top 10 christmas gift ideas for food lovers

December already. I can’t quite believe it. Cookbooks are always one of my favourite gifts to both give and receive so I thought I’d share some inspiration.

If you’re shopping in Australia or NZ I highly recommend fishpond.com.au – our own local online bookstore. To order any of the books in the list click on the cover picture to be taken to the fishpond store.

For international readers I’ve pulled together an amazon store with links to all the books in my list HERE.

Bourke Street Bakeryi. Bourke Street Bakery – The Ultimate Baking Companion
I know I’ve already raved about this wonderful book but it is hands down my favourite of the year. It’s the type of book that had me inspired to make three different pastries in the one weekend with each the best example of the type I’ve ever made. It’s now my ‘go-to’ book for anything baking related. From sourdough from scratch, to a simple olive oil loaf, to the perfect puff pastry for a classic Aussie meat pie, to empanadas to croissants and cakes to little sweet tartlets this book lives up to it’s ‘ultimate baking companion’ monicer. The perfect gift for anyone who has ever thought about baking something.

MoVida Rustica: Spanish Traditions and Recipesii. MoVida Rustica – Spanish Traditions & Recipes by Frank Cammora and Richard Cornish. If you haven’t eaten at MoVida, make sure you add it to your places to dine in Melbourne – just remember to book in advance. The next best thing is trawling through the enticing recipes, stories and photos from the MoVida team. I LOVED their first book simply titled MoVida and was seriously tempted to bring their latest book, MoVida Rustica with me to Spain. Fortunately (or not) my minimalist packing ethic intervened. Now at least I can look forward to comparing notes when I get home. The perfect gift for those who like a little arm chair travel with their recipes.

Moro Eastiii. Moro East by Sam & Sam Clarke. Based on the food in their London restaurant, Samantha and Samuel bring to life the food of Spain and North Africa with simple recipes and stories that allow their passion and knowledge to shine through. Their zucchini confit with mint and almonds, that I blogged about is still one of my all time favourite vegetable dishes. The perfect gift for those who like to try something a little more exotic.

1080 Recipesiv. 1086 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega. The ultimate guide to Spanish food and cooking, 1086 recetas de cocina has been a best seller in Spain for over 30 years. To help with my Spanish I picked up a copy only to find that my Spanish dictionary didn’t have any of the words. I later realised I had the Catalan version not the Spanish. Imagine buying a book in the wrong language. Fortunately I was able to exchange it for the Spanish and it is now my bible of what to do with the treasures I bring home from the markets. The recipes are simple home cooking classics which I’m finding easy to follow even with my limited language skills. Will be investing in the English version pictured here when I get home. Perfect for anyone who’s imagination has been captured by Spanish food and culture.

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch: v. 1v. Tender – A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. I’ve only recently discovered Nigel Slater but he is really a man after my own heart. I’m yet to pick up my own copy of this book but I’ve heard enough people raving about it that I can safely pass the recommendation on. Perfect for those who love vegetables (omnivores included) and anyone, like me, who dreams of one day tending to their own little patch.

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurantvi. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook – Judy Rodgers. Anyone who has eaten at this iconic San Franciscan restaurant will appreciate the food of Judy Rodgers. While a bit light on for pictures it is a treasure trove of cooking tricks and tips and simple bistro style recipes. Worth it just for the insights into the benefits of salting food early. Perfect for those who are willing to wrangle with a cookbook without many pictures to get some pearls of kitchen wisdom.

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolutionvii. The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Another discovery from my time in California, Alice Waters is one of the great forward thinkers for supporting local farmers and markets and preparing food in the most simple manner. I’ve absolutely loved her Chez Panisse Vegetables and the Art of Simple Food really appeals to the minimalist in me. Perfect for those who love simplicity in all aspects of life.

My Cousin Rosaviii. My Cousin Rosa by Rosa Mitchell. This comes a close second to the Bourke St Bakery in terms of favourite new cookbooks this year. Rosa Mitchell’s simple Sicilian style recipes are a joy to cook and a pleasure to eat. The perfect gift for lovers of nostaliga and simple home style Italian cooking.

Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companionix. The Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander. This is the book I wish I has when I was attempting to start a vegetable patch during my time in the Barossa Valley. While Nigel Slater will supply the romance and longing for a vegetable garden. I suspect that Stephanie will provide the more nuts and bolts of how to actually cultivate your own food. The perfect gift for anyone with the space or inclination to nurture a kitchen garden.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everythingx. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. While not exactly a book about food, (it does have a recommendation for the best pizza in Napoli) Eat Pray Love is a truly inspirational journey. The perfect gift for those looking for inspiration to break free and follow their own path or for anyone looking to live vicariously through the authors adventures.

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A note about affiliate links:
If you follow any of the links from stonesoup to either fishpond.com.au or amazon and then go on to buy anything on their sites – not just the books I recommend – I get a small percentage. A great way to get your Christmas shopping done and support stonesoup!

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{ 8 comments }

spice and more December 4, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Nice list….agree with your first choice of BSB, Moro East, Stephanie, Alice Waters….all except the last one. Terrible novel…sad to admit that I bought it quite a few years ago when it first came out. Sorry, a bit of a bolshie comment from me but I have grown to hate the genre and more so the after effects of these books. I was rather horrified to see so many middle-aged-women-riding-old-fashioned-bicycles around Florence last year….discovering themselves, doing cooking classes and reliving the stories from those Under the Tuscan Skies type of books. It really ruined Florence for me. (Very intolerant of me I know.)

jules December 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm

hey spice & more
thanks for your comment – I can see why some people would hate the book (but more importantly) why all those women finding themselves in tuscany would ruin florence for you!

Erin December 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion has surpassed all my others books in the “most cooked recipes” tally. I respect what she has done with her foundation, and would suggest to those giving this book as a present to include details of the website: http://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/ Anyone with the time (and a blue card) can help out at local schools participating in the scheme.

On your recommendation, I picked up the Bourke Street Bakery while at the bookstore this morning… hopefully my boyfriend picked up on my (subtle?) hints. We’ll both benefit!

jules December 6, 2009 at 12:14 am

hey erin
thanks for your insights into stephanie alexanders’ latest book – glad to hear you’re enjoying it.
you’re going to love bourke st bakery – hope you’re boyfriend gets the hint!

spice and more December 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

I like the new site design – well done! :)

jules December 7, 2009 at 10:11 am

oh thanks spice & more!
I’m super excited – first redesign in 4 years – have really expanded my computer nerd horizons

Jordan December 20, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I hope you got to visit Moro whilst you were in London!

jules December 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm

no I didn’t jordan – went straight to cambridge – but would absolutely love to eat there one day – hopefully before I head home

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