Haute Holiday Gift List: If you're looking for a gift for those who like to eat, drink and make merry, you've come to the right place. Savor this tasty assortment of food, beverage and entertaining-related gifts that are sure to satisfy.
As a "wanna-be" chef, I've amassed my share of cutlery over the years. But, I admit I do not take care of this cutlery as well as I should...and it shows. Although my collection of knives is very high quality, repeated use without periodic sharpening has left them duller than they should be and, thus, likely dangerous. Gladly my Chef'sChoice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener (model 1520) has changed all of that. Billed as the world's most versatile sharpener, this device is engineered to put a razor sharp edge on Asian, European and American style knives; fine edge or serrated blades; Santuko and traditional Japanese style single bevel edges including the thicker Deba style blades; as well as sports knives, pocket knives. It's an incredibly thoughtful gift item for the kitchen commandoes in your life. This patented, technologically advanced electric sharpener restores and recreates both a 15 degree angle on Asian style knives and a 20 degree angle on European and American style cutlery. It features 100% "Diamond Hone" abrasives and patented flexible stropping/polishing discs that create a flawless, polished “gothic arch” edge structure (known to be stronger and longer lasting than hollow ground or conventional "V" type edges), and highly precise knife guides automatically position the knife - all resulting in astonishingly sharp edges. In fact, this one-for-all sharpener may have made some of my high-end knifes even sharper than they were when I purchased them! Chef'sChoice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener is a breeze to use, which motivates me to sharpen my knives often these days to keep them in tip-top shape. Its small footprint allows me to keep it on my kitchen counter and at-hand even while cooking. Available with either a white plastic or sleek brushed metal covering. A sharp gift idea, indeed. (www.ChefsChoice.com)
Mary Jurek Design Olivia Pitcher - $164.00
I've covered Mary Jurek Design's incredible hand-hammered tableware in the past, and the company's Fall 2009 collection is filled with yet more artisan pieces I'm dying to share with you, my dear Luxe List reader. One of my favorites – the Oliva design pitcher - is actually the centerpiece of this new collection created as a tribute to the environment. This full-bodied, wide-mouthed, 18/8 stainless steel ewer is crafted in the famous metal producing region of Northern India by local artisans continuing a longstanding family tradition. Its classic shape is smartly profiled by a strong olive tree branch handle that makes it easy to lift and pour, as does its compact one-quart, 7.5" high x 4.5" wide size (not including the handle). The gleaming hand-hammered finish accents the world around it and will duly attract a thirsty crowd. Fancy or casual, it mixes well with all decor and tableware styles. And, feel free to think outside the drink. This posh pitcher also makes a gorgeous vase! As with all of Mary Jurek Designs pieces, this pitcher is dishwasher safe, will not react to hot or cold foods or liquids, and, thank goodness for small favors, never needs polishing. (www.maryjurekdesigninc.com)
Black River Caviar - $102-$1,575
For the socialite or epicure on your list, whether a loved one, friend or the boss whose good graces you seek, a Black River Caviar gift will undoubtedly enthrall. The company's Black River Ossetra Malossol Caviar - among the finest in the world – is a delicacy revered for its fresh, clean, nutty taste, and creamy texture. This light brown to jet-black-colored large-grain caviar is produced in Uruguay from sustainable farm-raised, organic-fed Siberian sturgeon, originally imported as fertilized roe from Russia in 1995. Since all wild sturgeon are endangered, Black River Caviar's "wild-raised" variety is the premier alternative to what is considered one of the most decadent and pleasurable foods in the world.
The company offers a variety of sizes: 30 gram (1.12 oz) tin ($102.00); 50 gram (1.78 oz) tin with an elegant Kabibe River Shell caviar spoon ($170.00); 100 gram (3.57 oz) tin with spoon, perfect for a dinner party of 8 to 10 guests ($325.00); 250 gram (8.93 oz) tin with spoon, for a dinner party of 16 to 20 guests ($800.00); or the lavish 500 gram (17.6 oz) tin offered with the beautiful shell spoon and free shipping ($1,575.00), which will duly impress 30 or 40 guests. I recently treated myself and a few close friends to a tin of Black River Caviar with my favorite preparation: unflavored water cracker topped with the caviar, minced hard boiled egg and onion, and a dollop of cr?me fraîche. Insanely delicious, as unanimously agreed.
Black River Caviar is the ninth largest exporter of caviar to the U.S. and, with its unique harvesting conditions, sustainable quality, exclusivity, and quick delivery turnaround, has proven itself to be the most distinctive caviar on the market. Indeed, some of the most discerning connoisseurs and chefs from around the world indulge in Black River Caviar. Those with discriminating palates on your gift list can, too. (www.blackrivercaviar.com)
"Gourmet To Your Door" Vivabox - $115
As you probably know by know from reading my prior Luxe List columns, I'm all about Vivabox as a fun and flexible gift idea. Vivaboxes essentially combine a traditional themed gift from a giver with freedom of choice for the recipient, who may custom-tailor the Vivabox gift to his or her liking. Among Vivabox's many themed offerings, which includes gift options for oneophiles, spa devotees, coffee lovers and others, is the “Gourmet To Your Door" Vivabox perfect for any foodie on your list. This three-course gourmet meal gift redefines what it means to "dine in." This Vivabox experience starts with the arrival of the box in which the recipient finds 2 elegant dinner napkins and 2 silver-plated napkin rings to set the anticipation in motion. The box also contains a gift card redeemable for one three-course gourmet meal for two to be delivered right to the recipient's doorstep wherever and whenever they choose.
