Oh, goody, you received an invitation to a sumptuous dinner party or weekend stay-over. Aside from what to wear, now you need to figure out a thoughtful hostess gift. Here are some edible presents that just might help score a repeat request for the pleasure of your company.


A homemade shortbread sampler from New York's famed Dean & Deluca sets the stage for many cozy teas - or rounds of glorious noshing. Forty-eight pieces, 12 of each flavor: toasted almond, key lime ginger, cinnamon sugar and espresso chocolate. $40 at www.deandeluca.com

Chocolate is elevated to the status of fine art at Jin Patisserie of Venice, Calif. A nine-piece collection of specialty flavors, housed in a chic silk box, includes caramel clove, Earl Grey, lavender and mango, subject to availability. $32 at www.jinpatisserie.com.

Advertisement

jpg" border="0" alt="" align="left" />

Top off meat, poultry, seafood, veggies - even fruit dishes - with distinctively flavored and colored salts. This finishing salts collection from Williams-Sonoma features Haleakala red and Kilauea black, peach from Australia and white from Cyprus. Includes a wooden serving spoon. $39.50 at www.williams-sonoma.com.

For holiday get-togethers, a stock of no-prep-needed nibbles is mandatory. The Rouge et Noir favorite flavors gift basket from Marin French Cheese makes for easy hors d'oeuvres or midnight snacks. The five bries are jalapeño, tomato basil, peppercorn, pesto and garlic. $62; call (800) 292-6001, extension 112 to order.

Tea lovers get an extra incentive for sipping their favorite beverage with blooming teas and a jumbo cup from Adagio Teas. Drop one of the jasmine blooms into hot water and watch its delicate hand-sewn leaves unfurl to reveal the bouquet within. $24 for 10 blooming teas and the 14-ounce glass cup at www.adagio.com.

Up to four diners can enjoy this all-in-one Italian feast. Farfalle, sauce, bruschetta, specialty crackers and cookies are ensconced in a six-quart self-straining pasta pot. Best of all: It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare the meal. $34.95 at www.flyingnoodle.com.

A mini paella kit from La Tienda contains all the fine ingredients needed for this hearty dish except the cook's choice of fresh meat, seafood and vegetables. Perfect for the hostess who wants to savor a taste of Spain. Serves two. $49.95 at www.tienda.com.

Oprah adored it, as have countless others. The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate drink served at Serendipity 3 in Manhattan can now be created in one's own kitchen. Comes with a genuine Serendipity glass goblet, two packs of mix, a special spoon and straws. $26 at www.igourmet.com.

Fall in love with these heart striped lobster raviolis from Alfonso Gourmet Pasta. Fresh Maine lobster is incorporated into the freshly prepared all-natural dough, which is then flash frozen for delivery. $49.95 for five pounds from www.alfonsogourmetpasta.com.