November 22, 2018
Caravan By Snuk
Pantry Guide

The Global Food Holiday Gift Guide

New ingredient essentials and far-flung stocking stuffers for everyone on your list.

Written By Max Falkowitz

There’s always one of them on your list: that person you love dearly but who is impossible to shop for. Maybe it’s their oh-so-particular tastes or inscrutable hobbies. Perhaps they live a life so spare and monkish you have no idea what little luxuries might indulge them. You might be this person. That’s okay. Wish lists are a beautiful thing.

Fortunately everyone’s gotta eat, and even the cook who has everything will need to re-up their olive oil eventually. Here are our top recommendations for the big and little gifts to stock up on. Just don’t forget—you gotta eat too, so why not treat yourself to something nice?

A Very Snuk Holiday Special

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Extra aged soy sauce

There’s regular soy sauce and then there’s this stuff, ideal for the wok-wielding cook in your life. Made the traditional way with just soybeans, sea salt, and water, it’s then aged for at least five years in traditional Korean earthenware urns until it develops deep umami flavors and a silky, almost syrupy texture that recalls balsamic vinegar more than soy sauce. Shop Artisan Fermentary aged soy sauce.

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The world’s best canned tuna

In Spain, canned fish isn’t just a staple ingredient—it’s an art form. Much of the year’s prime seafood harvest is reserved for tinned conservas like this yellowfin tuna belly, also called ventresca, which is packed in quality olive oil. The intact belly pieces are luscious and supple, and all they need is a spritz of lemon and bed of greens to become a top-notch tuna salad. Shop La Brujala yellowfin tuna belly.

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A better spread for buttered bread

Almost all the world’s citrus fruits descend from just three parent species: the citron, the pomelo, and the mandarin. Then there’s the strange bumpy yuzu, a beguiling fruit from Japan prized around the globe for its complex floral aroma and gentle acidity. This marmalade is a dream for any slice of toast or fresh baked scone, and delicious when stirred into a cup of black tea as well. Shop OMED Yuzu Marmalade.

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Truffle oil made with real truffles

Did you know most bottles of truffle oil aren’t made with a speck of genuine truffles? Their flavoring is entirely artificial, an infusion of olive oil with compounds like 2,4-dithiapentane to produce a truffle-ish aroma that captures none of the actual ingredient’s subtlety. Truffle importer Regalis’ Arbequina olive oil is a different story: a creamy, buttery finishing oil scented with real white truffles from Italy. You’ll taste the difference right away and want to drizzle it on just about everything. Shop Regalis organic white truffle olive oil.

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Our curry powder upgrade

Vadouvan is a French interpretation of British curry powder: more savory, less spicy, and elegant. This version has a deep onion warmth and lift of fennel seed and goes well with roast cauliflower, lamb chops, yogurt dips, and poached vegetables. Shop vadouvan.

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Chutney for chips and your cheese plate

Usually served as a dip for pappadums, this saucy chutney made from dates and tamarind paste has range. Sweet and tangy with a tickle of spicy warmth, it’s lovely on dahi toast or a giant cheese plate. Keep a couple extra jars around as handy host gifts or for last-minute entertaining. Shop date and tamarind chutney.

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Scrambled eggs’ best friend

This Brooklyn-made spicy and numbing chile oil is more accurately described as chile crisp, full of bits of crispy ground chile flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, fried shallots, and a dozen herbs and spices amidst seasoned canola and sesame oils. It’s a crazy good finishing flourish to scrambled eggs and just what you want to spoon over noodles and dumplings. Shop Blank Slate Sichuan chile oil.

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Brilliant basmati (and a handsome burlap tote bag)

Real Indian-grown basmati rice is a world apart from American-grown varieties. The extra-long grains cook up distinct and fluffy, not clumpy, and the fragrance they add to pilaf and biryani is just gorgeous. Shop Lal Qilla royal basmati rice.

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Five-star fish sauce

All fish sauce is rich with umami, but Red Boat Chef's Cuvée Fish Sauce has an even more complex flavor thanks to its double barrel aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels. The slightly concentrated sauce is a perfect finishing touch in pho and bun, and an excellent secret ingredient to add to salad dressings. Shop Red Boat chef’s cuvee fish sauce.

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Harissa en rose

This floral harissa variation pairs sun-dried chile peppers with bits of rose petals. A dry spice designed to mix with olive oil, it’ll add gentle heat and full-bodied fragrance to grilled chicken, pasta sauces, and sandwiches. Shop New York Shuk rosey harissa.

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Fantastic figs (and where to find them)

ZiBA Foods works with small farms in Afghanistan to directly source some of the world’s finest dried fruits and nuts. These preservative-free figs are preserved the old fashioned way: Smushed into flat discs, strung up on strings, and dried in the sun. They’re chewy and dense with a natural sweetness, ideal for snacking or rehydrating in sauces with braised lamb or turkey. Shop ZiBA Afghan figs.

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The cherry on top of your craft cocktail

Once upon a time, cherries preserved in brandy or liqueur were little luxuries for a quality Manhattan. But low-cost mass-produced “maraschino” cherries won out, stained eerily red with chemical dyes and submerged in cloying corn syrup solutions. Jack Rudy’s cocktail cherries harken back to that simpler time of elegant booze-preserved fruit with just the right amount of sugar. Unlike Italian-style cherries, these are aged in bourbon, not brandy, and are just as good on an ice cream sundae as in your cocktail glass. Shop Jack Rudy cocktail cherries.

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Fancy Farsi saffron-scented crackly candies

Say hello to saffron brittle, but not the American kind made from pure molten sugar. This Iranian-style candy is more of a thin, buttery-tasting baked biscuit, and flavored with real saffron. Once the brittle is gone, the tin is pretty much begging to become your new sewing kit. Shop Fard saffron brittle.

 

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And when all else fails

Give the gift of self-determination with a Snuk gift card. Shop the Snuk gift card.