6 Food-Inspired Hostess Gift Ideas

New Year’s Eve brings with it a plethora of celebrations. Whether you’re heading to your best friend’s apartment or a company bash, you’re in for a great night. Don’t forget to thank the host or hostess as you ring in 2014. While a bottle of wine or set of cheese knives might be a nice gift, there are more creative ways to thank the host. Your online culinary courses have given you the skills to create stunning food gifts for the ladies and gentleman who invited you over.

1. Homemade jam
Create a delicious jam for the host of the party. Choose unique flavor profiles by using unexpected ingredients. For a sweet and savory option, try a strawberry basil jam. A tart cherry and grapefruit is a sweet and sour spread option. Be sure to give yourself enough time to cook and can your jam creations.

2. Antipasto plate
You’ve seen gift sets that include cheese, olives, artisan crackers and sausage before. Instead of purchasing yours in a store or online, make it at home. You can pickle mushrooms, cauliflower, red peppers, onions and cucumbers to accompany cured meats and organic cheese. If you have some charcuterie know-how, go ahead and cure the meat yourself.

3. Spice rub
This gift requires minimal work, but plenty of knowledge. Combine your favorite spices to make a signature rub for red meat, poultry and fish. Put the rubs in jars and create your own label. Add a set of instructions so that your host will be inspired the next him he or she cooks.

4. Meal baskets
Put all the ingredients necessary for a great meal in a basket. For example, a pasta dinner might include pasta (which you can hand make), your homemade and jarred tomato sauce, garlic, and a Parmesan brick. You can also gift a pizza or soup meal basket. Get creative when designing this gift.

5. Bread
Bake your favorite bread to give to the host of the New Year’s party you choose to attend. Zucchini and banana bread are holiday favorites, but you can branch out to include a warm baguette, stunning focaccia and more. This is a perfect gift if you have multiple people to give to, as you can simply increase the batch you prepare.

6. Chocolates
If you’re more dessert-minded, a homemade box of chocolates is sure to please your host. Try unique flavors that combine both sweet and savory ingredients. Try a salted caramel truffle or chipotle dark chocolate bark. Alcohol-infused truffles are another big hit.

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