EVANSVILLE – Each year before Christmas we are excited to head for Capers Emporium in New Harmony and Thyme in the Kitchen on Franklin Street, our local shops specializing in cookware, gadgets, tabletop, cooking classes, interesting packaged food and other good gifty things for your gourmet friends. We asked for the owners’ top seven picks. The items might be new this year, top sellers or beloved by the staff. Here are each store's picks, in no particular order.
Thyme in the Kitchen
Contact: 2308 W. Franklin St.; 812-437-2726
1. Totally Bamboo cheese knife set, $9.95, and cutting board, $17.99. Charcuterie boards are everywhere this year and this pretty set is just right for your spread. It’s made of sustainable bamboo, too. The board can be used for display only, as a cutting board or as a trivet.
2. The “Brizzle” by Dreamfarm, $10.95. The Brizzle might be the most brilliant kitchen invention we’ve seen all year. It’s a basting brush with hollow silicone base that can be bent and dragged along the bottom of a roasting pan to pick up drippings, then raised to drizzle them out of the bristles. No more spoons or basting bulbs are needed. Your turkey and ham say thanks.
3. Ice Balls by Zoku, $15.99. Good spirits and trendy cocktails deserve ice cubes as cool as they are, and this form will freeze water into one large sphere that keeps drinks cold without melting too quickly. It’s perfect for Bourbon or another fine whiskey on the rocks. For cocktails or punch, consider freezing juice so the drink doesn’t get diluted as the ice melts.
4. Soberdough bread mix, $9.95. This bread mix comes in multiple flavors, and all you do is mix in beer or club soda and bake. Flavors include cheesy garlic, sun-dried tomato pesto, cornbread, apple fritter, honey wheat, and many more. Bake in a loaf pan or spread flat to make a pizza crust or pretty decorated flatbread.
5. The “Flisk” by Dreamfarm, $19.95. This handy tool is three whisks in one. It twists to lie flat so it won’t get caught and bent when you open your drawer, and in this position it’s also great for lifting the brown goodness from the bottom of your pan when deglazing. Twist the handle to extend the wires halfway to mix sauces, or extend it fully into a balloon whisk for whipping cream or egg whites.
6. Runamok Syrups and local honey, $12-$25. Runamok maple syrups and flavored honeys are made in Vermont. The morita chipotle honey has a nice balance of sweet and spicy and is wonderful for a glaze on pork or chicken, and the pretty sparkle syrup is great for holiday cocktails. Voglund Apiary is an Indiana honey producer with hives in Darmstadt.
7. Silicone baking mat by Mrs. Anderson’s, $15.95-$22. A silicone mat means you don’t have to grease your baking pans, pans stay clean and unstained, and they are re-usable and dishwasher safe. They’re even non-stick enough for making candies. A version for baking bread has a rough texture to help the bottom stay crisp.
Location: 602 Main St, New Harmony; 812-682-6112
1. Silicon bowl covers by Charles Viancin, $7.99-$46.99 for a large set. These cute, brightly colored silicon toppers stick and cling to any size container. Pop them on a heavy ceramic bowl and the seal is tight enough to lift the whole thing by the handle. Sizes range from a few inches across for your cocktail glass to lids large enough to cover skillets and big mixing bowls, and they can be used in the oven or microwave, too.
2. Private-label jams and jellies and fruit butters, $7.99-$10.99 for a pint jar. Go for something as familiar as apple butter or try something a little more unique, such as “F.R.O.G.” jam with fig, raspberry, orange and ginger. These will be appreciated on a charcuterie board or in a gift basket … or just at the table on Christmas morning.
3. Mustards by Saucy Mama, $4.99. Saucy Mama mustards are great as a condiment, of course, or they add flavor to sauces and other dishes. Varieties include dark pub beer, smoky garlic, chipotle and traditional Dijon, among others.
4. Baking cups by Simply Baked, $5.50 -$8.50 for sleeves of 20. These sturdy, pretty paper baking cups come in many colors and sizes. They may be used in the oven or air fryer to make muffins, single-serving cobblers or other baked goods, or even to serve soup, as they are watertight.
5. Dish towels, $10-$22.99. If you know someone who likes pretty towels, there’s a brand for you at Capers. Geometry towels are made from recycled pop bottles and come in bright colors and fun patterns. Wild Hare towels are printed with funny quotes, and Garnier-Thiebaut towels from France are large and made with sturdy brocade in rich jewel colors.
6. Soup mixes by Ala Carte Alice, $8.95. Capers owner Mary Beth Guard swears that these soups are so good they could be served in the best restaurants, especially the shrimp bisque. She carries seven flavors, including tomato basil bisque, Delta Blues Chili and beer cheese, with more to come soon.
7. Pakka wood utensils, $6.99-$18.99. Colorful layers of wood are carved to form spoons large and small, spatulas, spreaders, tongs, salt and pepper shakers, and ice cream scoop handles. Many colors. They are functional and look great sticking out of a stocking.
Contact Aimee Blume at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Christmas gifts for cooks in the Evansville area