December 7, 2023


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The Condiment Lover’s Gift Guide

6 min read

Some people are perfectly content eating their food as is, but for others a meal is not complete without a drizzle of this and a dab of that. These are people whose refrigerator doors are filled with half-empty jars in all shapes and sizes, and who have more vinegars and oils in their pantries than there are stars in the sky.

Claire Dinhut is one such person. Known to many by her TikTok handle, Condiment Claire, she has built a condiment content empire that now includes both short-form videos and a weekly newsletter. Her content ranges in topic from snippets of her life in London or time spent helping out at her family’s mill in France to, yes, the condiments she buys, makes, uses, and loves. If you’re stumped on what to get the condiment lover in your life this holiday season, look no further: I chatted with Dinhut about all the best condiment gifts money can buy (and even some you can make yourself).

Dinhut is no stranger to gifting and receiving condiments. “I think bringing a condiment to a dinner party or to a birthday is a lot more meaningful than a bottle of wine or flowers nowadays, because it shows that you’re thinking about that person,” she says. A condiment gift shows that you’ve thought about what would go well with their favorite foods, what might surprise them, or what they’ve mentioned they like in passing. “If you create something that sparks a memory in someone,” she says, referencing the strong tie between taste and memory, “I think that that’s such a special thing.”

Whether your giftee is a hot sauce aficionado or a jam connoisseur, we’ve rounded up Dinhut’s condiment gift picks, along with some of our own. We’re not talking your typical ketchup and mustard here, either—read on for all the best condiment gifts this season has to offer.

Claire’s Picks

Classic spreads in unexpected flavors

Dinhut loves “rogue” flavors of common brands or products—think jams from classic companies like Bonne Maman (try the rhubarb compote!) or St. Dalfour (she’s partial to the pear spread).

St. Dalfour Gourmet Pear Spread

Bonne Maman Rhubarb Compote

A scoopable, citrus-forward hot sauce

Dinhut is a big fan of Tingly Ted’s, the new hot sauce launch from everyone’s favorite redheaded, guitar-strumming Englishman Ed Sheeran. “It’s a hot sauce that’s a lot more citrus-forward rather than vinegar, so it still has that acidity and brightness, but it’s lemony.” She loves the thicker texture of the sauce too—something more akin to a dip than a drizzle, perfect for scooping up with chips and crudités.

Tingly + Xtra Tingly Sauce Bundle

Crème de marrons

Late fall through early winter is chestnut season, and Dinhut loves to enjoy them in the form of crème de marrons, which, at its most basic, is a spread of chestnuts puréed with sugar, vanilla, and salt. Clement Faugier is the most common brand in France (and has a pretty cool history that you can read about on Dinhut’s Substack). If your giftee is a lover of sweet spreads like Nutella, this is a great way to expand their horizons.

Clement Faugier Gourmet Chestnut Spread

The chutney you’ll want to put on everything

This South African chutney is a staple in Dinhut’s collection. Made with peaches and apricots, she likes it on everything from rice or meat to yogurt mixed with crispy rice cereal.

Mrs. H.S. Ball’s Original Chutney

An easy homemade play

While she loves a store-bought condiment, Dinhut thinks a gift is that much more special if you make it yourself. “I always bring homemade butters to dinner parties,” she says. That can mean a butter she’s churned by hand, or a grocery store block she’s turned into a compound butter. “It shows people you care,” she adds. If making butter isn’t in the cards, try mixing a custom seasoning blend. Dinhut’s suggestion? A DIY everything but the bagel seasoning, but with nori and toasted sesame tossed in for a furikake vibe.

Otis Classic Small Glass Jars with Lids, Set of 12

Hold Everything Stacking Spice Jars

More condiment gift ideas

A Sichuan pepper party

Fly By Jing makes one of our favorite chili crisps, and its Zhong sauce has been lauded by BA food director Chris Morocco for its balanced flavor and ability to make just about anything better. This set includes seven flavor essentials that bring the heat in different ways, from a mala spice mix that’ll have your giftee’s tongue tingling to the newly released Chengdu Crunch, which I’ve admittedly eaten spoonfuls of out of the jar. If you know someone who is already a Fly By Jing devotee, consider some loungewear from the brand’s merch shop.

Tastes Different Sweatshirt

Tastes Different Sweatpant

Oils and vinegars they’ll reach for daily

For a set they can cook with or just dunk a hunk of good bread in, opt for these mini bundles from DTC darling Brightland. The Essentials set has a nice mix of cold-pressed olive oils and raw, double-fermented vinegars, whereas the Artist Series includes four olive oils, each infused with a different flavor—think basil, lemon, or chili. All are packaged in miniature versions of Brightland’s signature (very pretty, very display-worthy) bottles.

Brightland Mini Essentials Set

Brightland Mini Artist Series

A mustard for every mood

For the hot-dog-eating, pretzel-dipping condiment heads in your life, this trio of mustards from California-based Wilder Condiments is a step up from your typical mustard squeeze bottle.

Wilder Condiments Organic Mustard Trio

A flavor-packed trio that’ll save weeknight dinners

In her early stages of parenthood, BA contributor Carey Polis leaned on the slightly spicy, super flavorful tomato achaar from Brooklyn Delhi to amp up her weekday cooking game. This set includes Polis’s go-to, plus two other condiments: a roasted garlic achaar and a mango chutney.

Sweet and Spicy Trio Gift Set

For the diehard Kewpie mayo fans

Kewpie mayonnaise has been on grocery store shelves in Japan since 1925, but it’s become increasingly popular in the US in more recent years—and for good reason. People love it for the easy-to-use squeeze bottle, the rich, eggy flavor, the blend of vinegar that gives it its nuanced tang, and the added MSG (now found only in bottles made in Japan). If you’ve got a Kewpie fan in your life, this collector’s edition jar of the stuff is sure to make them swoon.

Kewpie Mayo Egg Yolk Collectors Jar

For the hot sauce lovers who like it hot

If your giftee has a high heat tolerance, give them a set that will test their limits. BA digital operations associate Alma Avalle loves Crazy Bastard’s hot sauces because they manage to bring the heat without sacrificing flavor. This set includes her favorite, the Carolina Reaper & Blueberry, along with two of the brand’s other hottest offerings.

Crazy Bastard 3 Sauce Set

And for the hot sauce lovers who like it…less hot

Desperate to find a product that would fulfill her desire to douse every meal in hot sauce while catering to her sensitivity to spice, BA contributor Arsh Razziudin found her just-right Goldilocks ideal in 95% Sauce. Made by Brooklyn-based photographer Timbuk Atakora, it’s the culmination of 12 iterations. Fresno peppers mingle with Thai chiles and habaneros, and the heat is tamed by an addition of pineapple and mango—perfect for a friend who likes it spicy, but not too spicy.

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