They follow food blogs daily, are the first in line to try new restaurants, and can be found at the farmers market every weekend. What to give your foodie fanatic for the holiday? Click our lists, we checked them twice,: tools for the chef, a and a suggestive sampling of locally grown/made goodies . Today, our list of gourmet ingredients to stuff in stockings or hide under the tree.
Maldon sea salt has been harvested in Britain for over 2000 years. The pure (no additives) salt crystals are pyramid shaped, and delicate enough to crumble easily between your fingers. Maldon's carry the flavor of the sea, and its our favorite finishing salt. Under $10. Find at A.J.'s Fine Foods, specialty food stores.
Smoked salts add flavor with a subtle hint of smoke to a dish. We love using in egg dishes, as a finishing touch to meat or fish, to add a layer of smokey taste to soups and sauces, and for balancing the sweet in chocolate or caramel. Under $10. Find at A.J's Fine Foods, Sur La Table.
more ingredient gift ideas after the jump
Verjus (FR:green juice) comes from pressed unripe grapes, red or white. An acidic, but not as tart as vinegar or lemon juice. Can be used in place of either. Enhances vinaigrettes, soups, sauces, and beverages. The white is mild with a slight tang, the red is more hearty. We love to use verjus to deglaze a pan. Under $10-$15. Find at Oakville Grocery
Red and white wine vinegars and of course balsamic can do the job, but these flavored vinegars deliver a subtle infusion of flavor which leaves every taster guessing the secret ingredient. Pomegranate is perfect for Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Southwestern dishes, Yuzu and Ginger Rice Vinegars for Asian cuisine, and pair the Citrus Champagne vinegar with citrus! Range $10-$16. Find at A.J.'s Fine Foods, Sur La Table.
Thick, uber sweet and uber tart, pomegranate and prickly pear syrups are used in sauces and as baking ingredients. Pomegranate is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Did we mention cocktails, sodas and sorbets? Under$15. Find at Middle Eastern groceries and A.J.'s Fine Foods.
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SHOW ME HOW
Salt or oil-infused with truffles. We said truffles -- need we say more? Finish risotto, pasta, frittata, fries, steak, and fish with a sprinkle of truffle salt or a drizzle of truffle oil. Whose your chef now? $18-$90. Find at William Sonoma, A.J.'s Fine Foods, Oakville Grocery, Sur La Table
Dried wild mushrooms are prized for their woodsy flavors. Rehydrate and add to sauces, soups, and entrees for a taste of earthy complexity. Or saute with butter and olive oil for a treat on their own. $15 and up. Find at A.J.'s Fine Foods, Oakville Grocery, William Sonoma, Sur La Table