Creative ideas for hostess gifts, including items for the home and garden, treats from your kitchen, gift basket suggestions, and more.
Start with an exceptional red vermouthâ€”this one is a favorite of food editor Christine Albano -- and then round out the gift with foods that complement its flavors: citrusy butter cookies, candied blood-orange peels, hazelnut honey, and a special variety of California pear. Complete it with a paring knife and wooden tray (handy for your host long after the last pear has been sliced).
San Giulano Sicilian Orange biscuits, zingermans.com. Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, astorwines.com. Blood-orange candy, junetaylorjams.com. Warren pears, froghollow.com. Paring knife, by Opinel; brookfarmgeneralstore.com. Olive wood cutting board, conranusa.com. Chestnut Honey with Hazelnuts, by Cata Gourmet; despanabrandfoods.com. Ribbon, paperpresentation.com.
As a houseguest, one of the greatest gifts you can offer -- aside from pitching in to clean dishes -- is to give your host a night off from menu planning. This paella pan holds almost everything you need to concoct that savory rice dish, including a book of 108 recipes, specialty Bomba rice, Spanish paprika and olive oil, and dried chiles. Come dinnertime, just add protein.
Paella, by Alberto Herraiz, amazon.com. Paella pan, 13 1/2 inches, by El Cid; Naturvie Frantoio Serie Limitada Monovarietal extra-virgin olive oil; Arroz Bomba Cebolla; Chiquilin Nora dried peppers; SPP Pimenton de la Vera Dulce D.O.; despanabrandfoods.com.
Even less-experienced cooks can appreciate the power of a really great salt (or olive oil or vinegar). Our food editors swear by these finishing touches for all kinds of dishes: a complex red-wine vinegar from California, a delicate hand-harvested sea salt, and a fruity extra-virgin French olive oil. A wooden salt bowl and pepper mill make thoughtful extras, as does a dish towel, which can double as gift wrap -- just bundle everything up and tie at the top.
Extra-virgin olive oil, by A lâ€™Olivier; igourmet.com. Napa Valley red wine vinegar, organic fleur de sel, and organic whole peppercorns, St. Helena Olive Oil Company; sholiveoil.com. Beechwood pepper mill, brookfarmgeneralstore.com. Striped towel, by Cote Bastide; johnderian.com. Wooden salt bowl, globaltable.com.
This small, thoughtful gift is a good way to thank a hostess. Wrap two loaves of your favorite crusty bread (we like French baguettes) in a linen dish towel, and top with a jar of homemade jam. Tie them together with a colorful ribbon to match the towel, securing a wooden spreader in the knot of the bow.
A healthy breakfast is often the last thing on your hostess's mind when she's planning a night of entertainment. Line a basket with vintage tea towels and fill it with everything she needs to start the day off right -- coffee, tea, milk, sugar, orange juice, scones, butter, and marmalade. All she has to do is find the kettle and French press to recover from the festivities.
This gift gives everyone many incentives to leave their warm beds on a chilly morning, starting with organic coffee made in a French press. Blackberryâ€“Meyer lemon jam partners perfectly with the lemony olive-oil cake. And the crunchy pepita, pecan, and coconut granola will kick off a new morning addiction.
Blackberryâ€“Meyer lemon jam, ellellekitchen.com. Bella Donovan coffee beans, bluebottlecoffee.net. Farmhandâ€™s Choice granola, earlybirdfoods.com. Olive-oil cake, zingermans.com. Erik Magnussen coffee press, in Red, by Stelton; shophorne.com. Whitewashed wood bin, small; containerstore.com.
Celebrate the season with crafts, recipes, and party ideas for spring.Get the Ideas
Get the party started with these festive ways to celebrate!see the ideas