Victor Protasio

Presents for the avid home cooks, wine lovers, and budding bartenders in your life.

Melanie Hansche and Nina Friend
November 20, 2018
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Season’s Eatings

What six chefs are sending their family and friends this year.

Victor Protasio

La Tienda Tapas Party Gift Box


Make like chef Josiah Citrin (Melisse and Charcoal, Los Angeles) and head to La Tienda for all kinds of edible Spanish gifts. “You can get sampler packages of jamón, Spanish cheeses, olive oils, wines—anything and everything for your food-loving friends,” he says. ($115; tienda.com)

Seed + Mill Ultimate Gift Pack


Butcher Jocelyn Guest (formerly of White Gold Butchers, New York City) puts tahini in everything from cookies to marinades: “Seed + Mill does it the right way. They’re thoughtful, small-batch, and lady-owned!” And if she had to pick a mail-order meat to send friends over the holidays, 
it would be Heritage Foods’ Bacon Lover’s Sampler. (Tahini pack, $84; seedand
mill.com. Bacon pack, $129; heritagefoods.com)

José Gourmet Canned Seafood

Eye-catching packaging is “a huge draw” for chef Jamie Malone (Grand Cafe, Minneapolis), yet she also loves the high quality of José Gourmet seafood. “The products are caught at absolute peak season,” she says. (Spiced Tuna Pâté, $6; Sardines in 
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Sardines in Tomato Sauce, $9 each; Octopus in 
Olive Oil with Garlic, $14; 
wixtermarket.com)

Blis Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce


Chef Miles Thompson (Michael’s Santa Monica, Los Angeles) says that 
Blis Fish Sauce is “deeper, richer, and sweeter” than any other. Another huge fan of all Blis products? Grant Achatz. ($18, blisgourmet.com)



Poil  Ne Bread 
And Knife


Pastry chef Joanne Chang (Flour Bakery + Cafe and Myers + Chang, Boston) doesn’t mess around when it comes to bread: “The last time I was in Paris, we found a hotel near Poilâne so we could have this dark rustic sourdough each morning.” We also recommend their sturdy, extra-sharp bread knife, beloved by the likes of Ruth Reichl and David Lebovitz. (Sourdough Loaf, $11; Bread Knife, $55; poilane.com)



Island Creek Oysters


2018 F&W Best New Chef Julia Sullivan (Henrietta Red, Nashville) loves Island Creek Oysters because “they arrive in pristine condition and can last in the refrigerator up to 10 days.” ($100 for 50; islandcreekoysters.com)


Classic Cookbooks

Our editors share their favorite (and most giftable) books of all time.


Victor Protasio

The Cook’s Companion (1996)


“Australian chef Stephanie Alexander’s book taught me how to become a confident cook—and, ironically, how to cook confidently without recipes. I turn to it for classics like beef bourguignon and roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, as well as for more obscure things, like how long to grill kangaroo loin (7 minutes on high heat!).” —Melanie Hansche, deputy editor


The Moosewood Cookbook (1974)


“I learned to cook from my mother, and she taught me that recipes are just a jumping-off point. From the stained and noted pages of Molly Katzen’s groundbreaking cookbook, we made batch after batch of vegetable stew and Zuccanoes (stuffed zucchini)—each one slightly different from the last.” —Kelsey Youngman, test kitchen manager


The New Basics Cookbook (1989)


“Much of my time in the F&W Test Kitchen has been spent reinventing classic recipes so they feel fresh and modern. In the ’80s, well ahead of their time, authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins were doing just that. This tome (packed with 875 recipes!) is rich with techniques and ingredient pairings that are unbelievably on-trend, even today.” —Justin Chapple, culinary director 


The Taste Of Country Cooking (1976)


“Edna Lewis’ loving ode to the Virginia Piedmont farming community in which she was raised and chronicle of how her family cooked and ate through the seasons reminds us, in this age of convenience, that the best food comes from the freshest seasonal ingredients.” 
—Hunter Lewis, editor in chief

Time-Life The Good Cook Series (1978–80)


“This series is deliciously retro and still so relevant. The volume Outdoor Cooking is a touchstone for cooking over fire. I also like Beverages, Vegetables, and Snacks. The step-by-step instructions and technique explanations are right on target.” —Mary-Frances Heck, senior food editor

Twelve Recipes (2014)


“Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell wrote this book for his oldest son, to teach him how to cook. And it’s the book I reach for every time I want inspiration for dinner. It’s written in such a warm tone, it makes me feel like the chef is in my kitchen, gently directing my efforts. This book is for anyone who says they ‘can’t cook,’ but there’s also plenty for those who know they can.”— Karen Shimizu, executive editor


Holiday Spirits

For the perfect bottles 
to gift, we asked—who else?—some of our favorite bartenders for their picks.

Victor Protasio

Del Maguey Tobala Single Village Mezcal 


“Tobala has a special place in my heart: It’s truly my ‘stranded on 
a desert island’ bottle, with this wonderful balance of floral, mineral, and smoke. The time and attention it’s made with shine through in every sip.”
 —Charles Joly, Crafthouse Cocktails, Chicago. ($125; 
delmaguey.com)

Matthiasson No. 3 Napa Valley Sweet Vermouth


“This vermouth is so sexy. It’s 100 percent Flora (a Sémillon and Gewürztraminer cross), fermented whole cluster to produce rich, dried fruit flavors, and bottled unfiltered. I love to drink it over ice.” 
 —LeNell Camacho 
Santa Ana, LeNell’s Beverage Boutique, Birmingham, Alabama. ($35; matthiasson.com)

Copal Tree Copalli White Rum


“This new organic rum has a beautiful, grassy freshness on the nose. The crisp finish makes it a great choice for a classic daiquiri. The bottle is simple but beautiful, and the distillery provides educational grants to benefit communities in Southern Belize.”
 —Devon Tarby, The Walker Inn, Los Angeles. ($29; copallirum.com)

St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur 


“With hints of spices 
like clove and cinnamon, this liqueur is perfect around the holidays. The Bartlett pear really shines through without being too cloying or sweet. It’s super-versatile 
and a perfect addition to a toddy or Champagne cocktail.”
 —Angel Teta, Ataula, Portland, Oregon. ($35; stgeorgespirits.com)

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