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Loved ones, please don't read this. Spoilers ahead. 

Maria Yagoda
November 29, 2018
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By sharing my holiday gift picks with the universe, I am sacrificing the joy of my friends and family, who will no longer be surprised come Christmas. But I think their sacrifice will be worth it, considering I am spreading the good word of the books, cocktails, and more new items that are perfect for gifting this holiday season. 

For the food nerd ...

The Noma Guide to Fermentation, by René Redzepi and David Zilber ($24)

Since 2016, David Zilber has run the pioneering fermentation lab at Noma, and this October, he and chef/co-owner René Redzepi published a stunningly detailed guide to fermentation, offering home cooks and curious eaters an unprecedented glimpse into the mechanics of fermentation, with recipes. Not only is the massive book filled with useful information, but the illustrations are gorgeous, too, and the gift would make any coffee table proud. 

For the home cook who wants a better-smelling kitchen  ...

Orange Cilantro Candle, Lafco New York ($65)

This brightly fragranced candle masks truly every cooking smell, from garlic to that pan you cooked scrambled eggs on but forgot to wash. While the price tag is a bit high for a candle, it burns for 90 glorious hours, and it's quite possibly the item that gave me the most joy this year. And I don't mean that in a sad way. 

For the Southern food lover / historian ...

Sweet Home Café Cookbook: A Celebration of African-American Cooking, by Albert Lucas and Jessica B. Harris ($19)

In 2016, Sweet Home Café opened in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the D.C. restaurant has been essential ever since, showcasing the varied contributions of African-American to our national culinary culture with dishes like Sénégalaise peanut soup, fried green tomatoes, hickory-smoked pork, and chocolate chess pie. This year, the café released a gorgeous cookbook filled with satisfying Southern recipes, all presented with fascinating history and context.

For the cookie monster ...

Little Fats Eight Crazy Nights [Hanukkah 8 Pack], Big Fat Cookie ($29)

I wouldn't have been introduced to this next-level Chicago-based cookie company (that ships nationwide) were it not for Nina Friend, our brilliant assistant editor whose mom started it! I know this will embarrass Nina, but I have to speak my truth: these are my favorite cookies in the world. Big, chunky, dense, and even filled with additional snacks like pretzels, M&Ms, marshmallows, Oreos, and more. They're heaven, and the limited-edition Hanukkah pack is adorable. 

For the lazy cocktail enthusiast ...

St. Agrestis Bottled Negronis, Four Pack ($24.99)

This year, Brooklyn-based amaro brand St. Agrestis released their excellent bottled negronis. While they retail $6.49 for each 3.3 ounce bottle, the cocktails taste just as lovely as any $15 negroni you'd find in the city, and they're one of our favorite bottled cocktails on the market. 

(Dress up with the gift with these cool cocktail accessories.

For the not-lazy cocktail enthusiast ...

Lo-Fi Brand Aperitifs, One Bottle ($24)

This Northern California cocktail newcomer sells a killer sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, and amaro, which as a threesome make a sleekly-designed and actually-useful gift for anyone who makes cocktails at home, cares about quality, and needs to restock their bar cart. The bottles work well individually as gifts, too; the vermouths, in particular, are lovely for sipping.

For the person who wouldn't be mad if you gave them canned tomatoes ...

Frank Pepe's Genuine Italian Tomatoes, Three 28-oz. Cans ($10)

Earlier this year, New Haven's legendary Frank Pepe's Pizzeria began selling cans of tomatoes at all of their locations, as well as online. A pack of three, 28-oz. cans costs $10, which is a big steal, considering the tomatoes are "hand-selected by Frank Pepe's family members" (!) in Naples, Italy. These babies bring you one step closer to being able to recreate Pepe's iconic tomato pie in your very own home. 

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