Ditch the Kitchen Gadgets: Consider gifting a culinary experience to the foodie in your life

San Antonio is full of opportunities to broaden your loved one's culinary horizons via classes, tastings and food-focused experiences.

click to enlarge Cooking and baking educational courses are a great way to give a locally sourced gift to your favorite foodie. - Pexels / Shvets Production
Pexels / Shvets Production
Cooking and baking educational courses are a great way to give a locally sourced gift to your favorite foodie.

Our foodie friends and family probably have more kitchen gadgets than they have drawer space. There's also a good chance their wine chillers and bars are overflowing with bottles they were gifted last holiday season.

This year, why not ditch those tired — if well intentioned — presents for the gift experience and education. You know, share opportunities that broaden your loved one's culinary horizons. There are plenty of ways to help the epicure in your life encounter something new while spending dollars locally.

Let's run down the options.


While wine from faraway lands may be a front-runner for tasting-focused gifts, don't forget sessions for beer, spirits and olive oil. Yeah, we said it: olive-oil tastings. If the foodie in your life is interested in learning more about the process of creating these culinary staples, the Alamo City offers multiple fun options.

Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling is one of many local bourbon purveyors that offer weekend tours, however a $20 add-on will afford the giftee a VIP experience that includes samples of two future releases straight from the barrel as well as bourbon chocolates. Tour, $15; VIP Tasting Experience, $35; 4834 Whirlwind Drive, Suite 102, (210) 339-2282, drinkrangercreek.com.

San Antonio's I Love Aceite specializes in Spanish olive-oil products and offers sessions that cover the basics needed to differentiate between the wide variety of oils now on the market. During each 60-minute class, attendees learn how olive oil is produced, and they sample multiple expressions, noting their different colors, tastes, smells and textures. I Love Aceite can accommodate classes of 12-15 people, or they can bring the instruction to the gift-recipient's home. Prices vary, 11729 Warfield St., (210) 988 4411, iloveaceite.us.

A San Antonio Craft Cruiser tour can be a great gift for the beer lover in your life. These tours include pick-up and drop-off at the Growler Exchange, brewery tours and a souvenir to remember the day. Packages start at $50 per person and go up to $100. The latter includes stops at three breweries, including a guided tour of one of the party's choosing and unlimited tasting pours at all three. E-gift cards are available. $50-100, (806) 535-3863, craftcruiser.tours.


A variety of San Antonio purveyors specialize in food experiences, which expand diners' palates, familiarize them with local eateries and — perhaps most importantly — create memories.

Local food journalist Julia Rosenfeld's Food Chick Tours run the gamut from brunch to barbecue to sampling uniquely Texas takes on Mexican cuisine. The tours span three to four hours and include multiple stops at SA-area establishments — all accompanied by Rosenfeld's expert commentary on the history of each restaurant, its chef and notable ingredients. $125-165 per person, foodchicktours.com.

Tickets to next year's Third Coast Cocktail Summit may be the ideal gift for the spirits lover on your list. The Jan. 10-13 event will offer seminars, paired dinners and cocktail hours hosted by bar pros from all over the country. Ticket options range from a single-day seminar pass to several single spirit-focused dinners. Or you can go whole hog and gift all-access passes, which include entry to multiple seminars, access to guest bartender events and the summit's kickoff cocktail party at the Witte Museum. Ticket prices vary, culinariasa.org/thirdcoastcocktailsummit.

Go Rio Cruises has been experimenting with San Antonio's Landrace for a series of food-focused riverboat tours, marrying chef Steve McHugh's elegant eats with gorgeous river views. The restaurant is hosting brunch- and wine-themed river boat events through mid-December, so savvy gift-givers will want to keep an eye on the hotel's event listings for more past the new year. $85-95 per person, 111 Lexington Ave., (210) 876-1234, hyattexperiences.com/thompson-hotels.


What home cook isn't eager to expand their culinary repertoire? Treating a loved one to a deep-dive on the art of baking or a better understanding of cheeses allows them to add more skills to their culinary arsenal, and there are even a great kitchen-basics classes for the young chefs in your life.

Newcomer Willow's Cheese Shop offers classes that teach folks how to pair cheese with foods such as jams, nuts, fruits and meats — a valuable entertaining skill. The team has curated a shop chock-full of specialty cheeses, oils, vinegars and meats, and are poised to show you just how to use all of these goodies in the kitchen or at your next party. Class prices vary, 6413 Blanco Road, (210) 988-9863, willowscheeseshop.com.

San Antonio's Young Chefs Academy outpost offers classes for aspiring young chefs from age 4 all the way up to the tween years. Each course is designed for specific age ranges, focusing on different levels of age-appropriate recipe and culinary skill integration as well as basic nutrition and kitchen safety concepts. Class prices vary, 20330 Huebner Road, Suite 110, (210) 402-0023, sanantoniotx.youngchefsacademy.com.

As its name suggests, locally owned Over the Top Cake Supplies stocks pro-level supplies in its two area shops, but it excels at serving small-scale home bakers. Of particular interest, it offers beginner and intermediate cake-decorating classes as well as those for bakers with extensive experience. Multiple locations, overthetopcakesupplies.com.

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Nina Rangel

Nina Rangel uses nearly 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry to tell the stories of movers and shakers in the food scene in San Antonio. As the Food + Nightlife Editor for the San Antonio Current, she showcases her passion for the Alamo City’s culinary community by promoting local flavors, uncovering...

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