10 Perfect Host/Hostess Gifts

david stark design

It’s summer, the season of hosting, so hopefully you’re entertaining your family and friends with dinner parties that include ambitious recipes and cocktails galore. If you’re on the other side of that (i.e the guest who just attends lots of parties) you at least should be well versed in gifting your host/hostess upon arrival. Celebrity event designer David Stark gave us a few tips on that front. His client list includes Brad Pitt and Beyonce, so you might want to listen to him…

1. The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual is the cookbook from one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. Pair it with a can of their own fantastic olive oil. The meatballs made from the book taste just as good at home as they do at Frankies, and they are easy to make too!

2. I often pair my most recent book The Art of the Party with a set of napkins, my own version of a summer entertaining “kit.” I use vintage linen napkins at home. Some of them have hand-stitched letters in the lower right hand corner attributed to the person that made the napkin. I look for those and grab them when I can find them.   

3. If you are a chocolate lover, the Mast Brothers Chocolate cookbook is a must have. Pair it with a set of dark chocolate bars from this Brooklyn-based, artisanal maker. I’m as in love with their packaging as I am with the taste of their chocolate.

4. It seems that all of my friends with country houses are obsessed with bee keeping these days. I pair The Beekeeper’s Bible with sets of heirloom Hudson Valley seed collections that come in unique artist designed packages.

5. Bellocq Tea is one of my favorite go-to’s for gift giving – the quality and presentation is phenomenal. Pair it with The New Tea Companion.

6. Everyone loves the little orange box, and decks of cards from Hermes are the ultimate in “I would never buy that for myself.” Pair it with Ultimate Book of Card Games, and a big bag of Bazzini Pistachios for game-side snacking and you have a weekend of fun pool or beachside.

7. I love the design of this book, The Geometry of Pasta, paired with gorgeous pastas for future dinners from Brooklyn based Sfoglini.

8. When I visit my buddies with kids, my host/hostess gift is often geared towards the little ones. I love this creative activity book paired with a box of old fashioned crayon blocks.

9. My favorite, iconic bakery in Red Hook also makes wonderful cookbooks. I love the newest one that is organized by favorite ingredients. Pair it with a ceramic cake stand for future bake-offs.

10. Sometimes I go to walk the highline, just so I can get a treat from the People’s Pops stand. Their cookbook, People’s Pops, offers loads of recipes for the summer. Pair it with a mold set and package of wooden sticks.

*David Stark, photographed in Brooklyn, NY by Danielle Kosann.