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Hoffman: Gift ideas for your favorite food-loving friend |

Hoffman: Gift ideas for your favorite food-loving friend

Looking for a gift for your favorite foodie? There are loads of choices from our local stores, close at hand, with no worries about delivery in time for Christmas.


Recently I was wandering around Old Town checking out the available inventory.  Shopping locally makes sense for a lot of reasons, least of which is a knowledgeable salesperson who can answer questions and give advice.

Always a good choice for cooks is a really good knife that makes kitchen prep easier, faster and much safer than the old dull-edged, hand-me-down knife. The Cupboard has an extensive selection of really fine brands that will last a lifetime. Look for one that is well-balanced and that will fit the hand of the recipient.

Lodge cast iron cookware is inexpensive and lasts forever, available in a variety of styles and sizes. Choose from Dutch ovens, ridged indoor grill pans, griddles or skillets, from single-serving size to enormous. Find Lodge at Downtown Ace, Jax Outdoor and The Cupboard.

How about an instant-read thermometer for the carnivore or an old-fashioned meat grinder/sausage maker that clamps to the edge of the kitchen counter? An air popcorn popper with a bag of gourmet popping corn to go with it might be perfect for a young adult off on her own for the first time.

There are always fun aprons, battery-operated pepper grinders, choices of exotically flavored vinegars and olive oils from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company, and specialty coffees, teas and cheeses, all available locally.

Interesting spice blends are lots of fun for experimentation. The attendant at Old Town Spice Shop steered me right to her favorite, the Sweetgrass Prairie Blend, smoky and flavorful for turkey, duck or chicken, and it helps support the black-footed ferret population locally. Susan Kirkpatrick, owner of Savory Spice Shop, recommends their best-selling cinnamon, especially the Saigon variety for flavor and health benefits. Her personal favorite is the Capitol Hill Seasoning, a dill-shallot blend perfect for seafood and chicken, and especially nice on green beans or asparagus.

A good stockpot for making bone and meat broths is essential for any soup lover. Really good broth is the secret to delicious soup.

Look for stocking stuffers available at Nuance Chocolate shop on Pine Street or cooking gadgets from a variety of shops. 

And cookbooks make great gifts, available at Old Firehouse Books, The Cupboard or Jax. Mario Batali writes delicious recipes for Italian cuisine, and Mai Pham, owner of Lemon Grass Restaurant in California, is an excellent source for Vietnamese or Thai cooking.

If you just can’t decide, a gift certificate to a local shop or a favorite restaurant is always a welcome gift.

Have fun shopping!

Fort Collins chef Linda Hoffman teaches cooking classes emphasizing dinners in 30 minutes or less. Visit comebacktothetable.com.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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