Spring 2022 gift guide

Ideas for those who love to cook, drink or eat!

As we do several times each year, we’ve gathered together a collection of suggestions designed to make your gift-giving a little bit easier and possibly also more practical and appreciated. Whether you’re in search of a gift for a birthday, wedding, baby shower, retirement or other special occasion, we hope you’ll find some of these ideas useful (even if you’re gifting it to yourself). If you’re keen on a few more products which we are recommending based on personal testing, please check out the Culinary Gift Guide category on this site for previous roundups.

Gourmia air fryer

Significantly lighter and quieter than many other air fryers we’ve tested, the Gourmia GAF798 has a spacious 6.7 L (7 quart) dishwasher-safe basket. To give you some perspective, that’s large enough to hold a whole chicken. It’s super easy to use, with loads of pre-programming functions and guided cooking prompts, including optional preheat and turn food reminders. Use it as an air fryer for a great low-fat alternative or check out the other modes including dehydrate for fun DIY snacks. We’re big fans of angled display and the cord storage at the back, too. Find more information on Gourmia’s website and look for it at Costco and many other retailers.

Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits

Crafted with care in Australia, these spirits are created to taste just like favourite classic alcohol-based versions. Made with the finest all-natural essences, extracts and distillates, they’re a great addition to any bar cart. Use them to create appealing mocktails or to lower the amount of alcohol in your favourite cocktail without sacrificing any flavour.  Available in a range of flavours including White or Dark Cane (mimicking rum), Italian Spritz, Dry London (a gin-like flavour), Amaretti, American Malt (bourbon-esque) and more. Find them at select Canadian stockists including Pot and Pantry in Ottawa, Cocktail Emporium in Toronto, The Modern Bartender in Vancouver, and Alambika in Montreal or order online at lyres.ca.  

Healthy eating made easier

Fermented foods have long been a staple in many cultures. Not only is fermenting a delicious way to preserve food and add big flavour to any menu; it’s also a way to improve gut health. Making your own fermented foods at home has never been easier, thanks to this inspiring new Canadian cookbook, Fermenting Made Simple, by Emillie Parrish. Due out in mid-May, it’s filled with great recipes and practical tips and can be found at your favourite local bookshop. When you’re ready to get in the game, you can find a great selection of equipment from the Canadian shop Fermentation Revolution, such as glass fermentation weights and silicone airlock lids for canning jars.

Danish dough whisk

A Danish dough whisk (also called a brodpisker) is a made of stiff looped wire and is designed to perfectly blend ingredients with ease, especially for bread dough or stiff batters. The other strength of this tool is that it’s much is easier to clean than a wooden spoon or wire whisk, particularly since its unique design means less batter or dough sticks to the whisk. While many people have stand mixers in their home kitchens, this would be a super alternative in a cottage kitchen. Available in two sizes (I prefer the 11 inch / 27.5 cm version) at Lee Valley.

Mushroom growing kit

Fungi have been treasured by chefs for millennia, adding a big boost of flavour and nutrition to many dishes and beverages. Have fun growing your own mushrooms at home with great kits created by Le Coprin Mushrooms, the company that supplies many restaurants across the National Capital region. The kit contains two grow bags of the same species with instructions included; they can be stored at room temperature for several weeks or frozen for future growing and harvesting. Choose from Cinnamon Cap, Oyster or Lion’s Mane. Available in Ottawa through the Burrow Shop.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and YouTube.

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