Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Best At-Home Cooking Kits and Classes to Gift This Year


See at Airbnb

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Airbnb Experiences

Global food tours and cooking classes

$18 at Amazon

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For a curious forager in training

How to Eat in the Woods

$165 at Goldbelly

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MakiMaki sushi kit

Fresh fish for four (Update: currently unavailable)

$60 at Amazon

Bam Bamboo Dimpling Kit

DIY dumpling kit

Dim sum starter pack (Update: currently unavailable)

When hitting the stores and the online retailers for gifts, it’s good to keep in mind that a memorable experience is always a wonderful present to give.

If you’re looking for a solid option to get your foodie friend or loved one, sending them one of the best at-home cooking kits available or inviting them to an interactive cooking class might just be the amazing gift item you’ve been looking for. Food — specifically, good food — is nearly always connected to memory. In this case, you wouldn’t just be giving a loved one or friend a memorable experience, but they’ll probably have a lot of fun and learn a few things, to boot. A food kit or cooking class won’t collect dust on the shelf, either. And in this case, they’re wonderful alternatives for the budding chef in your life whose kitchen is already stocked with cooking staples like a Dutch oven, a chef’s knife and good cookware. While we’re talking about it, both of these gift ideas can make for a perfect movie night in. They’ve spent all that time cooking, eventually there needs to be a break, and streaming some Netflix while digging in is always a great choice. 

Preassembled cooking kits and digital culinary classes come with a host of ingredients and recipes — from paella to palomas. There are complete kits for amateur sushi makers or pastry chefs, options for those interested in making sourdough, or an array of cocktail boxes for the spirited among us. Interactive online cooking classes can even be gifted from miles away. And there are always simple tastings for gift recipients who’d prefer not to dirty up an apron.

From simple to serious, these are the best cooking kits, at-home experiences and cooking classes to gift. 

Bakit box baking kit

Bakit Box

For the baking curious, Bakit Box will send all the premeasured ingredients (including perishables) to execute a baking project without having to go to the store or buy bulk ingredients you may not use again. Think meal kits but for baking. You can subscribe to Bakit or spring for a solo box to make batches of tasty sweets such as churros or red bean mooncakes for around $25 each.

Cocktail Courier

Cocktail Courier

These at-home cocktail kits are another festive project to gift a budding mixologist. The service sends boxes of ingredients and garnishes for various cocktails including standbys and seasonal selections like the Halloween-inspired Old Fashioned kit or Birthday Cake Cocktail. You can choose the kits in different sizes and with or without the bottle of booze included. 

paella starter kit

Williams Sonoma

I made my first Paella this year and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. But it helps to have the proper ingredients — bomba rice, paella spices — and a pan to both cook and serve it in. This kit from Williams Sonoma has much of it for under $60. 

sourdough-kit

Uncommon Goods

For a prospective bread baker, this experiential kit has the essentials for getting your sourdough starter, well, started. The bundle includes three packets of instant sourdough culture, artisan salt (16 ounces), muslin cloth, a proper dough scraper and dough whisk. Plus there’s a recipe book to whip up some very tasty bakes.  

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Bean Box

Bean Box is a coffee club but they’ve got some unique gift boxes. My pick goes to this coffee and chocolate tasting kit. These two indulgences are a truly classic pairing on par with PB&J and the sampler box features four freshly roasted coffees (1.8 ounces each) paired with four artisan chocolates and tasting notes for each. 

I’d say it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

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MasterClass

Thomas Keller is America’s most Michelin-decorated chef. In this in-depth video tutorial hosted by the online portal MasterClass, Keller walks you through some of the techniques that made his restaurants, such as Per Se and The French Laundry, so iconic. Specifically, the downloadable and rewatchable class walks students through the preparation of fish and other seafood, sous vide cooking and even some of Keller’s favorite desserts. Pair this MasterClass subscription with an actual sous vide stick for the perfectly themed experiential cooking gift that will undoubtedly lead to some delicious meals.

tada

Tadka Tarot

Tadka Tarot isn’t the typical deck of your tarot cards. You’ll get 28 illustrated cards that teach you how to cook more intuitively through the lens of traditional Indian ingredients, mostly vegetables and spices. Each card will dive into the flavor profile so you’re not just following recipes but learning how to create your own from the ground up.

The deck alone is $35. The complete kit for $150 includes the deck, seven essential Indian spices and a masala dabba to store your new spices.

Yotam Ottolenghi

MasterClass

Speaking of great, in-depth cooking tutorials, Yotam Ottolenghi also has a course available to take on MasterClass. There may not be a chef working today who has a better beat on cooking vegetables and legumes in interesting ways than Yotam. His course explores plant-based spreads and dips, including labneh, muhammara and other tasty mezze that are perfect for the serial entertainer or host.

Explore all of MasterClass’ food and drink lessons here. A subscription is $180 for the year and includes the entire library of classes in dozens of categories and practices. 

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Airbnb

For these experiences, you may have to leave the house so my apologies in advance. 

Food tours are by no means a new thing, but the standard tasting tour and walking tour have certainly gotten better over the years. Since Airbnb launched its Experiences platform a few years back, they’ve added thousands of options including a tapas tour of Barcelona’s gothic neighborhood called “Tapalicious” ($90 on Airbnb.) Or if someone on your list is planning a jaunt to Mexico City, treat them to a street tacos seminar from a local chef for just $27 a person. 

There are countless food-based experience gift ideas to book through Airbnb in just about every major city on Earth. You can search by city and use dozens of other filters — drinks, eats, wellness, specific neighborhoods — so the perfect culinary class or food tour is waiting when they arrive. 

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The Chef & the Dish

Here is all the fun and know-how of a private cooking class from world-class chefs, but from the privacy of your home or apartment. The Chef & The Dish brings Michelin-level culinary masters into your kitchen via video chat, from places as far away as Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, New Orleans, Turkey and Thailand. Dinner is going to be awesome from now on. Classes for two start at $299, plus $50 for each additional person, making a four-person class as inexpensive as $100 each. 

You can also purchase cooking class gift cards and let them choose the lesson themselves. 

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Amazon

If you’re gifting this book, it should come with a loud and clear disclaimer. Foraging and eating the foods you find can be very dangerous. Though it can be fun, it requires some professional guidance. Bradford Angier’s popular book teaches you to recognize edible plants, fruits, berries and nuts. This portable guide even explains how to find bird eggs to scramble or catch edible insects.

There’s even a very brief section on cannibalism etiquette. No, I’m not kidding.

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Goldbelly

The MakiMaki sushi kit has everything to make fresh sushi at home. And I mean everything, including slabs of sushi-grade tuna, toro, hamachi, salmon and all the fixings. Making sushi turns out to be a whole lot of fun, satisfying and quite a bit easier than I thought it would be. This is a fun gift for the DIY foodie and one you can all enjoy together.

Bam Bamboo Dimpling Kit

Bam Bamboo

This handy kit has all the kitchen tools needed to make the dim sum star including steamer baskets, wood dough roller, wood rolling pin, dough scraper, dough cutting ring, tongs, dumpling molds, silicone steamer liners and four pairs of chopsticks.

More gastronomically good gift ideas



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