Photo by Travis Anderson
2016 Sexy Chef Calendar produced by Travail
Wrap up a 2016 Sexy Chef Calendar produced by Travail with a gift card for a chef's table night.
I’m all about gifties and stocking stuffers and unwrapping jars of sauerkraut that make my heart go BOOM, but this year, I’m changing up my gifting traditions. For those closest to me, I’m giving experiences instead of things. I know I’m not a pioneer in the experiential gift-giving phenom—it’s a trend that’s been around for a while. But now that my kids are (mostly) grown, it makes more sense to me. The New York kid can’t really fly back with a Crock-Pot, the geologist son won’t appreciate anything that doesn’t fit into his backpack, and no one ever wears the sweaters I buy. But, they do love a spa day. All of them.
This year will be all about broadening horizons and sucking the marrow out of life. Plus, if I can give them one fabulous and memorable night, and not have to donate another left-behind USB port coffee warmer to Goodwill, we all win. Naturally, there’s gotta be a food theme, right? Here are my top picks for gifting a foodist experience to someone special this year.
Whether the giftee is a first-time Travail guest or a repeat, the kitchen table at Travail is my top recommendation because the experience is never the same. And you never know what to expect. Wrap up a 2016 chefs’ calendar produced by Travail with the gift card for sneaky, cheeky pics of the areas top chefs. For six, the table runs $450-$600 and is all inclusive for 14 to 20 courses of ballyhoo.
For something smaller, more intimate, and less “mariachi band,” get a couple of seats at Landon Schoenefeld’s Birdie. It’s a chef’s dinner party, with 12 small courses and optional wine pairings. Seats are $100 a piece and wine pairings are additional.
Doing a deep dive in butchering a whole hog is a true life lesson. What better way to learn about pork than from the Prince of Porc himself? Chef Thomas Boemer of Corner Table and Revival teaches whole-hog butchery classes at Kitchen in the Market. There’s one on Jan. 24 for $125.
GetKnit Events is an organization that hosts public and private gatherings, and they know how to play to the beer-ophile. Yoga in a brewery? Yep. Light rail beer crawl? Done it. Bus tour of all the outer southern Minnesota breweries? Booked. Stay tuned to its calendar for updates, but know that its popular Curling & Craft Beer night is on deck again this winter, during which your $79 will get you dinner, plenty of craft beer, and on-ice time to learn and perfect your Olympic-style curling techniques.
Why give a box of chocolates when you can give a guided tour of St. Croix Chocolate Co. in Marine on St. Croix? Watch some of the most elegant and delicious chocolates in town being made, and take part in a guided tasting ($25, $35 with wine!) of the fine ingredients as you learn its trade secrets before the staff helps you make your own chocolates. Follow that with one of its guest chef dinners in the shop, for that person who lives the mantra: desserts first!
Local Crate’s meal delivery service is a great way to give someone a cooking experience that can fit seamlessly into their daily lives. The locally sourced and stocked subscription box comes to the door with all the ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to make a homemade dinner as easy as chopping broccoli. Prices start around $13 per serving and meals can be made gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.