Category Archives: Food

Unique Gifts Provide a Sweet Treat

Not everybody has a sweet tooth, but those who do know if you don’t answer its call, the craving will just keep nagging you.

If you’re one of those folks who needs that sweet taste virtually every day, we have some unique gift suggestions that satisfy your taste for a treat.

This is the best frozen soft-serve dessert maker we’ve found. It earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it made the smoothest, soft-serve ice cream-like desserts. Lesser units produced frozen treats that had an uneven consistency or were too chunky, while The Best unit’s powerful-yet-quiet motor purees frozen bananas, chocolate chips, and marshmallows into a healthy alternative to Rocky Road, with a super-satisfying mouth feel. 

Who doesn’t love s’mores? Now, you don’t even need a campfire to make them. This indoor roaster produces perfect toasted marshmallows without an open flame. The puffy confections are toasted over a stainless steel electric heater, making it safe and easy to use with kids.

Here’s another unique gift reminiscent of summer. This snow cone cart recreates the treat found at beaches, parks, and zoos. The fun starts under a classic ruffled red awning as the cart’s electric grinder produces finely granulated ice from ordinary household ice cubes. You can make up to eight snow cones at a time, while your fortunate guests apply their choice of flavored syrup from the included rainbow of one-gallon containers of cherry, grape, blue raspberry, lemon-lime, or orange syrup.

Studies have shown that a little bit of sweet at the end of a meal signals your body that it’s time to turn the appetite off. Just don’t go overboard and be sure to balance your treats with plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and your sweet tooth can be satisfied, even while you maintain your good health.

Recommit to Get Fit

We’re almost two months into the new year…and by now, more than a third of us have strayed from our New Year’s resolutions, particularly those resolutions involving diet and exercise.

But it’s not too late; with recommitment and focus – and a bit of help from the following suggestions and unique gifts – you can get back on track and get ready for warmer weather and lighter clothing.

Count calories…but don’t forget about other nutrients that can pack on pounds and rob you of the unique gift of good health. This analytical diet scale provides complete nutritional information on an entire meal and is ideal for monitoring cholesterol intake, or tracking sugar consumption. The scale connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet and uses a free app to record and store diet data on calories, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, total fat, fiber, sodium, and cholesterol for over 550,000 foods.

Make exercise so easy, you’ll have no excuses. This motorless walker’s treadmill folds to only 14″ high for unobtrusive storage, so you can exercise any time in the convenience of your own home. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the treadmill’s resistance is created by magnetic force, eliminating the need for AC power and allowing for setup anywhere. A battery-powered monitor tracks time, speed, distance, heart rate, and calories burned.

Accept coaching to help you stay on track. This digital bathroom scale has a daily calorie coaching function that provides you with an accurate number of calories needed to reach or maintain your target weight. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, this scale monitors daily readings of weight and body composition, and wirelessly transmits the data via Bluetooth to an iOS-compatible device for easy tracking and motivation. It displays data in a list, graph, or chart for daily goal management.

Finally, if you have multiple resolutions you’re not keeping, give yourself permission to abandon some of them. It’s better to recommit to one or two than to fail across the board.

Oenophiles Know It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere

If you have wine lovers on your holiday shopping list, you are lucky.

You’re lucky because there are so many clever and unique gifts to choose from for the oenophile. Lucky because a bottle of wine is an easy accompaniment to round out the gift. And especially lucky because the appreciative wine lover just might share some of their favorite grape juice with you.84117_1000x1000

Here’s a suggestion for a unique gift for a real wine lover that’s a favorite among our customers: a seamless mouth-blown glass that can hold an entire bottle of wine. Its classic Bordeaux shape fits an entire hand, enabling effortless quaffing without abandoning social mores. It also serves teetotalers as an impressive display for olives, candies, or floating candles. This fun glass allows users to assure that they, in all honesty, had only one glass of wine…although we cannot bear responsibility for any next-morning hangovers.86245_1000x1000

These wine glasses lend a different touch of whimsy with a playful tilt. Their bent stems set a relaxed, lighthearted mood at the beginning of a gathering or add fun as a surreptitious stemware switch after guests are about to start on their second Syrah. Each glass is hand-blown into a unique vessel with stems that bend a bit more or bowls that tilt a bit more than others, supporting the adage that wine affects everyone – and every glass – differently.87690_1000x1000

To drink the wine, you must get the bottle open. This wooden puzzle keeps a bottle’s virtue intact by confounding quaffers from cracking its corded code. A wooden cage secures a bottle’s bottom while a mortise and tenon joint that caps a bottle’s top “locks” into place with a corkscrew “pin”. A cord connecting the bottom and top wraps around the corkscrew to deceive the desperate and the thirsty into thinking that a simple unraveling can easily release the bottle for indulgent imbibing.

