Gifts for couples are tricky for obvious reasons: It’s easy to find yourself stumped when you have to find the perfect thing to fit not just one person’s particular tastes, but two. That’s where food- and cooking-related gifts come in handy. Even couples who didn’t cook pre-pandemic have spent the past nine months in the kitchen and are likely experiencing cooking fatigue. Specialty ingredients, gorgeous cookware, drinks to pair with dinner, or even a brief respite from cooking altogether—these are the gifts that’ll be sure to please. So don’t worry. You can stop trying to sleuth out a shared hobby.
Truly Special Spices
If you’re looking for a showstopping gift for the couple who loves to cook, you cannot do better than Diaspora Co.’s Masala Dabba. The Diaspora team has created the perfect home for its ethically produced spices in this thoughtfully designed and hand-spun brass vessel. Each Masala Dabba comes with seven of Diaspora’s spices, including the original Pragati Turmeric, my favorite, the Baraka Cardamom, and the new Nagauri Cumin.
Diaspora Co. Masala Dabba
$200.00, Diaspora Co.
Upgraded Kitchen Staples
Okay, casserole doesn’t always signify a hot date—but a one-pot meal (and no argument over who does the dishes) is sometimes exactly what’s needed for domestic bliss. This new release from direct-to-consumer kitchen brand Great Jones is both pretty and functional: The glossy stoneware can handle temps up to 450°F, but it’s easy to grab out of that piping hot oven thanks to wide, sturdy handles. And, crucially, it’s dishwasher-safe.
$75.00, Great Jones
Finicky kitchen gadgets come and go, but a well-made wooden cutting board lasts forever. This one is actually designed by a couple. The Los Angeles–based founders of Sonder set out to create one thing: expertly designed wooden cutting boards. My favorite is the Alfred, a hefty 17-by-13-inch black walnut board. One side of the board features three carved compartments, which come in handy when prepping lots of vegetables separately, or they can work as cracker and cheese wells when you’re serving appetizers. The other side is flat and perfect for chopping—and it has a juice groove to catch any runoff.
Sonder LA Alfred Cutting Board
Something to Sip On
When I started drinking One Stripe Chai, I had no idea that it was quickly going to replace all the other tea in my cabinet, at least as long as the weather is cold and I’m craving the rich depth of chai. This gift set comes with the brand’s signature masala chai blend—a balanced, earthy, just-spicy-enough mix that’s sourced from a fourth-generation, family owned, biodynamic and organic tea garden in Assam, India. The haldi, doodh, which also comes in One Stripe’s gift set, takes no shortcuts on sourcing, either. One Stripe has partnered with Diaspora Co. for the turmeric.
One Stripe Chai Co. Gift Set
$32.00, One Stripe Chai Co.
Take a night off from home-bartender duty with a fancy cocktail that’s ready to sip. The St. Agrestis Negroni is a special small-batch concoction with a good hit of the drink’s signature bitterness, balanced by bright, herbaceous notes that feel just right for winter. An added bonus? These come in the prettiest petite glass bottles. (Or a box if you prefer your cocktails on tap.)
St. Agrestis Bottled Negroni, Pack of 4
$25.00, St. Agrestis
A Little Inspiration
I do not know a single couple who hasn’t missed date night during the pandemic. Getting dressed (in non-stretchy fabric, no less), leaving the house, sidling up to a bar while waiting for a table. A slow meal without screens or dishes or kids in sight. Serving New York, a compilation of recipes from New York restaurants that Kristin Tice Studeman put together during the pandemic, donates its proceeds to the ROAR x Robin Hood restaurant relief fund. It features a handful of my personal favorite date-night meals. Each dish has the effortless elegance of restaurant dining, whether it’s in the form of a delicate fennel salad or a perfect broccoli and chickpea pasta.
Serving New York: For All The People Who Make NYC Dining Unforgettable by Kristen Tice Studeman
$35.00, Serving New York
There are no sheet-pan dinners in this book, no Instant Pot shortcuts or meal-prep staples. This is, arguably, the sexiest veg-heavy food possible—the stuff you usually save for a dinner party. But maybe in month nine of staying at home, that’s what the couple in your life needs: a dinner-party- worthy feast with all the bells and whistles. With dishes like sticky rice balls in a tangy tamarind-laced sauce, light-and-crunchy tempura beet stems, and little halved lemons filled with sorbet, Ixta Belfrage and Yotam Ottolenghi will guide your favorite couple back to exciting meals, even if they’re just happening around the kitchen island.
Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook by Ixta Belfrage and Yotam Ottolenghi
A Bit of Greenery
You can never go wrong with a houseplant—but in lockdown, especially, a little bit of greenery will go a long way. As I write this, my adobo hot pepper plant sits in front of me on the windowsill, showing off its three perfectly ripe peppers. Bloomscape’s site ensured that this was a particularly no-fuss plant, and trust me, I did not fuss. More than once I’ve forgotten to water the little guy. I’ve never rotated him or added fertilizer or new soil, and still, two months after he arrived, he’s happily fruiting (and I’m taking all the credit).
Adobo Hot Pepper Plant
A Break From Meal-Planning
Sometimes even food people need a break from the cycle of plan, shop, cook, repeat. The gift of a meal delivery service might just stave off a bit of that cooking fatigue. A couple who recently tried Blue Apron described it to me as their “midweek what’s for dinner? argument prevention plan.” For newer cooks, it can also serve as a bit of a confidence-boosting exercise. For those who just really need a break from cooking, consider a few meals from Daily Harvest or Sakara Life. While both brands started their business with a particularly veg-heavy way of eating in mind, there are plenty of treats too: Daily Harvest just expanded into nondairy ice cream, and Sakara Life’s cinnamon rolls with date caramel glaze are an excellent breakfast for someone with a sweet tooth.
Blue Apron Gift Card, One Week of Meals
$60.00, Blue Apron
Daily Harvest Box, 9 Dishes
$75.00, Daily Harvest
Sakara Life Gift Card
$50.00, Sakara Life
A Monthly Candle
As a rule of thumb, most scented monthly subscriptions are…terrible. Bad perfume comes to mind. But Vellabox breaks the mold: The site partners with small makers (like one of my favorite scented candlemakers, Brooklyn Candle Studio) to create its monthly subscription boxes. This one comes with a four-ounce candle (about 25 hours of burn time), plus a surprise gift each month.
The Lucerna Monthly Gift Box, 3 Months
Originally Appeared on Epicurious