A Squared: Top 10 Foodie Experience Gifts

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top 10 Foodie Experience Gifts

Gift giving can be really tough-- especially when we all have so many 'things.' I've seen so many great gifts cross my path recently that weren't anything tangible, but instead were interactive experiences or gifts that could be enjoyed, eaten, or drunk, but that won't take up precious space in your kitchen cabinets. So, if you're looking for a gift for the foodie that has everything (or if you need a last minute gift to give with Christmas only a few days away) here are 10 great ideas for gifting a gourmet experience.

*Note-- Many of these vendors and experiences are local to Chicago and the Midwest. If you're gifting to someone who lives elsewhere, consider finding vendors like these in your area too!

1. Cheers! How about a Wine of the Month Club gift? Wine of the Month Club offers a variety of gift options for the vino lover on your list. They offer several different wine club memberships to suit every wine lover: from 2 bottles to 12 and from a California wine selection to a variety of vintner-selected limited edition wines, there is truly a Wine of the Month Club membership for everyone.

Not interested in gifting a membership? Wine of the Month Club also offers great gift baskets too! As a wine lover, I was so excited to recently receive this Barrel O' Wine from Wine of the Month Club. It was not only adorable and clever packaging, but it included an excellent variety of wines: A California Shiraz, a Spanish Tempranillo-Garnacha blend, a California Chardonnay, and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.*

2. I love to cook and I do it often, but I have to say that I always enjoy and learn something new at a cooking class. Cooking classes can be fun for any food lover and here in Chicago there are a ton of different options-- whether you want something more classroom-style like La Scuola di Eataly (where you sit back and eat while the instructor demonstrates) or something super hands-on like The Chopping Block where I had to hand roll my own pasta, there's something for everyone! No matter where you are, a cooking class is a fun and interactive gift-- and great for groups too.

3. Know someone who loves food, but not so much the cooking (and subsequent cleanup)? Give a  Kitchensurfing gift card! Kitchensurfing makes the private chef experience accessible by allowing anyone to select a menu, a local chef, and book a dinner party (or date night!) right on their website. The chefs will come prepared to cook and serve right in the comfort of your kitchen. Check out my delicious experience with the service at Kit's place here.

4. How about someone that likes to cook, but just doesn't have the time? Madison & Rayne takes the the prep work out of cooking by delivering chef-designed recipes and fresh seasonal ingredients-- that have already been cleaned, cut, and portioned for you-- right to your door! The meals come together in a snap and are really delicious. A gift certificate to Madison & Rayne is perfect for the busy cook or food lover. I tried the service and had a lot of fun with it!

5. Give the gift of cheese. Because cheese. Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine offers an amazing selection of cheese-centric gifts. And better yet: they also sell monthly cheese club subscriptions! So, if you're shopping really last minute or you'd like to give the gift of cheese all year long, consider one of Pastoral's Cheese of the Month or Charcuterie of the Month packages for the gourmand in your life.

6. For the beer lover: How about a gift certificate to Brew Camp? Brew Camp offers Chicago beer lovers everything they need to take their love of beer to the next level. From home brew kits to classes on everything from how to brew at home or the ins and outs of kegs to beer accessories, this place has everything you need.

7. There is no better way to get to know your city or neighborhood than by tasting its best food. Gifting a Chicago Food Planet Tour is a delicious way to experience the best of the Windy City's food-- and to learn some interesting facts about some of Chicago's coolest neighborhoods. I have tried the Near North and Wicker Park/Bucktown tours and loved both. Next stop: Chinatown!

8. A Vintage Michigan membership is the perfect gift for a Midwest wine lover. For the wino that wants to get out and experience it firsthand, this annual membership offers its members discounts and special perks at wineries, shops, hotels and inns, wine events, and restaurants all over Michigan. I'm a huge fan of norther Michigan wineries (like in Petoskey and Traverse City) and love supporting these local businesses so this is an inexpensive gift that allows for tons of fun perks!

9. I am a sucker for these food and drink of the month clubs because they are such great ways to try something new that you might love. A Craft Coffee subscription offers the same, but for the coffee lover. They'll match the subscriber up with new coffees they'll love based on their individual preferences and send them new coffee each month. Cool, right? They're offering holiday gift subscriptions that you can gift to the coffee lover in your life for a limited time, so get on it!

10. Give the gift that keeps on giving with Heifer International. For a food-centric gift that does some good this holiday season, consider a gift from Heifer International. Heifer's mission is to provide families in third world and developing countries with the means to pull themselves out of poverty by teaching valuable life skills and trades and you have the opportunity to help fund this movement. You can, for instance, buy a goat or a flock of chicks for a family in Africa or Asia which not only provides them with a stable food source but also with an ongoing source of income. Donate to Heifer International on behalf of the foodie in your life and let them share the joy of the holiday season with those less fortunate this year!

*Editor's Note: While I received a complimentary gift from Wine of the Month Club, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.


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