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Eat Drink Travel | 2020 Gift Guide for Food Travelers

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.

2foodtrippers Holiday Gift Guide

As professional food travelers, we’re picky when it comes to items we use in 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’re based in Portugal.

Gift Guide for Food Travelers

Holiday Gifts
Choosing the perfect gift is priceless.

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.

Gifts for Cooking at Home

Catalan Cooking Class in Girona Spain
Cooking good food makes us happy. Eating it makes us happier.

We’ve never spent so much time at home as we have this year. But it hasn’t been all bad. Daryl used the pandemic down time to set up an Asian kitchen in our Lisbon apartment while Mindi honed her skills as a lazy mixologist.

We recommend the following gifts for people who love to cook 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 miss it. We use a different scale now and it doesn’t have the pull-out display or consistent accuracy. (Daryl baked a lot of bread using that scale.) We use a scale every day to measure coffee beans and in various food recipes. It’s also great for portion control.


ThermoPro Meat Thermometer

Our ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer allows us to cook meat to the perfect level of doneness without stress. Not only do we use it every time we make our Simple Roast Chicken recipe, but it was life saver when we roasted a humungous turkey for our American Thanksgiving dinner in Portugal.


KitchenAid Artisan Mixer

Our KitchenAid Artisan Mixer is another item we 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

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.


Smeg Toaster

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

Fukuoka FUK Coffee Selfie
This is how we look before our first cup of coffee each day. It’s not a pretty sight.

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:

Craft Coffee

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.


Bonavita 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

Netflix and Chill Cheese Plate Date at Home
A party of two is still a party.

We’ve done a lot of entertaining this past year… but the parties have mainly been for just two people. That’s okay, we still have fun when it’s just the two of us, especially when we treat ourselves like company.

These following items are great gifts for people who understand that the concept of entertaining doesn’t require loads of people:

Curious Appetite Italian Specialty Food Box

Curious Appetite Aperitivo Snack Box
Enjoying a Curious Appetite apperitivo gift box is the next best thing to enjoying apperitivo in Italy. | Photo/Curious Appetite/Silvio Palladino

Curious Appetite solves the gift dilemma for the social Italophile in your life. Based in Florence, this innovative company handpicks authentic 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. **



Laguiole 4-Piece Wine and Cheese 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 includes a corkscrew, hard cheese knife, spreader and universal knife. All that’s missing is a cheese board and some cheese.


Tramanto Cheese Board

Made in Tunisia, this olive wood cutting board makes an ideal base for cheese and charcuterie spreads. Using it to make a cheese plate for two turns a Netflix night at home into a party for two.


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.


Japanese Chopsticks

Sure, you can buy chopsticks anywhere. But there’s special about using elegant chopsticks than look and feel like Asia. These Japanese bamboo 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.

Gifts for Lazy Mixology at Home

Gibson Cocktail with Bar Tools
Cheers to lazy mixology!

2020 is the year that we embraced mixology. Not only did we craft cocktails at home, but we also created cocktail recipes based on available ingredients and our personal preferences. The thing is – we don’t like crafting complicated cocktails.

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.


OXO Steel Double Jigger

While it’s not the sexiest aspect of crafting a drink, properly measuring liquor is an integral aspect of mixology. This two-sided stainless steel jigger is a great tool for any lazy mixologist looking to follow a cocktail recipe.


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 and 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, they look and taste better than maraschino cherries sold in most grocery stores


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.

Gifts for Travel

Colosseum Selfie in Rome
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will still be there when you and we travel again.

Do you miss travel? Us too. But we’ll all be traveling again – it’s inevitable.

The following items are perfect for travelers who want to spend time planning where to eat instead of worrying how to pack:

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 an extended trip.


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 she swears by them.


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 to carry our laptops to local Lisbon cafes. It’s super comfortable to carry and has just the right amount of pockets to help keep our stuff organized.


Ekrist Power Bank Phone 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.


Carry On Cocktail Kit

We don’t know about you, but we’ll be celebrating the next time we board a plane. With this Carry on Cocktail Kit, anybody like us will be able to whip up Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Gin and Tonic cocktails on the fly. Pun intended.


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 travelers like us have an extra challenge – the 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. We love this ergonomic bag because it holds our DSLR camera, a couple lenses plus some odds and ends while not screaming camera bag. Hopefully, we won’t have to buy it a third time.

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Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

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.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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