It’s the fabulous time of year for celebrating the holidays with your family and friends. When it comes to choosing hostess and holiday gifts, sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Inspiring Kitchen is here to be your personal holiday shopper. You will find a range of gifts that focus on cooking, entertaining, home décor, foods and beverages to thrill your host, hostess, family and friends. Don’t forget to treat yourself as well to these wonderful gifts.
Finding unique gifts for the food lover is always challenging but have I got two solutions for you! Both items are perfect for those who love making a dish their own.
Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauce Company
For anyone who loves flavor and heat, then Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauce is for you. The company has a story that everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit should read about. A California man trying to protect his garden from critters decided to plant peppers as a natural deterrent. Didn’t help the vegetables much but gave him lots of peppers to enjoy. So, when “life gives you peppers, you make hot sauce”!
And soon the word spread about Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauce that went far beyond the local community. Internet orders began coming in from all over the world. “Soon to be famous” had now become “getting famous”. Inspiring Kitchen is sharing this find with you to be used not just as a last minute add on to your eggs (which is a delicious option if you haven’t tried it yet) but as an ingredient in your dishes. Here’s one recipe that may have you buying a bottle just for yourself:
Grilled Salmon – combine Tiffany’s Topanga Torcher with mayonnaise, spread on both sides of Salmon and grill. Wow! So good! And Easy!
Tiffany’s Topanga Hot Sauces are not novelty hot sauces, however. They are serious flavor and heat. Try them with any of these dishes for a memorable meal:
- Chicken Wings/Chicken
- Stir Fry
- Salad Dressing
Or as enhancements for guacamole, curries, eggs, soups, potatoes, Thai food and soups, Asian noodle dishes, Mexican and Spanish food, spiced up aoli, cocktail sauce, and cream cheese dip.
There are three different styles of hot sauce:
Tiffany’s Topanga Torcher (Hot) – made with Habanero, Jalapeno, Serrano, Thai and Arbol Peppers
Tiffany’s Topanga Ghost (Hotter) – Torcher ingredients plus Ghost and Smoked Ghost peppers
Tiffany’s Topanga Scorpion (Hottest) – Torcher ingredients plus Ghost peppers and Trinidad Moraga Scorpion peppers
Each bottle sells for $8.75 but I highly recommend the gift sets that are in 3, 6, or 12 packs to really let the peppers tempt your taste buds. For the adventurous eater and cook with a palate for upping the flavor and heat, it’s time to introduce you to Tiffany’s Torcher Hot Sauces. Visit www.torcherhotsauce.com for more information.
Can you imagine ketchup without tomatoes? Seems like such a strange concept, right? Until you try Not Ketchup’s gourmet sauces. How about meatballs with a cherry chipotle sauce? Or smoky date pork chops? Four different flavors to tempt your palate and open your mind to create dishes that are far from ordinary.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to preservative filled condiments, you are going to like what you see in this ingredient list. There is no corn syrup, white sugar, artificial colors, preservatives and flavors. Plus, they are low in sodium. Instead, Demerara sugar (an unrefined cane sugar), honey and molasses are used as sweeteners in addition to the fruit. Important to mention is that you will find real fruit as the very first ingredient on every single bottle. The savory vinegar and spices balance the sweet fruit flavors to add just the right combination to each bottle. You will get sweet, savory and tart flavors in each bite. So good!
Here’s how it all started. Food blogger, Erika, from Erika’s Kitchen, went cherry picking with her children only to come home with 30 pounds of cherries. Tired of making pies and jam, she experimented using fruits to create recipes that would be delicious on a wide variety of dishes.
Her masterpieces include:
Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup – best with seafood, pork
Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup – best with burgers, fries, ribs
Smoky Date Not Ketchup – best with pork chops, cheese, sausage
Spiced Fig Not Ketchup – best with lamb, pork, cheese
The variety of recipes and uses for these sauces is endless. Marinades, glazes, baking sauce or dips are just a few ideas of how to use Not Ketchup in your meals. Think beyond main courses or appetizers too. How about using Smoky Date Not Ketchup in a cake recipe? Have children who are “particular” eaters but will eat anything you serve them if they can dip it into a sauce? They can choose from 4 choices of Not Ketchup!
