The temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter — ’tis the season to retreat to the kitchen! Whether you are looking for something for holiday entertaining, for hosting simple family gatherings or to provide the perfect gift, local retailers offer plenty of new and exciting products to choose from this season.
Items for Every Kitchen
Without a doubt, the hottest new item in kitchenware comes from Charles Viancin. As an alternative to plastic wrap, these silicone lids suction to any bowl or drinking glass, are heat resistant, and come in a varietyof designs and colours. “We can’t keep these in stock!” says Carrie Wreford, owner of Bradshaws in Stratford.
Wreford also loves another eco-friendly storage solution: Bee’s Wrap, touted as “the ‘new’ old-fashioned alternative to plastic wrap”. Made of beeswax and cloth, these re-usable wraps come in three sizes and can be molded to create a seal around just about anything.
Who doesn’t enjoy a splash of fresh citrus? Tapping into the juice is easy with the Lekué Citrus Spray. “Plug this sucker into a lemon, lime or orange and spritz away!” says Wreford.
Every kitchen needs a good grater. Lawrence Burden, owner of Kiss the Cook in London, equips his in-store kitchen with the Cuisipro Dual Grater, coarse on one end and fine on the other. “It’s good for garlic, zesting, chocolate, cheese, nutmeg, ginger. It’s easy to clean — just rinse under water,” says Burden. Priced at $14.99 it makes a great (pun intended) stocking stuffer too.
“The knife is the most used tool in a kitchen,” says Burden. “Properly honed, you might only have to bring it in once a year for professional sharpening.” Burden recommends the Edgeware Oval Ceramic Sharpening Rod for maintaining knives at home.
“Coffee is huge right now,” says Burden. “These Le Creuset cappuccino and espresso cups and saucers bring vibrant colour and life to the kitchen when you are having your coffee at the beginning or end of the day.”
Burden also loves the Ravi Wine Vacuum Stopper he discovered at a recent gift show. “Until now they’ve always come in two pieces,” says Burden. “With this one, you just pump out the air and leave it on the bottle. A simple idea — all in one.” This functional item comes in a variety of colours and also makes a wonderful stocking stuffer.
For the Serious Culinary Artist
Epicurean creations require functional and reliable cookware.
“Nonstick cookware has become so evolving, from Teflon and the scares of PFOAs [perfluorooctanoic acid],” says Burden. Kiss the Cook equips its kitchen with Le Creuset’s forged hard-anodized pans. “Trust me, my chefs put them to the test!” says Burden. This product has proven itself so well that it now comes with a lifetime warranty.
Heather Carey, manager at Jill’s Table in London, agrees that non-stick is going to have a big challenge. Jill’s Table has recently re-introduced Swiss Diamond Non-Stick Cookware. “This is all they [Swiss Diamond] do — they just do non-stick and they do it well,” says Carey.
Carey also recommends Emile Henry pizza stones as an excellent gift. “They go on the barbeque as well as the oven,” says Carey. The stones come in round and rectangular shapes and sizes and can be used with the specialty pizza flours and sauces available at Jill’s Table.
Although expensive, ranging from $500 to over $750, the Vitamix blender has become a popular item. It is powerful enough to turn cooked food into hot soup and frozen fruit into ice cream in seconds. “Most blenders are good for maybe 2 years — this comes with a seven year warranty, almost unheard of in electrical goods,” says Burden. “It’s a huge investment, but more and more people, concerned about what’s going into their bodies, are committed to that fast, powerful machine in their kitchen — and the seven-year warranty makes it easier.”
Beautiful wooden salad bowls and charcuterie boards hand-crafted by Trevor Ewert of Once Upon a Tree are available in London exclusively at Jill’s Table. Each one is unique and they come in a vast range of sizes. “It’s a fabulous piece for Christmas,” says Carey. “The very big boards are lovely for the centre of the table — [Trevor] calls them entertaining boards.”
For The Clean-Up Crew
Epic meals often produce epic messes. Avoid cooktop spills with the Charles Viancin Overboil Ring. This heat-resistant silicone device prevents food and liquid from splattering and boiling over. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe.
Make clean-up easier with Scrubbies. These colourful little cloths are only $2.95 each. “They’re great at the sink — great anywhere, even a ceramic stove top,” said Burden. “They last longer than anything you’ll find at the grocery store and you just clean them in the top shelf of the dishwasher.”
With so much to choose from, it is sure to be a season of Happy Shopping and Merry Cooking in and around London this year!
LORI MADDIGAN is a fresh market aficionado from London. Recently becoming ‘too-young-to-be-retired’, she is happily devoting more time to her second career as a freelance writer.