Gift Guide: The Best Experiences for Foodies
Find out why there has never been a better time to gift someone an exceptional foodie experience.
When the pandemic first hit - physical food experiences like dining out and cooking classes, were brought to a standstill. In their wake, arrived the new and intriguing world of interactive, online experiences. Nearly two years on, these virtual food experiences have been refined, upgraded and rendered totally gift-worthy.
So whether you are looking for a gift for a foodie who lives with you, or on the other side of the world - all the experiences in this gift guide are stay-at-home friendly and accessed by the click of a few buttons!
Here are my top picks of experiences that would make the best gifts.
Learning to Cook Pasta with an Italian Grandma
In a small Italian town called Palombara Sabina - famous for its cherries and olive oil - lives Chiara and her grandma Nonna.
From Thursday to Sunday every evening, they gather in their countryside kitchen to deliver live, interactive cooking classes to guests who are ready to learn how to cook pasta from scratch, grandma's way! The reviews are fantastic, and every week four classes are held with a rotation of dishes to choose from depending on the season. Right now, Pumpkin Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe is being prepared every Thursday, and on Saturdays it’s Pappardelle Amatriciana.
This experience would make a fabulous present for two people, as well as an individual, since all participants will be joined by pasta fans from around the world who are ready to be catapulted into grandma’s Italian kitchen.
Price: £27.00 per person
Baking with a Pastry Chef
Fans of baking, or just fans of baked goods in general, are sure to love the experience of joining pastry chef Maria Mayerhofe in one of the many classes she hosts from her London kitchen. Maria runs these classes privately and for groups, both in person as well as online
The good and bad news is that the different options for the baking classes all sound incredible, so it might be pretty difficult deciding which one to go for. Over Zoom, for example, you can learn how to whip up a Chocolate Babka & Pistachio Cake or Macarons & Madeleines, and in person Maria runs a Scandinavian baking class and a session on how to master American baking classics.
Alternatively, if you really do have trouble deciding which class to select, you can always just opt for a gift-card!
Price: From £30.00 per person
Martha de Lacey, a chef and self-proclaimed breadhead, offers gift subscriptions to her exclusive cooking club #TheMuffKitchen - a charming and tasty virtual world where a community of food lovers, led by Martha herself, unite in learning to bake the likes of focaccia, donuts, baguettes and much, much more!
Gifting someone a 6-month or 12-month membership means they’ll be granted access to an exclusive Instagram and website page which pumps out lots of recipes and videos of baking tutorials and techniques. There is also access to private member forums, live Q&A sessions with different guests, as well as the very tempting option to check/show off your bakes with Martha herself, via DM.
This would also be an excellent gift for any baking newbies since you’ll have lots of beginner tutorials, as well as a wider community of bakers to seek guidance from.
Price: £70 joining fee + £10 per month
Truffle Making Experience
Why not give your favourite foodie a voucher for an at-home truffle making experience? This class will equip anyone who attends with truffle-making skills for life!
Short and sweet, the 1 hour chocolate making workshop teaches participants how to make 20 fresh, luxurious truffles. With the kit for the workshop delivered beforehand (to mainland UK only), all participants need to do is bring along some coconut cream or double cream, and be ready to craft three different flavours of truffle: a marbled truffle, a honeycomb truffle and a coconut truffle.
The classes are led over zoom in small groups twice a month on Fridays and Saturday evenings.
Price: £36.00 per person
Perhaps you know someone who would appreciate a subscription to the MasterClass streaming platform, which gives members access to a catalogue of high-quality videos hosted by world-renowned chefs.
There are a total of 18 different food related classes to choose from, and members can dip in and out of whatever classes take their fancy. They’ll be able to learn the tips and tricks from chefs like Wolfgang Puck, who teaches the mastery of seasoning, and Alice Waters, who focuses on the art of cooking with seasonal produce.
Price: £168 for an annual membership (note, this will give you access to all the videos from other categories too, not just foodie ones!)
At Home Wine and Cheese Tasting Experience for 2
Who wouldn’t appreciate the experience of having a carefully curated selection of wine and cheese arriving at the door, accompanied by an invitation to kick back and enjoy a “zoom tasting session” which walks attendees through their different wine and cheese pairings?
The menu includes 6 different wines and 6 cheese and rotates every three weeks. Plus, the zoom session is actually optional, so with or without the tasting session - sitting at home savouring delicious cheese and wine will still be a special experience for whoever receives this gift.
Luxury Dining Experience At Home
A number of fine-dining and Michelin star restaurants now offer the option of gifting luxury food boxes that aim to recreate the experience of going out for a fabulous dinner.
The selection from Haar at Home caught my eye since they offer a number of delicious sounding options, like a “luxury Lobster and crab box”, a “shellfish linguine and wine box”, a “best of land and sea box”, and a “luxury date night box”. Delivered throughout the UK and complete with eco-friendly packaging, whoever receives one of these boxes is sure to experience their most luxurious takeaway to date.
Price: starting from £49.95 to £99.95 with free delivery