Combining quality with value is always important when you’re shopping, but for the epicurean on your list, there’s a further challenge. You’re likely looking for something really different, perhaps a bit whimsical — and in the end, supremely practical. From stocking-stuffers to show-stoppers, here are some suggestions to suit every budget and support your local merchants at the same time!
The Pot Clip by Trudeau is attached right to the edge of a pan, keeping the spoon suspended and eliminating the problem of pasta sauce or gravy on the stove top. Available in red or royal blue. High-heat resistant silicone stays cool to the touch.
$8.99 each, Bradshaws, 129 Ontario Street, Stratford
Sheer functionality meets funky with this striking Emile Henry Cerise (red) Bowl from France. Touted on the website as “Jill’s Favourite,” it’s easy to envision how this handy bowl will quickly become a cherished classic for years to come. Whether it’s heaped with salad greens or doing casserole-duty from oven to table, this is a quality multipurpose item that will become a kitchen stand-by. Oven and microwave safe.
$49.99, Jill’s Table, 115 King Street, London,
Fearlessly serve a perfect poached egg every time with the help of this brilliant new product. Poachies are small individual bags that allow boiling water to contact the egg but prevent any leakage of the egg itself. The result is a divinely soft yolk obtained without vinegar, twirling or the shame associated with serving your egg as a triangle. An added bonus is that many eggs can be poached at the same time, and for the health-conscious, there’s no need for butter or oil. For an excellent video of the product, go to: www.poachies.com.
Whether you’re shopping for a new food processor or buying one for the first time, you owe it to yourself to consider the Breville Sous-Chef. With a 5 ½”-wide chute that easily accommodates larger veggies without chopping and the choice of 24 thickness-control settings, this is a serious kitchen tool. The 1200-watt induction motor has a 25-year guarantee and its handy storage case for blades is lockable. You can also program your own preferences into the machine for a predictable result each time. A mini-processing bowl is included for smaller tasks.
$499.99, Kingsmills, 130 Dundas Street, London,
Check out this innovative product for keeping wine at the optimum temperature — The Corkcicle. No more ice buckets, condensation or guesswork. Successfully cools white wine or brings a heavy red to a more appropriate temperature. The Corkcicle, which its creators call an “elegant icicle filled with thermal gel” resides in the freezer till ready to be used and is then inserted in the bottle to chill from inside. Allows wine to stay on the table and remain at its most palatable. You can see a demonstration here: www.corkcicle.com/classic .
$24.99, Kiss the Cook, 551 Richmond Street, London, www.kissthecookonline.com
Whether you’re making cucumber slices for lunch or adding some whispers of fennel to a salad, a Mandoline is a handy friend in the kitchen. This model by OXO boasts a soft grip holder to keep hands safe, and the blades are covered when not in use. Broad, non-slip feet provide stability, and there’s the usual OXO customer satisfaction guarantee to back their product. The entire unit folds up when not in use.
$75.00, Restaurant Equipment & Supply Co. Ltd.,
234 William Street, London, www.rescolon.ca
Here’s a perfect go-to Large Bar Pan that combines good looks with functionality. From cooking a roast to baking squares or preparing roast veggies for a crowd,
this 10 x 15½ inch (25 x 39 cm) pan in attractive, hard-working stoneware does it all. Consider adding some of the wide array of meat rubs, sauces, and seasonings available from The Pampered Pantry at www.pamperedchef.ca to make this a standout gift for anyone.
$46.00, The Pampered Chef (online only), www.pamperedchef.biz/susanzip.
Sue Sutherland Wood is a freelance writer who also works in the London Public Library system. Read more of Sue’s work at www.womenspost.ca