If you still need a Christmas gift for a cook who loves international cuisine, these global food gifts would all be welcome, and there’s something for every budget.
Any chef from amateur to the highly-trained has dreamt of dropping everything for a round-the-world trip soaking in all the rich, culinary culture and discovering unique eateries along the way. The vast and seemingly endless ocean of cuisines is one of the reasons we fall in love with cooking and eating in the first place. Fusing a little spice from over here and a new cooking method from over there, to create the deeply layered tapestry that is global cuisine.
Be it strong coffee from Italy, smooth scotch from the highlands, or complex spice from the Middle East, the foodie market is truly international, and it is our great fortune that a busy schedule or limited travel budget doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the best cooking gadgets, gizmos, and ingredients from around the world (thank you, internet!). Here are eight of our favorites global gifts for the foodie on your holiday list!
Related Reading: The Best International Cookbooks for World Travelers (& Eaters)
It’s no secret the Italians take coffee very seriously and rest of the world has benefited from their passion and precision. Perhaps there’s someone on your list who covets the occasional espresso but can’t be bothered to store a Keurig or other bulky coffee machine. The sleek, stovetop espresso maker from legacy Italian manufacturer Bialetti is the just ticket, making five silky smooth cups of espresso in roughly four minutes and taking up less space than a tea kettle.Buy Now
Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch bills itself as the Scotch for adventure and exploration and is named after the early 1900s explorer Ernest Shackleton, who led many a British expedition to the Antarctic. With warm nose of vanilla, cinnamon, and dark fruit and brown sugar palate, Shackleton makes a perfectly unexpected and moderately priced gift for the adventurous Scotch drinker on your list.Buy Now
You’ve heard the expression “a whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” yeah? Well, this is really the idea for any great seasoning blend and Lebanese za’atar spice is no exception. A warm and toasty combination of wild thyme, sumac, salt, toasted sesame seeds, za’atar is heavenly on meats (especially lamb), fresh bread or just sprinkled over olive oil and mopped up with warm pita.Buy Now
Tagines have been around since the 9th century and been used most prominently in Moroccan cooking. The rustic clay device is great for cooking everything from heavily seasoned vegetables to tender meats and even fish and the conical shape is designed to keep moisture flowing back to the food keeping it tender and flavorful. The tagine doubles as a charming serving dish, too, – just pop off the top when finished and place on a trivet.Buy Now
Shun knives are hand forged by skilled Japanese bladesmiths using ancient techniques and modern materials for heirloom quality pieces that boast a great pedigree and performance. This set of three knives is perfect for precision cutting of meat and veggies and that striking hammered finish isn’t just for looks; it also keeps food from sticking to the blade.Buy Now
It’s pretty much a fact that the best things in life are served in a bamboo steamer. Whether it’s soup dumplings, shrimp shumai, or flaky fish it’s simply more fun to serve and eat food from these stackable charming wooden trays. For cooking, simply rest the steamer over a pot of boiling water (check recipes for timing) and get much healthier results than cooking with oil and less mush than boiling. These sturdy steamers from Sur la Table come in two sizes depending on needs.Buy Now
It’s my personal belief that hot sauce is one of the more underrated cooking ingredients. Sure, I’m not the first person to slather it on my chicken or pizza, but a balanced hot sauce infused with other flavors like chipotle and garlic can add instant dimension to soups, sauces and loads other recipes. This 6-pack of beloved Cholula made in Jalisco, Mexico, is a great gift to inspire experimentation with heat and other flavors. The variety pack includes traditional, green pepper, sweet habanero, chipotle chili lime, and chili garlic, and because Cholula contains less vinegar than other hot sauces it’s much less overpowering and way more fun to play with.Buy Now
You might have to wait for barbecue weather to really break these out but it’ll be soooo worth it. Churrasco is a down-home, rustic, and straight-to-the-point method for grilling meats, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need quality tools like these 23-inch stainless steel churrasco skewers and solid recipes, like the ones in Chef Evandro Caregnato’s book, “Churrasco: Grilling the Brazilian Way.”Buy Now
For Everyone Else on Your List
Header image courtesy of Sur la Table.