The state of the birthday party is uncertain, which makes it difficult to think of birthday gift ideas. But it’s more important than ever. Enthusiasm for the Zoom gathering has waned. Yet, we still can’t gather large groups together for birthday celebrations, either. If you have friends who are celebrating their birthdays during this no-large-gatherings era, you may want to overcompensate a little for the weirdness with birthday gifts. Before, you might have bought them a drink at the bar or brought over a birthday cake. Now, at least, you can shower them with material goods, delivered straight to their door. If you’re out of inspiration, continue reading below for our picks for the best birthday gifts for your best friend, favorite family member, and any loved one who love to cook, drink coffee, or just eat cheese.
The Best Birthday Gift for Coffee Lovers: Espro French Press or Kinto Day Off Tumbler
The Coffee Gator isn’t your standard-issue French press—and that’s what makes it the perfect gift. It’s made of double-walled, insulated stainless steel, meaning it’ll keep your coffee warm as you drink the entire pot throughout the work-from-home day. Speaking of which, the machine has a double filter, preventing grit from seeping into the coffee; a barrier between the two filters prevents over extraction (normally, you can’t allow the coffee to sit atop the grounds all day in a French press because of the risk of over-extraction). This serious-business stainless steel construction also makes it more durable, and gives it a sleek, modern look.
The Kinto Day Off Tumbler was one of the winners in our search for the best to-go coffee mug. This winter, this birthday present will serve not only as a coffee vessel, but also as an important way to keep a warm cocktail toasty when you’re eating out on the back porch.
The Best Birthday Gift for Someone Who Needs a Project: Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine or a Sushi Making Kit
Have a friend who needs a new staying-home-a-lot-more-than-usual project? Mercato’s famous pasta machine is a gift that brings a much needed opportunity to learn a new skill to the birthday person’s kitchen. Roll out a variety of pasta shapes and compensate for the fact that none of us will be travelling to Rome for carbonara any time soon.
This sushi making kit includes bamboo rolling mats, a rice spreader, a spatula, and chopsticks. It also comes with online video tutorials that will guide the amateur sushi maker to expertly-crafted rolls.
The Best Gifts for the Aesthete: The Duchess, Always Pan, or a Wooden Bowl
The Duchess by Great Jones easily wins the best-looking Dutch oven award. If your friend is into cooking, but even more into aesthetics, this is the perfect birthday gift, just in time for soup and braising season. The enameled cast-iron cookware retains heat exceptionally well and can move from the oven right onto the table—especially since it’s pretty enough to work as a piece of serving ware this Thanksgiving or holiday season.
The Always Pan from direct-to-consumer company Our Place is made to replace eight cookware pieces. The pan claims to serve as a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, and non-stick pan. It also comes with a spatula and spoon rest. While our reviewer thought the pan didn’t achieve quite the level of variety it claimed, he still felt it made a good gift for beginner cooks or people with New York-style small kitchens. And its chic look is undeniable.
Hand-carved from a single piece of mango orchard wood, this bowl may look too gorgeous to be functional in the kitchen. Use it as a festive centerpiece, yes, but you can also fill it with vibrant fall salads or whatever fruit you have on hand.
The Perfect Gift for Busy Cooks: Instant Pot Duo
If, somehow, the person you’re buying a gift for doesn’t yet own an Instant Pot, it’s your job to fix that. You’re not giving a kitchen appliance. You’re giving the gift of kitchen versatility: The appliance’s settings include pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, rice cooking, and making yogurt. On top of that, of course, it’s a time-efficient way to tackle all those long-simmering beans that will get your birthday friend through winter.
The Best Gift Ideas for Cheese Board Influencers: Bambusi Cheese Board and Knife Set or Murray’s Cheese Subscription Box
A cheese board is among the best gift ideas for someone who likes to build elaborate cheese and charcuterie boards, post them online, and only after a full photoshoot has been staged, share with a friend or two. The Bambusi cheese board is gargantuan, making it perfect for anyone who loves a particularly extra, elaborate spread. It comes with everything you could need including a knife set perfect for slicing into a soft piece of Brie.