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The Host

Table-worthy cooking tools plus beautiful service pieces and drinkware to make the most of entertaining.

Wine Glass

These elegant crystal glasses from Riedel came out on top in our tests, impressing both professional sommeliers and casual wine-drinkers with their ability to capture the aromas of red, white, and bubbly wines.

Wine Glass Review: The Best Universal Wine Glasses Sold by Amazon

Otherland Candle

This hand-poured soy-wax candle will look beautiful on your kitchen table—and the scent of Champagne, saffron, and leather is just fragrant enough to offset any accidentally burnt foods that no one needs to know about. Plus, the packaging, which comes with a customizable matchbox, makes the candle an impressive gift that's also affordable.

Otherland Candle Sold by Otherland
Japanese Pantry X Serious Eats Gift Box Sold by The Japanese Pantry

Cocktail Strainer

This type of strainer, called a Hawthorne strainer, consists of a flat disk affixed to a coiled spring. The spring traps large chunks or slivers of ice and other solid ingredients, such as muddled fruit or mint leaves. The spring also allows you to control the flow of liquid from the shaker, and the strainer does a generally excellent job of keeping small ice chips, citrus pulp, and particles of muddled ingredients in the shaker, where they belong.

Cocktail Strainer Sold by Amazon

Fancy Cheese Knives

Spending $50 on cheese knives feels a little silly, especially when a regular knife does the trick just fine. But that's why they're the perfect gift—arguably unnecessary, but nonetheless useful, they feel like a real luxury. We're pretty sure they also raise your "real adult" status by at least 10 points. Especially when they're these beautifully crafted Dubost Laguiole knives. We like the simplicity of the olivewood handles, but they do come in other colors and styles, with the same high-quality blades.

Fancy Cheese Knives Sold by Amazon
Terra Delyssa Organic First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sold by Amazon

Benton's Country Ham

Benton's country ham is an exemplar of American charcuterie. We recommend the deboned and trimmed smoked ham (just $3 more than the whole smoked ham), but the cured, unsmoked ham is also fantastic. With shipping, it's about $90, which is still a steal when you consider the quality and quantity, and the fact that the trimmings can be used to make many, many super-smoky pots of beans. Fry slices up with brown sugar and brewed coffee, and eat them with a stack of parathas—trust us.

Benton's Country Ham Sold by Benton's Country Ham
Tilit Face Mask Sold by Tilit

Le Creuset 5 1/2–Quart Dutch Oven

As far as Dutch ovens go, the Le Creuset is the gold standard and, while pricy, it lives up to its reputation. The pot is easy to cook in, has comfy handles, and is backed by a solid reputation for quality enamel.

Le Creuset 5 1/2–Quart Dutch Oven Review: The Best Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Sold by Amazon
Livart Orange BBQ Deluxe Electric Barbecue Grill Sold by Amazon
Fancy Grape Jelly Sold by Gustiamo
Ooni Pro Outdoor Pizza Oven Sold by Ooni
Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro Sold by Astor Wines
Yeti Roadie Cooler Sold by Amazon

White Serving Platter

This simple, affordable serving tray from Williams-Sonoma will be a boon to even the most minimalist of cooks: The generous size of the large version (14 by 18 inches) holds a dinner party's worth of side dish or pasta, the classic white goes with everything, the handles and surprisingly light weight make it easy to maneuver, and it's dishwasher-safe on top of it all.

White Serving Platter Sold by Williams-Sonoma

Smeg Toaster

After years of putting up with a cheap toaster that she picked up at the supermarket, Stella recently upgraded to this super-fancy Italian job in cool mint. Its sleek design and soothing pastel color transform the kitchen's most boring appliance into a statement piece, and it does a great job with the toast itself. Plus, it's really dang pretty. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to read this toaster's priceless reviews.

Smeg Toaster Sold by Amazon

Iittala Essence Glasses

No matter what your father likes to drink, it'll look good in these universal glasses from Iittala. They're big enough to accommodate a 12-ounce beer, his favorite cocktail, or a monster pour of wine...because it's Father's Day, and he deserves it.

Iittala Essence Glasses Sold by Amazon

Serious Eats X Gustiamo Gift Box

Gustiamo is one of our favorite Italian-food purveyors, and this year, we got the chance to create a Serious Eats custom gift box featuring a collection of our go-to pantry items, from a silky pistachio spread to a funky colatura. Pick one up for yourself, and send another along to an Italophile friend.

