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December 16, 2014

Industry Trends That Make Great Gifts

Beer2014 was full of fresh trends and flavors. As we all know, restaurant trends start high-end and slowly make their way mainstream. Since gift season is in full swing, we’ve picked up a few trends that are still riding high on the style wave. They make great additions in restaurants, and, hint: they also make great gifts for restaurant professionals. If you’ve been stressing over what to get your favorite chef, barman or server, look no further.


1)    We’ll take ours with a candy cane and a sprig of Thai basil.

Chefs are shakin’ up the cocktail and craft beer industry with new brews and their own esoteric touches. After concocting the perfect drink with housemade syrup, small batch vodka and a touch of edible gold dust, why would you serve it in a glass with all the finesse of a cloudy window pane? 103395

Presentation not only enhances the look, but the right glass actually enhances the taste and aroma of the beverage.  Even craft beers deserve their own specialty shapes. We suggest choosing tulip stem glasses for lovers of Pale Ales, IPAs and Saisons because the rounded shape enhances the hoppy flavor of an IPA, while the narrow rim directs aromas across to the nose. We are also big fans of these retro Dimple Stein Beer Mugs that are showing up in restaurants all over lately.   

2)    Everything’s coming up Rosé.

Once upon the time, in the land of no taste buds, a blushingly sweet zinfandel became as popular as pizza and artichoke dips. After a while, zinfandel went the way of wine coolers, and pink wines were a hard sell. Until now. Rosés have become so sophisticated they’re commanding their own seminar at foodie conventions like the 2015 Taste of Vail. Turns out there’s a lot to know about roses, from style to color. And unlike some wines, these should be enjoyed right away instead of waiting until the 22nd century. French style roses are perfect for lovers of light, delicate flavors, and Spanish styles are right for those who like full, fruity tastes.     

3)    When is a garlic press not a garlic press?

GnohcciAfter insisting that we knew best, we finally bowed to the masters and tried that  giant garlic-press-like tool called a ricer—even though we already made light, creamy mashed potatoes and gnocchi so soft and pillowy you could sleep on it. OK, so it turns out that this easy-to-use gizmo turns a boiled potato into little rice-like pieces in no time flat. Our gnocchi was softer, and our potatoes had the perfect texture. Out with the old (attitude), in with the new.

4) It’s a honey of a comb.

Honey will continue to be a hot commodity next year, but what’s even cooler than honey? The honeycomb. Packaged on a plate and tied with a bow, it looks good enough to eat. And it is. That’s why restaurant chefs are featuring it as an item on a cheese plate or using it as a garnish. The comb is edible (go ahead and chew on the waxy bits – it’ll take you back to the days when you played around with those waxed lips). You will certainly impress your foodie friends.

5)    No longer castaways.

Cast iron cookware used to be one of those stalwart items in the kitchen. They went out of fashion when new and supposedly improved cookware took over the cooking chores (and didn’t need to be seasoned). But cast iron skillets and pans are no longer on the back burner. Chefs realized that the pans cook evenly and are able to handle stovetop to oven duties with the flick of a wrist. And some of them even come pre-seasoned for those of us who find seasoning the pan a bit of a challenge. You know that cast iron skillet you inherited that’s gathering dust? Turns out mama really did know best.


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