If you’re looking for gift ideas for a food and drink-centric friend, co-worker or loved one, you’re in luck as I’ve cooked up a tasty assortment of items that’ll make your holiday shopping a snap. This season offers a veritable cornucopia of clever, inventive and downright delectable products like these sure to satisfy the gift giver and receiver, alike.
Kitchen Curry Master (www.KitchenCurryMaster.com) – $49.99
Have you ever tried cooking that delicious aromatic Indian food and ended up confounded by all of the spices used in the process? I’m sure many have, but take heed! Every home cook now has access to fresh, simple and authentic Indian food, including the opportunity to experiment and share their successes. You can take the mystery out of Indian cooking and ease the process with Kitchen Curry Master. This set gives you everything you need to cook fresh, authentic Indian food in your own kitchen: 12 essential spices (over 2 lbs in weight), a wonderful step-by-step cook book with 28 easy-to-follow recipes as well as a spice guide and a beautiful brushed steel Spice Box that preserves the spices and looks great in your kitchen. Created by a woman named Neena Patel Williams, whose memories of her mother’s Indian cooking at their family-owned restaurant and frustration at the lack of Indian spices available in the United States propelled her into action. Happily so, since all of us can now cook Indian food like a pro in no time at all. The beautifully packaged set is an ideal and unexpected gift for the home chef in your life.
Kyocera Ceramic Wok with Lid (www.KyoceraAdvancedCeramics.com) – $119.95
Create killer dishes with the latest addition to Kyocera’s Ceramic Coated Cookware line: their new 12.5-inch Ceramic Nonstick Wok with Lid. Wok cooking will never be the same again as Kyocera transforms it into a versatile everyday pan that is ideal for braising, pan-frying, roasting, searing and, of course, stir-frying. In addition, the wok is designed to perform on all cooking surfaces, including induction and is oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Like all Kyocera products, this wok features a proprietary ceramic nonstick coating technology that has been shown to outlast and outperform other leading brands. The superior nonstick performance of this PTFE-free, PFOA-free and Cadmium-free wok, with its exclusive coating, also ensures this pan is scratch resistant and very easy to clean, making kitchen cleanup a breeze!. Also great looking, this wok is modern and sleek, reminiscent of what you might find in any upscale restaurant kitchen.
SteakChamp (www.SharperImage.com) – $59.95
SteakChamp to the rescue for gift givers who are stumped on an idea for the avid griller or home chef on their holiday shopping list. This gadget gift that will garner genuine appreciation from the recipient, since the SteakChamp intelligent meat thermometer takes digital precision to a whole new level. Rather than using a temperature readout, which can be hard to read on top of being inaccurate, this device employs a color-coded flashing LED light sensor: green for medium rare, yellow for medium and red for medium well. Easy-to-use, simply insert the thermometer into the side of the steak before the meat is placed on the grill. It’s that foolproof! The result is a perfectly grilled cut of meat prepared to precision each and every time. And it’s not just for grilling either. Holiday recipients who prefer to save their grills for the warm weather months can still get plenty of use out of the SteakChamp while frying on the stove and baking in the oven. Steaks, hamburger, fish, duck and game—you name it; the SteakChamp achieves the desired outcome time and time again. The SteakChamp intelligent meat thermometer boasts an attractive rugged housing that is constructed of high-grade stainless steel. Uniquely heat resistant, it can withstand temperatures of up to 900° F (500° C). Now that’s a hot gift idea!
John Kelly Chocolates (www.JohnKellyChocolates.com) – $3.25 to $190.50
Chocolate doesn’t have to be made in Europe in order for a discriminating chocolate connoisseur to enjoy. John Kelly Chocolates, Hollywood’s gourmet chocolatier, caters to increasing demands of chocolate-lovers with a to-die-for line of high-quality, all-natural, handcrafted chocolates and gourmet fudge that also happen to be kosher and gluten-free. New this holiday season, the Solid Chocolate Bars join John Kelly Chocolates’ existing holiday collections that include the company’s hallmark Truffle Fudge—actual fudge that comes in a variety of delectable flavors. Armed with nothing but determination and a recipe for amazing, gourmet chocolate fudge, John Kelly Chocolates was started in 2004 by two guys, John Kelson and Kelly Green. Their products are the perfect gift idea for anyone on your list—especially since they’re available in a variety of bites, bars, gift boxes and towers. Hollywood’s biggest names, from box office superstars to indie film up-and-comers, were delighted to discover their own box of hand-crafted John Kelly Chocolates tucked inside the coveted “swag bags” they received at an exclusive pre-Oscar gifting suite at L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills this year. Now you can indulge like an A-lister, too!
Peugeot Pep’S (www.BroadwayPanhandler.com) – $25
Original and amusing, the Pep’S from Peugeot is a clever 2-in-1 salt shaker and pepper mill with flamboyant colors, a whimsical shape, and a curved bottom that lets it rock back and forth on the table or countertop like a toy. Pepper and salt, two of the most basic yet important ingredients in any meal, can now benefit from the iconic French-made Peugeot mechanism. Standing out among the strongest on the market, with a consistent high-output grind, accessing your salt and pepper has perhaps never been quite this satisfying. Indeed, Peugeot continues to produce such mills that are preferred by gourmets and leading chefs the world over. The company’s commitment to quality, reliability, innovation and dynamism ensures you will receive an exceptional product.
