Everybody — well, almost everybody — has a food lover in their life. Their passions take different forms: One is a great cook, one is the consummate hostess, another a wine aficionado, another a locavore. Maybe it’s a person who loathes the kitchen but likes nothing better than a nice dinner out.
The glad tidings: There’s a gift out there for all of them.
We went on a shopping spree in search of gifts that would be practical and fun at the same time. The kind of item that makes one think, “How clever!”
Here’s what we found in Santa’s bag.
Bake a quick bread in the classic shape and bring a smile to the table. Williams-Sonoma, $29.95.
Want to give seafood, salad or a drink a burst of citrus without squirting liquid willy-nilly? Just screw this spray top into the cut end of a lemon, lime or other fruit. Press, and out comes a fine mist of juice. Expect to get 100-plus sprays from a typical lemon. Coastal Cupboard, Mount Pleasant, $14.99.
Pull Santa’s pants over a couple of bottles of wine and tote them to an appreciative wine drinker. Stono Market, Johns Island, $15.99.
Holy Smoke Smoked Olive Oil
One of the latest examples of locally made food, created by Kyle Payne and Max Blackman on Dorchester Road. This is olive oil with a twist: the flavor of bacon but completely vegan. Extra-virgin cold pressed California olive oil is cold-smoked with hickory and pecan woods from the Carolinas in a special machine. 8.5 ounces for $15. At the Charleston Farmers Market, Caviar & Bananas, Two Boroughs Larder, Bull Street Market, Boone Hall Farms Market, Blackbird Market, Gullah Gourmet and others.
Blue crab serving pieces
Pick and serve your seafood in style with enamelware platters, plates and bowls artfully decorated with Callinectes sapidus, our beloved blue crab. Dishwasher and oven safe, chip resistant. Stono Market, Johns Island, $8.59 and up.
Chilled wine soon loses its cool and becomes less refreshing with each passing minute. Here’s a solution: The Vinoice, a wine pourer with a chill rod. Freeze the rod first, attach it to the pourer, and insert. It will maintain the temperature for up to an hour. Charleston Cooks! $28.
Right around the corner is the return of Restaurant Week, set for Jan. 10-20. Most restaurants offer gift certificates, so this may be your opportunity to give someone a great night on the town. Choose from more than 120 restaurants and get three courses for either $20, $30 or $40. Participating restaurants are listed at charlestonrestaurant association.com. Contact the restaurants individually to buy a gift certificate and make sure they can be used during Restaurant Week.
The German-made Spiralschneider Spirelli has a long name but a simple function — making “pasta” out of vegetables. Just turn your carrots or squash or cukes around inside and watch the ribbons of veggies fall out. Handy for the low-carb diet set. Coastal Cupboard, $29.99.
Kitchen towels with a Southern accent
Towels get a lot of duty in the kitchen, which means you can never have too many. However, we like those with a little personality, like the ones bearing Charleston landmarks we saw at Charleston Cooks! ($16) and another with a holiday-themed palmetto tree and the words, “Merry Christmas Y’all!” at Coastal Cupboard ($11.99).
Gold Band Wine Charms
Personalize these elegant gold-tone wine charms any way you desire, any number of times. The center of each charm is blank. Use a dry-erase marker to write names or initials, then wipe them clean after the party. Williams-Sonoma, $29.95.
Christmas trees at the GDC home furnishings store west of the Ashley are loaded with ornaments, a number of them related to the pleasures of eating and drinking. Among them: a mini bottle of Pinot Grigio, a basket of hot dogs and fries, a Chinese takeout box, an espresso machine, a cookie sheet and tea bags of various kinds, such as green tea and Earl Grey. Prices ranged from $6.25 to $16.
Rosle Pineapple Cutter
Coring and cutting a fresh pineapple is a messy chore. Make efficient work of it with this gadget, which simultaneously cores and slices the fruit into rings. Charleston Cooks! $32.
The Lily Pad silicone lids
We’ve all wrestled with and wasted plastic wrap and foil to cover a bowl or container for storing and reheating. Now comes a silicone lid that seals air- and watertight on smooth rims, and can be used over and over and over. Coastal Cupboard; lid sizes vary but start at $7.99.
Zoku Quick Pop Maker
Popsicles can be a spontaneous craving, but the process of making them is not. You have to plan ahead for that instant gratification. Enter the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. It can turn out pops of all kinds in only 7 to 9 minutes. The small version makes up to three pops at one time, the large up to nine. The only thing you have to remember is to keep the unit in the freezer on standby. Williams-Sonoma, $24.95 (small unit)