If you are looking for a gift for someone who loves to create dishes that give their guests flavor options for dipping sauces, you should share this find with them. The bottles are $9 each or come in 3, 4 or 12 bottle sets. You will also find many recipes on Not Ketchup’s site to give you ideas of different ways to incorporate these sauces into your menu. Not Ketchup is sold online and in some retailers. Check out the site for more details: http://www.notketchup.com/.
Choosing an alcoholic gift for someone can be intimidating if you are unsure what the recipient’s specific tastes are. Do they drink red or white wine? Do they prefer mixed drinks or liqueurs? Just what is their preference? I am sharing with you three different ideas knowing that at least one will strike a chord with you as a good gift for your host.
SomruS Indian Cream Liqueur
After a wonderful meal, don’t you look forward to a nightcap that is luxurious tasting? Not too strong or overpowering but balanced and enjoyable. Having just attended Chicago Gourmet’s Food and Wine Event, I had the pleasure of being introduced to SomruS Indian Cream Liqueur.
There is a story that surrounds the SomruS name that dates back to 2600 B.C. SomruS means “Nectar of the Gods”. Its roots suggest that this divine beverage may lead to immortality. While this message may be worthy of a debate, what I can share with you is the quality ingredients and taste of this liqueur that has been created from the taste profiles of the Indian subcontinent. It is a blend of pure dairy cream and hand crafted Caribbean Rum with the luscious flavors of cardamom, saffron, almonds, pistachios and rose to create a 21st century version of SomruS.
For those creative bakers in your life, imagine a bread pudding, crème brulee or cheesecake made with SomruS? The flavors mixing and mingling with the ingredients of each recipe. How memorable would this meal be then? Or as an after dinner drink that can be sipped warm or cold?
As a gift, this ornate red and gold bottle is beautiful on its own let alone the creamy, delicious Indian spiced contents. Whether for the holidays or as a hostess gift, SomruS The Original Indian Cream Liqueur would be appreciated. It is made in the U.S. selling for $25. For more information, please see: http://www.somrus.com/
Life throws you obstacles and you need to determine how to best maneuver your next steps. For Jack Summers, that meant creating a company called Jack From Brooklyn, that produces and distributes a liqueur based on his family’s Caribbean heritage. Sorel actually originated as a Bajan hibiscus tea called “sorrel” which is made from dried hibiscus petals blended with spices and roots like cinnamon and ginger and sometimes spiked with rum.
As Jack reorganized his world, he created an island-spiked hibiscus tea now called Sorel which is made with Brazilian clove, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg, Moroccan hibiscus, pure cane sugar and organic grain alcohol. Warm or cold, this burgundy colored liqueur is spiced to perfection.
Within Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distillery from the World’s Hippest Borough, you will find three unique recipes incorporating Sorel in very different ways. Each beautifully presented in the photography that accompanies the recipe and story.
The uniqueness of Sorel’s flavor, story behind its origination and delicious recipes makes this a welcome gift for the holidays. Sorel can be found at liquor stores across the country and sells for $35. http://jackfrombrooklyn.com/
Buying a gift for someone usually takes in to consideration their personal style and from Inspiring Kitchen’s perspective, their taste. Literally and figuratively. In this case, the first thing to capture your attention when given a bottle of VDKA 6100 is the stunning bottle. It looks like a piece of art. And when you hear the story of how this vodka was created, the bottle’s design will make sense.
