Friday, December 14, 2012

The Top Cooking Tools of 2012

What was popular in 2012 on (plus a year-end contest!)

It’s the season to look back on the year past. In our case, that means looking back at some of the most popular cooking tools of 2012. There are many perennial favorites on here (like spice jars and the Avo-holder), but there are some cool new products that we added this year that have absolutely blown up. Most of this year’s top products combine irreverent design with functionality – so these products are not just beautiful, but also useful. In no particular order:

Charles Viancin: It’s not hard to see why these simple, beautifully designed products are so popular. They basically eliminate the need for 1) plastic wrap, 2) plastic storage containers, and 3) cleaning up after a big meal. Just plop a pretty sunflower, banana leaf, or hibiscus down on your bowl or casserole dish and it’s sealed and ready for the refrigerator. The silicone material is eco-friendly (it’s just melted sand), flexible, reusable, and heat resistant. You can even get one to seal your coffee mug to keep your drink hot!

Charles Viancin Sunflower lid

The Fissler Vitaquick Series: These are hands down the best pressure cookers in the world. Added to in June, these pans didn’t blow up until a review in Cook’s Illustrated last month (I can’t say what they said in the review, but you should go pick up the most recent issue to find out). We’ve seen a 400% increase in the sale of these in recent weeks.

Fissler Vitaquick pressure pan system

HotSpot Honeycomb potholders: Another perennial favorite, but these really blew up in 2012. As soon as these interesting little things came in, we would sell out. It’s no wonder – like the Charles Viancin lids, these silicone potholders are fun to hold, heat resistant, and double as a trivet. Good design plus function! 

Lamson & Goodnow Hotspot honeycomb holder

DiCuonzo Orecchiette Farina Arsa Pasta: This “burnt flour” pasta was featured in an Italian cooking magazine – and rightly so. The little orecchiette shapes look like pieces of scrumptious dark chocolate and have a slightly smoky flavor, like no other pasta you’ve tasted. The farina arsa is the perfect choice for a special dinner at home. 

Farina Arsa pasta - or, "burnt flour"

Whiskey Stones: This product has it all. Bespoke little cubes of Vermont quarry stone that keep your beverage cold (it doesn’t have to be whiskey) without watering it down. They look good, they feel good, they’re extremely useful, and they’re made in the USA. Unfortunately, supplies are limited and we may not be able to get more for a long time, so hurry if you want some. 

Whiskey stones: only 5 left as of this posting!

Tramontina cookware: Another recent addition to, Tramontina offers beautiful, high-quality nonstick cookware (and some stainless steel) at an entry-level price. I especially like the cooking system (pictured), which allows you to bake (as in, brownies and bread) right on the stovetop. So, the same pan you use for a pot roast can you can use for dessert! 

Tramontina cookware system

Marna home goods: Do you see that little piggy steamer lid? Do you need more evidence to love it?

Marna Piggy Steamer lid

Other perennial favorites: Norpro spice jars; the Evriholder Avo Saver; the Original Brown Sugar Bear; Tovolo Ice Sphere Molds; Kai Pure Komachi Knife Block Set; Norpro Easy Carrot Holder. 

Bonus Year-End Contest: Post in the comments the best cooking tool you bought (or inherited, or got for free, or whatever) in 2012 and why. We’ll pick 4 comments at random and you’ll get a Charles Viancin product (we’ll let you choose, but we have trivets, a cutting board, and a sunflower lid). No purchase necessary to enter; must be 18 or older; contest ends Dec. 21, 2012.  
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