Delectable picks for food gifts that can be put to good use immediately and enjoyed long after the holiday season has ended.

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We can all relate to the struggle of finding the perfect gift for a gracious host. Whether it’s a festive holiday party or a casual gathering to warm a midwinter weeknight, there are plenty of opportunities to be the most popular guest in the room by bringing a unique, delicious gift to express appreciation for the host’s party-planning time and effort.

Many of us consider food to be the ideal “go-to” gift. Because so many of our fellow partygoers have the same idea, the next challenge is to make your gift unique. Hosts often find themselves inundated with an excess of food gifts that will likely expire before they can be consumed – but luckily we’ve gathered a variety of options that hosts can enjoy for months after they unwrap your “thank you” gift.

Here are our delectable picks for food gifts that can be put to good use immediately and enjoyed long after the party has ended.

Delicious cakes

Bringing a cake will make you a popular guest at any party, but you never know how many other people will arrive with the same idea – and that’s why we love panettone cakes, especially the Sorrento Lemon Panettone – Albertengo ($42.99). If you don’t love lemon, don’t despair – although this is a customer favorite, ChefShop offers 26 flavors of panettone cakes.

These fresh cakes are ready to eat at any party, but if you arrive to find a table full of cakes brought by your fellow guests, you won’t experience the sinking feeling that your gift will go to waste. A panettone cake has a shelf life of approximately four months, so your host can enjoy it long after the holiday decorations have been put away. Panettones also can be used to make an especially delectable french toast or bread pudding, so these cakes are both delicious and versatile.

High-quality olive oil

Olive oil is a staple in every kitchen, and for good reason – it makes every dish taste more delicious and it’s the perfect condiment to accompany bread at the dinner table. The host who loves to cook will appreciate this gift for months after the holidays.

The difference between a high-quality olive oil and one that you grab off the shelf at your local grocery store is well worth the higher price point. There’s been news of fraud in the olive oil industry, but you can rest assured that the Olio Verde Olio Nuovo ($48.99), an estate oil, is the real deal – and one taste will convince you. Carefully curated based on origin and quality, it’s more flavorful than your average olive oil, with a grassy, peppery taste.

Honey

When it’s time to select a hostess gift, honey may not be the first idea that comes to mind – but there are numerous reasons it’s a great gift. Recent scientific research has shown that honey has many health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties – and we can really reap those benefits because honey can be used on a daily basis in both our food and drink choices.

The California Coriander Honey ($11.99) is a healthy, delicious alternative to sugar. It’s actually 25 percent sweeter than sugar cane and contains fewer carbs, so it’s the perfect sweetener for your host’s daily cup of tea or other beverage of choice. And having high-quality honey on hand will encourage them to use it as a baking ingredient that will create a tastier and healthier final product – especially as they bake holiday goodies for future gatherings.

Artisan vinegars

How can artisan vinegars be used in the kitchen to add an extra kick to our favorite dishes? Let us count the ways. For example, the Katz Apple Cider Vinegar – Gravenstein ($11.99) is the perfect addition to any pork dish – trust us, you’ll never want to eat pork again without apple cider vinegar.

A mix of olive oil and vinegar has replaced many people’s favorite salad dressings because it’s both tastier and healthier – so this affordable bottle of vinegar pairs perfectly with a high-quality olive oil as a host gift.

And, although there’s technically no scientific proof that apple cider vinegar is an effective remedy, plenty of people swear that the ingredient has been an effective cure for miserable congestion and the common cold. We all hate being sick – so you may even become your host’s hero if he or she gets sick and needs a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to kick that cold or nagging cough.

Finishing salts

High-quality finishing salts can be used immediately on party day and your host will appreciate them for long after the last guest has departed. Truffle salts are the perfect addition to snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and main dishes that are frequently served at parties – so don’t be surprised if your host breaks open the bottle on party day and guests eagerly sprinkle it on their food.

A good truffle salt can be tough to find, but the The Truffle Salt (10%) ($29.99) was selected after a full year of testing a wide variety of samples – so we can be confident this is the cream of the crop.

Imported chocolates

Utter the words “French chocolate” and most people will instantly clamor for a taste (or five tastes, but who’s counting?). You don’t need to fly to Europe to indulge in some of the best French chocolates around (although it would be a lovely excuse!). Produced in the Médoc region of France near Bordeaux, your host will be eternally grateful for the Chocolate, Armagnac & Cherries – Mademoiselle de Margaux ($26.99) gift box.  We have just one caveat – this is one gift that won’t last nearly as long as vinegar or olive oil, because if your host puts these on the table, they’ll be gone within moments.

ChefShop.com offers the best of the best hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, individually selected for the quality of their ingredients and their adherence to tradition and purity and flavor. Eat simply. Live well!