Need a present for a friend who loves to cook as much as you do? Here’s something for everyone (prices may vary).
New enameled cast-iron cookware
Considering giving a gift of cookware? Any cook would be thrilled with a piece from this new line from Lodge. The company, known for its high-quality cast iron, has introduced its first enameled pieces: Dutch ovens ( perfect for braises) in two sizes and 2-quart oval casseroles (gratin-friendly), in vibrant green, red, and blue.
Lodge 7-quart ($197.95) or 5-quart ($167.95) Dutch oven; 2-quart oval casserole ($95.95), at Lodgemfg.com.
Around-the-world chocolate sampler
Give chocolate lovers this pretty sampler from French chocolatier François Pralus: it includes ten chocolates made with cocoa beans from different plantations across the globe. We love the chocolates’ creamy texture and subtle flavor notes, from vanilla and fruit to spice and smoke. Each variety is also sold separately in larger bars for baking.
Pralus Pyramide du tropiques dark chocolate sampler, $43.99 at Chefshop.com.
A rare and special honey
Tupelo trees, indigenous to the southeastern United States, are the source of this wonderful honey, which can only be harvested during three weeks in April when the trees blossom. Fine Cooking tasters were impressed with the honey’s complex floral and citrus notes. To appreciate the flavor, use the honey in simple preparations—serve it with tea or cornbread and butter.
Savannah Bee Company Tupelo honey ($18 for 20 oz.) at Savannahbee.com.
A new profile for a wineglass
Riedel sells these handsome “O Series” glasses as everyday wine tumblers—a great idea for preventing knock-overs. But they make even better snifters, perfect for brandy or single-malt Scotch, where it’s desirable to cup the glass with your palms to warm what’s inside.
Set of two, $14.95 to $19.95, at International Wine Accessories.
Olive oil from Australia
If you’ve never associated Australia with olive oil, take note: The country gets 20% more sunlight than Europe, so Australian olives produce five times more oil than European ones. What’s refreshing about these oils from Dandaragan is their light, delicate, non-oily mouthfeel. They come in four flavor blends: delicate, robust, fruity, and chef’s choice.
Dandaragan olive oil, $25.95 to $28.95, at Dandaraganestate.com.au.
Handy spice packs
If you—or a friend—want to try new spices without buying a whole jar, you’ll like Pinch Plus herb and spice packets. Each foil packet contains a tablespoon of an organic dried herb or spice and folds closed to keep contents fresh. The packets also come in booklets that make perfect stocking stuffers: Try the Christmas one, which contains thyme, rosemary, and ginger.
Pinch Plus spices, 95 cents for single packs, $10.50 for a pack of ten, and $6 for booklets, at Pinchplus.com.
Chocolates with flavors a cook will love
We don’t usually review chocolate that’s just for eating (not for cooking) but Samaki Chocolates, from Canadian chocolatier Jennifer Davis, are so amazing that we couldn’t resist. Flavors include burnt caramel orange, roasted coffee, and raspberry violet, but our favorites are the chocolate-dipped caramels sprinkled with sea salt. Trust us, the salty-sweet combination is addictive.
An oil and vinegar duo
With perfect acidity and a sweetness that’s never cloying, this new vinegar from O is one of our favorite holiday picks. Made from Port, it has a rich, deep flavor that makes it a great alternative to balsamic vinegar and perfect for flavorful pan sauces. For a great gift, pair it with O’s pleasantly mild and well-balanced extra-virgin olive oil.
O Porto Vinegar, $9.99 for 6.8 oz.; extra-virgin olive oil, $8 for 12 oz., at Whole Foods markets or Ooliveoil.com.
A curvy wineglass for better tasting
Metrokane’s new line of wineglasses has a lip that curves outward, which helps direct wine to the front of the palate for better tasting. Four sizes are available, but the glass I liked sipping from best is the 12-ounce Chablis/Chardonnay glass, a stylish and tasty way to serve a white wine apéritif. —Amy Albert
Set of four Metrokane Chablis/Chardonnay wineglasses, $64.99 at Amazon.com.