Bloomery Distillery’s “SweetShine” Artisanal Liqueur (www.BloomerySweetshine.com) – Starting at $24.99
Mix up your spirit selections and take your parties to an unforgettable new level this season with easy mix-and-go artisanal craft cocktails featuring Bloomery SweetShine. This award-winning line of all-natural, hand-crafted liqueurs make premium spirits sing! Sustainably crafted with 100% natural hand-selected ingredients for a supreme garden-to-glass experience, Bloomery’s unparalleled assortment of SweetShine artisanal liqueurs are full of farm fresh fruit, roots and nuts paired with homespun syrups and corn likker—that’s it…there are no preservatives, concentrates or artificial ingredients whatsoever. Mastering mixology and becoming a “home bar rock star” is super-simple with SweetShine’s array of distinctive flavors that include “Moonshine Milkshake” Cremma Lemma, Black Walnut, Limoncello, Raspberry Lemon, Ginger Shine, Peach Shine, Chocolate Raspberry, Hard Lemonade and Seasonal Cranberry Clementine and Pumpkin Spice. All are ideal for pairing with the premium spirit of your choice, whether it’s vodka, bourbon, gin or champagne—just blend, chill and enjoy! SweetShine is also incredibly tasty as a beer topper or mixed into your coffee beverage. Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone?
Coravin Model Two Wine System (www.Coravin.com) – $329
Perhaps my favorite new gadget of the season! Any wine lover will enjoy the Coravin because its transformational wine access technology allows users to enjoy any wine by the glass, without ever pulling the cork! Yep, it pours wine from any bottle, at any time and in any quantity desired…without having to open the bottle. This innovative and portable product has truly changed the way wine can be enjoyed, served and sold. It’s perfect for preserving those rare vintages or as a gift to a loved one with a distinguished palate. Use it to expand your palate by comparing and contrasting—taste across multiple bottles in an evening, comparing vintages and varietals. Those with a knack for whipping up gourmet meals can get more creative with their food and wine pairings and serve both red and white wines with different courses during dinner. The foodie with a more refined palette can now turn his or her wine cellar into a wine bar. Tasting favorite wines and monitoring them as they age, noting the subtle changes in their evolution, then returning to them again later at the peak of their perfection. Rather than saving bottles for special occasions, make any night a celebration by enjoying finer bottles by the glass without fear that the rest will go to waste.
Read Between the Wines! Board Game (www.ReadBetweenWines.com) – $34.99
Want a fun way to propel your next dinner party or wine-tasting to unforgettable status? Read Between the Wines by Uncorked is a totally non-pretentious wine-tasting game that will make any party one to remember! This party game with wine, wit and wordplay uses a deck of 54 theme cards that inspire players to write hilarious wine descriptions that’ll have your party abuzz with laughter! No formal wine knowledge is needed—it’s all about trying new wines and having fun with others. Simply follow 4 easy steps to play…Step 1: pick wines to sample, as you must have an excuse! Step 2: pick a theme from the deck of 54 cards. Step 3: write your description and remember that you can be as silly or as serious as you like! Step 4: guess who said what, and earn points for correctly “pairing” a description with it’s author. The game comes with adorable wine charms, “Zin-onyms,” “Vocab-ernet” cheat sheets, notepads, pencils, a deck of theme cards and Rules Remix. Just add friends and wine and let the laughter and learning begin! Read Between the Wines makes a great gift for the food and wine lover in your life this season!
Reduce Vacuum Growler (www.ReduceEveryday.com) – $49.99
You will be the talk of the tailgate or holiday party this football season when you show up with the Vacuum Growler from Reduce. Created for filling with your favorite craft beer, the 64-ounce Reduce Growlers are eco-friendly, reusable containers that feature a “Fire + Ice” double wall, vacuum-insulated design that protects your beverage and ensures full flavorful enjoyment at just the right temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Your beer will taste just as good at the end of the game as it did when you arrived, without that skunky taste that can come from harmful UV rays. This growler has two openings for easy filling, cleaning and pouring, along with an airtight lid that traps carbonation. A loop handle makes it easy to carry, even when full. In addition, although the Vacuum Growler is excellent for holding beer, it works just as well for any other type of beverage such as ice tea and lemonade. Also handsome, the BPA-free Reduce Vacuum Growler comes in matte black or stainless finish. This is one great way to “turn over a green leaf” in your daily life. I’ll toast to that.
Cuisinart Single Cup Grind & Brew Coffeemaker (www.Overstock.com) – $99.99
For those who just want coffee by the cup and prefer a fresh ground coffee bean can rejoice! Cuisinart’s DGB1 Single Cup Grind & Brew Coffeemaker lets you quickly enjoy a full mug or two with delicious fresh ground beans and without leftover coffee in the pot. Operation is extremely simple. The blade grinder automatically grinds whole beans and sends them directly to the included gold tone filter basket (or you can choose the “Grind Off” option to use pre-ground coffee). It is dishwasher-safe with removable parts that make cleaning just as easy. Of course, the Cuisinart name is synonymous with leading-edge kitchenware for both professional and home chefs. This single serve coffeemaker is a great find for discriminating coffee drinkers who demand both convenience and quality.
Charles Viancin Kitchen Linens (www.CharlesViancin.com) – $9.99 – $24.99
The décor-conscious “kitchen-ista” in your life will love the cute and clever new chef’s apron and towel from Charles Viancin Kitchen Linens. Inspired by the vibrant colors of the poppy flower and lush grape vines, the linens are available in pretty designs that follow suit and add a pop of color and whimsy to any kitchen! Both the apron and the chef’s towel prove that multifunctional can be fashionable with the help of not just one, but two, silicone potholders incorporated right into the cloth’s construction. You will never have to search for a potholder again! Whether you need to wipe down the dinner table or safely transport a hot dish from space to space, these linens are up to the task. As an added bonus, the apron features an oversized ergonomic pocket that allows you to keep additional kitchen essentials at hand. Both items are machine washable and are made from 100% cotton and silicone.
“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***