Kya deLongchamps says today’s range of kitchen kit provides perfect present material.
One of the tender quizzes of buying Christmas gifts and social tokens is navigating the waters of ‘I would never have bought that for myself’.
If you don’t know your recipient well, keep things universally appealing and relatively impersonal — Irish-perfumed soap or candles, pottery, wine nestled in raffia, gift cards — any pretty no-brainer will do.
If you have more intimacy, there’s a target rich environment around food prep and devouring — goodies from electronic kitchen helpers to mouth-watering tableware that are sure to get you an honourable mention over the turkey sandwiches come Stephen’s Day.
Tables & Textiles
Starting with the Alessi lunatics — ‘magical, mystical and larger than life’ Marcel Wanders has released a limited edition and an off the-shelf ‘Circus’ collection.
It has all the fun and flash of the big top with surreal characters of heirloom quality, in geometric enamels decorated in dots and stripes of gold, red, black and white.
For the Lotto win my choice would have to one of the 1/999 squinting, Strong Man, Marcello nutcrackers €1,000, or the Jester corkscrew, Gilberto €950, all signed by Wanders.
The set of three graduated tinplate tented boxes at €56, harlequin china bowls at €29 a pair, single serving dishes at €98 or an ‘insinuated bottle stand’ worthy of a head-standing elephant, €215 — are good entry points to the greatest show on earth.
Brown Thomas (Dublin branch will deliver to Cork branch if required), www.brownthomas.com
Meadows & Byrne has some stunning dipped wood items and marble pieces reflecting the interest in geological surfacing this year.
Its Acacia wood and Tuscan marble server is ideal for slicing cheese or lemons and easily hung up on a string support. Small €24.95, large €29.95.
Consistently well priced, its winter sale offers up to 50% off cult commercials like Joseph Joseph.
Strong on neutral, contemporary textiles, glass and flatware, made from 100% linen starts from €13.26 for six soft grey napkins — a laughingly easy stocking filler.
Go for equally chic poplin examples in that deep denim feted to trend in 2017, especially if you only have a tenner in your pocket — € 9.95.
Online? Vallila’s delicious Finnish colour in Ruusenen flocking flowers from Saara Kurkela or trees by Riina Kuikka in her Lehtisade range comprise a prons at €23.90, potholders €8.90 and over gloves €11.90 from www.vallilastore.com
Finally, for the budget-challenged Scandi-chic fan, check out Sostrene Grene (Green Sisters) Cork’s newest lifestyle chain store arrival, this time from Denmark, now open on Patrick’s Street.
New small appliance winners
No household should be without a nutrient blender — there, I’ve said it. Prices have improved immensely on fit 700W to 800W machines.
If you know someone recovering from illness or trying to stay in great health, save them from the hassle of juicing and divvy up all that life-giving fibre with a Russell Hobbs Nutri-Boost at €79.
For a collective gift to last a lifetime from everyone to their household chef, Harvey Norman is really excited by the launch in-store of the Kitchen Aid Mini Stand Mixer.
It’s 25% lighter and 20% smaller than the other KitchenAid classic, yet retaining all the power of the tilt-head stand mixer. Its 3.3l bowl can muscle 680g of all-purpose flour and eight egg whites — €549.
If you know your pals ribbon their vegetables regularly, hanging on grimly to a plastic manual machine, what about the new Morphy Richards Electric Spiralizer Express? Compact, fast and €59.99.
Gadgets to give
Tablets and mobile devices are increasingly doing duty with cooking apps for the kitchen, so weighing ingredients has now become a screen shot that not only offers recipes but weighs up to the split gram, as liquids and solids are added.
Dublin start-up Drop, has realised its mission to be at the forefront of the new operating system of the smart kitchen of the future and has dropped its price a full €20. Drop Connected Kitchen Scales, €79.95, www.getdrop.com
Throw in a Rimforsa tablet stand in bamboo from IKEA, €12.
Maker of the monster hit, Nessie spoon, Ototo Design of Israel, has a number of funky kitchen gizmos, but I love its new line of flavour infusers, well overdue for those of us tired of digging the oregano from our front teeth.
Just place your preferred herbs and flavours inside the quirky little silicone chicken leg, pop the boney top back on and place in the cooking pot for flavour without toothpicks, €13.85, harveynichols.com, full range at www.ottodesign.com
Popcorn lovers will be delighted with the Chef’n Popcorn Maker, which takes standard kernels (much cheaper), in a silicone ‘bag’ that unfolds as the load pops in the microwave, €37.50, www.debenhams.ie
Its Protractor Pizza Cutter is a lovely little item to make a good angle with a colleague or even the boss, €17.
I’ll go out on a limb here (because it’s relatively cheap and sure to provide some New Year laughs), and suggest the new 1kg capacity KitchenCraft Sausage Maker. It sucks onto the counter to deliver sausages of 15mm, 19mm and 22mm from whatever you fancy, vegetarian or meat, €29.99, www.kitchencookware.ie
Rusk and casings available from suppliers including www.oldmcdonald.ie
Coffee on the fly? The Handpresso single-hand thermos-flask is elegant, mobile and now available in a complete designer case with glasses and a hot pot worthy of 007, €179.
Younger makers and campers will love the brand new Pump Pop in pink, apple green or sky blue that thrusts up to 16 bar just like a bike pump. €79.
Expensive? About two months of a daily single Espresso out.
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