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8 Food Gift Ideas for People Who Travel to Eat

By AFAR Editors

Nov 17, 2020

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For just $10, a bottle of local Hawaiian hot sauce makes a great stocking stuffer for food lovers.

Courtesy of Adoboloco.com

For just $10, a bottle of local Hawaiian hot sauce makes a great stocking stuffer for food lovers.

These gift ideas will take your favorite food lover on a culinary journey—without ever leaving home.

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With COVID-19 cases on the rise once again, hopping on a flight to Tokyo for ramen or Mexico City for tacos is still off the metaphorical menu for most right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep the spark of travel alive for those who typically make restaurant reservations before they even book their flights, or bring along extra luggage for getting their wine souvenirs home safely.

From cookbooks that will take you on a culinary journey to subscription boxes filled with snacks from a new country each month, these eight food-gift ideas let hungry adventurers explore flavors from around the world without ever leaving home.

Universal Yums monthly subscription snack box

Buy Now: from $14/month, universalyums.com

For travelers who always stop at a local grocery store to raid the snack aisle for edible souvenirs, give them the gift of a Universal Yums monthly subscription box. They come packed with sweet and savory snacks and candies from grocery stores around the globe, each box typically tied to a particular country. 

“The boxes are always well balanced between sweet and salty, familiar and novel,” Ashlea Halpern, AFAR’s editor at large, wrote in a review in March 2020. As a member, she’s tried everything from classic treats like nutty baklava from Jordan and marbled sesame halva from Israel to more creative flavors like floral cheese potato chips from France, Italian truffles studded with strawberry pop rocks, and crunchy Turkish kebab chips.

More subscription box gift ideas: 30+ Unique Subscription Boxes and Memberships to Give in 2020

Coffee subscription services let you sample coffee beans from around the world without hopping on a plane—or even visiting the grocery store.

Atlas Coffee Club

Buy Now: from $39 for a three-month subscription (was $49), atlascoffeeclub.com 

Take caffeine lovers on a world tour with Atlas Coffee Club, which offers monthly gift subscriptions of single-origin coffees sourced from more than 50 countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Colombia, Brazil, and Indonesia. You can pick roast preferences (light, dark, or all roast types) as well as whole bean or ground bags (orders range from 6-ounce bags to 24 ounces). Each shipment also includes a suggested brewing method, as well as an informative postcard explaining more about the region where the coffee beans were cultivated. 

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From November 10 to December 4, 2020, you can save up to $55 off gift subscriptions during Atlas Coffee Club’s Black Friday sale. No coupon code required.

More coffee gift ideas: 9 Coffee Subscriptions and Boxes for Beans From Around the World

Cook recipes from South Africa, Somalia, and more with this new cookbook.

In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen (Ten Speed Press, 2020)

Buy Now: $32, bookshop.org

There are travel books and there are cookbooks, but our favorites are the ones where the genres coexist. One of the most recent examples is Hawa Hassan’s first cookbook, In Bibi’s Kitchen. Inside, the Somali-born, Brooklyn-based chef shares 75 recipes and stories from the kitchens of bibis—Swahili for grandmothers—from eight African countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

Alongside recipes for Ma Vicky’s Matoke, stewed plantains with beans and beef from Tanzania, and Ma Sahra’s Spiced Chicken and Onion Samosas from Somalia, you’ll find beautiful on-location photography as well as stories about family and tradition that will transport you overseas.

More cookbooks to gift: 

8 Amazing Cookbooks for Travelers

10 Cookbooks From Our Favorite Restaurants in the United States

The Best Independent Bookstores That Specialize in Cookbooks

D.S. & Durga’s new Blue Label candle smells like the North Sea of Scotland blended with barley, reindeer moss, and peated whisky.

Blue Label Johnnie Walker x D.S. & Durga whisky and candle gift set

Buy Now: $299, reservebar.com 

Brooklyn-based perfume house D.S. & Durga—known for its ability to evoke a real sense of place with its scents—teamed up with Johnnie Walker to create a candle that smells like the North Sea of Scotland blended with barley, reindeer moss, and peated whisky. You can buy it alone ($65, dsanddurga.com) or up the ante and pair it with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue as a gift set.

More whiskey gift ideas: The 7 Best Global Gifts for Whiskey Lovers

Adoboloco hot sauce is made in Maui with sun-ripened Hawaiian pineapples.

Adoboloco Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce

Buy Now: $10, mouth.com

Know someone with a fridge full of hot sauces from around the world? Give them the gift of something spicy to add to their collection this year. Adobolocofounded in 2011 by a family in Maui, makes a pineapple habanero hot sauce with sun-ripened Hawaiian pineapples picked only two days before production.

Today, they operate a community farm and supply dozens of local restaurants. In nonpandemic times, this hot sauce is best enjoyed at Kihei Caffe in Maui, but for now your hot-sauce loving friends can dash it on pizza, splash it in coleslaw, or slather it on pulled pork sandwiches at home while they plan their next trip to Hawaii.

More hot sauce gift ideas: 9 Out-of-This-World Hot Sauces Worth Traveling For

Some things—like New York’s Pastrami Queen sandwiches—just can’t be recreated at home. But you can have them delivered.

Pastrami Queen Sandwich Kit

Buy Now: $89, goldbelly.com

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Leftover turkey sandwiches are fine and all, but pastrami sandwiches shipped straight from NYC are even better. The Upper East Side’s Pastrami Queen packs its sandwich kits with well-brined pastrami, soft seeded rye, mustard, and crisp pickles. The late Anthony Bourdain called the sandwich “if not the best, among the very best.”

Goldbelly also ships all sorts of iconic American regional foods from bagels to barbecue using UPS or FedEx overnight services within the United States. You could sate lots of cravings with this gift.

More Goldbelly gift ideas: 8 Iconic American Foods Goldbelly Will Ship to You

Estelle Colored Champagne Coupes

Buy Now: from $85 for two coupes, estellecoloredglass.com

You can never go wrong with a bottle of bubbly as a gift, but why not add a set of colorful champagne coupes to go with it? Stephanie Summerson Hall named her hand-blown colored glass stemware company after her grandmother, Estelle, who loved antiquing and looking for new treasures in small South Carolina towns.

Made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass making company with a 100-plus-year-old history, these vintage-inspired champagne coupes come in nearly a dozen different colors from “Amber Smoke” to “Cobalt Blue” and can be purchased in sets of two or six.

More wine gift ideas:

7 Wine Delivery Services That Ship Wines From Around the World

14 Gifts for Wine Lovers in Your Life

It’s never too cold to eat ice cream, in our opinion.

Jeni’s Grand Holiday Ice Cream Collection

Buy Now: $68 for six pints, shop.jenis.com

Founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002, this woman-owned business delivers pints of its artisanal ice cream made without synthetic flavorings, dyes, or off-the-shelf mixes to all 50 states via flat-rate FedEx shipping starting at $13. Better still: It tastes terrific. 

Its Grand Holiday Collection includes six pints of seasonally inspired and indulgent flavors like Campfire Chocolate (smoky milk chocolate with handmade marshmallows), Cognac with Gingerbread (cognac ice cream with dark caramel sauce and gingerbread pieces), Sparkling Berry Punch (berry sorbet made with Chandon sparkling wine), White Chocolate Peppermint (pink and white peppermint ice creams with white chocolate pieces), Gooey Butter Cake (cream cheese ice cream with vanilla cake pieces), and Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks (an homage to Ohio’s Buckeye candies, a peanut butter–filled chocolate treat).

More ice cream gift ideas: 8 Ice Cream Shops That Will Deliver Treats to Your Doorstep

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Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

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