Serious Eats X Gustiamo Gift Box Sold by Gustiamo

Kitchen-Helper Stool

Daniel's one-and-a-half-year-old son has a new and urgent interest in whatever's happening up on the kitchen counter that he can't see. He begs to be picked up, but that means Daniel can cook with only one hand, which, while kind of, sort of, maybe possible, is extremely difficult. Plus, the kid is heavy. It's time to add a learning tower to the kitchen so he can stand and watch, sometimes even help, while Daniel continues to get dinner ready. This one is great because it folds up for easy storage.

Kitchen-Helper Stool Sold by Amazon

Whiskey Set

If you like to give a nice bottle of whiskey for special occasions, try switching things up with some nice glassware. This whiskey set from Snowe is durable and elegant, sure to get serious use in the homes of your spirit-loving friends for years to come.

Whiskey Set Sold by Snowe

Egg Cups

Anyone who loves soft-boiled eggs deserves the perfect cup to eat them from. These sturdy stoneware Le Creuset cups come in a range of beautiful colors. They're totally classic, which is a good thing because they'll also last for generations to come.

Egg Cups Sold by Amazon

Black Matte Dinner Plates

Get these if you want to up your Instagram game! These are the plates we use the most in our photo shoots—the matte texture makes a great surface on which to make any food pop.

Black Matte Dinner Plates Sold by Crate and Barrel

Serving Bowl

There's no such thing as too many serving bowls, and this simple two-tone piece goes with virtually everything. At 11.5 inches across, it's the perfect size for side dishes, so it'll quickly become your go-to for salads, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and pasta.

Serving Bowl Sold by Amazon

Jono Pandolfi Condiment Bowls

For a delicate little stocking stuffer, pick up a few of these lovely handmade condiment bowls from Jono Pandolfi. Put them on your holiday table to hold flaked sea salt and other seasonings, then use them again and again for smaller mise en place items, toothpicks, matches, and more.

Jono Pandolfi Condiment Bowls Sold by Jono Pandolfi
SWMS Caramels Sold by SWMS Sweets

Pineapple Tumbler

Sure, you can serve crushed-ice cocktails in a regular old glass, but these shiny pineapple-shaped tumblers really up the ante and make a tiki party feel special.

Pineapple Tumbler Sold by Amazon

Mercer Serving Bowl

With a neutral color and simple silhouette, this serving bowl is versatile enough to complement any table setting. It's also big enough to accommodate a big salad or crowd-sized portion of stew.

Mercer Serving Bowl Sold by Crate and Barrel
Coming Soon Cocktail Glasses Sold by Coming Soon New York

Presto Tilt-N-Fold Griddle

Presto's Tilt-n-Fold model is very simple to set up and operate, and it has a compact design that makes it easy to store in kitchen cabinets when not in use. It has a large, smooth, nonstick cooking surface that heats mostly evenly, can be set at an angle to drain grease, and is easy to clean. We love the price, too.

Presto Tilt-N-Fold Griddle Review: The Best Electric Griddles Sold by Amazon

Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses, Set of 6

While this glass performed very similarly to our favorite modern glass, the Schott Zwiesel, it has a sparer design, is more compact, and features a thinner stem that some testers preferred.

Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses, Set of 6 Sold by Amazon
Eel Conservas Sold by La Tienda

Julep Cups

We don't often recommend single-function items, but for the cocktail enthusiast, a couple of julep cups really are fun to have. There's nothing like holding that metal cup frosted with ice on a blisteringly hot summer day. If you don't have an ice crusher, check out our Lewis bag suggestion as well.

Julep Cups Sold by Amazon

Mediterranean Vinyl Floor Mat

This mat will solve the quandary of many a renter who loves to cook, best summed up as "I hate the way my kitchen looks, but there's not much to be done about it." Get this mat. It's stylish, colorful, and incredibly durable—and it really looks like fancy European tile installed over your questionable laminate flooring.

Mediterranean Vinyl Floor Mat Sold by Food52

Get It Right Bottle Stopper

This clever little silicone bottle stopper is a true wonder. A tight seal keeps wine from dripping out, whether the bottle is on its side in the fridge or flipped fully upside down (Ariel's tried!). It comes in several colors and shapes and makes a perfect stocking stuffer for all your wine-loving friends.

Get It Right Bottle Stopper Sold by Amazon

Fixed-Cup Spice Grinder

The sleek and minimalist design of the Krups means it's easy to hold, handle, and store—perfect for anyone tight on space. Even without a removable bowl, cleanup is a cinch because spices never get trapped beneath the blade, and there are no unnecessary ridges or notches to clog with spices. The one-touch operation makes it easy to use, and it quickly yields a fine and consistent grind in both large, tough spices and smaller seeds.

