As Christmas swings around once again, it's the perfect time of year to round up the best and most inspiring food books and cookbooks published over the past twelve months.
From fine dining and seasonal baking, to in-depth encyclopaedic guides and autobiographies, this year has seen an exciting and eclectic set of publications, for all manner of food lovers.
With that in mind, we've rounded up a selection of some of our favourites, if you're stuck on what to put under the tree for the food lover in your life this year.
For the budding pro:
by René Redzepi
Copenhagen's Noma was crowned 'best restaurant in the world' this year, as well as finally being awarded three Michelin stars. Chef René Redzepi's new book, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine, arrives just in time for Christmas and offers an apt moment in time to reflect on the rise of this iconic temple of Nordic cooking, as well as exploring over 90 of Redzepi’s recipes, in what is one of the most comprehensive collections ever published.
For the pizza head
by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya
Pizza lovers can fake a fascinating deep dive into the world of pizza in this definitive guide to the world’s most popular food, from the creative and meticulous team at Modernist Cuisine. Spanning nearly 2000 pages, the set includes three volumes plus a recipe manual, exploring pizza's history and culture, from the science-led recipes, to techniques for making the perfect pizza.
Photo credit: Nathan Myhrvold / The Cooking Lab, LLC
For the gourmet globe trotter:
by Virgilio Martínez
Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez shares his vast knowledge and endless passion for the gastronomy and foodways of South America, from the coastlines of Mexico to the glacial landscapes of Patagonia, and everywhere in between, in 600 recipes celebrating the continent's regional cuisine, traditions and ingredients.
by Gísli Matt
Icelandic chef Gísli Matt from Slippurinn on the Westman Islands offers a glimpse into his remote restaurant, which respects the local volcanic terroir and island life in his debut cookbook.
by Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat with Benoit Cohen
Recreate the landmark dishes from some of Paris' most sought-after modern bistros, including Septime, in chef Grébaut and partner Pourriat's debut cookbook, where the duo celebrate a decade of the moving French cuisine to an altogether lighter, fresher, more approachable style of cooking in all four premises.
by Zoe Adjonyoh
For anyone unfamiliar with Ghanian food, this is a great introductory guide, complete with a handy glossary for West African ingredients from London-based writer, chef and food activist Zoe Adjonyoh, who introduces new African cuisine to home cooks in a raft of delicious and hearty home recipes.
by Reem Kassis
Reem Kassis introduces 'the arabesque table', sharing a collection of 130 delicious and authentic Arab recipes with a modern spin, from simple salads, to mains and desserts, along with a collection of stunning photographs.
For the home baker:
by the Silver Spoon
Challenge budding bakers with this step-by-step guide to over 140 Italian dolci recipes from the country’s diverse regions and culinary traditions. There are classic recipes as well as some modern twists and some lesser-known puddings, biscotti, tarts and pastries.
by Anja Dunk
If you can't get to Germany's Christkindl market, let them come to you. Lightly spiced lebkuchen and marzipan-filled stollen and edible tree decorations are just a few of the festive bakes that will add warmth and spice to any Christmas gathering.
by Kristina Cho
Master mooncakes and many more gems in this first English-language book ever to focus exclusively on Chinese bakeries and cafes from the seasoned San Francisco recipe developer, and blogger of Eat Cho Food.
by Salma Hage
One of the region’s best-loved home cooks dives into the exotic world of Middle Eastern sweets. From super sweet, sugary desserts, to aromatic and creamy treats, there is something here for all palates.
by Claire Finney and photographer Liz Seabrook
Female chefs “pioneering change – from nurturing all-female teams to shaking up the narrative of what it means to be a woman and a chef,” are celebrated in this new book, including many well known British chefs like Nieves Barragán Mohacho (Sabor) and Angela Hartnett (Murano), and rising stars like Pamela Yung (Flor), Nokx Majozi (Holborn Dining Room), and Zoe Adjonyoh.
For the culinary artist:
With an introduction by Massimo Bottura
In this visual and culinary delight, publisher Phaidon invites 70 internationally renowned artists to share and illustrate a recipe that expresses their creativity. This is a collection of recipes that is a little bit different, including drinks, meals, appetisers, and a lot more besides.
by Bryant Terry
African-American vegan chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry explores black foodways in America and around the world by looking into the black experience in his new book, offering delicious recipes, moving essays, and arresting artwork in the process.
For the food thinker:
by Merlin Sheldrake
Curious foodies need to look no further than a copy of Entangled Life, where they'll enjoy a profound exploration of the world from a fungal point of view in the expert hands of young biologist Merlin Sheldrake. From yeast to psychedelics, Sheldrake offers a mind-bending rabbit hole into the incredible underground world of fungi.
For a life lived through food:
by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever
Anthony Bourdain fans will treasure this posthumous publication, World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, co-authored by Bourdain’s long-term assistant and ‘lieutenant’, Laurie Woolever, and the chance to be reminded of Bourdain’s musings, thoughts and insights, as well as stories and anecdotes by those closest to him.
by Stanley Tucci
Tucci fever took hold this year with the CNN series 'Searching for Italy' allowing a locked-down world to travel to some of Italy's finest and tastiest spots. In his new book, Tucci offers up a personal and charming insight into his life both in and out of the kitchen.