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Simply the best balsamic vinegar ever!


Fattoria Estence Aceto Balsamico di Modena 10-year Aged Balsamic Vinegar

One of my favorite summer dishes is bruschetta.  It’s fresh, healthy, and simply delicious.  I often make bruschetta skewers as an appetizer for a family gathering or party (see below video on how to make this), and for a quick lunch, I just slice some fresh tomatoes and mozzarella and basil then drizzle the emulsified balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top.  To emulsify the sauces, I just use a handle whisk or fork and whisk them together.  Add a dash of salt and pepper to the sauce before emulsifying them gives it a nice “kick” too.  Now to the combination of flavors from the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, vinegar and oil is like a party in my mouth!  This Modena balsamic vinegar is the secret as it has just the right combination of sweet, fruity and woody flavors that go so well together.  I often use the emulsified sauce as a dip with rustic bread, sauce for Italian meat sandwiches and use the balsamic vinegar to make my own salad dressing. It’s definitely a stable in my kitchen and they make great gifts too!

Click here for instructional video on how to make tomato mozzarella skewers for a party.

Price: $19.95

Where to buy: Sur la Table


Salmon Rub – Taste of the Pacific Northwest

Tom Douglas Salmon Rub

Tom Douglas “Rub with Love” Salmon Rub 

Chef Tom Douglas uses his “Rub with Love” Salmon Rub to create the best salmon dish in Seattle at his renowned restaurant Etta’s.  We've been using this "little secret" for years to perfectly season our barbecued or baked salmon dishes for parties. It is incredibly simple to use and the results are overwhelmingly delicious.  To use on a larger piece of salmon  (about 1 ½ pound) I would brush about a ½ tablespoon of olive oil then about 1 tablespoon of this seasoning all over one side, then grill with the skin-side down on foil paper and cook until your desired level.  The result is this perfect combination of spicy (mild) and sweet with just a hint of smoky flavor in a beautiful reddish color. Even our youngest children love it!  The seasoning also works wonders with Chilean Seabass and Orange Roughy. Please share your favorite recipes!

Price: $5.99

Where to buy:, Tom Douglas Store, and at your local grocery stores


Chef's Salts of the World

Salts of the World

It’s always a pleasure to find some salts so tasty and unique that with just a sprinkle the finished food tastes divine.  Chef Stefans’ Salts of the World gift box contains 6 individual canisters of the finest salts, each was selected for its quality, diversity and application.  Just before serving, sprinkle a little of the Trapani Italian sea salt on your pasta or salad, apply a small amount of the Himalayan salt on your grilled seafood, or crush a tiny Dominion sea salt on your fresh vegetables for a delightful culinary experience. This salt collection will bring many new and exciting flavors to your next meal!

The collection includes Trapani Sea Salt from Italy, Pink Himalayan Salt from India, Seoul Bamboo Salt from Korea, Dominion Sea Salt from New Zealand, Black Lava Salt from Syprus and Kechil Sea Salt from Indonesia.  All are packaged in a beautiful gift box for a unique international culinary experience.

Price: $36-$39

Where to buy: Over and Above,


Serve it up "botanically" beautiful!

Botanical Serveware

Founded in 1992 by Kate Carlyle in South Africa, the artists from Mustardseed and Moonshine made delicate flowers into exquisite teacups, ramekins, serving platters and salad bowls.  These botanical forms are handcrafted thus making each piece uniquely beautiful.  Although they look quite delicate they are truly functional as they are dishwasher, oven and microwave safe!  They are also very multi-purpose.  Use the teacup as a catch all for small jewelry pieces or display them on your table as a tea candle holder.  Alternatively, use the small bowls on top of a platter for small appetizers such as chips and salsa, olive and bread, and humus and pita.   The possibilities are endless!   

Price: $35 - $100

Where to buy: Mustardseed and MoonshineNeiman Marcus 


Get Your Guests Talking

Table Topic Dinner Party Edition

Get your guests talking, laughing, and enjoying each others' company with this set of fun, inspired conversation starters. Every question is perfectly appropriate for any combination of friends and acquaintances.  Perfect as gift or use it at your next dinner party.

Price: $25

Where to buy:,


Earth Friendly Skoy Cloth

Skoy Cloths (Set of 4)

The Skoy cloth is very absorbent, biodegradable, durable and of a good size (6.75" x 7.75") for general cleaning of most surface areas in the home.  It dries quickly, dishwasher and washer/dryer safe which makes it convenient to clean and disinfect.  This makes a great gift or use it to quickly mop up your kitchen counter and table.

Price: $7.99

Where to buy:


Cup Withstanding the Heat

Apilco Traditional Mug

Apilco Tradition Porcelain Mugs (Set of 4)

High quality Apilco French porcelain mugs that are stain and heat resistance.  The design is timeless and they are fired at high intensity which makes them resistant against cracking and chipping.  These mugs are microwaveable, oven and dishwasher safe making them perfect for every day dining as well as entertaining.  Once you’ve reheated a cup of coffee in one of these mugs you’ll throw away all your other mugs.  In about 20 to 30 seconds and the coffee is steaming hot and the mug is perfectly cool.

Mug size is 11 1/2-oz and is sold individually (in-store) or in a set of four. 

Price: $64

Where to buy: Williams-Sonoma