These represent just a few of the unique gifts we have available for pleasing wine connoisseurs and others getting into the spirits of the holidays. Check out our full selection for wine lovers today.

A Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Ideas

You might say hosting Thanksgiving is the pinnacle of entertaining. Little else distracts from the focus on gathering ‘round for the big meal…there are no unique gifts to shop for, no one is excluded because of their beliefs, and after the meal guests can simply relax over a football game or two.

However, if you’re hosting, it’s worth looking at a few unique gift items for yourself to ensure a memorable feast. We have a few suggestions to help the day go smoothly and wow your family and friends.84960_1000x1000

Make sure there’s plenty of ice for thirsty guests with this portable tabletop ice maker that produces ample cubes more efficiently than lesser models. Yielding conical-shaped cubes in batches of 12, the ice maker creates nearly 2 lbs. of ice per hour. Analysts from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute praise this unit for its ability to produce, “a batch of clear, well-formed cubes in just under 10 minutes.”12857_1000x1000

Whether you’re laying out hors d’oeuvres, displaying desserts or setting a more intimate-feeling dining table, this wooden lazy Susan will complement your beautiful décor while making it easier for guests to grab the goodies. It features a wooden top supported by a repurposed wine barrel metal hoop. The 23″-diameter tray rests flat on a table and smoothly spins 360° on steel ball bearings. And as you’re writing up your holiday shopping list, keep this lazy Susan in mind as a unique gift for any oenophiles you know. 12482_1000x1000

After the feast, coffee is in order to combat the effects of turkey and loads of carbs. Bring your favorite barista to your kitchen in the guise of this fully automatic, exactingly designed Swiss coffee maker. Built to standards coffee connoisseurs expect, this barista makes drinks from Espresso to Cappuccino and beyond. A simple turn of the dial selects one of 29 different drinks, all in perfect proportions. Two hoppers hold different flavors or brands of beans for customized blends.

Finally, as Thanksgiving approaches, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for your readership and your loyalty to our commitment to always bring you The Best, The Only and The Unexpected.

Extend Summer with Warmth of Hospitality

So soon, summer comes to its unofficial close on Labor Day. Already, we see the marked difference in darker, cooler mornings and noticeably earlier sunsets.12298_1000x1000

But for many folks, the best weather of the year is yet to come, and even when earlier darkness brings a chill in the air, many weeks still lie ahead to entertain outdoors.

Help your guests enjoy the unique gifts of a crisp fall evening with accessories that will add light and warmth to your yard or patio. This hearth table, for instance, features a granite top cut from the mountains in China’s Shanxi province, so each handcrafted table is one-of-a-kind. A cutout section in the center contains a stainless steel fire pit, powered by a propane tank or a connection to a natural gas line86860_1000x1000.

In smaller spaces, this tabletop fireplace88478_1000x1000 provides the color, charm, and comfort of a wood-burning fire without the smoke, smells, or sparks. It’s fueled by recycled liquid ethanol, so the 7″-high flame gives off only carbon dioxide and water vapor, making it suitable for use indoors or out. Consider this mini fireplace as an appropriate and unique gift for a housewarming, too—pun intended.

Provide illumination along with an architectural element with these all-weather obelisk torches. The elegant torches continue a long sculptural tradition begun in ancient Egypt, where similar obelisks were first fashioned to flank temple entrances. They have extra-long cotton wicks to fill the evening with soft, romantic light.

Pair these unique gift ideas for warmth and light with rustic fall decorations and hearty, seasonal dishes such as chili or pumpkin soup. Your outdoor parties will be a success even through the end of October and will keep guests feeling cozy, comfortable, and relaxed.

