Finishing up this year's Project Foodie gift guide is our "Over the Top" guide with picks that dig deep into the wallet, but will surely bring huge smiles to the foodie who gets them. And while we really do love these items (ok we want these things!) we know many are out of the average foodie's budget, especially this year. Still, they are great to dream about and who knows, maybe Santa has a hidden pot of gold set aside just for one of us!
Finding that perfect chocolate truffle can be just as elusive as finding that perfect red wine, but now you don't have to look any further than Vosages Chocolate. Touted as being one of the most expensive brands ever sold, I would have to say it's worth each and every bite. Rich and creamy unlike anything else you will ever taste, truly a treat for the senses. In this chocolate Sensory Collection ($375) you get 40 bars from 15 countries and 42 aromas aimed at teaching you chocolate tasting in a fun and entertaining way. - picked by Heather Jones
Have Foodie will Travel?
How about going on a food focused vacation with your favorite foodie? Trips can vary from attending a food festival to cooking classes. Here are a couple that stand out as great foodie trips...
Chef's Holidays is a series of Chef led cooking classes and demonstrations held over 2-3 day periods in Yosemite National Park each winter. This year, which marks the 25th anniversary of Chefs' Holidays, the presenting chefs include several great San Francisco area chefs but also chefs from throughout the country including those that have been on Top Chef. Plus, you get to see a serene, scenic and almost magical view of Yosemite National Park in the winter. Packages start at $1050 for 2 nights and $1300 for 3 nights in the Ahwahnee Hotel, excluding travel costs.
The Northern California Wine country (Sonoma and Napa counties) have weekend events, festivals and other food and wine activities all year long. Bring your foodie here, stay in a Bed-and-Breakfast, sample wine, attend festival events and eat at amazing restaurants. What else could be better? This spring's Artisan Cheese Festival looks to be a great event. One of my favorite places to home base is Healdsburg, CA which is the home to Michelin two stared Cyrus as well as several other more casual restaurants. And my favorite bed-and-breakfast in the area is Hayden Street Inn.
If you're looking for an organized tour then Sur La Table's hands-on cooking vacations may be the way to go. Trip choices include Italy or Vietnam with hands-on cooking workshops, guided tours, tastings of local food and wine, and more. Trips range from $4,400 - $4,800 per person, double occupancy, excluding airfare. - picked by Foodie Pam
I personally love a gift basket full of edible treats. This love dates back to those Hickory Farms packages that would appear at my grandmother's house during the holiday season and later ones from Harry & David. But no one puts the ultimate food basket together like the folks at Zingermans. The oils, vinegars, cheeses, breads, and more are some of the best food items you will ever taste. They have many gift baskets available at every price range, but the Food Fantasy Gift Spectacular ($300) basket or the Creme de la Creme ($500) are baskets worth dreaming about. - picked by Heather Jones
In need of quality caffeine?
This may be a big spend, but long-term it would be a savings to brew your own espresso every morning. What I like about the Gaggia Classic 14101 Espresso machine ($508.96) is that it uses either fresh ground coffee or the convenient pods. According to Amazon reviewers, this machine produces a nearly perfect espresso for a fraction of the cost of the super high-end espresso makers. - picked by Rosemary Mark
VitaMix (starting at $499). Yes it is just a blender and yes it has an associated pitch-man type air to it, but I've used this blender and it really is great at what it does. It's a powerful blender that put my prior blender to shame. Now I admit I haven't made hot soup, ice cream or many of the other unusual items that can be prepared in it, but I have used it when making several meals and for making adult smoothies (ice+milk+banana+vodka+Kahlua = yum). I was particularly impressed with how evenly it crushes the ice. If your foodie complains about their status quo blender then this baby may just be the fix they need. - picked by Foodie Pam
Top Chef in Training
When I was in culinary school I knew nothing about sous vide style cooking, but it seems that nowadays cooking sous vide is a must know skill. For the serious home cook or budding professional there is a home sous vide machine . Channel your inner Thomas Keller and make every meal a restaurant quality meal with this new device. - picked by Heather Jones
Disclosure: Samples of products discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or manufacturers.