8 Gifts Our Test Kitchen Thinks Are *Actually* Worth the Splurge
We look at food gifts literally year-round. (Breana is EatingWell's Test Kitchen Manager and Lucy edits the magazine's Test Kitchen section.) And yes, we know we have the best jobs ever! So, when we come across something extra special, we stop and take note. Here, what rose to the top of our wishlists after months of in-house testing. We can assure you: each of these food and kitchen gift picks is well worth the price tag.
Best Splurge-Worthy Food and Kitchen Gifts for 2020
1. Cooks Venture Curated Chicken Sampler Box
These heritage, pasture-raised chicken cuts are absolutely delicious and sustainably sourced: A great gift for those of us who like to get a bit nerdy (or just care a lot) about how our meat is raised. The dinner possibilities are endless with this box that includes: two spatchcock chickens; two one-pound packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts; two 1.25-pound packs of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; two 1.25-pound packs of drumsticks and two 1-pound packs of chicken wings.
2. Ninja Mega Kitchen System
Having a great blender and a fantastic food processor in your kitchen arsenal are both musts, and our Test Kitchen loves these products from Ninja. This particular set comes with the 1500-watt base, a food processor bowl, a 72-ounce pitcher, plus two 16-ounce cups with to-go lids so you can make and store everything from smoothies to hummus.
3. Cellars at Jasper Hill Gift Crate
Vermont (where EatingWell is based) is home to some of the best cheesemakers in the country, including Jasper Hill Creameries. This lovely box comes with some of our all-time favorites: Their Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (an English-style aged cheddar), Bayley Hazen Blue (the cellars' flagship cheese that's a creamy, mildly sweet and salty blue) and Alpha Tolman (a firm cheese with a nutty and savory flavor). The package also includes crunchy Red Barn Lavash crackers, apricot and orange preserves and assorted roasted nuts in a maple sugar coating.
4. Real Oyster Cult Gift Bundle
Fresh Oysters plus the tools to shuck them with, delivered to your door? Yes, please! Oysters always scream celebration to us (just like bubbly wine, which might be why they go so well together) making this gift bundle the ultimate holiday date night aphrodisiac. Serve with bubbly, but eat them in your pjs with that special someone in front of the fire. (No, we're not getting carried away...)
5. and 6. Smithey Carbon Steel Oval Roaster and The Proclamation Duo
Breana added just two pieces to her personal collection this year: The following Smithey Carbon Steel Oval Roaster and The Proclamation Duo all-in-one pan. (And that's saying something, since as the Test Kitchen Manager, she in particular tests a seemingly endless amount of kitchen tools and gear.) "The roaster is seriously the most beautiful pan I've ever seen," she says. And "the Duo is so handy since I never have to search for a lid for the pan!" We couldn't recommend these two investment pieces more.
7. Frantoio Murgalia Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Octopus Bottle
This award-winning olive oil is made in Northern Apulia from Peranzana olives that are cold-pressed using traditional granite grindstones. The resulting medium-fruity green oil has a peppery flavor with notes of artichoke and fennel. And the collectible ceramic container is part of Murgalia's Pop Art Collection (there are also eye-catching lobster, fish and striped bottle options) which you can use as a vase once empty.
8. OXO 8-Cup Coffee Maker
Last on our list, but certainly not least: the newest coffee maker from OXO. It's no secret our Test Kitchen is obsessed with this brand of kitchenware (we even have an aptly named 'OXO drawer' in our kitchens) and we've always known their coffee tools to be top-notch. This new 8-cup machine doesn't disappoint, and you can fill the double-wall insulated stainless steel carafe full or serve yourself one single, excellent cup. It's also Gold-standard certified by the Specialty Coffee Association. Need we say more?