Click and be merry: Online gifts for food lovers
Crowd control isn't the only attraction of online retailers. You also can eat and drink while you shop.
So pull up a nibble, pour a glass and consider these suggestions to help enthusiasts on your list get their food and drink fix in 2012. Prices do not include tax or shipping.
Lidia Bastianich Urbani Mushroom Risotto Kit from OpenSky.com . This website offers products selected by leading food figures like Bastianich, Tom Colicchio and Ming Tsai. Join for free, choose the experts you want to follow, then shop their suggestions. Risotto bundle features 2 pounds of aged Acquarello carnaroli rice and 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms. $40 from www.opensky.com .
Nudo Adopt an Olive Tree. Nudo olive oil is fashioned from Italian hillside trees that are adopted for one year. Adoptive parents choose from a variety of vineyards. Twice during the year, they receive shipments of olive oil made from the fruit of their tree. $109 from nudo-italia.com .
Butcher's Kitchen Impressor Plus Meat Tool. A three-in-one tool featuring piercing blades and pounding attachments that texturize, tenderize, drive in rubs and enable marinades to soak in quickly. Helps cut down on cooking time, too. Made from dishwasher-safe chrome-plated zinc. $69.99 from butcherskitchen.com/index.html.
"Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China With Recipes." This lavishly photographed book takes readers on a 10,000-mile journey through China, including areas like Macau and Xinjiang Province rarely covered by English-language cookbooks. The approachable recipes are adapted to the Western kitchen. Soft cover, 290 pages. $24.99 from Amazon.com .
Tre Spade Italian Tomato Press. Basta to fiddling with fresh tomatoes! The press quickly and easily extracts juice and pulp, making flavorful sauces easier than ever. Can also be used to make other fruit and vegetable purees. Made of aluminum and BPA-free plastic. $79.95 from www.williams-sonoma.com .
Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker. Easily turn peeled, frozen bananas and other frozen fruit into a creamy dessert inspired by soft-serve ice cream, but far more healthful. Toppings can be added. Comes with fruit storage container, pop molds and recipe booklet. Dishwasher-safe except for power base. $59.99 from www.yonanas.com .
Govino Shatterproof Wine Glasses and Flutes. Elegant, stylish vessels that are reusable, recyclable, notched for easy handling, and made from food-safe, BPA-free polymer to maintain the color, aroma and flavor of wine. Perfect for wherever glass can't go. Hand wash. From $12.95 for a four-pack from www.govinowine.com .
Zenker Ring Mold Creations. Plate food like a pro! These molds make it easy to create beautifully rounded appetizers, salads, quiches, eggs and desserts. Perfect for the home cook who cares about presentation. Set of 12 includes baking base. Of nonstick carbon steel. $48 from Amazon.com .
William Bounds Chalice Mill. Wooden salt and pepper mills from the PepArt collection aren't just functional -- they're works of table art created for William Bounds by artist Robert Wilhelm. Nonjamming mechanism evenly crushes sea salt and peppercorns. In four different color combinations, 7 1⁄2 inches tall. $50 from www.wmboundsltd.com .
International Rescue Committee Refugee Aid. Honor special people by giving gifts in their names that help the IRC aid refugees. Gifts include a flock of chickens, a goat, clean water, seeds and tools for a community garden, and emergency food for 50 malnourished children. Gift recipients receive a card with the giver's message. $30 to $120 from gifts.rescue.org .