Gifts

 
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Opinel Knives

From its humble origins as a popular peasant’s knife at the turn of the last century, the Opinel knife has become an icon of French design and culture.  Invented in 1890 by Joseph Opinel in Savoie , France, the knife’s basic design, consisting of a beechwood handle with a high-carbon steel blade, has remained in use by the company ever since.  A locking blade mechanism was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955 and has since been improved with the Virobloc locking mechanism which holds the blade in either an open or closed position.

Opinel knifes are currently sold in 11 numbered sizes: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 13.  Size #had a 2cm blade and by 1932, it was deemed too small for practical use and discontinue.  Size #11 was judged to be too similar in size to #’s 10 and 12 so it was discontinued in 1935.  The Slim Effile Opinel series uses a thinner-profile stainless-steel blade and is best used for cleaning and filleting fish and thinly slicing meats and cheeses.

Fun Facts

Pablo Picasso used Opinel knives to carve his sculptures.

You can visit the Opinel Knife Museum (Le Musée de l’Opinel) the next time you are in the Saint-Jeane-De-Maurienne area.

The “crowned-hand” image in the Opinel logo represents the 3 finger-bones of John the Baptist which, according to legend, were brought back from Alexandria to Savoie by Saint Tecla in the 5th century, combined with the crown of Savoie.

 

Paella Pan & Ingredients

Paella, a signature dish which originated in Valencia, Spain, is wonderful comfort food that goes well with many or our select Spanish wines.  The traditional paella pan is a 17″ round, flat-bottomed pan that is meant to be used over an open fire traditionally fueled by a mix of orange and pine branches along with pine cones that produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the paella.

Valencian Paella

Valencians consider this dish traditional and very much part of their culture. Rice in Valencian paella is never braised in oil, as pilau, though the paella made further southwest of Valencia often is.

* Heat oil in a paellera.

* Sauté meat after seasoning with salt.

* Add green vegetables and sauté until soft.

* Add garlic (optional), grated tomatoes, beans and sauté.

* Add paprika and sauté.

* Add water, saffron (and/or food coloring), snails and rosemary.

* Boil to make broth and allow it to reduce by half.

* Add rice and simmer until rice is cooked.

* Garnish with more fresh rosemary.

Paella usually has a layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan called socarrat in Spain. This is considered a delicacy there and is essential to a good paella. The toasted rice develops on its own if the paella is cooked over a burner or open fire. If cooked in an oven, however, it will not. To correct this, place the paellera over a high flame while listening to the rice toast at the bottom of the pan. Once the aroma of toasted rice wafts upwards, remove it from the heat. The paella must then sit for about five minutes (most recipes recommend the paella be covered with a towel at this point) to absorb the remaining broth.

 

Brooklyn Slate Co. Cheese Boards

These unique serving pieces are from a Brooklyn, NY-based collaborative formed by Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka after a trip to Kristy’s family slate quarry in upstate New York.  BSC’s products are sourced from the quarry “graveyard” of odds and ends originally destined for road fill.  After being finished by hand, the pieces are packaged with materials that can all be re-purposed which makes this a great gift for the environmentally-conscious (and who isn’t these days!).

 

Swissmar Kitchen Tools

Using the right tools makes any cooking task easier and the experience of creating a meal more enjoyable. Swissmar’s functional and durable tools are created with usability and good hygiene in mind. From Vegetable Peelers and Silicone Spatulas to Corkscrews and Can openers, these kitchen tools are designed to make food preparation a joy.

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