Best Kitchen Gift Guide Ever!

By Fabiana Santana

It’s the end of the year. Wow, how’d that happen? First it’s gobbling a gobbler at Thanksgiving dinner, and then it’s off to the races: haggling over parking spots like their lined in gold and circling the mall wishing someone had gotten you a personal shopper last year. This list of gourmet gifts just may make your holiday shopping easier, joyful even, and the gourmand in your life all the happier for it.

knives

Knives Cooks Love may sound like a book about, well, knives, but in actuality it is the perfect follow up gift for the home cook who already received their perfect gift last year. Now they will actually know what to do with that santoku and how to care for a boning knife. They will know what the difference is between a meat and vegetables cleaver and even how to sharpen each one. Even more important, a score of recipes is included from step by step instructions for paring, slicing and dicing to the perfect Caesar salad to homemade salsas. (Amazon.com $16.50)

A Day at elBulli (By Ferran Adriá)

The simple reason to gift this book is because chances are the gourmet in your life may never get to elBulli. The always-booked restaurant in Spain accepts reservations once a year for the following year, via email, and through a lottery. Which is what you will need to win to bribe someone to give up his or her coveted seat there. This books, already recommended as one of the great cookbooks of the season by Bon Appétit Magazine, offers a behind the scenes look inside what has been called the World’s Best Restaurant and the mind of its legendary chef Ferran Adriá and the amazing dishes he creates. It is chock full of photos (and recipes) of the kitchen staff at work, creating birthday cake candles (yes, not a cake but edible choco candles), freeze dried chocolate and hazelnut praline air (used in the Chocolate air-Lyo dessert) and summer truffle empanadas. (amazon.com $32.97)

Wine: Julian of the Seasons

Julian Niccolini, co-owner of the Four Seasons in New York City is a true rag to riches story. He arrived in New York with just enough money for a cab from the airport and subway fare to go job hunting. He started as waiter in the famous Four Seasons and now, many years later, he is not only the co-owner of the City’s most famous restaurant, he also produces the house wines sold exclusively at the power lunch palace (he’s also a beekeeper, but that’s another story). Julian of the Seasons is his master blend of Sauvignon Blanc made with grapes from the Napa Valley in collaboration with Michael Mondavi. It’s a crisp, melon and citrus filled experience (that pairs well with seafood) perfect for a collector or amateur wine lover who has a weakness for cute bottles: Julian’s own cartoon likeness is featured examining a glass. (sherry-lehmann.com; $19.95)

Home Cook

Perfect for the baker/artist in your life, these nylon pie crust cutters from Williams Sonoma make it possible to create art through dessert. The delicate form cutouts are creating a canvas on a piecrust that nods to the season. And who knows what they can create with the leftover dough!  The spring-loaded release also makes it a fun project for kids who like to be in the kitchen. (williams-sonoma.com $17.00 per set)

The world of olive oil is as vast as that of wine. There are blends from France, Greece, Italy and Spain, single estate varieties, and even specialty olive oils infused with Meyer lemons white truffles.  The Olive Oil of the Month Club features these unique, hard to find oils and delivers them right to your door along with a history on each variety and suggestions for use. (monthclubstore.com $296.99 for 12 months)

Spirits

The “Shaken or Stirred” debate began back when James Bond ordered a vodka martini in Casino Royale – the novel. The discussion lives on at the bar and in the living room of many a martini, and 007, lover. What no vodka lover will debate however, is the taste of Karlsson’s GOLD vodka. The bottle itself is a show stopper, a short and stout, laboratory bottle that looks like it’s holding a magic potion rather than a once distilled vodka made from seven varieties of virgin new potatoes – also making it an ideal gift for a gluten free gourmet. (Sherry-lehmann.com; $39.95).

Tea Lovers

The Tea Enthusiasts’ Tea Sampler showcases 13 different teas, including all?6 classes of tea (who knew there so many?), plus portions of scented, smoked, and flavored teas. Included in this year’s sampler are the  popular house blends (Irish Breakfast and Russian Wine) and an exclusive in-store scented Earl Grey. Complete with an informative booklet describing each of the thirteen teas, information is included on how to make perfect tea every time: measurements, steeping times, and water temperature. (Teatrekker.com $32.00)

Book: Ducasse Made Simple

Sampling the cuisine of Alain Ducasse, the world famous chef whose bevy of restaurants around the world have earned him more Michelin stars than any other chef in history, would be a life changing gift for any food lover. But we don’t see a plane ticket to Monte Carlo fitting into this year’s budget, so M. Ducasse has created the perfect alternative. Ducasse Made Simple offers 100 recipes from the master chef simplified for the home cook. Strawberry and cream tartlets, cherry vacherin, crispy foie gras triangles and herbed duck ravioli are just a few of the thank you gifts you can expect in return. (Amazon.com $21.73)

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