Buy a membership to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Located in New Orleans, the museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding, and celebration of the food, drink, and related culture of the South. Memberships start at $35.
Make someone a friend of the Memphis Farmers Market. The mostly volunteer-operated downtown market needs the community's support to grow and thrive. Friendship levels start at $35.
Chew on This
If you want to give a gift certificate for a local restaurant but can't decide which one, you can purchase a gift certificate from the Memphis Restaurant Association. The list of participating restaurants is long and includes such favorites as Automatic Slim's, Ronnie Grisanti & Sons, Memphis Pizza Café, Jarrett's, Jim's Place East, and Café Society. Gift certificates are available in $10, $25, and $50 increments.
A membership to Mantia's cheese-of-the-month club will please any cheese lover. Mantia's in East Memphis carries the largest selection of imported and domestic cheeses in town. Club memberships can be purchased for three, six, or 12 months and cost $15 per month plus tax. The deli also sells fine Italian meats and hard-to-find gourmet food products.
Mantia's, 4856 Poplar (762-8560)
No Ordinary Joes
For coffee connoisseurs, the options at Ugly Mug Coffee are endless. You can even please the Elvis fan with the roaster's Elvis coffee Christmas collection, containing four bags of Love Me Tender, Santa Baby, Blue Christmas, and Silent Night for $27.95. Ugly Mug also offers gift boxes and samplers from $17.50 to $36. uglymugcoffee.com
High Point Coffee also offers gift and sample boxes, including a two-coffee set in three varieties for $19.95 and a travel mug and coffee set for $21.95. ($1 refills for travel mugs in the stores.) Discounts are available for orders of 10 or more. Call 662-234-9942 for more information.
High Point Coffee, 6610 Poplar (761-6800); 1680 Union (726-6322)
Café Las Flores offers premium, full-bodied roast coffee, along with other items from owner Lucia Heros' home country of Nicaragua. Heros can custom-design a gift basket with coffees, candles, candies, and rustic hand-made Nicaraguan coffee and espresso cups, creamers, and sugar bowls. To place your order or for more information, call 647-4321.
If your home chef needs a new knife, more cookie cutters, or specialized kitchen gadgets, Forty Carrots is the place to go. Among the items to make the home chef drool: Zyliss soft skin peeler ($9) for delicate produce such as kiwis and tomatoes; the Totally Bamboo double salt box ($30); and the Camerons stove-top smoker ($65).
Forty Carrots, 5101 Sanderlin (683-5187)
Ben Smith, owner/chef of Tsunami, offers private cooking classes for groups of 12 or more. Cost is $50 per person plus tax. For more information, call 274-2556.
Tsunami, 928 S. Cooper
Read All About It
Give a subscription to Edible Memphis, the magazine for locally grown and produced food, featuring profiles, essays, and more. Edible Memphis is published quarterly; an annual subscription costs $28.
Another valuable resource for local food lovers is Memphis magazine, the Flyer's sister publication. Each issue features dining reviews by Nicky Robertshaw, recipes from area chefs, and extensive restaurant listings. In addition, Memphis publishes its "Dining Guide" every January. And, to sweeten the deal, gift subscriptions come with a Dinstuhl's "Taste of Memphis" candy bar. Annual subscriptions are $12. memphismagazine.com