VDKA 6100 is a collaboration of artisans and sources. It originated in Australia with the name being inspired by the Australian country code. The bottle’s beauty is sculpted in France and handcrafted from the world’s best glass manufacturer, Saverglass, with the anodised silver lid and cork coming from Italy. The unique bottle design was created in NY by Designer, Joe Doucet, and distilled in New Zealand. The artistic aspect of the bottle’s design comes from the philosophy of wanting to highlight the quality and purity of what’s inside. This image is shown by using high quality flint glass and finishing the look with a frosted “Savercoat”.
As for the Vodka itself, it has its own special characteristics as it is made from natural spring water and fresh seasonal whey resulting in a clean, pure taste. It’s different from other vodkas as it has a floral and citrus note but is very light and silky smooth. Think of mixed cocktails with lime or lemon as a natural pairing or an icy cold VDKA 6100 with a slice of lemon.
The final piece of information about this brand is its team of owners and supporters: Australian casino mogul, James Packer, and the one and only, Robert De Niro. You may not be aware that Robert De Niro is considered a global tastemaker and visionary in the hospitality industry as he is also the co-creator of VDKA 6100.
If you are looking for a gift for someone who enjoys entertaining, VDKA 6100 is something to consider. It’s important to note that the brand just launched in February, 2014, so distribution is still focused on the East Coast. However, it is growing and anticipated to become available in markets across the country. The website will provide you additional information on where you can find it. It is selling for $35. http://www.vdka6100.com/
For people who enjoy cooking, we can never have enough cookbooks. I personally read them like a novel. I enjoy the photographs, stories that are shared about how each recipe came to be and of course, the recipe itself. Choosing a book for someone when you are unsure of what one already has or perhaps will like, can be intimidating. So, I am sharing a collection of different themed books for you to choose from knowing that at least one will be a perfect gift.
Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough
This book is a fascinating read of the Slow Food inspired food and drink activity in Brooklyn over the last 20 years. The concept is similar to farm to table but is instead distillery to glass. The approach to the writing is the sharing of history, distillery education, photography and of course recipes. You will be introduced to the back stories of the distillers, their motivations for going into the craft business, how they see themselves compared to the competition and commentary from the best local bartenders sharing their recipes.
This book is destined for coffee tables not book shelves. The photography alone is beautiful. Your eyes take in the cocktail as if it was in front of you while you are visiting with friends in your neighborhood bar. It’s a personal feeling not one of showiness.
In fact, Inspiring Kitchen is sharing a craft distilled liqueur called Sorel with you as a part of this gift guide that is highlighted in this book. The distiller’s story is passionate and motivating. Read about Sorel and enjoy the delicious recipes utilizing this spiced beverage envisioning yourself in the warmth and beauty of the Caribbean.
You will find Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and local independent bookstores. It sells for $25 on Amazon. (Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough)
The Kitchen Decoded
There is more to cooking than just following recipes. Understanding the kitchen equipment you should be using to complete each dish will make the experience that much more enjoyable. This book is not just composed of recipes. But also offers an education on how to use the tools you have in your kitchen. For example, everyone has cookie sheets in their drawers. But, do you know that there are a variety of purposes and metals for the pans? Some are light in color; others have rims along the sides. Some are meant for nonstick baking while others are perfect for roasting vegetables.
The Kitchen Decoded chapters are broken down by equipment headings rather than by dessert or appetizer. The origination of the concept for this book came from Logan Levant, the owner of LA’s famous Buttercake Bakery. She found herself showing friends how to use the kitchen tools they had received as gifts and realized that this would be valuable for others to understand as well. Throughout the book, cooking and baking tips are also offered alongside the recipes to give that additional guidance.
This book is a terrific gift to show new cooks how to best use their wedding gifts, for example. It would also be a helpful resource for those who have been cooking for a while but didn’t realize the extent of opportunity that the food processor can do for them in the kitchen. The recipes offered are ideal for every day cooking and entertaining. The photography will make you hungry and eager to try the recipes yourself!
