I love to have people over for dinner, and I try to make it happen as often as I can. One of my constant dinner party invitees recently asked me for a list of my favorite host gifts I’ve received that aren’t wine, because she wasn’t comfortable picking a wine for someone else’s taste. The following is my list of favorite not-wine gifts that I shared with her. For the most part, they’re something easy and inexpensive to keep on hand for last minute dinner invitations.
– Cheese paper
Proper storage of cheese helps to preserve the purity of its flavor, and helps prevent bad molds from forming.
– Fancy peppercorns
I didn’t really understand peppercorn differences until someone introduced me to green peppercorns, with their clean, mild flavors. Delicious!
– Quality olive oil
I love a delicious olive oil that I can enjoy with crusty bread or drizzled on arugula salad.
– Pink salt block
Amazing to cook on, and at less than $30, a really fun surprise gift!
– Organic Honey
Sweet and earthy, and very versatile!
– Quality Black Tea
I love using black tea in baked goods, to smoke chicken, or in a fruit glaze. The better the tea, the more special the flavor turns out!
I don’t think i need to explain â€¦
– Local Coffee (like Chicagoâ€™s own Intelligentsia)
Even if a host is not a coffee drinker, having coffee on hand for guests is a must.
– A hunk of good Parmesan
Parmesan will add life to any salad, grilled pizza or a simple pasta.
These two aren’t edible, and probably appropriate for a more special occasion.
– Guest book
During dessert, having guests sign a guest book is a special way to end the night.
– Cook’s Illustrated magazine
One part cooking geek, one part culinary school, this publication helps demystify basic and more complicated cooking techniques.
Enjoy! â€” Rebecca F.
Photo credit: Intelligentsia Coffee