Christmas Stocking Fillers For Foodies
BY HAYLEY GILBERT
With just over a month to go, you may be thinking about the perfect present for family, friends and loved ones. You can’t go far wrong with something for the kitchen, as everyone loves a good gadget or a nifty piece of kit that they can use throughout the entertaining season and beyond. To kick-start your shopping list, here are some of my top picks to bring festive cheer this year…
1) ÜLLO WINE PURIFIER
For something really unique, the Üllo wine purifier, £69.99 at www.uk.ullowine.com, restores wine to its natural state using innovative Selective Sulphite Capture™ technology. Did you know that sulphates are added to wine as a preservative, in order to prevent oxidation and bacterial spoilage during transportation and storage? I didn’t! As well as adding a bitter taste, some people are actually allergic to these sulphates, so this handy gadget is just the thing to get rid. It works as a magnet to pull the sulphates out while retaining all the other compounds, giving you a natural glass of wine to enjoy. You can find it at Harrods, Firebox, Amazon and the Üllo website, alongside carafes and decanters too. Cheers!
2) LIND DNA CHOPPING BOARDS
Our cutting blocks get so much use all year round, so treat someone – or yourself – to something from LIND DNA’s collection that looks like wood but is in fact made from recycled Kraft paper. The boards are therefore thin, lightweight, easy to clean and dishwasher-safe too. Available in Ash or Walnut and four shapes – square, rectangular, circle and curve – they are approved for food and can be used for serving up cold cuts, cheese and tapas. Prices start from £26 at www.linddna.com and you can also use them as trivets for hot pots and pans as they are heat resistant up to 200˚C.
3) SAVERNAKE BESPOKE BRITISH KNIVES
Made in their workshops in the heart of Wiltshire, Savernake knives are crafted using a combination of precision engineering and complete customisation. It’s the brand of choice for Michelin starred restaurateur Mark Sargeant and, as well as having the knife engraved with any kind of imagery, name or date, the style and shape of the blade itself can be designed to suit the user. Choose from a range of handles including coloured wood, English walnut or Corian® as well as a contrasting coloured liner and pins. Head to www.savernakeknives.co.uk to check them out. They are said to cut better, weigh less and sharpen more easily than other blades and come with a lifetime guarantee.
4) MICROPLANE PROFESSIONAL PEELER
One staple of every Christmas is peeling the potatoes so why not make it simpler this year with the gift of a Microplane Professional Peeler, £19.95 at www.hartsofstur.com and independent cookshops nationwide. The ultra-sharp curved stainless steel double blade swivels up to 30˚ to contour soft and hard, long and round fruit and vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and butternut squash. It even comes with an integral potato eye remover.
5) MICROPLANE PIZZA CUTTER
Whether it’s a homemade slice of Italian heaven or a takeaway when you’ve had enough of cooking, make slicing pizza a breeze with this Microplane Pizza Cutter, £15.95 at www.hartsofstur.com and independent cookshops nationwide. The ultra-sharp round blade handles crusts with ease, as well as focaccia, flat breads, tarts, pies and other baked delights. You can also remove the blade to pop it in the dishwasher.
6) STAUB ENAMELLED CAST IRON COOKWARE
I’m a huge fan of this French cast iron cookware, which was the preferred choice of culinary legend Paul Bocuse as well as Claude Bosi of two Michelin starred Bibendum in South Kensington. STAUB’s iconic La Cocotte is a casserole-style pot available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and is designed to help develop the flavour of food during cooking. Its multi-layered, black matte enamelled interior surface has a rough texture that acts like a micro-grill structure to ensure even cooking and caramelisation, without burning or sticking. The juices that collect in the tiny gaps of the black surface are highly concentrated in flavour and aroma and form the perfect base for exquisite sauces. The matte enamel is also exceptionally scratch resistant and easy to clean after use. For Christmas, how about the Snowflake design in Cherry (£229) or the Christmas Tree in Basil (£249) at www.staub-online.com
7) OXO STAINLESS STEEL SCALE
When it comes to weighing out and measuring ingredients, accuracy is key. With OXO’s stainless steel digital scale (£49.95 at www.johnlewis.com), common problems when using large mixing bowls and jugs are eliminated thanks to a large pull-out display. It pulls away from the base, so you can read it clearly then slide it back in after use. Fingerprint-resistant, it also allows you to add extra ingredients as you go and has a removable platform for hand washing.
8) KITCHENAID PEBBLED PALM STAND MIXER
Who wouldn’t love one of these beauties under the Christmas tree? The iconic Artisan 4.8L Stand Mixer from KitchenAid (£599 at www.kitchenaid.co.uk) now comes in a new Pebbled Palm dusky dark green with a textured finish. Standard stainless steel accessories include a flat beater, dough hook and wire whip – all you need to create festive show stoppers such as Christmas cake, marzipan-filled stollen, pavlova and pastry for sweet and savoury pies.
9) KITCHENAID FOOD PROCESSOR IN EMPIRE RED
Check out KichenAid’s 1.7L and 2.1L food processors, too, with their one-click, twist-free bowl and latched lid with feeding tube and paddle controls. In Empire Red, Almond Cream, Matte Black and Matte Grey, they cost £119 and £179 at www.kitchenaid.co.uk.