Make Your Own Candy Bowl?
There's nothing sweeter than being a kid in a candy shop, even a virtual one. Now you can give that sensation as a gift, with an order through Sugarwish -- and you don't even have to know your giftee's favorite candy. All you do is send an e-card, which leads the recipient to a virtual candy shop where they chose their own sweet and/or savory favorites (from over 80 choices, including some awesome retro selections). Their candy choices are packaged in a blue gift box, tied with a red ribbon, and shipped directly to the recipient's door. We tried it out and ended up fighting over delicious sour green apple gummies, Lego-shaped SweeTarts, and, of course, Slo Pokes. $25 and up, Sugarwish.com
Seasonal Truffles With (or for) Chocolate Bottoms
You'll love these seasonal favorites from B.T. McElrath, the chocolatier who launched its line with a truffle featuring balsamic vinegar. Its new seasonal rruffle offerings look almost as good as they taste. The eggnog truffle features 40 percent milk chocolate filled with egg og ganache and topped with vanilla white chocolate. The poinsettia chocolate truffle is hand-decorated white chocolate filled with a raspberry and black currant ganache bottomed in 70 percent dark chocolate. $13.50, BTMcElrath.com
Sou Vide Made Simple
The haute couture of fine dining, sou vide cooking requires immersing food in a hot water bath and then maintaining a constant temperature, a technique hard to master at home, and precision cookers have long been priced out of the reach of home cooks, ranging in price from $1,500 to $,5000. That's why's Anova's Precision Cooker with wi-fi, which is retailing for a fraction of the price, is the season's must-have gift for foodies and future Master Chef contestants alike. The sou vide device is lightweight and easy to use -- it connects to your smartphone, allowing you to cook the perfect meal with the touch of a button. Even better, you can use the app and wi-fi connection to schedule cooking and monitor its progress even when you're not at home, something no other device on the market today offers. Makers promise a future when owners can "tell us what you're cooking and when you want it ready, and we'll take care of the timing -- and monitor your cooker to make sure your food is safe." Yes, please. $199, AnovaCulinary.com
Big Cookware Perfect for Tiny Spaces
Face it, we don't all have Rachael Ray's giant kitchen. But you don't want to skimp on cookware. Perfect solution: this sleek nine-piece recycled nesting cookware set, which won the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award for blending sturdy recycled materials, a manufacturing process free of harmful by-products, and space-saving nesting design. Nesting design saves more than 70 percent of cabinet space, and each of the Natural Home Eazistore Cookware pots has a multilayer aluminum core base made from 50 percent recycled stainless steel and also safe to use with induction heating elements. The nine-piece set includes: one-quart saucepan with lid, two-quart saucepan with lid, three-quart saucepan with lid, 10-inch skillet, 12-inch skillet, bamboo slotted spoon, and lifetime warranty. $85, MotherEarthNews.com
A Whole Different Dinner
The Nordic Diet is gaining popularity in the U.S. for its focus on lean protein and vegetable-centric dishes. In Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, Scandinavian food expert Darra Goldstein shares beloved recipes that are simultaneously elevated and accessible. Simple but scrumptious recipes -- for dishes like gravlax, juniper berry soup, braised pheasant, and this Mandelkrans (Swedish Almond Wreath, shown here) -- are paired with cultural and historical context galore. The addition of lovely location photography and fascinating anecdotes raises the cookbook to more of a travelogue with recipes. $40, PenguinRandomHouse.com
ABlock of Salt
Pair that Nordic recipe with rivsalt (Swedish for grated salt) and consider it a new method to salting food and a gastronomic experience in one. You take this gorgeous natural Himalayan salt rock and grate it onto a dish with the accompanying Japanese stainless steel grater, impressing all your friends who are still buying the traditional stuff. $30, Kikkerland.com
Or If You Want to Get Really Fancy...
For that gourmand who has it all, a simple gift set from Hamptons Salt Company is sure to please. From raw cooking salts to flavor-infused salts both decadent (Black Truffle) and distinctive (Ghost Pepper), Hamptons has something you'll love among its 33 flavors. The best gift options: The Connoisseur, which includes four jars of luxe salts -- Fleur de Sel, Black Truffle, Porcini, and Smoked Chardonnay Oak -- in a lovely black gift box. Or the more affordable but no less tasty Flavor Seeker set, which includes Black Truffle, Garlic, Ghost Pepper, Smoked Hickory, and Rosemary infused salts. My fave. $39 and up, HamptonsSalt.com
Free the Chocolate
Pascha is a different kind of chocolate company. It makes 100 percent allergy-free chocolate: it's free of peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, fish, wheat, and gluten. Sound disconcerting? Trust me, taste didn't have to die for the chocolate to live free. The vegan, organic, free-trade chocolate made from pure cacao is still melt-in-your-mouth delicious, a current favorite, and it turns out naked dark chocolate is also healthy chocolate (reportedly reducing risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes). Chocolate bars, mini-bars, and chocolate chips are flavored with notes of coffee, lucuma, maca, and goldenberry. $4.50 and up, PaschaChocolate.com
A Grown-Up's Tequila
This is not spring break, and this is not your college tequila. The rich, oaky flavor of DeLeon's Reposado is made from 100 percent Highland agave and rich, complex agave honey that is slow-fermented and twice-distilled. DeLeon is the only tequila-producing facility in the world with three natural spring wells dedicated to one source, and the distillery claims to have the purest water levels in the entire country of Mexico. Is that scientific fact or PR mumbojumbo? Who knows, but it sure is good and the bottle is gorgeous. $69.99, CrownWineandSpirits.com
What's Better Than an Orange in a Stocking?
