Food Is Love: These Valentine’s Day Gifts Will Please Any Home Cook
As Julia Child once famously said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” I’ll make just one slight addendum to that: People who love to cook, especially for others, ain’t half-bad either. If your current valentine fancies themself a home chef or is hoping to improve their culinary skills, consider yourself lucky since there are probably somein your future. If you’d like to encourage their culinary pursuits, we’ve collected the best Valentine’s Day gifts for someone who cooks.
While this gift guide is meant to inspire and offer up suggestions for kitchen gear we’ve tried and loved, it’s a good idea to first take stock of your giftee’s cookware inventory. If they’ve already splurged on excellent pots and pans, they might not want or need more. If they haven’t, you can bet we’ve tested everything from rice cookers
and to find the best of everything for one’s kitchen. We also sussed out where you can find the or the top sprawling online marketplace.
Plucked from our tirelessly tested best lists and our constant hands- and mouth-on research, these are the best Valentine’s Day gifts for a home cook this year.
There are plenty of quality Dutch ovens to choose from — Le Creuset, Staub, Vermicular — but Milo’s enameled pot has a very distinct minimalist look. It also clocks in at a palatable $125 for the 3.5-quart size. Compare that with those French and Japanese luxury brands that’ll likely cost you nearly three times as much.
The Milo comes in 10 great colors and makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a chef who is short an enameled cast-iron pot.
Snake River Farms
For beef eaters, Wagyu really is worth the hype. Swirled with rich marbling for dynamic flavor, this beef can cost some serious coin, which is why a bundle is the most economical way to buy it. Snake River Farms specializes in the stuff and you can secure this pack with two filets, two top sirloins, two dogs and two pounds of beef for $179. That may still sound like a lot — and it is — but wait until you try it.
For a recipe hawk, having a dedicated tablet stand for the kitchen is key. This sleek unit doubles as a cookbook stand, too, for any analog compendiums they have lying around from yesteryear.
If you’re going to gift someone an air fryer, and I highly recommend it if they don’t have one, make it a model with a little aesthetic flair. Galanz’s 4.8-quart cooker blasts all your air fryer favorites — wings, carrots, fish filets — and does so with style.
If you’re ready to splurge, and I mean really splurge, GE Profile’s new smart mixer with built-in scale and auto-sense technology that senses when you need more or less oomph, is the baller gift for a baker in 2023. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt got to try the smart mixer at CES when it was unveiled at the massive tech show, and has since dubbed it “a very big deal.” Now, it’s fully available to the public and can be purchased exclusively at Crate & Barrel.
This might be the most attractive smart garden we’ve come across and it’s impossibly easy to use. Microgreens are best known in their role as entree garnish but these baby vegetable greens are positively packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
Ingarden has LED grow lights and a reservoir for water that is wicked up into the soilless seed pads. In about seven days, you’ll have bushy microgreens to use for salads, sandwiches and a host of other applications. The sleek, simple and clean indoor grower is made from ceramic and steel and fits on basically any windowsill or bookshelf for a welcomed pop of green. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift if your loved one wants to enjoy more freshness in their daily meal planning. Read my full review of the Ingarden here.
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My dad actually bought me and my three siblings cast-iron skillets for the holidays last year. While I’m grateful, I wish it was this one, which is lighter than the average cast-iron skillet (ours were quite the addition to our suitcases coming back home). This one is nonstick and makes for an excellent serving dish for something like a large chocolate chip cookie. And it’s just so darn lovely to look at.
If you want something even lighter but equally equipped to handle high heat for cooking steak and other meats, try our favorite Made In blue carbon steel frying pan ($89).
Sur La Table
This is a smaller board perfect for serving cheese and charcuterie on date night at home. The olivewood’s natural grain patterns are undeniably beautiful and so is the price; just $17 for the Italian-made statement cheese board. Add it to a gift box or basket with a fine cheese and a bottle of wine for a wow factor your valentine is sure to love.
Ten Speed Press
If there is one chef whose cookbooks we can’t stop thumbing through these past few years, it’s Yotam Ottolenghi. The Israeli-born British chef and restaurateur is a master of flavor with a focus on plant-based cooking.
In his latest release, Flavor, Ottolenghi and author Ixta Belfrage hone in on the process and technique for unimaginably flavorful recipes like coconut dal, eggplant dumplings and chickpea pancakes with mango-pickle yogurt. Exotic flavors made accessible, this book makes for one of the most perfect Valentine’s Day gift options out there.
I don’t know who Melinda is but she makes some mighty fine sauces. Many of these dippers and condiments have good heat, although not tear-inducing, but they are also built with complex flavors that make them hot sauces fit for a true chef or food fan. I’ve been crushing hard on the habanero honey mustard and spicy garlic parmesan all year. This is a perfect food gift for Valentine’s Day, you can haul in a gift box sampling of six sauces for $40, and spice up your relationship.
Who said oven mitts can’t be stylish? These smarter mitts have built-in magnets(!) to plunk them on the fridge or grill to keep them together when not in use.
I’m fortunate enough to have an Italian market one block away that sells fresh pasta. My snobby self just can’t go back to the dried boxed stuff. You can send any pasta-loving Valentine 4 pounds of freshly made pasta from Raffetto’s in New York (via Goldbelly) for $30.
Choose from five different cuts including linguini and pappardelle and seven different recipes like classic egg or add more adventurous varieties such as lemon red pepper or rosemary. Whatever they don’t use in the first few days can be frozen and thawed for later.
Blue Apron Market
You may not use a petty knife every time you crack a recipe, but having a good precise utility blade for small and intricate cuts is huge, especially when slicing fish, tomatoes and other soft foods exactly how you want them. Shun is a world-class purveyor of Japanese steel, and its elegant 6-inch Sora utility blade would be a welcome addition to any chef’s block.
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Step 1 is to make sure they like truffles before you go buying them — because they ain’t cheap. Most of us normal folk don’t cook with or eat truffles on a regular basis, so scoring a few ounces for your valentine to shave over pasta or risotto will be a major treat.
Bonus: You might get to enjoy them too.
Does a box of meat strike you as a strange Valentine’s Day gift? Well, it shouldn’t — unless your partner is a vegan, I suppose. Porter Road’s best of box is a treasure trove of quality cuts including two dry-aged ribeye steaks, two pork chops, 2 pounds of dry-aged ground beef and 1 pound each of bacon, country sausage and chorizo. From there, the possibilities are endless.