With this unique gift, you'll treat someone to a complete gourmet meal for two prepared by classically trained chefs, coordinated by the aficionados at GourmetStation, and delivered with care. They'll be indulged in the comfort of their own home with tantalizing appetizers, exquisite entrees and side dishes, and delectable desserts sure to please even the most refined of palate. Dining options include French Bistro, Mediterranean Feast, New Orleans Favorites, Red, White and Blue, Taste of the Sea, Vegetable Supreme. To redeem, recipients simply log on to the Vivabox Web site, enter their gift card number and select their meal option of choice where prompted. When it arrives, they'll simply heat and enjoy! (www.vivaboxusa.com)
Revolution Tea Gifts:
30 Count Wooden Tea Gift Chest - $95.00
Stainless Steel Tea Pot - $36.50
Citrus Spice Herbal Tea - $9.99
Revolution is not your grandmother's tea. This innovative tea and beverage company is redefining the category with sleek modern packaging and luxurious, whole-leaf teas. The company's master blenders and herbalists combine the freshest full-leaf teas, fruits, herbs, spices, and all natural flavorings with scientific accuracy to produce a luxurious tea line like none other that's perfect for gifting.
Of particular note is Revolution's 30-Count Tea Gift Chest available in either natural or white wood. Made from natural imported wood, each 12"x11" beveled edge chest is filled with 15 of Revolution's most popular tea flavors – 30 individual single servings in all: Earl Grey Lavender, White Tangerine, Organic Green, Tropical Green, Honeybush Caramel, Black Citron, Golden Chamomile, Bombay Chai, White Pear, Sweet Ginger, Southern Mint, Citrus Spice, English Breakfast, Dragon Eye Oolong and Green Earl Grey. Revolution's Stainless Steel Tea Pot is another fantastic gift, especially when given with the Tea Chest. This modern, brushed stainless steel tea pot with screen infuser is sleek, sophisticated and display worthy, sure to enhance a kitchen's décor. Compact in size, this pot steeps 24 ounces - two 12 ounce cups.
I've also had the disctinct pleasure of sipping Revolution's caffeine free premium full-leaf Citrus Spice Herbal Tea and it's simply divine. Appropriately described by the company as “luscious and lively," this Citrus Spice blend begins with Rooibos, a South African herb, then adds lemon peel, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and other natural herbs and spices. The result is a refreshing medley that will transport your senses to a fragrant citrus grove. Package comes with 10 flow-through teapot infusers. Go ahead, drink it in. (www.revolutiontea.com)
2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (750ml) - $75
Cabernet connoisseurs will rejoice in receiving a bottle of the 2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon - the flagship Cab in the vintner's collection. This 95 point Wine Enthusiast rated Napa Valley wine is sourced predominately from HALL Wines' legendary Rutherford hilltop Sacrashe Vineyard known for producing wines with a deep, dusty essence.
During production, this lauded vintage was gravity-fed into the winemaker's signature fermentation tanks. Native yeast, malolactic fermentations and unfiltered bottling resulted in this highly nuanced, plush wine with notable character that continues to evolve over 10-15 years with proper cellaring. The 2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon is well-described as dense and inky-purple through-and-through, delivering a striking nose of boisterous, high-toned exotic spices; blackberry and other dark fruits; and earthy aromatics like truffle and a subtle crushed stone minerality. On the palate this fine, concentrated Cabernet (9% Sauvignon, 1% Franc aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels) is luscious and rich, with a long, sweet, lingering finish. (www.hallwines.com)
Vinturi White Wine Aerator - 39.95
I've covered Vinturi's Red Wine Aerator on The Luxe List in the past (a tool I absolutely love), and I'm thrilled to report the company now also offers the first-ever aeration tool exclusively designed for use with white wine. As with its red wine counterpart, the Vinturi White Wine Aerator accelerates the wine's “breathing" process, drawing in and mixing the proper amount of air for the right amount of time. While some might argue whether or not white wine needs aeration, one taste using Vinturi's White Wine Aerator will confirm that properly aerated white wine is improved in much the same way as red wine – top notes are enhanced while mid and bottom notes become more apparent. This handy device now enables white wine to fully breathe in the time it takes to pour a glass, enabling the drinker to fully enjoy their vino from the very first sip with a better bouquet that emits the proper aromas, enhanced flavors and mouthfeel as the winemaker intended, and a smoother finish with any bitterness or bad aftertaste reduced or eliminated. I tested, I tasted and I'm personally convinced. And, using Vinturi's White Wine Aerator couldn't be easier. Simply hold it over a glass and pour the wine through. Yes, it's just that simple! (www.vinturi.com)
- Merilee Kern
JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor
The Luxe List product, service and travel review editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating “musts." Submissions are accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com. View all of Merilee’s Luxe List articles from here (scroll to page bottom).
Chefs Choice AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpene
Mary Jurek Design Olivia Pitcher
Mary Jurek Design Olivia Pitcher
Black River Caviar
2006 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon
Vinturi White Wine Aerator