Fixed-Cup Spice Grinder Review: The Best Spice Grinders Sold by Amazon

Bar Cart

If you want your home cocktail equipment a little less out of sight and out of mind, consider highlighting your bourbon and bitters with a bar cart. The combination of curves, straight lines, and brass finish in this one makes it feel very mid-'50s. Mix drinks on the upper shelf and stash ice buckets, glasses, and other supplies down below.

Bar Cart Sold by West Elm

Ceramic Utensil Crock

To store tools like spatulas and whisks, a good old crock will do the trick. We like this ceramic one, which looks extra pretty on the counter. Keep it right next to your stove so your most-used tools will be at an arm's length whenever you need them.

Ceramic Utensil Crock Sold by Amazon
Seka Hills Extra Virgin California Olive Oil Sold by Amazon

Terra Cotta Cazuela

Daniel's owned these terra cotta dishes in several sizes for many years now. They're attractive enough to go straight from the oven to the table, and versatile enough to be used as baking dishes for cooked foods or as serving dishes for snacks when you're hosting guests.

Terra Cotta Cazuela Sold by La Tienda

Sizzle Platter

Rarely found in the home but extremely common in restaurants, sizzle platters are one of the most useful pieces of kitchen gear around. We reach for them any time we want to cook or reheat small portions of food, like one or two pork chops, chicken breasts, or steaks. Even small roasts, like a pork tenderloin or lamb shoulder roast, will fit on one, saving you from having to use larger pieces of cookware (and clean them up) for jobs that don't require them.

Sizzle Platter Review: Why Sizzle Platters and Eighth-Sheet Pans Belong in Every Kitchen Sold by Amazon

Marble Pastry Slab

With their smooth surface and cool temperature, marble pastry slabs are a baker's best friend. They're great for rolling out pie crusts, laminating doughs, and tempering chocolate. This marble version is pretty enough (albeit heavy) to use as a serving platter.

Marble Pastry Slab Sold by Crate and Barrel

Table Runner

A simple geometric design to bring some warmth to your table while protecting its surface during entertaining season.

Table Runner Sold by Wayfair

Pretty Pinch Bowls

These colorful bowls make setting up your mise en place a little more fun, but they're also great for bringing extra seasonings to the table, like fennel seeds and pepper flakes for pizza.

Pretty Pinch Bowls Sold by Amazon

Laguiole en Aubrac Steak Knife Set

If you're into more of a classic luxe look, then you'd be hard-pressed to find a more iconic design than a Laguiole-style steak knife. Unfortunately, the term "Laguiole" is not protected or regulated by a trademark, which means that there are a lot of shoddily made knockoff "Laguiole" knives on the market. However, there are a small number of real-deal producers, like Laguiole en Aubrac, that make beautiful knives of exceptional quality with a timeless aesthetic.

Laguiole en Aubrac Steak Knife Set Sold by Amazon

Life of the Party Puzzle

Puzzles are back, baby. This holiday season, give the gift of hours of screen-free relaxation with this sturdy 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle from Piecework. This one features a fistful of cake, but there's a broad selection to choose from.

Life of the Party Puzzle Sold by Piecework

Pianogrillo Tomato Concentrate

This tomato “extract” is concentrated tomato dialed up to 11, a cheat code to better pasta sauces, soups, stews, braises, and more. Think of it like tomato miso. It puts those”double-concentrated” tomato pastes to shame. Do yourself a favor—get one jar of this umami bomb for yourself, and one as a gift for a special someone.

Pianogrillo Tomato Concentrate Sold by Gustiamo

GelPro Floor Mat

If you love to cook and host parties, you'll know that a lot of prep time is spent on your feet. Why not make at least the cooking part a bit more comfortable with one of these gel mats? It'll provide some nice cushion under your feet, so when it's time to put on your party shoes, you'll be ready.

GelPro Floor Mat Sold by Amazon

Best Carving Knife

For our money, this is the best carving knife on the market, ready to dispatch a roast turkey, leg of lamb, or bone-in ham with aplomb.

Best Carving Knife Review: The Best Carving and Slicing Knives Sold by Amazon
Frog Hollow Citrus Sold by Frog Hollow

Perceval Steak Knife Set

The 9.47 knife was designed by a former Michelin-starred chef, and, unsurprisingly, it's a dream to cut with. While its modern, minimalist look isn't for everyone, there's no arguing with its performance.

