Gourmet gadgets & goodies :: An EDGE Holiday Gift Guide

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by Jason Salzenstein

Fun... and flaming!

Not everyone has - or needs - a Professional Culinary Torch; then again, not everyone is a fabulous cook or baker. Dedicated kitchen pros know how handy this tool can be- for preparing sweets like brulées and meringues, melting cheese, skinning tomatoes and peppers, and charring vegetables.

The handheld butane torch from BonJour has a fuel level indicator window, extra-long nozzle with anti-flare flame, adjustable temperature control, safety lock, removable stand, and recipe book- all for less than $40!

Available at and

A truly ’grate’ gift

&creativeGood graters are hard to find; professional models are usually huge and expensive, and standard grocery store models are poorly made, uncomfortable, and don’t work well. Thank Buddha for Microplane.

Microplane’s Premium Graters are true classics- and now they’re even better, because they’ve added soft touch handles and non-scratch end tabs. With a collection that includes a Premium Zester/Grater (for most fine grating and zesting needs), Premium Medium Ribbon (best for soft cheeses) and the new Premium Extra Coarse (fab for vegetables and coconut), they’ve truly set the bar- and made it easy for you to satisfy even the most dedicated home chef.

All of the graters in Microplane’s Premium Classic Series feature surgical-grade stainless steel blades and soft touch handles, they’re dishwasher safe, and they come with covers, so you can safely store them in a drawer or canister. (They also have a loop on the end of the handle, for hanging.)

Microplane graters are available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods Markets nationwide, and online at the Microplane website and Individual graters start at less than $15; the Premium Series 3-Piece Set is $40.

For the wine lover

Since a wine bottle is a bit too big - or at least too heavy - for a stocking, stick a bow on the neck and set that under the tree. When it comes to filling the sock, think accessories- like the Automatic Vacuum Sealer and Electric Corkscrew from Vinotemp.

Designed to fit standard wine bottles, the Automatic Vacuum Sealer removes air from the bottle, extending the life of the wine within. It’s also got a built-in temperature gauge, so you can always be sure you’re serving your wine at the optimal temperature. (Two-in-one, we love it!) To use, you simply insert it into the top and secure; it does the rest for you.

The Electric Corkscrew is just as easy to use- and actually fun. If you know someone who struggles with opening a bottle of wine gracefully - or simply just likes cool gadgets - this is the perfect gift. Simply hit the switch and it pulls the cork from the bottle- it even releases the cork from the corkscrew, so you don’t have to do anything! The sleek modern design means it’ll always be within easy reach, and it comes with a foil cutter and stand. Brilliant!

The Automatic Vacuum Sealer sells for about $40; the Electric Corkscrew $30. Both are available at

Shake it, shake it, shake it!

In our seemingly endless search for fabulous gifts, the official EDGE foodies discovered a spice company offering exotic and delicious sea salts the likes of which we’d never seen - or tasted - before- and that’s rare.

Beyond the Shaker specializes in unrefined sea salts and handmade salt blends. Made with only the finest premium ingredients from sustainable local suppliers, everything that goes in their salt blends is natural, and each blend was exclusively crafted by a chef from an acclaimed midwestern restaurant; all of their salts are hand blended by a salt chef in small batches to ensure the freshest flavor possible. Topping it off, salts are packaged in distinctive jars from an Italian glass manufacturer- definitely ones your lucky recipient will want to reuse (and so beautiful, wrapping paper is totally unnecessary). These are truly unique luxury gifts- at very attractive prices.

Beyond the Shaker offers eight great gift sets, all priced at $30 or less. Fabulous? Check. Stocking-sized? Yep. Great price? You’re all set!

Available at

A bit of California... in your stocking

Having moved to the northeast six years ago, one of the things I miss most about Southern California is, well, pretty much everything. Buying vodka in the grocery store (on Sunday no less); fantastic weather almost every day; not having to explain why I didn’t go to an Ivy League college; and the magical goodness called "blended drinks" from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf- not necessarily in that order.

Luckily for my sanity (and that of my boyfriend), I discovered that CB&T sells their magic powders (AKA White Chocolate Dream Powder, French Deluxe Vanilla Powder, Special Dutch Chocolate Powder, Dark Chocolate Powder and Hazelnut Powder) online, and ordered some right away. Since then I’ve managed not to gain any weight while still enjoying the deliciousness that is "blended drinks," hot cocoa, and other creations I’ve made up myself- most involving alcohol. (Don’t judge!)

Now you too can share in the joy- even spreading it, by giving the Holiday Cocoa Trio or Warm Winter Cocoas gift set to someone you love (or even just kind of like) this year. It’s sure to satisfy almost any craving, and if not, maybe it’ll open a door for you to satisfy another...

The Holiday Cocoa Trio and Warm Winter Cocoas (pictured) Gift Sets are available for less than $18 at (or at an actual store if you’re fortunate enough to live near one...)

With gift guides for everyone from mom and dad to demanding divas, when it comes to holiday gift giving, EDGE has you covered. You can read all of the EDGE Gift Guides here. (Check back frequently; we’ll be adding new guides daily through December 10th!)

Twitter :: JasonSalz

Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information ::

This article is part of our "2009 Holiday Gift Guide" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»


  • Jay Blotcher, 2009-12-26 01:27:42

    Do not forget the elegant and professional culinary tools and recipe books available from The Culinary Institute of America, the world’s premier culinary college! Go to their web site to order directly.

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