There are certain extravagant holiday gifts that impress only because of their price tag -- particularly when it comes to shopping for the ultimate food lover. For these gift recipients, bottle openers and knife sets just won't do.
The food-obsessed home cook would love an electric wine cellar or sous vide professional immersion circulator just as much as a plasma TV. But, come January, we all know where that immersion circulator will be. It'll be stored away in that forgotten drawer, somewhere between the dusty holiday gifts from 2011: the pasta maker, the juicer and the ice cream machine.
Splurging for holiday presents is not impressive if the gift will end up consigned to oblivion. So, if you are feeling lavish this December, stop flipping through that Bloomingdale's catalog and check out our top five extravagant holiday gifts for the ultimate food lover. These prices will max out some credit cards, but we promise that these offerings will keep on giving. Be sure to keep that in mind when you see all the four-digit price tags.
5. Dinner in Paradise from Paradise Farms - $165 per person
Picture this: driving south to Homestead to an organic 5-acre farm for a dim-lit dinner, under the stars, prepared by Miami's top toques. Wines will be paired to perfection with the meal. And, best of all, the entire event will be raising funds for a local charity, including Urban Greenworks and Slow Food Miami. Where does this magic happen? At Paradise Farms.
Dubbed "Dinner in Paradise", these events cost approximately $165 per person and include a five-course meal in a lush, farm setting. Since it's about eating and drinking for a good cause, we think of it as one of our favorite splurge-worthy holiday gifts.
4. Grand Tasting Village Pass for South Beach Wine & Food Festival - $405
For $405, this two-day pass to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Grand Tasting Village gives visitors the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Masaharu Morimoto. There will be culinary demonstrations, so gift-recipients will learn a thing or two from these famous personalities. They will also be able to sample unlimited food, wine and spirit offerings -- all while daydreaming about shoving one of these chefs out of rotation and one day becoming the next big TV chef star.
3. Alexandria Chicken Coop & Run from Williams-Sonoma - $1,749.90
Nothing tops frying up an egg from your very own backyard chicken coop. These eggs will have a delicate fresh flavor and almost orange yolks, much unlike the mass-produced stuff you pick up at most grocery stores. It's also an added plus that this backyard-to-table fare is awfully stylish. Think Martha Stewart meets Farmer Joe. So, buy overalls to pair with those stilettos and ditch the carton of eggs from the store. This year, give the gift of truly fresh eggs.
If you're still feeling generous, throw in a couple of cookbooks too. Whoever gets this gift will be whipping up a whole lot of meringues, omelets and custards.
2. 4' by 12' Raised Bed Edible Garden from Ready to Grow Gardens - $700
If chicken coops seem like too much maintenance, then consider gifting an edible garden from local company, Ready to Grow Gardens. Dylan Terry can install an entire raised bed edible garden with organic fertilizers and starter plants for as little as $250 for a 2' by 4' bed. If you're looking to really impress, we suggest the 4' by 12' bed for $700.
The options of edible plants are bountiful, including everything from herbs to cranberry hibiscus to hot peppers and sweet potatoes. Since Ready to Grow also offers regular garden maintenance at an additional fee, gift recipients will only have to go out and harvest their greens from their backyard when its dinner time.
1. Level I or Level II Wine Course at Florida International University - $695 per person ($1,295 for a pair) for level I or $995 a person for level II
Whether you are shopping for a wine enthusiast or novice, the courses at Florida International University are a great option for the upcoming holidays. The classes are held from January to April, every Monday evening for about two hours. Level I is held up north in Pembroke Pines, but chances are that the ultimate food lover is already well versed on blind tastings and wine regions. Level II (held on Biscayne Bay) goes into much more exciting subjects like malolactic fermentation and sulphur dioxide. These will surely turn on the wine-obsessed. Just think of all the thrilling dinner conversations that will come of this!
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.