If you are looking for a gift for someone who is eager to learn how to cook or who wants to understand all the wonderful tools they have in their kitchen, The Kitchen Decoded cookbook is just what they need. Cute gift idea is to pair a kitchen gadget with the book as well. You can find it online at Amazon for $19. The Kitchen Decoded: Tools, Tricks, and Recipes for Great Food
This brand new cookbook is just one in a line of beautifully written recipes and photographs from Yotam Ottolenghi. His previous books Plenty, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi have all been New York Times bestsellers. He writes on vegetarian cooking for The Guardian and appears on the BBC. But, this book will capture your attention simply because of the colorful and extraordinary pictures of Yotam’s dishes. Vegetarian or not, your interest in creating vegetable based dishes as main courses or sides is going to sky rocket. Whether entertaining, cooking for your family or yourself, Plenty More will give you a wealth of ideas on how to create flavorful, brightly colored and uniquely combined recipes that will work for all taste buds. You will find more than 150 dishes prepared tossed, grilled, baked, simmered, cracked, fried or braised and carrying all the zest and rich essences that are his hallmark. He uses spices, seasonality and bold flavors to accomplish his goals.
Plenty More is organized by cooking method which is designed to bring out the best in the ingredients: Tossed, Steamed, Blanched, Simmered, Braised, Grilled, Roasted, Fried, Mashed, Cracked, Baked and Sweetened. You will be introduced to new foods like black garlic, for example. He will show you how to incorporate unique items to get the most out of them for each recipe. This book is focused on techniques in constructing a dish, in putting together components and arranging them in layers of flavor, texture and color. If Plenty, through its structure and recipe selection, tried to shed light on groups of Yotam’s favorite ingredients, Plenty More takes these favorites and adds to it and then focuses on cooking techniques and methods that best utilize their potential. Try roasting lemons or braising lettuce. Simple, every day items made extraordinary.
Yotam Ottolenghi is a well known restauranteur with multiple locations in London as well as being an established and highly regarded cookbook author. His recipes teach you not only how to create flavorful dishes with unique ingredients but also how to technically prepare the meal. This book will become a staple in your home for brunches through dinners surprising even the most committed carnivore to the benefits found within the flavors of the world of vegetables. Finally, just because Yotam Ottolenghi is known as a vegetarian Chef should not minimize his skills in creating dessert recipes. Richness in flavor and color carries through to his decadent desserts as well. You can find Plenty More at Amazon for $21. (Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi)
Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda
For the coffee lover, there is nothing better than a steaming cup of fragrant coffee to start the day. Unless you have the opportunity to support a hard working community in a far away land who harvest your coffee beans by hand and with great pride. This is an environment where the people are filled with determination and hope for the future. They are building a sustainable lifestyle bringing the world a collection of coffees that highlight the flavors of Rwanda and the strength of its people.
Grace Hightower De Niro was inspired by the Rwandan people, creating these coffees as a way to celebrate and support the coffee farmers of Rwanda. She heard the president of Rwanda speak about “trade not aid” for his people. Through direct sourcing, fair trade, ethical practices and environmental stewardship, Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda is dedicated to the coffee farmers to allow them to create sustainable businesses that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
The holiday season is the perfect time to think about how fortunate we are and to reach out and help those working hard to make their world a better place. Coffee of Grace offers you that opportunity to buy a variety of coffee roasts individually or in gift packages. You will find Light, Medium and Espresso roasts as well as their Signature Series in stores and online. To really personalize your gift, include the Signature Series in your gift package. You will find a label on the packaging highlighting where the coffee is from and the producer’s story.
For more information and to order, please see www.coffeeofgrace.com. Coffee beans start at $12.95 per bag. Don’t forget to order some for yourself, too. Not only will your day start out beautifully, but you will be supporting the people of Rwanda with every purchase.
Zoku Ice Coffee Maker
This is the perfect gift for any coffee (or tea) lover. It is the easiest way to make ice coffee in less than two minutes without watering down your coffee with ice cubes. Like other Zoku products, there is an insert that you leave in the freezer for when you are ready to make your drink. Brew your coffee like you normally would and put the stainless steel cup into the insulated sleeve. Pour your steamy hot coffee into the cup and within two minutes, you will have ice coffee. It’s designed to use as a travel mug as well. This is a BPA-free and phthalate-free product.
