Food Lover’s Gift Guide: 10 (Impressive) Presents Under $40

Last-minute buys for your favorite cook, barkeep, and entertainer.

If you’re looking for a last-minute present that’ll still impress your favorite epicurean, we’re here to help. All are available online (and some in local stores), with Christmas Day arrival dates for shipping still in effect. 

1. Bourbon Smoked Paprika, $9 from Bourbon Barrel Foods (online) and Seasonal Pantry.

If you love the flavor of Spanish pimentón, try this bourbon barrel-smoked paprika for an American twist. It’s fantastic for sprinkling on deviled eggs or stirring into chili. 

2. Le Creuset fondue set, $39.95 from Zappos.

Forget fondue parties. La Creuset’s set is made for dipping à deux, so you can pretend you’re in a romantic Swiss chalet. 

3. Sagaform wine carafe with oak stopper, $34.95 from Burke Decor

Decanters are a terrific gift for wine enthusiasts, or anyone who wants to look classy pouring their favorite vino. We particularly love the modern look of Sagaform’s. 

4. Moroccan appetizer plates, $10 each from Jayson Home.

These beautiful hand-painted ceramic plates are a wonderful gift for the frequent entertainer, whether used for canapés or small starters. 

5. Kipik toothpick holder, $25 from the MoMa Store.

The Museum of Modern Art’s online gift shop is a treasure trove for unique gifts, like this adorable little guy who’s particularly handy during cocktail parties. 

6. Bodum travel press coffee maker, $30 from

Perfect for the coffee nerd on-the-run (as they tend to be with all that caffeine). 

7. Mason jar shaker, $35 from Food 52 Provisions (online) or Salt & Sundry.

Sure, mason jars are the drinking vehicle du jour, but how many home bars boast a Ball shaker? 

8. Polk pleats apron, $32 at Anthropologie.

For the hostess with the most-ess, Anthro’s feminine aprons are a great way to impress guests before the meal even starts. 

9. Moscow Mule copper mug, $20 (per mug) from Sur La Table.

Not only do these copper mugs look festive, but they’ll keep your Moscow mule (a mix of vodka, ginger beer, and lime) or other cocktail cool. 

10. Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint, $17.99 from

Part autobiography, part cookbook, all ramen exploration. This work by the first American to open a ramen shop in Tokyo is a must for any fans of the Japanese noodle soup (or good books in general). 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.