SacFoodies Favorites – Holiday Gift Guide, Day 4

:  This past summer, I visited the Melting Pot for the first time and was introduced to the wonders of fondue. It was a delicious and interactive experience that I wished I could recreate at home. After searching around online, I came across a beautiful All-Clad Fondue Set with Cast Aluminum Insert available on-sale right nowat Williams-Sonoma for $149.95. The set even includes eight color-coded stainless steel forks and a sturdy tripod with built-in burner. The Williams-Sonoma “Fondue” cookbook would be the perfect accessory to the fondue set to help me recreate some of my favorite fondue dishes. I’m already craving the cheese combo fondues, the classic milk chocolate fondue, and the bourbon-infused caramel fondue. Yum!Melissa Nielsen

Jon Schuller: I just don’t know what to think about Rachael Ray. Some people love her. Some people hate her. A few people love to hate her. Well, tabloid headlines and EVOO-overexposure aside, I can say one thing: I love her knives. And not in some weird, Angelina Jolie-type way. No. As a foodie, it’s a good thing to embrace not just food, but the entire cooking experience. The smells, the sounds, the touch and feel of the ingredients that will—by your own hard work (and maybe tears)—magically transform into something gratifyingly gourmet.

Or, at the very least, edible.

That’s where the raspy-voiced one’s awesome Furi 3-piece Gusto Grip set comes in handy. Literally. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made quick work of a tomato or an apple or some stubborn squash with the orange, rubber-gripped handles (counterweights in the knives help with balance; antimicrobial inhibitors protect against wear and tear). A friend of mine owns the set, which comes in a chic bamboo storage case, and I always seem to find an excuse to gleefully chop something up in her kitchen when I’m in for a visit.

Yes, the entire cooking experience should be embraced as a journey. But like any journey, it’s always more fun when you have the right equipment. I’m not going to hike Half Dome in flip flops. Similarly, a summer watermelon salad becomes much more navigable when you’ve got the right set of cutlery for the job. So, whatever your feelings are toward Ms. Ray, no worries.

I just know these knives are a cut above the rest.

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