Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Shopping for the Gourmand

Sasha the Wonder Dog preparing to do some holiday shopping
With less than two weeks to Christmas the shopping frenzy is officially underway.  Here are a few ideas for the gourmand and art lovers in your life:

The Splurge:
Fresh White Truffles from Urbani paired with Patricia Wells’s new book Simply Truffles, this is a combination made in heaven for any gourmand!  What could be more intoxicating than the earthy smell of truffles? 

Budget Friendly Luxury:
White Truffle Oil, Truffle and Cream sauce from Urbani, paired with Patricia Wells’s new book Simply Truffles.  It’s not the same as a fresh truffle, but sure to please the palate and inspire one to set up a Truffle Account so you can splurge next year on the real thing.

For the Practical:
www.williamsonoma.com or www.amazon.com or www.chefscatalogue.com

De Buyer Mineral Pans.  Not only are these stylish looking, they are impressive in weight and quality.  This is an item that will not break the bank, but definitely impress the receiver.   You can find these pans at Williams Sonoma, Chef’s Catalogue and Amazon.  (These are on my list this year.)

For the Cook’s Library:

Anyone who loves cooking can never have enough cookbooks.  I don’t know why this is the case, it just is.  My favorite cookbooks this year:
Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan – This is filled with great recipes that are informative and user friendly.  It makes French cooking accessible to anyone with a pan and a little desire to try things.
My Grill by Pete Evans – Not only is Pete Evans a complete hunk of chef, his recipes are great for the grill and weekend entertaining by the pool.  The unusual flavors and spices take your ordinary grilled chicken and meats about 50 notches.
Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros - This book is like an instant vacation to the Greek Isles.  Beautiful photography captures the charm of the the food and people.  Great recipes with stories to go with them.
Simply Truffles by Patricia Wells – If you love truffles this is a must.  I’ve already started my truffle fund for next year so I can enjoy all the seasonal truffles and try her recipes.  

For the Art Lover:
www.amazon.com or www.phaidon.com
Phaidon recently released a comprehensive book, The Art Museum.  It is an extensive and wonderful history of art.  This book is a little costly at $200, but you may be able to find it at a reduced price for the holidays on Phaidon’s website.  Warning:  This book weighs a ton and is rather unruly in size so if you buy at a bookstore and not online, make it your last stop of the day as you will not want to lug this book through the mall.

For the Movie Buff:
 Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck – This is a holiday gem we discovered three years ago.  Not only will this movie delight and surprise the movie buff, it is a foodie’s holiday movie.  Great ensemble cast and heartwarming rom-com!

For the Music Lover:
LA Philharmonic – This is a little regional to Southern California, but well worth the drive into downtown Los Angeles to experience Disney Hall and the LA Phil.  This is a purely magical way to spend an evening or afternoon with your loved one or friends.  January and February 2012 the LA Phil is kicking off the Mahler Project and it promises to be the musical event this winter!
 A Very She & Him Christmas – I love this album.  It is a little traditional, a little folksy, and very fun to listen to.  This album is a quirky way to mix up some of your favorite holiday songs.

Happy Holiday Shopping!