Tools & Utensils

Best Gifts for the Baker

Best Gifts for the Baker

Do you have a friend or family member who has a baking obsession, who lives for making cakes and cupcakes and cookies, and takes them everywhere he/she goes? Here’s a list of best gifts for bakers: they are a passionate bunch indeed, and they make the world a whole lot sweeter.

This is one in a series of themed gift guides I am publishing this week; here’s the complete list of my best gift guides.

LIMITED-TIME OFFER! Etsy is currently running a cool promotion for new customers: if your first order is over $50, you’ll get a $10 gift certificate toward a future purchase! (Valid until Dec. 12.) I’ve marked Etsy items below so you can identify them easily by searching for “Etsy”.

Bakers Gonna Bake Print

cupcake-print

A cute handmade print to light up any baker’s kitchen! (You will need a frame to go with it, such as this one or this one.)

Earlywood Spatulas

earlywood

I am a devoted fan of the handcrafted utensils from Earlywood, and this “trifecta” set is perfect for the baker: a spatula to stir custards, a scraper to loosen cookies from the baking sheet, and a spreader for fillings and frostings. (And of course: many more uses in the kitchen beyond just baking!)

OXO Digital Scale

scale

If you’re serious about baking, using a digital scale is a must, and this is the one I have used and loved for several years. It is precise and sturdy, beautiful and easy to clean, and it has a pull-out display for when you’re weighing large bowls or pots.

Wraparound linen apron [Etsy]

Wraparound Apron
A Japanese-inspired, cross-backed apron beautifully handmade from European linen. You just slip it on! It’s a loose and comfortable fit, yet so stylish.

Continue reading »

Best Gifts for the Coffee Lover (+ Tea Lover!)

Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers

The craft coffee scene has blossomed tremendously in the past few years, and more and more of us are passionate (and choosy!) about the coffee we drink. Here are my best gift ideas for the coffee lover on your list.

I drink a lot of tea as well and did not want tea lovers to feel slighted, so I’m also featuring my best gift ideas for those who can’t imagine life without a steaming mug of tea.

This is one in a series of themed gift guides I am publishing this week; here’s the complete list of my best gift guides.

LIMITED-TIME OFFER! Etsy is currently running a cool promotion for new customers: if your first order is over $50, you’ll get a $10 gift certificate toward a future purchase! (Valid until Dec. 12.) I’ve marked Etsy items below so you can identify them easily by searching for “Etsy”.

The Aeropress

Aeropress

The Aeropress is hands-down my favorite way to brew coffee at home. It works a bit like a French press, only the filter part is airtight so it extracts a lot more flavor from the coffee, and you don’t get any solids at the bottom of your cup (shudder). It brews a velvety and aromatic cup of coffee in minutes, it is easy to clean and put away, and it is portable enough that it can be taken everywhere, at the office or when traveling.

“But First, Coffee” Tote Bag

"But first, coffee" Tote Bag

I saw a stylish young woman wearing a tote bag just like that in Paris the other day, and I couldn’t help but smile. Now I want one just like it, and I’m sure your favorite coffee lover does too!

Continue reading »

Best Gifts for the French-Loving Cook

Gorgeous stove photo courtesy of La Cornue.

Gorgeous stove photo courtesy of La Cornue.

Do you have a cook in your life who loves all things French? A total Francophile who is sure he/she was français(e) in a previous life? Here’s a hand-picked selection of utensils and ingredients to Frenchify their kitchen with style!

This is one in a series of themed gift guides I am publishing this week; here’s the complete list of my best gift guides.

Best Cooking Gifts for Francophiles

French-style Kitchen Towels

French-Style Kitchen Towel

These French-style kitchen towels, simple and stylish, are made with highly absorbent cotton. (Hint: The pros always have one tied to the waist of their apron.)

French bread knife

Opinel Bread Knife

I am a big fan of this French-made bread knife from Opinel, an 1890 company based in Savoie. It is lovely to look at, the beech wood handle is comfortable to hold, and the stainless steel, slightly curved, serrated blade is super sharp. I have now given it as a gift to three different recipients, and the joy in their eyes cannot be faked.

Continue reading »

Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender: My Review

Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender

Froothie Optimum 9400 Blender

After years (and years) of yearning for a high-performance blender — to make really smooth soups, quick sauces and marinades, nut butters and milks, and of course smoothies — I finally got one.

Based on my research, I picked the Optimum 9400 blender, distributed by Australian company Froothie, as an alternative to the better-known Vitamix or Blendtec. It’s a vortex blender that’s just as high-performing, if not more so, and the 2-liter (2-quart) jug works for both dry and liquid ingredients.

I have been so happy with it I entered into a partnership with the brand and have a discount to offer. If you’re interested in buying a Froothie blender for yourself, use promo code CD-Optimum-Blender-20 to get $20 off your purchase of the Optimum 9400 or 9200A on the US store.

The same code will get you 20€ off on the French site, the Belgian site, or the Luxembourg site. You’ll get 15 CHF off on the Swiss site.

For my Canadian friends, the code is CD-Optimum-Blender-25 and you’ll get CA$25 off on the Canadian site.

Here’s my detailed review of the Optimum 9400 blender by Froothie:

Continue reading »

Gift Guide for Cooks 2015

Gift Guide for Cooks 2015

Gift-giving season is upon us, and here’s my gift guide for cooks! If you’re on the lookout for cool ideas, for yourself or the food enthusiasts on your list, here’s my selection: all of them are highly desirable things that will make a lasting difference in the recipient’s kitchen life.

Gift Guide for Cooks: Utensils!

Gift Guide for Cooks: Cooking Tools

1. Fresh cinnamon

I am in love with the fresh cinnamon I order from Cinnamon Hill, a small company that specializes in sourcing and selling the highest-quality, freshest cinnamon from Sri Lanka (where they have their own plantation) and Vietnam. Run-of-the-mill cinnamon typically comes from China or Indonesia. I get whole sticks, and grate them with the beautifully crafted (and highly giftable!) cinnamon grater that Cinnamon Hill has designed. Truly, you don’t know what cinnamon tastes like until you’ve tried freshly harvested, freshly grated, top-grade cinnamon.

2. Spiral slicer

After coveting it for quite a while, I finally caved in and ordered the Inspiralizer, the spiral slicer created by Ali Mafucci of the Inspiralized blog. When I received it, I was so excited I decided to unbox and try it out live on Periscope! If you like what you see, you can purchase it here.

3. Handcrafted utensils

You know how I feel about the handcrafted utensils from Earlywood, but I want to remind you what incredible gifts they make. In particular, I want to highlight the coffee scoop, which will brighten the mornings of anyone making coffee at home, and I use for my granola; and also the trifecta, which is a an ideal starter kit for someone just moving into their own kitchen, or looking to upgrade the cheap utensils they bought when they first did.

4. Best instant-read thermometer*

I first heard about Thermoworks through my friend Elise, who swears by their ChefAlarm thermometer, but the model I was most eager to adopt was their Thermapen, an instant-read thermometer that is most sleekly designed: it has zero buttons (it turns on when you pull out the probe), the display is auto-rotating, auto-backlit, and it reads the temperature in 2-3 seconds with a 0.7°F (0.4°C) accuracy guaranteed by the calibration certificate they send. I’ve been super happy with it, from gauging the doneness of my chicken, to checking the temperature of my little ones’ soups, to tempering chocolate. (*That’s what America’s Test Kitchen calls it!)

Continue reading »

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.