Stocking Stuffers for the Foodie on Your List

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Getting all of your big gifts out of the way is always a milestone in the holiday shopping marathon. That means the high-stress part of the exercise is over, and you can start to focus on the fun stuff: Stocking stuffers. These are the no-pressure gifts that let you ignore practicality and simply choose things that will surprise and delight the people on your list. The options are especially rich when you've got a foodie on your list because the world is literally filled with great food-themed gifts. We've picked out a dozen of the best stocking stuffers for foodies, divided between cool gadgets, premium ingredients and yummy things to eat.


Something Cute and Whimsical

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RSVP Just Ducky Floating Tea Infuser

$11.95 at Amazon

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It's hard to go wrong with something that's playful, fun and food-themed. This floating rubber ducky tea infuser is a prime example (seriously, you smiled when you saw it, didn't you?). The infuser portion is made of stainless steel and the ducky is BPA-free plastic, so it's a perfectly functional and food-safe gift for the tea lover on your list.

There are lots of other options, of course. Novelty food-themed keychains are always fun, available in lobster, shrimp, donut and pizza designs, just to name a few. For cocktail lovers who are still in touch with their inner child, how about these animal-shaped cocktail charms? Years ago they were added to children's drinks, but they work just as well in your cosmo or negroni.


Some Well-Chosen Conservas

Seafood Aficionado Sardine Selections Variety Pack, 5-Count

$29.99 at Amazon


In America, canned fish is typically thought of as a cheap, budget-stretching item. That's not the case in Europe, where premium canned seafood (often called ‌conservas‌, the Spanish name for them) are a much-loved specialty that commands top dollar ... err, Euro. American foodies are now catching on, and good ‌conservas‌ are a hot trend. This five-pack of premium sardines from Spain, Portugal and Italy is a great gift in its own right and a good entry point into the fascinating world of European fish. If you aren't sure how well sardines will go over (or if it's more than you want to spend on a stocking stuffer) you could opt instead for octopus, cockles or premium hand-carved tuna belly fillets.



A Specialty Honey

Maison Pébeyre Truffled Honey, 8.8-oz. Jar

$30.94 at Amazon


Honey is the original sweetener, but it's more than that: It brings infinitely variable flavors to the table, whether naturally (from the variation in local blossoms) or by infusing it with other flavors. This one from French producer Maison Pébeyre goes all-in on the gourmet because it's perfumed with real black truffles for a fascinating blend of pungency and sweetness. Drizzle it over nuts, ripe fruit or bold-flavored cheeses, or use it as a glaze on poultry. You can't go wrong with a premium wildflower honey or lavender honey, either.


Spice Blends and Pastes

Food52 Harissa w. Preserved Lemons

$10.00 - $17.00 at Food52


Spice blends and pastes are a quick and easy way to expand a cook's horizons with international flavors, and this harissa paste from Food52 is a prime example. Their interpretation of this North African condiment is rich and complex, with a bit of kick from the peppers and an intriguing citrus note from the preserved lemons (another staple North African ingredient). Other options include Spice Walla's sample pack of Indian blends, Moroccan ‌[ras el hanout](‌, fragrant Georgian ‌khmeli suneli‌, herb-forward Middle Eastern ‌za'atar‌, or spicy Ethiopian ‌berbere_‌.


A Premium Chocolate Sampler

Single Origin Chocolate Hacienda Gift Pack

$24.99 at Amazon

It just wouldn't be the holidays without chocolate, right? This sampler of organic Ecuadorian single-estate chocolates includes five bars, ranging from 43 percent to 100 percent cocoa, and includes a map of the country explaining the location of each estate. If you want to go a bit bigger (because they might share, right?) there's an 8-pack of single-origin bars from Trader Joe's that you might consider, or a 28-pack of single-estate chocolates in smaller one-taste squares from French chocolatiers Michel Cluizel.