For anyone who enjoys ice coffees and teas, this is a terrific gift. Pair it with the recipient’s favorite coffees and teas or introduce them to yours (see Grace Hightower De Niro’s Coffee of Rwanda above) for the ideal gift. You can find the Zoku Ice Coffee Maker at local retailers for $30. http://www.williamssonoma.com
The beauty of gift giving is the opportunity to choose truly personal items that suit your recipient. It is for that reason I am introducing you to Ben’s Garden. You may have already seen Ben’s designs as his decoupage talents are found in over 800 stores in the U.S. and internationally, online, on Oprah’s “O-List”, in magazines (inStyle) or on Martha Stewart’s show where he shared with her how to decoupage an antique map.
Ben’s story is quite special as he began Ben’s Gardens when he was just 8 years old selling decoupage inspired by his garden. His pieces are artistically created with text and photographs. Some will have lots of color and others will be simple, clean messages. He is probably best known for his decorative trays with sayings on them that are either quotes or philosophies that are worth remembering or those with images. In addition to the trays, Ben offers Copper & Glass Photo Frames, French Crystal Oval Paperweights, Scribble Notepads, Cocktail Napkins, Copper & Glass Coaster Sets, Gilded Vintage Expression Artwork and of course, his Custom Decoupage Collection. There is also a holiday collection that would make a memorable gift for anyone lucky enough to receive a piece of Ben’s art.
The elegant trays are handmade with a decoupaged image on hand-blown glass. Each piece has a felt back and is signed by Ben. The glass trays are food safe and may be hung on the wall. They are made in New York.
Should you order directly from the website or within Ben’s Garden stores, your gift will arrive beautifully wrapped with total attention to detail from the choice of paper to the ribbon to the box itself subtly engraved with Ben’s Garden logo. The packaging alone is lovely!
The number of items that Ben’s Garden offers is extensive. I highly encourage you to spend some time on the website to see the vast assortment available to you. It’s nostalgic, artsy, colorful, touching and special when you read the messages and know you have just the right gift chosen for your friends and family members. To see all of Ben’s pieces, please visit http://www.bensgarden.com.
Bamboo Cheeseboard and Cheese Knives
For people who love to entertain, offering a variety of cheeses to your guests is a natural addition to a party’s menu. Florida luxury home design retailer, Turner Bay, has a great gift idea for you in this Bamboo Cheeseboard and Cheese Knives set. I particularly like that there is a hidden drawer where the 4 cheese knives are stored. Makes it so easy to keep all the pieces together. This set comes with 4 stainless steel and bamboo handled cheese knives designed for soft and hard cheeses. It has a cracker serving tray around the board edge and includes a lifetime warranty. This would be a nice hostess or holiday gift for anyone who enjoys throwing parties.This is the type of gift that will be used over and over not only during holiday season entertaining but throughout the year.You can find it on Turner Bay’s website, www.turnerbay.com. It sells for $86.
If you want to put together a nice gift set, how about adding a gift certificate to a local cheese shop?
The final suggestion for pairing with a cheeseboard and cheese knives are these porcelain frames. They are perfect for using to identify each kind of cheese on your cheese tray. They can also be used on your table as place setting identifiers. You just need a dry erase marker to write the message. Wipes clean with water. They sell for only $16.99 for a set of 6 at Amazon. (Evelots Set Of 6 Porcelain Place Cards, Re-usable Name Card-White – Easel Backs)
Finding the right gift for someone’s table should take in to consideration their style of entertaining and home decor. I have found that choosing pieces that are multi-purpose are good choices for gift giving whether hostess, holiday, birthday or wedding related. I look for pieces that will highlight the food that is shared and the decor that makes a house a home. For me, Michael Aram has a style that transitions across design tastes whether traditional or contemporary. Michael is an American born artist who moved to New Delhi to begin working with the rich metalworking traditions of the area. His pieces are all about quality, the mark of a true artisan. Bridging the gap between the artist and artisan is a hallmark of Michael Aram’s work. Each piece is entirely handmade with no two examples ever exactly the same. The handmade quality of the work allows it to shift beautifully between the world of fine and decorative art. This confirms the work’s ability to be well placed in homes of differing design. Interestingly, in Hindi, “aram” means “gently, with peace, with love and care”. Very fitting for Michael Aram.