Perceval Steak Knife Set Sold by Amazon

Le Creuset Stoneware Casserole

When fall and winter roll around, we start thinking about rich, comforting casseroles, which means that these stoneware baking dishes get pulled out, filled, and popped into the oven at least once a week. They're great-looking on the table and provide gentle, even cooking all around for really nice, crisp edges on your lasagna.

Le Creuset Stoneware Casserole Sold by Amazon

Presto 22-Inch Electric Griddle

This lightweight model comes with fully detachable handles that make cleaning and storing it a breeze; it will easily slot into the cabinet with all your baking sheets and cooling racks; and its nonstick surface has a textured crosshatch pattern that helps keep pancakes from sliding around and eluding your spatula when you're trying to flip them.

Presto 22-Inch Electric Griddle Review: The Best Electric Griddles Sold by Amazon

Dyson Handheld Vacuum

We like to keep our kitchens very clean. This handheld vacuum (which a few of us have, use, and swear by) ensures zero crumbs left behind, whether in that small space under the dishwasher or in the crevice between the stove and the cabinets.

Dyson Handheld Vacuum Sold by Amazon

AeroGarden Harvest

Cooking with fresh herbs makes every recipe better. Cooking with fresh herbs that you grew all by yourself makes life better. The AeroGarden takes the guesswork out of growing herbs inside, with an automated light to keep your parsley and thyme thriving and weekly reminders for water and nutrients. Just prepare yourself for epic amounts of basil.

AeroGarden Harvest Review: Who’s Laughing Now?: Why I Love the AeroGarden Sold by Amazon

Messermeister Avanta Steak Knife Set

The Messermeister Avanta steak knives deliver premium performance at an unbeatable price. They are well-constructed, remarkably sharp, and very handsome.

Messermeister Avanta Steak Knife Set Sold by Amazon

Removable-Cup Spice Grinder

The high-capacity removable bowl and lightning-fast grinding speed make the Cuisinart the ideal spice grinder for the spice fanatic. The grinder cup easily locks into place with a twist and is dishwasher-safe for fast cleanup. The cord tucks away into the base for tidy storage, and the grinder is activated simply by pressing down on the lid.

Removable-Cup Spice Grinder Review: The Best Spice Grinders Sold by Amazon

Sagaform Gold Loop Candle Holder

Adding candlelight to your table makes dinner feel just a little fancier and more special. We love the physics-defying appearance of these candleholders, which fit two pillar candles apiece.

Sagaform Gold Loop Candle Holder Sold by Amazon

Precision Coffee Maker

While you can get it brewing with just the push of a button, the Breville offers layer upon layer of fine-tuned control for the coffee geek who wants to tweak brew variables. Finishing near the top of our taste tests, this spendy machine allows you to control brew-water temperature and time and the blooming phase. It can also make cold brew, and it’s compatible with popular pourover devices like the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave.

Precision Coffee Maker Review: The Best Automatic-Drip Coffee Makers Sold by Amazon
Bergamot Marmalade Sold by Gustiamo

2-Piece Boston Shaker Cocktail Set

We prefer to use a Boston shaker over a three-piece metal cobbler set, which has a tendency to seize up. Boston shakers open easily, they're relatively inexpensive, and even if the mixing glass breaks, you can replace it for cheap. Using a Boston does require you to have a separate strainer, but that means you can choose a strainer that'll do the job well.

2-Piece Boston Shaker Cocktail Set Sold by Amazon
Vacche Rosse Cheese Sold by Gustiamo

Staub 5 1/2–Quart Dutch Oven

The Staub's classic flat lid hides spikes underneath designed to evenly shower your food with moisture. We found it heats evenly, is a pleasure to cook in, and is handsome enough to serve from at the table.

Staub 5 1/2–Quart Dutch Oven Review: The Best Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Sold by Amazon

Anchovy Colatura

If you want to give the gift of umami, you owe it to your intended recipient to check out this aged Italian fish sauce. Hailing from the town of Cetara on the Amalfi Coast, colatura is made by aging anchovies and sea salt in chestnut barrels for roughly three years, producing a rich, deeply savory fish sauce that can be used as a flavor enhancer for meats, fish, or vegetables. Or, try it as the star of the show in spaghetti con la colatura.

Anchovy Colatura Sold by Gustiamo

Handheld Seltzer Maker

If you're short on space, this compact soda maker fits snugly into any refrigerator door. The iSi Sodamaker Classic can carbonate 0.9 liter of water at a time using recyclable, 15-gram CO2 cartridges. This unit also maintained the carbonation level of the water over the long term better than the other models we tested.