A Nice Finishing Oil

La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil

$10.28 at Amazon

There are oils for cooking with, and then there are oils that are a statement ingredient on their own. This walnut oil from La Tourangelle (based in France's Loire Valley, with an outpost in California) is the latter. While it's packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the big draw is its rich and subtle flavor. Drizzle it over delicate greens or artisanal pasta, or as a final touch on soups and purees. If walnut oil isn't your thing, try pecan oil, almond oil or hazelnut oil instead (or better yet, try them all). The pumpkin-seed oil and pistachio oil are equally flavorful, and look especially good as a drizzle around your plate.


Dry-Cured Meats for the Charcuterie Board

Fermin Sliced Jamon Iberico de Bellota

$19.99 at Amazon

Spanish ‌jamon iberico‌ is right up there among the world's best dry-cured hams, along with the better-known prosciutto. This ready-sliced pack from Fermin can go straight from stocking to charcuterie board, so it's perfect for the holiday entertaining season. Dry-cured meats like these are mostly non-perishable until they're opened, which makes them a perfect gift idea. Similar options include dry-cured salami or ‌[speck](‌ from Italy, German-style ‌landjaeger‌ or French-style ‌saucisson sec_‌.

A Special Knife for Charcuterie and Cheeses

Opinel #8 Colorama Series

$20.00 at Amazon

Putting on a nice spread of charcuterie at a moment's notice is a grade-A bit of hosting, and it's relatively easy to do at home with all of your knives around. But what if you're visiting, or picnicking? That's where this iconic pocketknife from French manufacturer Opinel comes in. The compact locking blade is a convenient size for slicing sausages or cheeses, pitting olives or even cutting rounds from a baguette. In a pinch, it'll spread butter as well. When you're done, just give it a wipe with a damp cloth, fold it, and put it back in your pocket. Most Opinels have natural-wood handles, but the cheery Colorama series might be more appropriate as stocking stuffers.


Artisanal Pickles

The Real Dill Caraway Garlic Dill Pickles

$20.00 at Terrain

Almost everyone loves pickles, and they're just as good out of the fridge at midnight as they are beside your lunchtime sandwich or your holiday charcuterie board. So why not splurge on the good ones, instead of a grocery store brand? These Caraway Garlic dills, from Colorado's The Real Dill, are naturally fermented (lots of probiotics) and handmade in small batches. The caraway seeds give them a distinctive flavor that sets them apart from a run-of-the-mill dill. If you really want to go all in, get ‌everybody‌ a jar of naturally fermented pickles from a different company—Oregon Brineworks, Kruegermann and Olive My Pickle—and do a compare-and-contrast tasting.

A Bottle or Two of Bitters

Scrappy's Bitters The New Classics Gift Set

$18.00 at Amazon

You're probably familiar with Angostura Bitters, which is essential for many classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned, and also adds complexity to a range of gourmet recipes. Bitters have enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years, with hip chefs and mixologists making their own in-house. A gift set like this one from Scrappy's Bitters is a fine stocking stuffer for your favorite amateur chef or cocktail enthusiast, with four different flavor profiles to inspire their creativity.

At Least One Fancy Cheese

Maese Miguel D.O.P. Manchego

$29.00 at Amazon

Cheese is just as irresistible in its way as chocolate, and just as essential a gift for a food lover. This one-pound mini-wheel of "true" D.O.P. Manchego makes a great stocking stuffer for the holidays, especially if paired with its traditional accompaniment of ‌[membrillo](‌ (quince paste). Other good options include an [aged Gouda]( (so different from the younger kind), a funky Epoisses or a pungent Bleu d'Auvergne for the adventurous types. Closer to home, a sampler kit of cheeses from Wisconsin can cover a lot of bases with one simple purchase.

Healthy Nuts for Snacking

Roastery Coast Daily Nuts Snack Pack (22-Pack)

$22.99 at Amazon

The holidays bring their share of high-calorie temptations, from the big meal itself to the endless, obligatory stream of sweets and desserts. One of those snacks—the holiday nut bowl—stands out from the others by actually being quite healthy. Good for you, in fact. Now a whole bowl of nuts and a nutcracker won't fit into a stocking very well, but these individual snack packs of mixed nuts, from Roastery Coast, will. You'll get 22 individual snack packs, which you can use to stuff one stocking or divide them up between a few (and if one or two go your way, we won't blame you at all).


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