The Coolest Food Experiences to Gift This Year

Give the gift of a truly unforgettable experience.

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In the past few years, I’ve tried to focus on gifting fun experiences instead of “stuff.” Partially because I figure most people — definitely including myself on this one — have enough junk lying around their homes, and also because experiences are just more fun. Luckily, there are so many gift-worthy food experiences out there to choose from that you won’t have any problem picking one for your favorite people. From a baking class at Milk Bar to a dinner on a hot air balloon, you’re sure to set your sights on something that’s every bit as lasting — and memorable — as something wrapped up in a box.

Baking Class with Milk Bar, New York City

Not only does Milk Bar make some of the most delicious, and photo-worthy, cakes out there, but they offer a range of experiences at their New York City flagship store. You can build your own birthday cake (their naked cake confetti cake is Internet-famous), or mix and match cake layers, frosting and ganache to your heart’s content. They also have classes that will teach you how to make their iconic pies, decorate cookies and even whip up your very own truffles. The toughest part about purchasing this gift will be choosing just one class!

Outstanding in the Field, Various Locations

When an establishment describes itself as a “roving restaurant without walls,” it’s almost impossible not to have your curiosity piqued. Outstanding in the Field has served meals on gorgeous bridges, beaches and even on floating gardens. They set gorgeous banquet-style tablescapes and serve delicious locally-sourced food to those that are lucky enough to indulge. Check out their event schedule to see when OITF will be setting up shop near you. Or better yet, plan a whole vacation around a dining destination you’ve been dying to go to.

Zauo Fishing Restaurant, New York City

Go fish! No, literally. Zauo Fishing Restaurant is a franchise out of Japan that has now opened in good ol’ New York City. You can catch and eat your fish in a little pond that’s located right inside the restaurant. While you can order your fish from a menu, the restaurant invites you to catch your meal out of a tank using a little rod provided by the restaurant, of course. Staples include striped-bass, flounder, rainbow trout and lobster — and you can choose how you want your catch prepared.

Paint and Pour, New York City

Whether or not you fancy yourself an artist doesn’t really matter at wine and paint studios — you’re guaranteed a good time. This class at Pain and Pour is two hours long and includes an open bar that features the good stuff: Jack Daniels, Grey Goose Vodka and Bacardi. They also have an on-site kitchen that isn’t included in the ticket price, but is still seriously worth the cash. Don’t worry, there will be an amazing instructor there to guide you as you create your masterpiece.

Dans Le Noir, Paris, France

Dans Le Noir is — get ready for it — pitch black dining. Don’t worry, the food is still delicious, seasonal cuisine. During your experience you’ll have a sensory guide that will lead you through the dining experience. The restaurant also offers wine and delicatessen tastings in the dark, which will allow you to focus on the sense that really matters: taste. Unfortunately, this restaurant is in Paris, but it would be the perfect gift if you’re planning a trip.

Hot Air Balloon Dinner, Various Locations

Chow down and then get ready to take to the skies! While a lot of hot air balloon rides have dinner packages where you can meet outside of the restaurant before you take flight, if you find yourself in Paris there are even options to eat on board. There’s also one Dutch chef who’s turned her hot air balloon into a restaurant and cooks food using the balloon’s burner. There are lots of outlets that do this — so make sure you check out the one that’s closest to you.

Cheese Pairing Class at Murray’s Cheese, New York City

Murray’s Cheese in New York City not only sells some of the most delicious cheeses you’ve ever tasted, they offer classes that will teach you how to pair them. Whether you’re looking for alcohol pairings, charcuterie pairings or even fun themes (like Holidays at Hogwarts!), they seriously have it all.

Confederacy of Cruisers Bike Tour of New Orleans, New Orleans

Take a food tour of one of the most delicious cities in America. Here, you can hop on a bicycle and make it to four or five different restaurant locations. The Confederacy of Cruisers Bike Tour will even tailor their restaurant picks to your group’s specific interests. They do a great job of wrapping in local establishments with trendy, must-see restaurants so that you feel like you’ve really experienced the city.

Escape Room Dinners, Hackensack, New Jersey

If you love a good puzzle almost as much as you love a good meal, an escape room dinner might be the way to go. While these are offered all over the place, this one in New Jersey allows you to “save” the bistro before it’s too late! That’s right, come hungry, leave a hero.

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