Have some foodies on your holiday gift list? Make them swoon with one of these culinary treasures.
A culinary trip to France, led by Blandine Brutel, owner of The French Kitchen Cooking Classes, May 13-26 (only 12 spots available for this trip of a lifetime).
Brutel, born and raised in Lyon - known as the gastronomic capital of France - has organized a trip that will make cooks drool in anticipation. The food odyssey starts in Paris, where you'll shop at famous markets; take cooking classes taught by Michelin-star chefs (from the Cyril Lignac Cooking School and the Alain Ducasse Cooking School) and by Denni Imbroisi, a 2013 French "Top Chef" contestant; and dine at top-rated Parisian eateries. Then it's off to Lyon via high-speed train for more amazing dining and cooking class experiences, the highlight being four days of cooking at the renowned Institut Paul Bocuse, the world-famous Lyon chef known for his innovative approaches to cuisine. The trip includes hotels, most meals, hands-on cooking classes in English, all events, visits and tours, a CD of trip photos and Brutel's services as personal guide.
Cost: $8,500 per person, $1,200 single-room supplement per person. Deadline for purchase is Dec. 20.
KitchenAid Professional 6500 Design Series Stand Mixer
A flash from the past, this stunning new mixer features a dramatic glass bowl that was the KitchenAid trademark when the mixers first hit the market years ago. The powerful 1.3-horsepower motor is the quietest ever and can handle big batches of batter and dough. Think dozens of cookies mixed at one time or more than eight loaves of bread dough in one batch. Four colors are available: Medallion Silver, Frosted Pearl White, Onyx Black or (who can resist?) Candy Apple Red. Attachments include dough hook, paddle and wire whisk. Six-quart glass mixing bowl.
Buy: online at williams- sonoma.com or at Williams-Sonoma, 1885 Briargate Parkway, 593-0261.
Vitamix Professional Series Blender 750
This machine propels food at speeds up to 270 miles per hour. It gives the home cook the ability to blend, chop, cream and churn like a restaurant chef. This new model fits under the cabinets, so it's within reach at all times. With 10 speeds and five pre-programmed settings, you're on your way to making smoothies, frozen desserts, hot soups and purees without any attachments. Laser-cut, stainless-steel cutting blades ensure a consistent blend every time.
Buy: online at chefscatalog.com or go to Chefs Catalog, 5070 Centennial Blvd., 272-2700.
Steam me up, Scotty
Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven
Introducing the first countertop convection oven with a steaming function. So what? Well, you can bake and steam or broil and steam meats, seafood and veggies faster and energy-efficiently for maximum moisture retention. Or proof bread dough in the oven, then bake with steam for an artisan-style loaf with a crisp, golden-brown crust. Rice is a snap to steam in the oven, as well. The oven is large enough to hold a 5-pound chicken or a 12-inch pizza. Oh, and you can make toast in it, too.
Buy: Sparrow Hawk Cookware, 120 N. Tejon St., 471-3235, or Bed, Bath and Beyond, three locations.
AlpenGlow Electric Fondue Set
Take your tabletop entertainment to the next level with fondues in this cast-iron fondue pot, which you can start on the stove top and keep at the perfect dipping temperature by plugging it in. The variable temperature control keeps heat even. The enamel coating over the cast iron ensures easy cleanup.
Buy: Sparrow Hawk Cookware, 120 N. Tejon St.,471-3235, or online at amazon.com for $92.47, free shipping.
Flight of fancy
ROOST Beer Tasting Set
Craft beer fans will love having this elegant glass set featuring six sampler glasses and a natural finish wood flight sampler paddle. Each dishwasher-safe glass holds 5 ounces, the perfect size for giving you enough beer to fully appreciate a good microbrew as you taste and compare.
Buy: Sparrow Hawk Cookware, 120 N. Tejon St., 471-3235.