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SPECIAL ISSUE / CHRISTMAS EVE

Glittering last-minute gifts that will delight

December 20, 2006|Amy Scattergood | Times Staff Writer

Attention, procrastinators! It's not too late to pick up some terrific gifts for the food lovers on your list. A gorgeous Parmesan cellar, a cunning hot chocolate pot, a reissue of a classic cookbook -- here are some terrific ideas to suit any budget.

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1. BOWL 'EM OVER

Our lady of the ladle: Revisit Julia Child's groundbreaking "French Chef" TV series with these two DVDs, each of which contains 18 episodes of her first PBS cooking show. Julia Child, "The French Chef" and "The French Chef 2" DVDs, $39.95 each at Barnes & Noble stores.

British wisdom: Originally published in 1971, this paperback reissue of Jane Grigson's classic cookbook "Good Things" is the perfect gift for the literary cook -- especially one with a hankering to make Grigson's Spanish pigeon with chocolate sauce. "Good Things," $19.95 at select Borders Books & Music stores.

Mix it up: Every good cook's got to have a set of old-fashioned ceramic bowls. Roma mixing bowls, $39 for the set, at Williams-Sonoma stores.

Simply stirring: Wooden spoons are kitchen basics, but they can be beautifully tactile, like these from Mario Batali. Wooden spoon, $11.95; risotto paddle, $4.95; tasting spoon, $4.95 at Sur la Table stores.

2. HORS D'OEUVRE TIME

Little bites: These Spanish stainless-steel spoons and forks are specifically designed to showcase the little bites known as amuses. Pordamsa amuse-bouche spoon & fork, $10 (large spoon or fork) and $8 (small spoon or fork) at Le Sanctuaire in Santa Monica, (310) 581-8999, and Boule in West Hollywood, (310) 289-9977.

Showoff: Present your fabulous holiday drinks or hors d'oeuvres on this handmade Japanese wooden tray. Tray, $67.98 at Waraku in Little Tokyo, (213) 995-4115.

3. TABLETOP ART

Cellar's market: Leaf-shaped silver finish salt cellars are ideal for presenting Maldon salt or Welsh smoked Halen Mon, about $44 (set of two) from Zipper in Hollywood, (323) 951-0620, or at the LA Phil Store at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A, (213) 972-3440. Fill these skinny and elegant Italian handmade Pyrex vials with finely ground fleur de sel and Penja pepper, $230 at Le Sanctuaire.

Say Parmesan: You've bought the best Parmigiano-Reggiano; here's how to serve it with style. Ettore Sottsass Parmesan cellar, $83 at the Ahmanson Shop at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (323) 857-6513.

Decanter dreams: This white porcelain decanter is perfect for pouring sake or wine. $25 at Le Sanctuaire.

4. THEY'LL BE WIDE-EYED

All the buzz: For the coffee geek on your list, here's the latest in conical burr grinders from Capresso. It has 16 grinder settings and a built-in timer for those who prefer their coffee ground according to duration as well as degree of grind. Capresso burr grinder, $139.95 at Sur la Table stores.

Double duty: This chrome hot chocolate pot -- which has a wooden heat-resistant handle and also comes in copper -- is a beautiful way to serve up a steaming mug of cocoa. It doubles as a Turkish coffee pot, for anyone who has unfulfilled Bosphorus dreams. Hot chocolate pot, $175 at Williams-Sonoma stores.

A better teapot: A tea infuser is a great gift for your friends who measure out their caffeine in leaves instead of beans, and this one is smartly designed. A lever lifts the sump from the water after infusion and fits snugly into the lid, allowing you to infuse more than once -- a must for Chinese green teas. Service Ideas tea infuser, $29.95 from the Solana Tea Co. in Culver City, (888) 248-9232.

5. TERRIFIC TINSEL

Tisket, tasket: You don't have to put all your proverbial eggs in one, but dinner rolls are another story -- especially if the basket is as gorgeous as this anodized aluminum number from Italian designer Alessi. Wire basket, $65 at the LA Phil Store, or Fitzsu Society in Hollywood, (323) 655-1908 and Pasadena, (626) 564-1908.

amy.scattergood@latimes.com

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