The Scraps 2022 Gift Guide
Japanese fruit knives, fancy condiments, and cosy stuff
A few people asked if I’d be doing a gift guide, and at first I thought: absolutely not. And then I thought: yes, this is a very good idea.
That’s the rough inception of this bonus edition of Scraps. Gift buying is, in my mind, as easy or as complex as you make it, and even though there are some people on my list that I struggle with, mostly I think of gifting as quite fun. I worked in e-commerce for just under three years at New York magazine, and there was always this principle that a good gift is a neat, bundled way of saying: I get you.
PSA: Tyler did a whole EP based on the Grinch movie. It’s fun!
The best gift giving advice I have is to think small. Most the tat you see in gift guides is just silly (has anyone truly bought someone else a BBQ for Christmas?). If they like white wine, get them your favourite bottle. If they love a negroni, buy them some weird looking vermouth. Last year, my brother got me a bottle of Cynar — it’s an artichoke based digestif. I’d never heard of it. But it’s incredibly herbaceous and can be used in any syrupy cocktails (including Negroni). Served over ice, it’s a nice thing to have after a heavy meal. Served long with tonic and a slice of grapefruit, it weirdly tastes like Coca Cola. It was a really left-field gift, but I loved it, and I love what it communicated.
So below are some bits and pieces, mostly inexpensive, that I think most people would be pretty delighted to receive. They are foody/kitchen gifts, mostly. Let me know if any of this is useful!
I’ll be posting a couple more issues of Scraps before the 25th, but Merry Christmas all the same x
A Japanese fruit knife. These are £14 from the very cool Kitchen Provisions, and they’re just so stylish and tasteful. They come in four shapes, but they’re all very good general knives for chopping. I bought someone the square-ended one, which is an older style of knife and to me just looks a bit more interesting, but the santoku style is named after the three functions it was typically used for (mincing, dicing, and slicing). I think slicing a pear or peach with one of these would be immensely satisfying.
I also think this Japanese can opener is really cool.
Everyone likes olive oil, so a schmancy bottle of EVOO is ideal. This Nicholas Alziani one is really nice. I like to give these to people who don’t drink alcohol, and if you use a can opener (maybe the one above!) to get the lid off, these make great pen pots too.
This oil comes in a terracotta bottle and is also quite fancy.
Pick up some really good coffee from an indie roaster. I love Hard Lines, and have had a subscription with the Welsh small-batch roasters for a few years now. Their Christmas blend is so fucking festive.
But for just under £35 you could give someone three months of coffee in the post!
If you know someone who already has strong opinions on the coffee they make, coffee merch is a safe bet. Nola, one of the most tasteful cafes in London, make really nice sweatshirts.
Aeropress owners get through a lot of paper filters, but this reusable metal insert means they can save the planet very very slowly, but still feel good about it.
Buy a gift card for a cool hang! I think £50 credit for a night of snacks and dranks at Forza Wine would be nice.
You know who else does really great gift cards? Top Cuvee. Their t-shirts are also so nice.
Or you could bundle a Yard Sale gift voucher in one of their too-good-to-wipe-the-floor-with tea towels.
BAO do such good merch but I think their pantry items are really good. This fermented white soy sauce comes wrapped in really nice packaging.
If you want to get an edible gift for your bf/gf/roommate, I really like Papo’s Bagels. I met Papo at this cool food influencer event thing earlier in the year (I know lol) and he does these tasty bagel kits with smoked salmon and flavoured schmears.
Or, for something festive, you could buy them a kilogram of blood oranges. Perfect squeezed into G&Ts or wedged onto a cheese board.
I bought Rob some of this spicy honey from Dr Sting’s for his birthday and we use it on basically everything. They’re a small business and their honey is spicy and fruity and complex. I like it on chicken thighs, whisked into salad dressings, even drizzled on a tray of sizzling chipolatas straight out of the oven. Also, my friend Max said it’s really good after a shot of tequila, so use that information wisely.
This spice tin from Dishoom smells absolutely insane and is such a good gift.
A completely non-edible gift I like are these scent tags from Earl of East. I keep them in my wardrobe, but sometimes shove them in my suitcase if I’m going away, too. You can use the room spray to ‘refill’ the tags when the scent fades, too (but tbf that takes 4-5 months).
IDK, I’d kind of love a large bag of Sichuan dried chillis.
Finally, consider a bottle of really nice wine. Cuvee have the goods: