If a foodie loved one in your life has a birthday, graduation or another special occasion coming up, giving them a food-related gift basket is a great idea. But why stick with the ever-popular wine, cheese, or chocolate gift baskets? Here are some more unique gift basket ideas for the foodie in your life.  

The Pickle Basket

Pickles are a versatile food that can be enjoyed alone, with a sandwich, or even with a steak. Comparing various pickle brands side by side will be an enjoyable experience for your loved one. Visit some local specialty food stores and grocery stores in your area (or shop online if you have the time to wait for items to be shipped) and purchase 6 - 10 different varieties of pickles. You can narrow your focus down to one type of pickle -- like dill or kosher pickles only -- or you can buy a range of types. Also, consider including a book about pickles and perhaps some crackers (to cleanse the palate between pickle tastings) in the basket.

The Tea Basket

There's more to tea than just black and green. There are numerous different black teas, green teas, and white teas to explore, as well as many different herbal "teas." Visit a tea shop in your area, and purchase a few different loose-leaf teas to place in a basket for your loved one. Many stores have some pamphlets or cards about each type of tea they sell. Make sure you pick these up so your loved one can learn a bit about the tea they're drinking. Also include a metal tea ball (which is an efficient apparatus for brewing loose-leaf tea) or some empty, disposable tea bags. Depending on your budget, you may also want to include a tea kettle and a tea cup in your basket.

The Pretzel Basket

You might not notice how differently various types of pretzels taste until you taste them one after another. Shop around at your local stores for various types of pretzels, including some made from whole grains and others flavored with ingredients like mustard and cheese. You can also include some fun dips, like cheese dips, mustard, and salsa if you prefer. Just make sure any dips you include don't need to be refrigerated. A book on the history of pretzels or how they are made will round off this gift basket nicely and allow your foodie to learn a little something.