LUCY WAVERMAN: WEEKEND MENU COLUMNIST
Bodum vacuum coffee maker
An old brewing method that has become newly trendy, vacuum coffee is a little more labour-intensive and can resemble a high-school lab experiment, but the result is a cuppa joe that's cleaner, lighter and pure coffee pleasure. $99.95 at Bergo Designs ( www.bergo.ca).
Cherries and tortas
I love cherries, so I was thrilled to discover that Mussini, the impeccable Italian gourmet-food brand, offers them in balsamic vinegar di Modena. Serve some on your new bread board with fresh cheeses and piles of olive oil tortas - crunchy, slightly sweet crackers from Spain - either as an appetizer platter or after the main course. $15 for a 250-gram jar of cherries, $8.99 for package of six tortas at Tony's on the Block ( www.tonysontheblock.com).
I can't get enough of roasted chestnuts during the holidays and this handy gadget is a lifesaver. It transforms the normally tedious chore of scoring chestnuts into a fun, easy task with no cut fingers to give you away. Once roasted or boiled, the skin comes off easily. $35 at The Cook's Place ( www.thecooksplace.com).
Non-stick sauté pan
The new Unison Sear Non-stick line from Calphalon combines the best of both worlds: You get the ability to brown your food and lock in flavour when making sauces (which non-stick cookware so far hasn't offered) as well as the ease of use and convenient cleanup of traditional non-stick pans. And just to make your life even easier, it's dishwasher-safe. $129.99 through www.calphalon.ca.
Designer bread board
Beautiful food deserves a beautiful stage and this one-of-a-kind hard maple board boasting a rare bird's-eye pattern will give your breads and cheeses a well-deserved upgrade. The piece was crafted by award-winning artist Edward Wohl, whose wood pieces and other functional housewares are on display in galleries and craft shops around the world. $155 at Hollace Cluny.
Don't worry about getting this new ThermoWorks thermometer wet. The instant-read device is water-resistant, offering readings in three seconds. It also has an anti-bacterial additive and auto on/off settings. Think of it as the pinnacle of instant-read gadgetry. $114.95 at Degrees Kitchen Store ( www.degreeskitchen.com).