These hand-bottled fruit- and spice-infused vodkas make for sumptuous-looking all-natural gifts. American grain vodka is distilled five times in small batches and infused with (often huge) chunks of real fruit and whole spices in flavors including a delicious Cinnamon Apple, Chili Pepper (there's a cute holiday gift set available), or for your grandmother still bragging about only getting oranges in her stocking, the indescribanle Orange Clove. Infuse Spirits' vodka was a double gold winner at last year's San Francisco World Spirits completion. $33 and up, LoveAndScotch.com
Booze on Demand
Is the hassle of going out to a bar cutting into your alcohol consumption? There's an app for that! Drizly "makes the joy of drinking easy and convenient," with on-demand alcohol delivery in nearly 20 cities, including Dallas, Seattle, New York, and D.C.. Since your order will arrive in less than an hour, it's the perfect last-minute hostess gift for a holiday party. Drizly has a craft mixologist on staff who gives out recipes for things like these Creamy Margarita Popsicles. Or if you live in New York City or Los Angeles, Instapour, a new on-demand cocktail delivery service, can bring the party to you within an hour between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., and delivery is free. You can also order a monthly cocktail box subscription. Prices vary, Instapour.com and Drizly.com
Rock Star Wine?
Rocker Dave Matthews teamed up with award winning winemakers to develop Dreaming Tree, wines that are smooth, affordable, and best of all, eco-friendly with recyclable cork, 100 percent recycled brown paper labels, lighter bottles, and a promise to donate a portion of proceeds to organizations like the Wilderness Society and Living Lands & Waters. I dug the label's pinot noir (influenced by the award-winning winemaker Sean McKenzie), but you may want to snag Matthews's special gift pack for music/wine lovers that includes Dreaming Tree's Crush (red), cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay, along with a $50 gift card to Ticketmaster. $109, DreamingTreeWines.com
Absolut Elyx in a Copper Pineapple, With a Side of Water
The Elyx Copper Pineapple is a beautiful and iconic cocktail vessel you might have seen on Instagram or on a stylish back bar shelf. As a perfect addition to any modern home bar set, it would be a fantastic gift in itself, but this year its purchase comes with a bonus. Absolut Elyx and Water for People have joined forces on a five-year mission to bring access to safe water to over 100,000 people worldwide. Every Elyx Pineapple sold will fund provide access to safe water for one month. The symbolic fruit of hospitality makes the perfect shaker for cocktails featuring the award-winning Absolut Elyx, which the distillery is calling "the world's first true luxury vodka handcrafted in copper stills." This great gift set comes with the Elyx Pineapple and a bottle of Absolut Elyx, and your purchase gives access to water for a month for someone who needs it. $120, ReserveBar.com
The perfect response to anyone who has ever told you, "Alcohol is no solution," this scientifically and grammatically correct brushed stainless steel flask reads "Technically Alcohol Is a Solution," and is illustrated with the chemical breakdown of alcohol. $24.99, CafePress.com
Perfect for Mixologists
Matthew Rowley found a secret 1920s notebook hidden in an antique book of poetry, with more than 300 recipes for making liquors, cordials, and wines. He's reproduced the manual on "compounding" -- using extracts, herbs, and essential oils to turn moonshine into something a bootlegger during Prohibition could sell and drink. Lost Recipes of Prohibition: Notes From a Bootlegger's Manual reproduces the pages of the handwritten notebook along with commentary and suggestions for re-creating the drinks at home. Rowley has done a spectacular job of providing historical xontext for the journal, with information on everything from the botanicals used to the logic behind the formulas. He's also used some of the recipes as jumping-off points for original cocktails. An essential resource for any true mixologist. $27.95, FoodNetworkStore.com
The bootlegger technique of compounding reveals the mad scientist-style mixing of chemicals that goes into bringing a new cocktail to life. Pair the book with this fabulous Chemist's Cocktail Kit and your recipient will enjoy libations in their secret lair. The Chemist's Cocktail Set comes with barware made from steel and borosilicate glass guaranteed to fit into your laboratory's design scheme. Set comes with Graduated Erlenmeyer flask decanter, six graduated test tubes, glass stirring rod, stainless steel shaker with strainer, and powder-coated steel rack. $29.99, ThinkGeek.com
Wrought Iron Cocktail Tree
This wrought iron cocktail tree created by Metal Dimensions holds 12 glasses, perfect for sampling a variety of cocktails and spirits. $250, SambaBrandManagement.com