Handheld Seltzer Maker Review: The Best Soda Machines Sold by Amazon
Schott Zwiesel Whiskey Glasses Sold by Amazon

Pedra Artisan Oval Platter

A large platter is a must-have for any household, especially during the holiday season. This oval platter has high enough sides to accommodate saucier dishes, while the gray-and-white hand-glazed finish gives it a one-of-a-kind feel.

Pedra Artisan Oval Platter Sold by Crate and Barrel

Espresso Cups

Pretty espresso cups make a nice hostess gift and stocking stuffer on their own for coffee fiends. But when they're Le Creuset, they're even better—mostly because everything from the French heritage brand is aesthetically pleasing and built to last. Oh, and these cups might be the most affordable Le Creuset pieces on the market. So, if you want in on the trend for a moderate price, they make a good starter item.

Espresso Cups Sold by Le Creuset
Pistachio Brittle Sold by Persian Basket
Pinafore Linen Apron Sold by Etsy

Pepper Mill

The Fletchers' Mill Federal grinds consistently and quickly, excels at fine grinding, and comes in 11 finishes to match a wide range of kitchen decors.

Pepper Mill Review: The Best Pepper Mills Sold by Amazon
Bonilla a la Vista Olive Oil Potato Chips Sold by Formaggio Kitchen

Jono Pandolfi Serving Platter

Now that Ariel finally has some space in her apartment for entertaining, she's been on the lookout for attractive and affordable serveware. She received this Jono Pandolfi serving platter as a gift and has been stocking up on beautiful items from the brand ever since. This platter comes in a few different sizes, depending on your needs. The best part? It's dishwasher-safe, making cleanup after your glamorous meal that much easier.

Jono Pandolfi Serving Platter Sold by Jono Pandolfi

Simple Coffee Maker

The Bonavita is one of the faster models we tested, and it earned high scores in nearly all of our tastings. A single switch governs all of its operations, making the brewing process incredibly simple.

Simple Coffee Maker Review: The Best Automatic-Drip Coffee Makers Sold by Amazon

OXO Pop Containers

Not all food storage containers are built the same. OXO's Pop Containers stack neatly in the cabinet, make it easy to see exactly what's inside, and have a neat push-button top that forms a perfectly airtight seal, keeping your dry pantry goods fresher for longer.

OXO Pop Containers Review: Kitchen Storage and Organization Essentials That Keep Us Sane Sold by Amazon

Glass Tumblers

Ariel's dad lives in Florida and never drinks enough water. These little tumblers are the perfect compromise for getting him to drink just enough to not get totally dehydrated every day. And if he refuses to fill them with water, at least he can use them for alcoholic beverages. The final plus: They stack, so they won't take up too much space in his cabinets.

Glass Tumblers Sold by Amazon

Pralus Pyramid of Dark Chocolates

I don't mind baking with supermarket chocolate bars, but for snacking, I'd rather spring for the good stuff. If you're a "bite of dark chocolate after dinner" kinda person (which means every bite needs to count), that's where this stack of single-origin chocolates comes in. It's a fun way to explore the world of chocolate, and learn how different beans and countries of origin can impact its taste.

Pralus Pyramid of Dark Chocolates Sold by Amazon

Fancy Glass Pitcher

Niki received this classic Waterford pitcher as a wedding gift, and it's become a workhorse in her home. When she's not using it to decant wine, it's hard at work serving cocktails, ice water, and juices. And in between any special occasions, you can drop in some fresh flowers and use it as a vase.

Fancy Glass Pitcher Sold by Amazon

Cast Iron Revolving Cake Stand for Decorating

We can't fathom decorating a birthday cake without this sturdy, heavy-bottomed stand. It speeds the process of crumb coating and decoration, while allowing for a whole new array of finishing techniques. It can also double as a lazy susan on the dinner table, piled with condiments and toppings, even when there's no cake in sight.

Cast Iron Revolving Cake Stand for Decorating Sold by Amazon

Le Creuset Cake Stand

If you've ever been given a homemade birthday cake, return the favor by buying your favorite baker this iconic cake stand. Its heavy base keeps cakes secure and makes all types of decorating techniques a breeze.

Le Creuset Cake Stand Sold by Amazon
D'Artagnan Beef Patties Sold by D'Artagnan

Frankies 457 Olive Oil

Fancy olive oil always makes a good gift, but there's a difference between fancy olive oil and good fancy olive oil. The house oil from Frankies 457 Spuntino in Brooklyn is delicious (i.e., great on fresh bread and in dishes), is DOC certified, and comes in a chic tin that prevents light from spoiling the product.

Frankies 457 Olive Oil Sold by Amazon
Raaka Chocolate Bars Sold by Amazon

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