2013 Holiday Staff PicksPosted: December 5, 2013
We had so much fun choosing our most favorite gift items for last year’s Holiday Staff Picks, that we’ve broken up our picks for this year into two entries. Stay tuned next week for our Under $50 Favorites.
This week, we asked our staff members to choose from our wide selection what they would give (or want to receive) this holiday. Some went all out, and some focused on the smaller things in life; here is what they said:
Zojirushi Bread Maker
I would consider this a spectacular gift if someone wanted to get me something special. After all, I was a very good girl this year! I like fresh bread, but don’t find the time to devote to mixing, rising, kneading, and monitoring it while it bakes. It would be great to simply fill with the ingredients, set, and then eat when complete.
I decided to choose a really fun tool that I want to give everybody. It’s not just for canning; I use this all the time for a myriad of uses: filling my bird feeder (yup, that’s right!), filling jars with leftover soups, etc. It’s a very handy item to have around, and at only $1.99 I’ll be stuffing it in a lot of stockings this year!
Fante’s Pastry Board
The ideal surface for mixing, kneading and rolling bread and pastry dough. Made in the USA, each board has its own unique appearance, and I love the lip on each side so that it doesn’t move around on the counter when I’m rolling or kneading. I think every baker would love this gift.
Soda Plus Carbonated Beverage Maker
$59.99 (reg. $88.99)
It’s a crazy carbonator! Any clear liquid can be made into a fun fizzy drink. Fill canister with clear liquid, put on top with charger, shake, and boom! You’ve got an instantly sparkled drink! I use it for white wine to make a spritzer, and I love that it doesn’t require a lot of counter space. It’s so nice looking, too.
Romertopf 4.2 Quart Clay Covered Baker
$64.99 (original price $79.99)
Aside from the fact that this clay baker is beautiful, what I like the most about this Romertopf is its multifunctional capabilities. I can use it to bake breads, roast meats, and prepare delicious casseroles. And it’s amazing how effective this old fashioned material can be: I know that my bread crust will be crispy, my meats will be juicy, and my casseroles will bake evenly.
5 Qt and 6 Qt KitchenAid Stand Mixers
Now is the time to indulge someone or treat yourself. Now through Christmas, KitchenAid 5-Qt and 6-Qt stand mixers have a $50 mail-in rebate. That, with our already great price, makes this the perfect time to add this to your wish list. Since I already have a KitchenAid, I wouldn’t mind receiving the newest bowl liner accessory for my 5-Qt, or some of the nifty, high quality attachments that really help make food prep easy.
Fante’s Pro Line 5-Piece Knife Set
$199.99 (reg. $239.99)
What a great price point! For the price, you can get a set of four great knives, which to me is a deal, since it’s equal to the price of a single 8” chefs knife from some other brands! This set, which we import directly from Germany, is all you need in a kitchen, and as a nice bonus, it also includes a honing steel. Awesome knives for an awesome price… what could be better?
Fagor 3-in-1 Electric Multicooker
I love the idea of having a slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker at my disposal, but unfortunately, my South Philly kitchen simply cannot accommodate all three. Hello, Fagor 3-in-1 Multi-Cooker! If I plan ahead, I can start a slow cooked meal in the morning before work. More likely, I can throw together a risotto in minutes after I arrive home or even take it to a potluck and cook the risotto on the counter on the pressure cooker setting while we enjoy some appetizers! The rice cooker feature is a bonus. We bought one for my father and he can’t stop raving about it to anyone who will listen.
Kilner Preserving Pan
A home preserver’s kitchen would be incomplete without a Jam Pan. This large stainless steel pan from Kilner is as beautiful as it is functional. Perfect for making jams, chutneys, and more. Surprise your favorite preserver with this as a holiday gift, and you might be lucky enough to receive some delicious treats in return!
Le Souk Ceramic Tagine
In an era of high technology, sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Think of a tagine as an ancient “slow-cooker.” The shape of the tagine allows for steam to rise from the food and condense on the cone shaped lid, dripping back down onto the food, continually basting it, leaving you with a succulent meal. These traditional terra cotta tagines are handmade in Tunisia. They are beautiful, functional and a great addition to any gourmet cook’s kitchen.
Hurom Slow Juicer
$299.99 (new price, was $399.99)
Love it! This is one stylishly designed juicer combining both good looks and function. As a masticating juicer it yields more juice and more nutrients than other types of juicers. It has a quiet motor (who doesn’t love that!?), and compact size saving valuable counter space.
Lift & Serve 12-cavity Single Square Tart Pan
I love making tarts… especially mini tarts because it keeps me from eating too many of what I make. Everybody should have one of these nifty molds. And small size tarts make great gifts to bring to parties that everybody can pick up with their fingers and enjoy. Simply giving it as a gift should be encouragement enough to them to bring a big dish of of mini tarts to your next party!
The Smoking Gun
This hand-held smoker is on the top of my wish list this year. I love the taste of smoked food, and this is the ultimate tool for making anything taste like it came straight from the smoker, even salad, ice cream and beverages! Traditional smoking can take hours, but the Smoking Gun lets you smoke foods in mere minutes, and it’s small size is perfect for my city kitchen.
Cusinart Turkey Fryer
$248.99 (reg. $475.00)
I love anything fried, but I’m sick and tired of trying to make fried chicken in a stock pot. The result – grease everywhere in the kitchen… such a mess! This deep fryer really makes it easier. If you take out the rotisserie piece, you can fry large batches of chicken all at once, and the lid keeps in any grease that might splatter otherwise.
Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker
Baking, Bacon, and Belgian waffles are my three greatest loves, so it’s only right that I should treat myself to this amazing machine. Easy to use, excellent results, and great with Belgian pearl sugar!
All-Clad 5 Quart Stainless Steel Saute Pan with Lid
This pan allows more room to turn and flip, prevents splattering, and is excellent for browning due to its vertical sides rather than the traditional slope you find in skillet or fry pans.The All-Clad line is made right here in the USA, and with its three bonded layers of 18/10 stainless steel interior, aluminum core, and magnetic stainless steel exterior, this is a pan that’s not only well made, but one that provides even heating and excellent conductivity. You can rest assured that it’s a gift any cook will love!