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 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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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 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. **
Sure, you can buy chopsticks anywhere. But there’s something 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
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.