This list is for those in your life with impeccable taste and a taste for authenticity. These selections will really show you care, and want to lavish the most on the one you love.
Baccarat Decanter and Glassware
For the wine connoisseur: the ultimate in elegance and grace. Baccarat has teamed with a renowned vintner for the first time in their 255-year history. Jean-Charles Boisset (seen in the photo at the top of this post), was born into the world of wine in Burgundy, France, where his parents founded their family winery. From those beginnings, Boisset has expanded his empire to include wineries from Burgundy, the South of France, Napa Valley, and Russian River Valley, and a luxury lifestyle brand.
“Wine is the ultimate expression of the senses and art of living. It requires the most refined vessels to present itself. Our dream collection with Baccarat provides sensory experiences that unite the palate, mind and heart!” said Boisset, who has collected Baccarat pieces from a young age and is known for the impressive Baccarat chandeliers that adorn his wineries and tasting rooms.
Baccarat’s collaboration with Boisset includes one wine glass designed for white, red or rosé, a Champagne glass, plus wine decanter and a stunning Champagne decanter.
The handmade glasses and decanters retail at $380 for a two-glass set of the wine glasses, $380 for a two-glass set of the Champagne glasses, $860 for the wine decanter and $960 for the Champagne decanter. Available online at jcbcollection.com or on the baccarat site: us.baccarat.com
Sieger By Fürstenberg The Seven Collection: DROPS
I adore this company’s designs. Not only are they a wonder to look at, they also are a joy to touch and use. The Seven dinner service’s concept is that its seven versatile pieces can be used and combined in any number of ways between breakfast and dinner. For instance, the cup for hot /cold beverages can also function as a bowl for ice cream. The plates, can be used as a saucer or platter, but also as a lid for the bowls to keep meals warm and to store them.
In the DROPS collection, cobalt-blue drops are applied by hand, to create unique patterns. Each item is one of a kind, no two are the same. The gorgeous cobalt blue and bright white create a striking pattern for joy every day.
This set really adds a new energy to the table, the interplay between the different patterns and textures constantly generates new, thrilling combinations on the finest white porcelain.
Designed by Michael Sieger, handcrafted in Germany at Porzellanmanufaktur Fürstenberg. Drops is also available in Satin White, Geometric Blue, Floral Blue, Light Gold and Hanami.Dishwasher-safe. Prices range. The Dinner plate, $187.20; Small cup, $92.81. Available online at artedona.com.
Sieger By Fürstenberg Luna Collection
To go along with the dishware are Luna vases in the Drops pattern. These are also one of a kind pieces of art bearing the same hand-applied cobalt-blue dots in lively patterns. The vases come in three sizes, making a joyful setting for bouquets big and small, and hardly even need flowers as they are striking, sculptural ornaments on their own.
Comes in three sizes, Small, $423.17; Medium, $470.36; Large, $627.67. Available online at artedona.com.
Sieger By Fürstenberg Of Kings & Queens
Here’s a beer mug of a different caliber from this company. Of Kings & Queens collection is designed to breath fresh life into beer imbibing. Designed by Michael Sieger, the porcelain and gold beer mugs offer an elegant, slender reinterpretation of the classic beer tankard. The shape and material allow beer’s ingredients—water, hops, malt and yeast – to achieve their full potential.
Inspired by the Doric columns, the straight-lined design and concave facets are a key design element. The mug sits snugly in the hand thanks to the slender, finely formed handle. The matte satin finish on the outside gives it a nice, final touch. This makes a grand gift for the beer aficianado.
Porcelain, satin-matte on the outside, 24-carat gold on the inside. Available in two sizes, .33 and .5 liter. Handcrafted in Germany. Small, $344.51. Large, $407.44. Available online at artedona.com
Yellow: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau
This book really knows about yellow. Fun fact: did you know tennis balls were not always yellow, but white? They switched to yellow with color TV, so viewers could more easily follow the game. Also, back in Rome, a wedding ceremony required that the couple be dressed in yellow and that they enter together a room painted yellow.
You’ll learn this and more in this wonderful tome to the history of yellow, with a wealth of captivating images. With its striking design and compelling text, yellow becomes a feast for the eye and mind. I just adore the cover, which has a unique attitude that begs to know the story behind it.
The author, Michel Pastoureau, is a renowned authority on the history of color. He traces the visual, social, and cultural history of yellow, focusing on European, East Asia, India, Africa, and South America societies. In the book you’ll see that yellow in European antiquity was almost sacred, a symbol of light, warmth, and prosperity. Warm yellow recalled honey and gold, serving as a sign of pleasure and abundance. In ancient China, yellow clothing was reserved for the emperor, while in India the color is associated with happiness.
Yellow: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau, (also in the series: Red, Blue, Black, and Green), Princeton University Press, $39.95
Sicily is my Love Smeg and Dolce & Gabanna
No one will complain about getting an appliance as a gift when it’s designed by Dolce & Gabanna. These specimens will lure even the most kitchen-shy into domestic bliss.
Kettle The kettle is decorated with Sicilian cart motifs and colorful patterns. The bottom half is characterized by oval shapes that showcase Mediterranean bounty—yellow lemons, oranges, and fiery red Etna cherries.
The body is powder-coated steel with a polished chrome base. Holds 1.7 Liters/ 7 cups Jug capacity with soft-opening lid.
It has a removable stainless steel limescale filter. It automatically shuts off when it reaches a temperatuve of 100°C/ 212°F or when water is not detected. The base swivels 360° and has a built-in cord wrap.
2-Slice Toaster Traditional motifs cover the surface, inspired by local terracotta vases from Sicily. The iconography features various types of birds, majestic roosters, and sailboats heading off towards the Mediterranean horizon.
