“Knead” gifts for foodies on your list? While cookbooks and kitchen gadgets always delight, surprise them this year with the gift of “thyme.” We’re talking epicurean experiences - food tours, wine tastings and cooking classes.

“They probably don’t need another tchotchke on their fireplace mantel,” joked chef Art Roman of The Kitchen Workshop in Paoli. “I hear that all the time about people wanting to give an experience.”

His culinary calendar includes child-parent (or grandparent) cookie baking, Kitchen Boot Camp and Table for Two, a couple’s night with themes like “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

“It’s cooking together. It’s sharing the table. It’s breaking bread,” he said. “And all that really draws people.”

“It’s something that a lot of people appreciate,” agreed Javiera Montoya of Vituperio Artisan Breads & Studio in Lansdale. “It’s such a nice thing to do.”

Her six-hour master classes delve deep into subjects like sourdough, while shorter sessions showcase everything from croissants and quiche to pizza and focaccia. Either way, “meet people who share your same passion.”

And if that passion’s wine, “supercharge your know-how, so you can sip wine like a pro” with courses at What Am I Drinking?! in Bryn Mawr. Or choose a gift-worthy wine, cheese and honey pairing at Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford.

“Because of our busy lives, people want to spend more time with each other,” said Carley Razzi Mack, the winery’s co-owner and marketing director. “It’s a cool way to give a gift and also enjoy the person’s company that you’re giving it to.”

Finally, take a walk - on the foodie side - with Taste Kennett Food Tours, three-hour culinary adventures through Kennett Square.

“It’s a fun thing to do. And it makes a memorable experience,” described owner Ann Vaughan. “I think creating memories is so much more powerful than a gift sometimes.”

Give the gift of convenience

Hungry for more memorable moments? Treat friends and family to “a full fridge of healthy meals and a couple nights off of dinner duty” with a gift card for personal chef services like Secret Ingredient in Wayne.

Or give “Soup. It’s Love in a Bowl” from The Red House Catering in Kimberton. Think “delicious, fresh, heartwarming” soups, weeknight suppers, savory pies and more – delivered.

“Everyone no matter their age, loves a gift of really excellent food,” explained chef Jenny Young, “and especially when it comes to their door, so they don’t have to go out in the cold to get it!”

French Toast

This is a a super-fast and simple recipe, ideal for bread that is becoming stale!

Ingredients

Milk

Eggs

Optional: sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla

Bread

Instruments to be used:

Griddle or skillet

Spatula

Whisker

Instructions

The ratio that I always use is: 2 eggs per 1 cup of whole milk, which yields 4 to 6 slices of bread depending how much custard you let them soak.

Prepare the custard and cut the bread slices as thick as you like them. Whisk together, milk, eggs and any of the optional ingredients (you can get as creative as you like). Put a little bit of butter on the skillet; let it melt to prevent the breads from sticking. Start soaking the breads in the custard and then flip them, so they soak on both sides. Once the butter on the skillet is melted (you can also let it burn a little) put the bread already soaked and leave until browned. Flip them and wait they brown on the other side too.

Sourdough Spelt Pancakes

Yield: 15 to 20 medium pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup active sourdough starter

1 cup whole spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups milk (any choice)

Instructions

Have your sourdough starter active the night before you decide to make the pancakes. Feed 1 cup of starter plus 1 cup spelt flour plus 1 cup of whole wheat flour plus 2 cups of milk. Mix until incorporated. Leave overnight in a warm place (70 to 75 degrees). The following morning it should look bubbly and active.

The next morning, beat together 2 eggs, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda; add to the overnight dough. Pour the batter on to a preheated and greased pan or griddle and start making your pancakes.

Recipes courtesy of Vituperio

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