Unique Gifts Bring the Farm to Your Table

You wandered the farmers’ market to find the freshest, tastiest heirloom tomatoes. You battled to grab the last bunches of brilliant green broccoli rabe. You waited in long lines at the heritage beef butcher’s kiosk to get the finest grass-fed, free-range beef brisket—the one your friend told you was “to die for” after five hours of smoking and slow roasting.

Except now it’s noon and your guests are coming at 3:00.84974_1000x1000

Solve this culinary conundrum with the One Hour Indoor Pressure Smoker. It will cook that brisket in only one hour—five times faster than traditional methods. Combining a pressure cooker and smoker in one appliance, this 6½-quart device increases internal pressure by 15 psi, cooking food faster while still allowing wood chips to release their unique gift of fragrant, flavor-enhancing smoke. The cooker can also be employed as a cold smoker, steamer, or even just a traditional low- or-high-pressure cooker.84871_1000x1000

As for those heirloom tomatoes, a salubriously delicious sauce can be made with the Genuine Italian Tomato Press. Imported from Italy, it peels, seeds, and strains fresh tomatoes to create a smooth puree. Capturing the flavor of seasonal produce without the laborious process of manually blanching, skinning, and coring the fruit, this efficient Old World tool processes up to three quarts of raw tomatoes at a time by simply turning a crank.88905_1000x1000

The fresh broccoli rabe can be cooked without butter or oil—reducing calories and fat—in a nonstick pan. This set of Scratchproof Nonstick Pans feature a ceramic-titanium coating that makes for easy cooking and cleanup. In tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, fried eggs slid off the ungreased pan as if cooked on air, and the impervious non-stick surface suffered no damage when scrubbed with an abrasive pad and scratched with a metal fork. By the way, this pan set also make an ideal unique gift for a new graduate heading off to their first apartment.

The season for farmers’ markets is in full swing…make eating locally and eating well a fresh summer afternoon delight!

Take Our Cue…Unique Gifts for Dad’s Barbecue, That Is!

Smokin’ low and slow is the way to go for dear ol’ Dad this Father’s Day. It’s the endless quest for finger-licking, bone-sucking BBQ, good enough to make everyone’s mouth water.88539_1000x1000

We suggest Dad start slow and easy, with a meat marinade or dry rub ideal for smoking. The Only Kettle Grill Smoker Converter turns an ordinary kettle grill into a smoking pit, so Dad can cook his meats to juicy, pink perfection. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the insert rests atop a grill’s charcoal grate and provides a perforated platform for briquettes, woodchips, and water to work together to generate a dense, flavorful smoke.88516_1000x1000

Dad’s carefully planned ballet of rubbed meat and slow smoke can be monitored with timed, digital precision using The Smartphone Alerting Barbecue Thermometer. This device lets dad monitor his brisket while playing a game of softball, taking Mom for a stroll, or engaging in a game of lawn darts. The wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPad/iPhone app or Android app, alerting the cook when a pre-selected temperature or optimal cooking range is reached…Dad relaxes and has fun with the family in the meantime.88310_1000x100087471_1000x1000

And for the finest 14-hour smoked brisket that may take Dad into the hours past sunset, The Best Cordless Grill Light lets him baste his rib roast and plate those succulent unique gifts of burnt ends for the family soirée. This light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer.

Perhaps the Dad in your life is not one for manning the grill. No problem…we have plenty of other ideas for the perfect Father’s Day present. Our easy-to-use, online Father’s Day Gift Guide is available to help you choose just the right unique gifts for him.

Boost Your Health with Chocolate

Many a medical study has maligned some of our favorite foods. However, research consistently shows that chocolate is good for you. This is research we can get behind!12264_1000x1000 2

Tomorrow is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day and it’s a great time to celebrate all things cocoa. Chocolate contains the alkaloid theobromine. This alkaloid is a unique gift from nature because it can help improve blood circulation, stimulate the brain, reduce cholesterol, and prevent coughs. Couple this with chocolate’s mood-lifting properties and you might call it a natural wonder drug! 12759_1000x1000

Marry rich chocolate with hickory-smoked bacon and you get this decadent treat. Premium thick-cut bacon is oven-baked until golden and crispy, then expertly hand dipped in chocolate. You might want to keep this bacon for yourself, but it also makes a perfect unique gift idea because it equally pleases those who love sweet or savory flavors. 12636_1000x1000

These crisp Moravian cookies are crafted using Old World techniques and enrobed in rich artisanal chocolate. The cookies are baked with all-natural ingredients and are coated in rich milk chocolate to create a sweet-tooth satisfying treat.

