Maybe we're a little (OK, a lot) biased, but we think the best gifts are the ones you can eat.
Sure, you could always gift someone another bottle of wine. But where's the fun in that? Instead, wrap up some of our favorite high-end upgrades for pantry basics.
We rounded up some of the most delicious, interesting, and giftable foods we tasted this year. Whether your loved one is a cheese fanatic or a real bean head, these gifts are sure to please.
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For Pretending You’re by the Agean Sea (Even When It’s Snowing Outside)
Our Favorite Premium Olive Oil: Gaea Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
High-end olive oil is something you may be hesitant to splurge on, which makes it the perfect gift. In our tasting, we discovered that this buttery and smooth Greek olive oil is great for finishing drizzles.
It's significantly more expensive than our winning supermarket olive oil, but it's really something special when you want to breathe life into salad greens, punch up a piece of grilled fish, or simply dunk bread in a superb oil.
For the Person Whose Main Food Group Is Cheese
These stunners are produced by some of the best cheesemakers in the country and are sure to delight any cheese lover. Shipping cheese might sound strange, but companies like Murray’s do it with ease these days. Well-packed cheese typically keeps for a while, too, so your gift can be enjoyed on the recipient's timeline.
Be sure to check out our full reviews for blue cheese, goat cheese, and American artisanal cheddar cheese to get even more ideas. Want to go the extra mile? Pair those cheeses with our cookbook Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings to give them some inspiration.
For Your Favorite Bean Head
Heirloom beans are all the rage for good reason—they're shelf-stable, extremely versatile, stunning to look at—and did we mention delicious? We tasted a range of heirloom beans and found they cook faster and are more complex in flavor than commodity beans.
Most of the beans on supermarket shelves are commodity beans, which have been grown on an industrial scale. Heirloom beans were left behind by commodity-bean breeding and have been passed down by small-scale farmers for generations. They're perfect for special-occasion dishes or whipping up a marinated bean salad to serve alongside some tinned fish.
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Agostino Recca Salted Anchovies (left) and Mala Market Baoning Handcrafted Black Vinegar Aged 10 Years (right)
For the Anchovy Lover
Our Favorite Salt-Packed Anchovies: Agostino Recca Salted Anchovies
Salt-packed anchovies are drier with bold “untamed” flavor, according to our tasters. It’s easier to pinpoint a distinctive “anchovy-y” flavor when you cook with them compared to oil-packed anchovies or anchovy paste. Plump, meaty, and surprisingly complex, tasters were reminded of “oak,” “smoke,” and “the sea.” Bonus: The tin they come in is gorgeous.
For Your Friend Who’s Ready to Go Beyond Balsamic
A Few of Our Favorite Artisanal Vinegars: Mala Market Baoning Handcrafted Black Vinegar Aged 10 Years, American Vinegar Works Honey Wine Vinegar
Vinegars are so much more than just acidity. We tasted a huge range of vinegars recently and found so many new favorites, like these two here. They add a ton of extra character and instantly upgrade your pantry.
Woeber's Simply Supreme Honey Mustard (left) and Jeni's Dairy-Free Texas Sheet Cake Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (right)
For the Person Who Lives for Condiments
Our Favorite Honey Mustard: Woeber's Simply Supreme Honey Mustard
Honey mustard is the perfect companion to soft pretzels and charcuterie boards alike. We tested five honey mustards and this was our favorite. It's punchy—spicy and vibrant and with just enough sweetness for balance. You can mix up honey and mustard at home, but you won’t be able to get a plush, creamy version like this.
But you don't have to stop with honey mustard. Fill up their condiment shelf with our favorite must-have mustards from dijon to coarse ground.
For the Ice Cream–Loving Vegan
Our Favorite Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream: Jeni's Dairy-Free Texas Sheet Cake Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Vegans and nonvegans alike are sure to love this ultracreamy chocolaty ice cream from Jeni's. And you don't have to live nearby to give the gift of ice cream—Jeni’s ships nationwide. They have dairy-free options (and dairy options, for that matter!) too. Your friends and family will be thrilled to open a box filled with pints of delicious ice cream any time of the year.