What to give the cook or armchair epicure who thinks they have everything? This year, we asked the experts. For our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, we’ve turned to curators in a unique position to know what’s new and irresistible or old and trusted. We’ve gathered up six small retailers we trust, experts on cookbooks, cocktail-ware, coffee gadgets, cooking gear, table accessories, and cool gifts under $25. Take a second to meet our gift curators, then click through to start breezing through your shopping list.


Our curators: Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano of Umami Mart in Oakland, California. Longtime friends Akabori and Kumano opened their charming Japanese kitchen and barware shop in Oakland in 2012. In late 2013, they launched a spinoff boutique in San Francisco.


Our curator: Celia Sack of Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco, California. Since 2008, Sack has been selling new, antiquarian, and collectible books on food and cooking from a cozy ex-butcher shop in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood. Omnivore hosts multiple monthly readings from leading chefs and cookbook authors.


Our curator: Mark Hellweg of Clive Coffee in Portland, Oregon. Hellweg founded Clive Coffee in Portland, offering equipment for coffee retailers and home enthusiasts. His shop is a coffee showroom, and a source of education for both pro baristas and amateur coffee geeks.


Our curator: Ethan Kahn of Cocktail Kingdom in Manhattan. Don Lee, then the beverage director at PDT, teamed up with publisher Greg Boehm to launch Cocktail Kingdom in Manhattan’s Chelsea district in 2012. It’s now the nation’s premier manufacturer and distributor of professional barware.


Our curator: Natasha Amott of Whisk in New York City. Amott launched her tightly curated kitchen and cookware shop six years ago in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In 2012, she opened a larger shop in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.


Our curators: Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic of Heath Ceramics in San Francisco. Bailey and Petravic acquired Northern California’s legendary Heath Ceramics more than a decade ago, and didn’t lose any time modernizing the ceramics company founded in 1948 by Edith Heath, helping to kick-start the nation’s craft revival movement.


Everybody appreciates receiving something handmade. Infused liquors, salts, candies, chocolates, hot sauces: With a little time and planning, you can craft your own holiday gifts. Check out the dozens of amazing, easy-to-do projects from the CHOW Test Kitchen.

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