If money was no object, if time was limitless, if I had my own butler to cater to my every whim, my Christmas wish list would look something like this. But one can dream. Should any of you deign to cross any of the following off my list, however, don’t let me stop you.
Honey and granola Pret Pot
Pret a Manger’s runny honey, granola and yogurt Pret Pot was the snack I grabbed on the way to Angel tube station when living in London. Since my return, I’ve tried to recreate the Pret Pot with Ace granola, Liberte yogurt, and clover honey. But it’s not quite the same.
Ladureé caramel au beurre salé macarons
Not to be confused with the coconut macaroon, the French macaron is a refined bite of heaven. Delicately crispy on the outside, decadently gooey on the inside, Ladureé is famous for its macarons. No trip to Paris is complete without a macaron to accompany your café crème.
Let’s be clear. I’d like a real authentic loaf of Poilane bread. Not the stuff that’s flown over to Toronto on a jet from Paris. I’ve had that. It’s as good as bread that’s taken a trans-Atlantic flight can be. Instead, I’m seeking a loaf that’s fresh from the oven, one I can tuck under my arm to eat with a chunk of raw cheese.
Tealish’s Sweetie Pie rooibos tea
Tea as dessert? Say it isn’t so! I wouldn’t have believed it before trying, either. But Sweetie Pie tea has actual pieces of almond and coconut nestled among the rooibos tea leaves, made famous by lady detective Mme Ramotswe, of Alexander McCall Smith’s series. Bonus: I don’t have to go far for this one. Tealish is Toronto based.
Rootham’s award-winning red pepper jelly
I first bought a jar at the One of a Kind show. It’s award-winning but it boasts my seal of approval too. I unabashedly walked up and down the aisles trying every kind of red pepper jelly before settling on this one. I love to eat it by slathering it in the middle of sliced camembert, topped with walnuts and wrapped in phyllo pastry, which is then baked in the oven. Serve it with apples.
Acorn cakelet pan
Imagine making mini carrot cakes in this festive acorn pan. Or perhaps using it to bake William Sonoma’s pumpkin pecan pancake mix. Or even warm cornbread muffins alongside a tureen of autumnal butternut squash soup. Divine. Leave it to this specialty store to sell a pan that’s strictly seasonal but oh so tempting.
‘A Day at elBulli’ by Ferran Adria
Ferran Adria is often referred to as “the best chef in the world.” Adria is well-known for his conversational, if not controversial technique of molecular gastronomy, with which he creates culinary foam out of everyday ingredients like beets or mushrooms. No small feat. Indeed, the three-Michelin starred famed head chef of El Bulli is filling his tables faster than he could turn them over. El Bulli is open 6 months of the year. There are 2 million requests for the 8,000 chairs. Obviously, I’m not getting a table soon, but the book might be consolation enough.
Rectangular cake taker
You carry your cupcakes out the door on a foil-covered tray and place them in your car’s back seat, your potluck contribution. But when you turn that corner, they go flying. There must be an easier way, right? Well, Tupperware thinks so. This cake taker fits 18 cupcakes.
If there was ever a frivolous kitchen tool, this is it. I can’t justify buying it simply to make crème brûlée. But at the same time, wouldn’t it be amazing to torch your crème brûlée rather than put it under your ever-inconsistent broiler?
I see this and my mind wanders to an outdoor soirée, under a grape-covered trellis, in the middle of a lavender-scented field. Everyone is tanned and wearing pressed white linen. There’s warm pissaladiere on the table. See where a beautiful platter can take you?
Nudo olive oil stone ground with real lemons
My very own olive-oil producing tree? Well kinda, adopt an olive oil tree on a hillside in Italy and they’ll send you the oil produced from its harvest, twice a year. One of the 498 trees in the Il Professore section, for example, produces olive oil with fruity and peppery tasting notes.
Elsworth poppy toaster
Yes, I already have a toaster. Yes, it’s still serviceable. But how can you resist a poppy-emblazoned one? I’d be willing to put this on top of my dresser as art. But then reason sets in, and I realize it’d simply be smarter to give my original toaster away to the highest bidder. Anyone?
Le Creuset heart casserole dish
It’s red, it’s cast-iron, it’s Le Creuset, it’s heart-shaped, it’s an all-in-one casserole dish you can take straight from the oven and put it on your table as a centrepiece. Every day is Valentine’s Day with this show-stopper. Need I say more?
Truffle and salt
Some women want diamonds, others want soil-encrusted fungi. I’m of the latter variety. One Christmas, my mother gave me a small box. In it, a walnut-sized truffle. The first time my husband ate truffles he said “It’s like a party in my mouth.” Indeed.
In the kitchens of Alain Ducasse
And finally, the ultimate entry on my dream wish list. Working in the kitchen of the man referred to in culinary circles as “God” himself. The first day on the itinerary? Teas, coffees and homemade cookies by the fireplace. Pre-dinner aperitif and canapés, followed by dinner with optional-selected local wines. The digs? A converted abbey amidst lavender fields. Where do I sign up?