, 34 layers of Damascus cladding and attractive blonde PakkaWood handle. This is a multi-purpose knife that should last for years.
Carbon Steel Wok
It took us three tries to find the ideal wok. (The first two weren’t carbon steel as advertised.) And, wow, what a difference it makes! We recommend this wok because it ticks the carbon steel box and also has a flat bottom that makes it easy to use with a conventional stove. Some seasoning is required before the first use but, with the proper fire, you can achieve unique ‘wok-hei’ flavors. Bonus features include a wooden lid and handle.
OXO Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
This is the kitchen scale we used in Philadelphia and we missed it until we found it in our storage locker. We simply love its pull-out display and consistent accuracy. We literally use it every day to measure coffee beans and in various food recipes. It’s also great for portion control.
Polder Probe Thermometer
Using this type of digital probe thermometer allows us to roast big cuts of meat without worrying about painful burns. It’s a life-saver when cooking humungous turkeys for American-style Thanksgiving dinners each year.
KitchenAid Artisan Mixer
Our KitchenAid Artisan Mixer is an we continue to miss as it gathers dust in storage. We used it to make dough and even had an attachment for making ice cream. Though the price appears luxurious, this is a necessary tool for any bakers in your life. Plus, the rainbow of available colors is fun.
WMF Whisk with Silicone Balls
A whisk may seem like an odd gift but this isn’t your typical whisk. We acquired ours as part of our prize package when we won the Saveur Magazine award for best travel blog. We now use it to whip up omelets and eggnog. It’s awesome! We also like using it to make salad dressing since the ball tip action provides extra emulsion mixing power.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
This Instant Pot is more than a pressure cooker. It’s also a sterilizer, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute, yogurt maker and warmer. It’s no wonder that it’s the best selling Instant Pot model on the market.
Cookbooks make great gifts. They’re relatively inexpensive and they ship well. More important, a good cookbook can inspire and teach home chefs to create global dishes outside their comfort zone. The first three cookbooks rank among our favorites while the fourth is on our gift wish list.
We have a problem. Every time we shop at an electronics store in Lisbon, we’re tempted to buy a Smeg toaster even though we already have a toaster. One day we’ll succumb to our whims and make this impulse purchase. Can you blame us? Smeg products, designed in Italy’s Emilia Romagna, the home of Ferrari and Lamborghini, are simply gorgeous in a retro kind of way.
Gifts for Making Coffee at Home
You can call us coffee snobs, coffee connoisseurs or coffee lovers. It doesn’t matter to us. What does matter is that we drink good coffee wherever we are in the world.
Now that we have a home base, we make coffee each morning using locally sourced coffee beans originating in countries like Colombia, Kenya and Guatemala. If you know a special someone who’s as obsessed with drinking good coffee as we are, here are some highly caffeinated gift ideas to consider:
Brewing coffee at home is different from ordering a flat white at a cafe. Craft Coffee addresses the ins and outs of making filtered coffee. If you ever wondered how to make a pour-over, then this is the book for you.
Cuisinart Burr Coffee Grinder
Buying a Burr Grinder has been a game changer for us this year. Owning a better grinder allows us to freshly grind specialty coffee beans to the exact size we need for whatever coffee extraction method we choose. It’s an absolute must for anybody obsessed with brewing great coffee at home.
Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
Owning a good grinder is just half of the challenge when it comes to making good coffee at home. The other half is owning a good coffee maker. We recommend using a Chemex coffeemaker for making pour-overs at home. After drinking specialty coffee all over the world, this is one our favorite extraction methods.
COSORI Electric Kettle
Electric kettles aren’t just for making tea. We use our kettle for a myriad of purposes including heating our coffee cups each morning. But this variable temperature kettle is even better since its gooseneck spout and super accurate temperature control make it ideal for making pour-overs. In case you’re worried, it’s ideal for making tea too.
Gifts for Entertaining at Home
Laguiole 3-Piece Cheese Knife Set
We’re partial to Laguiole cheese knives. Not only have we owned one for years, but we also visited a Laguiole knife forgery when we dined at Maison Bras in France. This set three different knives and they’re all dishwasher-safe. All that’s missing is a cheese board and some cheese.
Pretty Porcelain Bowls
Good food tastes even better when the presentation is on point. These pretty porcelain bowls take care of half the battle. What you put in them is up to you. As for us, we like to put rice in our pretty porcelain bowls. Doing this makes our table and us happy.
Sure, you can buy chopsticks anywhere. But there’s something special about using elegant chopsticks than look and feel like Asia. These attractive chopsticks don’t just feel like Asia, they’re actually from Asia. Using them at home is the second best thing to eating sushi in Japan.
Curious Appetite Italian Specialty Food Box
Curious Appetite solves the gift dilemma for the social Italophile in your life. Based in Florence, this innovative company handpicks Italian food items and ships them in a gift box straight to the USA. There’s even a Negroni gift box for those who rather drink than eat.
** Be sure to enter the code 2FOODTRIPPERS when you place your order. Not only will you get a $5 discount, but the gift box will also include an extra Italian specialty food item. It might be pistachio torrone nougat bars, piedmontese hazelnut chocolate holiday cookies, savory truffle biscotti, specialty Italian fruit compote or something totally different. **
Gifts for Lazy Mixology at Home
We embraced mixology during the pandemic but we haven’t stopped once it ended. We now have a full cabinet of liquor and a thirst to craft new-to-us cocktails on a weekly basis.
As we’ve discovered to our delight, crafting excellent cocktails doesn’t require fancy equipment or complicated techniques. The following items will make the lazy mixologists in your life smile and they may even make you a drink:
The Joy of Mixology
True cocktail lovers don’t just want to drink cocktails. They also want to learn the stories behind each potent potable. Gary Regan’s The Joy of Mixology provides these stories plus tried and true recipes to boot.
Premium Cocktail Shaker
This two-piece Boston shaker is ideal for both shaking and stirring drinks. Thanks to its durable construction, it doesn’t drip or make a mess. Accordingly, lazy mixologists can start drinking their daiquiris, margaritas and mojitos sooner rather than later.
A Bar Above Japanese Jigger
While it’s not the sexiest aspect of crafting a drink, properly measuring liquor is an integral aspect of mixology. Using a Japanese jigger ensures accurate measurements and minimizes spillage. To us, that’s actually kind of sexy.
Barfly Bar Spoon
A bar spoon is a must for any lazy mixologist who wants to stir cocktails with panache. This ‘Japanese style’ bar spoon is just a little bit better than the average bar spoon.
Vremi Large Ice Cube Trays
Have you noticed that Old Fashioned and Negroni cocktails taste better when they’re served with jumbo ice cubes? We have and they do. These colorful ice cube trays make jumbo ice cubes like the kind served at fancy bars. You can also use them to create frozen cubes of stock or baby food.
Luxardo Cocktail Maraschino Cherries
Luxardo’s candied sour maraschino cherries hail from Veneto, the Italian region where Venice and Verona are both located. They’re also gluten-free, vegan and kosher. Most important, Luxardo cherries look and taste better than typical maraschino cherries sold in most grocery stores. They’re also a delicious topping for vanilla ice cream.
Trio of Essential Bitters
There’s nothing more bitter than wanting to craft a Sazerac or Manhattan but not having bitters on hand. This “triple play” variety pack, which includes Angostura, Peychauds and Regans bitters, solves this problem with a complete trio of necessary bitters for classic cocktails like these and more.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: December 7, 2020
Republish Date: November 24, 2022