The holidays are all about entertaining and spending time with family and friends. And all quality time includes eating, right? Here are some can’t-miss gifts for the food- and drink-obsessed.
1. American Spoon “Buy the Store”: I’ve long been a fan of this revered Michigan store and find it hard to decide what to buy. The Up North Breakfast Box is always a winner, but even better is this all-encompassing option, with tons of preserves, fruit butters, salsas, grilling sauces and more. It’s the whole enchilada. Serious eaters only! $225
2. Bison Airlighter: Looking for the ultimate toy for your favorite grill nut? This is it. The super-heated 2,600-degree flame can ignite wood and charcoal instantly, then switches to air to spread the flames. It operates no matter the weather—plus, it looks awesome. $99
3. Lillie’s Q Gift Box: One of the best gifts I got last year was this pine box filled with delectable barbecue sauces, six in all: Smoky, Hot Smoky, Carolina, Carolina Gold, Ivory and E.N.C. Every one a gem and super versatile. Bonus points for presentation! $60, Lillie’s Q, 1856 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773- 772-5500
4. ￼Perfect Drink App and Scale: Take your amateur mixology efforts to a whole new level with this app-controlled smart bartending system that knows exactly what you’re adding. Follow the curated list of recipes or make up your own. Dark and Stormys for everyone! $50, Brookstone, Northbrook Court, Northbrook; Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie
5. The Bar10der: This ingenious gadget is all you’ll need for the ultimate bar: muddler, jigger, zester, strainer—all here. Best of all, the 10-in-one compact design makes it easy to store and highly portable. Available in five bright colors. $30; also available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and more
6. Krups Wine Aerator: For the serious wine lover, consider this countertop wine keeper/dispenser with two customizable “chilling chambers,” an aerator to open up the bouquet and a vacuum-pressurization feature that ensures your wine will stay fresh for a week. This one’s on my list! $500, Crate and Barrel
7. Hand-Painted Tunisian Tagine: As functional as it is beautiful, this earthenware dish is for the cooking and serving of Moroccan tagines, couscous or rice. The conical lid keeps food moist by funneling condensation. Plus, it’s oven and microwave safe. Pair it with some harissa or Moroccan spices and you’re good to go. $60, Williams-Sonoma
8. Kohler “In Celebration of Chocolate”: If chocolate is your drug of choice, you will hit the motherlode at this awe-inspiring festival Feb. 6-8, 2015. This chocolate-covered extravaganza includes tastings, seminars and celebrations. It won’t be low calorie, but it’s certain to be delicious. Sweet Treat Packages start at $173. Packages with hotel start at $436.