This serving piece from the White Orchid Collection is not only beautiful but also very useful. The white porcelain insert can be used in the oven for a wide variety of dishes and then placed in the frame for serving. From Michael Aram’s perspective, the white nickel orchids offer an illusion of brightness that comes from a new beginning. Isn’t that a nice thought for the holidays and entrance into 2015?! This piece can be found at Bloomingdales Home Stores. www.bloomingdales.com
Interesting serving pieces add an element of sophistication to a table whether you are offering olives, nuts, candy or appetizers. Michael Aram’s 3 bowl sculpture known as Olive Branch Triple Compartment Dish is the right size for dining tables, buffets, coffee and end tables. This lovely piece can be found at Amazon for $159. (Michael Aram Olive Branch Triple Compartment Dish)
When you entertain a lot, you become aware of of the need for a variety of serving utensils you want for your platters and bowls. These tin plated copper spoons are fabulously unique in appearance and in use.
These spoons can be used for anything from serving olives, scoops of fruit or decadent ice cream to mixing root beer floats, lemonade and cocktails. They can be found at http://frenchstudioimports.com/collections/mage, selling for just $10 each.
A thoughtful way to recognize someone who loves to entertain is to share in your favorite finds from your own entertaining style. Having elegant trays available to offer your guests beverages or appetizers is lovely way to welcome your guests into your home. The simple beauty of this mirrored glass and stainless steel round serving piece is highlighted in its modern design. This is also a luxurious way to illuminate the room by setting candles on it with the mirrors reflecting the flames light. You can find this beautiful tray at Z Gallerie for $99.
Aluminum Tray and Table
This final gift idea is for those who love to have parties at the spur of the moment and in any location. This beautiful aluminum tray comes in 3 sizes, offering an added space for indoor and outdoor dining. The hammered pattern gives an elegance to the piece as well as a mirror reflection for the candles flames. This tray can be placed on a coffee or foyer table to enhance home design on a more permanent basis. There is a bonus piece to this gift that may be the icing on the cake for your recipient (or for yourself!). This tray has the ability to be used in conjunction with a black wrought iron stand that is designed to fit any of the three sizes of trays. You now will have a perfectly stable table to use in whatever way you might need it. The stand collapses very easily for storage if you don’t want to have it out all the time. While this is a portable offering, it is pretty and sturdy enough to have on display all year round.
The aluminum tray and stand can be found at http://frenchstudioimports.com/collections/mage/products/aluminium-tray-table.
Just about everyone I know loves to burn candles. This makes them the ideal gift as you can find them in a variety of price points, scents, packaging, wax (soy, paraffin), place of origin and size. Candles are my escape from the outside world. The scents I burn are based on my mood, time of year and the ambience I want to create in my home. Inspiring Kitchen is sharing candles that offer you gift ideas for all the rooms in your home.
The Sitota Collection
Much of this gift guide tells stories on how the products came to be. The Sitota Collection is no different. Yvette Davis Gayle, a L.A. based music publicist, was fortunate to travel the world both professionally and personally. She began creating candles in her kitchen to capture her travel experiences by designing fragrances reminiscent of the landscape she had visited. Her 6 year old son offered her some wise business advice to build manufacturing plants and store locations so the collection can be shared with more people. She, in turn, is teaching her son to follow his dreams and build a business that makes him happy. Ultimately, Yvette’s journey led to Ethiopia where her daughter, Sitota, was born. “The Sitota Collection is inspired by the love of travel and cultural diversity, born out of necessity, to share one of life’s most precious gifts”.