The body is powder-coated steel with a polished chrome base, with 2 extra wide slots. It features an automatic pop up and removable stainless steel crumb tray. Built-in cord wrap keeps things neat. Functions with 6 browning levels and 3 pre-set programs to reheat, defrost, toast a bagel.
The collection also offers a mixer, citrus juicer, espresso machine, blender, slow juicer, as well as major appliances: an oven, fridge, and hood.
Kettle, $650. Toaster, $650. Purchase in New York City at Bergdorf Goodman, and Columbus Circle Williams-Sonoma. Find the store locator on the website.
Smeg, Sicily is My Love, smegusa.com
Great Escapes Europe
Whether you know someone who’s a world traveler or just someone who would marvel at Europe’s most amazing destinations, Great Escapes Europe: The Hotel Book will fit the bill.
From a 150-year-old Portuguese estate to Norway’s Budsjord, last stop on one of the loneliest pilgrimage routes in the world, Angelika Taschen scours the European continent for the most beautiful places to rest your head. This updated guide profiles each hotel through postcard-ready photography and key information.
The Gift of Travel
Speaking of travel, a gift of experiences rather than things is truly the ultimate gift for that person that has it all. You’ll be providing priceless memories to cherish in lands fare and wide. Choose from these trips that personalize the travel experience, and give intimate looks at the places on their lists.
No Place Like Home
For those who crave a truly local culinary experience, Traveling Spoon connects travelers to home cooked meals and cooking lessons in local homes around the world. Experiences are 100% vetted and private. Example destinations: witness heritage pasta making in Florence, learn to grind curries in Thailand, make tortillas in a beautiful home in Mexico City. Photos show scenes from Bali (above and below)
Experiences range from $80-250 per person. Choose from 160+ cities in over 50 countries. travelingspoon.com
Walk This Way
For the Francophile on your list, give the gift of fanciful exploration through Medieval villages, rolling fields and forests, gently flowing rivers, with On Foot Holidays’ self-guided walking tour. This exploration of the Dordogne region in central France includes stays at waterside inns and former chateaus. Highlight: a tour of the ancient pilgrimage site of Rocamadour, where buildings are perched on cliffs overhanging the valley.
The journey includes fine dining of local specialties and a Michelin-starred restaurant at the journey’s end. Rates start from about $900 per person. onfootholidays.co.uk
When In Rome
For the person obsessed with the drama, history and beauty of Italian cinema, let them experience it first-hand at Hotel Mediterraneo in the heart of Rome. They offer an unparalleled experience with their program: Dormire Sul Set (“Sleeping on Set”) in partnership with Cinecittà, the famous movie studio. Cinecittà, built in 1937, was the location of nearly all of Fellini’s productions, plus still hosts sets of Ancient Rome, Jerusalem and Florence circa 1400.
The Bettoja Hotel group’s Hotel Mediterraneo and it’s sister property, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, have also been featured in shows and movies, as seen in HBO’s The Young Pope, Ocean’s Eleven, The Americans, and the FX series Trust.
The Sleeping on Set experience starts at $350 for a Junior suite and includes an exclusive breakfast with views from the roof, plus a guided tour and lunch on the Cinecittà set for up to 15. bettojahotels.it
Creative Workshops in Tuscany
For your creative pal, purchase a personal, creative journey to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Cookbook author and food-stylist, Annette Joseph and her husband Frank, bought a dreamy a medieval fortress in the countryside of northern Tuscany. La Fortezza was once a medieval defense tower in a region of over 120 castles and now functions as the couple’s Italian summer home and a creative space offering workshops and retreats.
La Fortezza offers breathtaking views of mountains and is surrounded by acres of olive groves, chestnut trees, fruit orchards, and an organic kitchen garden. An outdoor pizza oven adds to the ambiance offering a spot to make regional breads and pizza with local ingredients. Guest quarters include six stylish bedrooms with private baths.
Workshops offer excursions and incredible opportunities to meet the local artisans and merchants and producers of the region. Annette personally teaches classes in addition to internationally known painters, photographers, and writers.
Some of the La Fortezza Workshops for 2020:
The Slow Food Experience: Visit regional vineyards, cheese makers, an Amaro liqueur lab, a flour mill, and dairy. Includes a truffle hunt and three-course truffle-infused luncheon.
Her Dark Materials Old Master Photography: Learn Old Masters-style set-ups and lighting.
William Abranowicz Lifestyle Photography: Participants will be taught to simplify the technical aspects of photography, and understand light and composition to create well-executed, emotionally impactful images.
All About Olives: Will guide you how to harvest, cook, press, and learn all things related to olives.
Workshop Fees start at $3,875 per guest and include a five-night stay. In addition to scheduled workshops, private groups and retreats are also welcome.
Annette Joseph is an expert on entertaining, cooking, and styling. Her recipes and party ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Epicurious, The Huffington Post, and Southern Living, among numerous others.
Tablet Plus Membership
Tablet Hotels is a website which highlights and rates the world’s best boutique hotels. Whenever I am planning a trip, it is my go-to for booking the most interesting hotels, as they also include reviews from members and fantastic tips.
The Tablet Plus membership starts with a free 30-day trial, and offers perks like room upgrades, free breakfasts, late check-out, spa credits, and more. It also includes discounted rates on hotels and access to exclusive events (like Michelin dinners). A dedicated team of travel experts assist in planning a journey. In case of a mix-up in booking, they will act on your behalf to straighten things out. They also guarantee the lowest prices for their hotels.
Tablet Plus costs $99 annually.