The Food Lovers Gift Guide

A Not-Entirely-Edible List Of Suggestions For Your Favorite Foodies

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Everybody loves food but only certain people are genuinely passionate about all things edible. For the chowhounds on your list, consider some of these unusual gift ideas.

One-on-one cooking lessons

Blue Plate Special (255-2583)

About $75

Scottsdale Culinary Institute grads Scott Clapp and Gwen Florio offer customized private cooking lessons. Tell them what you want to learn and they'll make up a menu, come to your house and teach you how to cook it. Make a meal for one, for two or for a dinner party. Cost is $25 per student per hour and the suggested class length is three hours. You provide the groceries.

Perfect for aspiring cooks, agoraphobics.

The Chefs of Taos Cooking in the Raw calendar

Taos School of Cooking (


Ok, it's holiday confession time—we think there's something unfathomably hot about chefs, in and out of uniform. Chances are that someone you know does too. So why not indulge that saucy obsession with a gift that lasts all year long? The Chefs of Taos—Cooking in the Raw features 12 of Taos's most desirable chefs posing au naturel in their kitchens. Each chef also contributed a signature recipe. Proceeds benefit the Yaxche Learning Center scholarship program.

Perfect for chef fetishists, nudists, food/photography buffs.

Knife Sharpening

World of Knives (883-4400)

$.39 per inch of blade

Most people rarely, if ever, have their knives sharpened, but dull knives are not only a hassle to use, they're also unsafe. So if someone you know has a nice set of dull old knives, either take them in for sharpening or give a gift certificate for the service. The cost is 39 cents per inch of blade; sharpening the average set of 6-9 knives usually runs about $15 and takes about 15 minutes. Professional discount is available for working cooks and culinary students.

Perfect for cooks who use serrated steak knives for everything since all their other knives are too dull to cut anything but butter.

Co-op Membership

La Montañita Co-op (265-4631)

$6, $12 or $200

Support local growers and lure your friends towards a more healthful dietary regime by giving them memberships to La Montañita Co-op. Perks include an end-of-the-year refund, members-only coupon specials and discount days, special order advantages and free delivery for those who apply. And let's not forget what is perhaps the greatest gift of all—the joy of belonging.

Perfect for organic food fans, vegans, vegetarians, hippies.

Top-to-bottom kitchen cleaning

Rockefeller's (268-5585)

$85.36 per hour for crew of four

Rockefeller's will do a one-time kitchen cleaning with your choice of projects, including: inside and outside of oven, refrigerator and freezer; vacuuming appliance vents, de-greasing range hood, polishing silver, cleaning insides of cabinets and drawers, cleaning on top of cabinets and fridge, baseboards, blinds, moldings and more. Estimated time is roughly three hours for a crew of four. Or, have them come once a month for regular cleaning. Heavenly!

Perfect for anybody who is not completely mad, you know, anyone who doesn't absolutely love cleaning.

Hand painted serving dishes

Art Attack (298-3275)


Gather up the kids and haul them down to Art Attack where they can let their creative streaks go wild on unglazed bowls, plates, gravy boats, butter dishes, tea pots, cookie jars and other pieces. Come back a week later to pick up the finished product. Ask about the Dec. 3 holiday platter class—$35 fee includes instruction and materials.

Perfect for grandparents, biological parents.

Bottled water delivery service

Crystal Springs (822-9089)

$5.25 per bottle per month

You can either buy a dispenser (about $50) from Crystal Springs or from your favorite natural foods store. Then get Crystal Springs to drop off fresh five-gallon bottles of water once or twice per month.

Perfect for people who can't get over the guilt of buying (and throwing away) individual plastic bottles of purified water.

Chanukah and Christmas sweets from Patisserie C

$.75-$30 and up (247-3131)

Live vicariously through your loved one's taste-buds. Holiday items include shortbread cookies in Chanukah shapes (star of David, dreidel, menorah), jumbo cookie menorahs, ganache-covered Chanukah tortes, chocolate-dipped strawberries with Christmas decorations, chocolate-dipped strawberry trees and bûches de Nöel (yule logs).

Perfect for people you want to impress but don't know well enough to give anything but food. Also, at least one night's worth of Chanukah gifts.

Honey gift boxes

Sparrow Hawk Farm (864-0520)


The most basic units have hand crafted honey, soap, candles, and an ornament in a recycled cardboard gift box. Chanukah gift boxes feature all that good stuff plus hand-dipped beeswax menorah candles. The honey tastes great and the box smells heavenly (just like you do, thoughtful gift-giver that you are.) Call and they'll custom-fill a box for you.

Perfect for allergy-prone friends (local pollens in the honey can help alleviate their symptoms), Jews with sweet-tooths.

Chocolate massage

Chez d'Or (243-6777)

$85 for one hour

Can't get enough chocolate? Why not have a moisturizing, exfoliating rub with chocolate oils and extracts while nibbling on chocolates from Theobroma Chocolatier? Chez d'Or only offers these special massages during the holiday season. While you're there, pick up some shampoo, conditioner or styling products made with Caspian Sea caviar extract ($18-24) or white truffle extract ($150 for one bottle each of shampoo and conditioner).

Perfect for sensualists, aromatherapy fans, splosh fanatics.

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