There are four categories that help to define The Sitota Collection:
Beautiful Landscapes: The Sitota Collection pays tribute to the beautiful landscapes and cultures that our family has explored over a span of two decades.
Fine Fragrances: The Sitota Collection uses the highest quality of fine fragrance oils in each luxury candle.
Exotic Locales: The collection draws inspiration from exotic locales from different parts of the world where luxury resides in unique corners.
The fragrances themselves are noteworthy as can be seen in the scent combinations:
BLUE NILE embraces earthy rich bamboo with wild grasses, bergamot, red grapefruit, and jasmine.
AIGYPTOS Sultry and seductive base notes of amber, sandalwood, musk and vanilla are smoothed out and balanced by jasmine, lavender and orange. Infused with essential oils including copaiba, balsam, orange and lavandin
COCO NOIR perfectly combines creamy coconut with tantalizing cassis enabling natural exotic blends to effortlessly calm and relax your spirit
HAVANA is a masculine masterpiece highlighting tobacco, leather, amber and musk. Notes of teakwood, pepper and black tea add boldness. This sophisticated blend is infused with cedarwood, patchouli and pimento berry essential oils.
The Sitota Collection of soy candles would be a thoughtful gift to give to anyone who embraces traveling the world. The fragrances of the candles offer an escape to a different place. On the website, there is even a “recipe” to design new scents by burning more than one of the candles together. Lovely. Sitota means “gift”. How appropriate for this time of year. Please see http://www.thesitotacollection.com/ for more information. The candles burn for 55 hours and sell for $48.
This brand has a sweet story behind its name that make it fitting for hostess and holiday gift giving. The company was derived from a Welsh LoveSpoon. In Wales, a LoveSpoon is a wooden spoon decoratively carved that was traditionally presented as the best wedding gift symbolizing romantic intent. With all the intricate designs, LoveSpoons are not used any longer as spoons but are instead given as gifts for housewarmings, weddings and other special occasions.
These clean burning candles are made of 100% soy and have wood or eco-wicks which are made of cotton. The variety of scents that they offer are ideal for any room in your home. The wood wick candles in the decorative tins burn with a crackling sound as if you are sitting next to a fire. They are a part of the Cornerstone Collection (Exotic Essentials, Festive Fragrances, Serenity Sensations and Decadent Desserts). The Monogram Series offers elegant colored glass jars with cotton eco-wicks. Think French Toast on a Sunday morning or fresh Lemon Verbena to brighten your kitchen. As the holidays approach, how about lighting a Christmas Hearth candle that will fill the air with hints of orange spice with fir, pine and earthy smokiness from the fire? Warm and festive!
When you smell the Quintessence Candles, you smell elegance. If that is possible. It’s the richness of the essential oils that are infused in the candles that make themselves known. Handcrafted in Paris on the Left Bank, the candles are made from the highest quality paraffin wax, essential oils and scents. The wax is infused with 10% concentration of essential oils. The unique scents are inspired by the seasons and foods. There is a candle for every room, occasion and type of weather. With an outdoor temperature today of 18 degrees, the Fire Place scent sounds inviting. Or a sunny fruit scent like Plum for your kitchen. Burn time for these luxurious candles is 30-35 hours.
There are three collections filled with fragrances to appeal to everyone.