Using the best and freshest ingredients, these scrumptious pecan turtles start with a thick bed of fresh Georgia pecan pieces, topped with a dollop of caramel. Capped with a thick crown of rich milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate, each turtle variety offers an irresistible combination of crunchy, creamy, and chocolatey goodness with every bite.

Don’t let tomorrow slip by without some chocolate. It’s a great excuse to enjoy the great taste of cocoa that just may be good for you, too.

Simple Tips for the Best Backyard BBQ

On the subject of friendly neighborhood competitions, the question came up on how to throw a better backyard barbecue.

There are fundamentals that should be observed, of course. If you’re serving steaks, buy the best cut you can afford. Better yet, grill a roast. A simple formula of 15 minutes per pound will yield a beautiful medium-rare presentation, and you can relax a bit and enjoy your guests and the unique gifts of their camaraderie while the meat cooks.

79824_300x300The flavor of your roast, as well as pretty much any meat, fish or fowl, can be made even better with smoke. This wood chip smoker box generates taste-enhancing smoke without producing flames, resulting in a more concentrated, robust flavor.

Try not to use lighter fluid to avoid a chemical after-taste on the food. If you’re using charcoal instead of a gas grill, light the coals using a chimney-style starter. Not only will the food taste better, this method is better for the environment, too.

86925_300x300To keep uncooked meats chilled till the coals are ready or to keep cold side dishes chilled until serving time, this food-chilling platter is ideal for BBQs, buffets, or picnics. The unit’s removable stainless steel platter is chilled by an included freezer pack that keeps cold meats, cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, sushi, or desserts chilled below 45° F for 50 minutes. Its plastic lid ensures protection from insects both indoors and out.

To throw a great backyard barbecue, you’ll need plenty of ice on hand for drinks and coolers. This portable ice maker earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice. This model’s 1.8 lbs.-per-hour output was 80% more efficient than other models. The Best model also produced its first batch of clear, well-formed cubes in just under 10 81846A_300x300minutes.

Finally, make sure your guests won’t be eaten alive by mosquitoes. The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap lures pesky skeeters within one-acre by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration. You can give your friends and family the unique gift of an evening under the stars, without the next day’s itchy reminders of uninvited flying pests.

Essentials of a Great Cook

Cooking as a hobby is more popular than ever. There are entire TV networks devoted to the avocation, not to mention a plethora of cooking competition shows, professional and amateur alike.

But what makes a great cook? We interviewed a corporate chef for some essential points. Based on his tips, we also have a few recommendations for unique gifts that will help you wow the crowd at your next dinner party.

  1. Be hungry. Have the desire to please your own palate.
  2. Have a good sense of taste. If your friends come back for more, you’re on your way. If your friends would be willing to pay for your cooking, you may have a career.
  3. Practice, practice, practice your knife handling skills. And remember that a dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp one. Keep all your smooth and serrated knives in top condition.86822_300x300
  4. Cook by technique, not by recipes. Recipes teach the mistakes of others, technique teaches you to make your own recipes. Respect the experience of those who teach you.
  5. 84850_300x300Be organized and clean. As much as 60% of cooking is prepping, chopping, and cleaning. Many professionals use a prep station to be efficient and organized.
  6. Have a good sense of timing. Try to guess time without looking at the clock or timer. An innate sense of timing is a unique gift, but with practice you can develop the skill. Know the proper time and temperature for the safe cooking of different foods.
  7. 12527_300x300Be bold and creative. Go to school and take a variety of classes and instruction. Don’t be afraid to try something different that will really get friends and family talking, even something like traditional Cuban Lechon Asado.
  8. Above all, have joy and fun! If you enjoy what you’re doing, it will show in the results. And make sure to relax and enjoy your guests with a tasty beverage served in a fun atmosphere.