Stumped for what to buy those special someones on your list? Let Chow Bella do the shopping -- or at least the browsing -- with our 2014 gift guides. Today: Gifts for the home chef.
Designer Apron from GFA Aprons $35- $65 gfaaprons.com
If your favorite home chef wants to wear what some of the Valley's best restaurant chefs are sporting these days, then he or she will be needing an apron from GFA (Girl From Arizona) Aprons. Made locally by Angela Muniz these pieces of culinary couture can be custom-fitted with pockets for pens or a cell phone and tricked out with towel loops and special trim. Choose from a selection of pre-set fabrics and designs or go for a completely one-of-a-kind creation. If you're going for a totally custom job you'll get to see a mock up for final approval but be warned that the production can take up to ten days.
Artisan Bread Kit from Hayden Flour Mills $35 www.haydenflourmills.com
Baking your own bread doesn't have to be a difficult task, but before you jump into it you'll need the proper supplies. Hayden Flour Mills makes it easy to begin with their Artisan Bread Kit, a one-stop-shop for the wannabe home bread maker. The kit includes a bag of locally-grown, freshly-milled Hard Red Spring bread flour, as well as a wooden proofing bowl and a tea towel featuring a vintage flour sack design. We can't make any promises that the equipment will take you an expert baker, but having the right tools certainly can't hurt.
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz $39.95 (hardcover) www.changinghands.com
When it comes to pickling, brewing, and fermenting, there's arguably no greater giude than Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation. The hefty tome won the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship and contains just about everything you need to know to begin practicing fermentation at home. It's a dense read but also an invaluable resource for everything from making basic bread and butter pickles to growing mold cultures and brewing your own beer. Your home chef will be thanking you for years to come as this book is certain to become a well-used guide in his or her home library.
Botanical Sugar from La Bella Terre $12.98/jar www.labellaterre.com
Locally-made botanical sugars from La Bella Terre has to be one of our favorite little indulgences. Made from organic cane sugar and infused with botanical, these sugars are a simple way to elevate a dish or even your morning coffee. The line of sugars includes flavors such as Bergamot Lemon, Rose Cognac, and Grapefruit Hibiscus, though our personal favorite may be the highly aromatic Cardamom True. The sugars can be baked into a dessert, incorporated into cocktails, or used as a finishing touch on a favorite dish -- though one of our go-to uses is adding a spoonful into a cup of coffee for a fragrant way to start the day.
See also: Terri Nackey's Cardamon Pear Crisp (made with La Bella Terre cardamom scented sugar)
Gift Card to Davis Family Organic Farm Available in $25, $50, $75, $100, and $200 www.davisfamilyorganicfarm.com
For a chef who really wants to know what farm to table means the best gift will be an experience at Davis Family Organic Farm. This family-run operation in the San Tan Valley allows customers to buy a chicken that will be raised at the farm until it's time to be slaughtered for food. Once the animals are grown, the owners come to the farm to help in the process. The next butchering day isn't until April but chickens need to be reserved in advance with a $15 nonrefundable deposit. If that doesn't sound like your home chef's cup of tea, the gift cards can also be used on any of the Davis Family Organic Farm's products which include piglets, laying hens, eggs, herbs, and more.