Pomone is a collection of perfumed candles to celebrate the revival of nature: Plum, White Peach, Red Fruits, Grapefruit & Wood
Agade is a collection conceived like an invitation to exoticism and dream. The magic and sensuality of the Orient: Galbanum, Myrrh, Tuberose, Fig, Orange Tree Blossom, Rose & Frankincense, Amber
Premices is a collection that is about pure sensory emotional moments: Snowdrop, Fern, Cypress & Chili Pepper, Fire Place, Leather
Here are just a few of the many candles to choose from:
Lead Notes : Tomato leaves, Blackcurrant, Melon, Peach
Heart Notes: Violet, Rose, Freesia, Jasmine, Thyme
Base Notes : Cedar, Camomile, Iris
Arali/Frankincense & Rose:
FLORAL WOODY ORIENTAL
Peony, Rose, Sugar, Santal wood, Musk, Vanilla
ORIENTAL WOODY SPICY
Lead Notes: Plum, Honey
Heart Notes: Violet, Jasmine, Patchouli, Cinnamon
Base Notes: Cedarwood, Gaiac Wood, Sandalwood, Ambery
Indulge in a sensory journey with a fragrant Quintessence candle richly infused with your favorite scent. These would be a lovely hostess or holiday gift. For more information about these candles and their fragrances, please see http://frenchstudioimports.com/collections/quintessence-paris. The candles are offered in two different sizes starting at $56.
When you spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, you will also spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing dishes. If you wear jewelry, you may find yourself removing it when you are making certain recipes or washing dishes. Have you ever misplaced a ring or had it thrown out by accident in the rush to clean up the kitchen? Here are two gift ideas to give the host or hostess who loves to cook.
Mirror Jewelry Box
This beautiful mirrored box is just the right size to be left near the kitchen sink where you can store your jewelry while you are cooking or washing dishes. No worries about losing that special ring if it is safely stored in this lovely felt-lined box.
The jewelry box offers a bit of elegance and glamour to the kitchen and can be monogrammed if desired. You will find it at West Elm selling for just $29. For more information, please see www.westelm.com.
Manzanita Ring Dish
Along the same lines of the jewelry box is this Manzanita Ring Dish that is just the perfect size to have in your bathroom. The tree will hold your rings, watch or bracelet and has an elegant silver finish. This gift is only $19 and can be found at West Elm. www.westelm.com
This is the one item I have seen on more people’s wish lists over the last few years. Birthdays, holidays, weddings and anniversaries. It makes all the lists. What’s interesting is that I hear customers saying, “I need this blender”. And I jump in and say this is so much more than a blender. Yes, you will use it to make your smoothies and margaritas. But, you will also use it to make sauces, soups, ice cream and pureed foods (peanut butter, hummus) among so many other recipes.
The power found in this machine is that of a commercial grade blender: 2.2 peak HP motor. It is however, much quieter, compact (64 ounce capacity) and built with quality in mind. Vitamix is known for their warranty as well. It is a 7 year warranty! This specific model, the 750, has five pre-programmed settings including a self cleaning option. The programmed settings allow you to walk away from the Vitamix while it is doing its job, so you can do yours. The pre-sets are for ice cream (frozen desserts), smoothie, soup and pureed recipes along with the self cleaning option. It also comes with a tamper which is super helpful when making thick mixtures like ice cream and peanut butter as it is designed to not hit the blades when you are using it.
You also have a speed dial option that gives you independent control over the chopping and mixing of ingredients. Make your own fresh grated parmesan cheese instead of buying it in the can. Done in seconds rather than grating it yourself and hoping you spare your knuckles this time.
The Vitamix comes with a cookbook filled with ideas and recipes from gourmet chefs and even a DVD tutorial from Chef Michael Voltaggio. There is a reason this blender is so well loved. I am sure the cook in your family will be beyond excited to open this gift this holiday season. The Vitamix 750 can be found at Amazon for $599. (Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender)
I hope that you enjoyed learning about the items and stories described in this gift guide. Discovering that perfect item for your friends and family is one of those fun challenges in life. 25 creative, delicious, beautiful and luxurious items to choose from. How amazing is that?! Happy Holidays to you!
Disclaimer: Some items have been sent for review and possible inclusion in this gift guide. Any opinions shared in the descriptions are exclusively my own.