By Kim Taylor
This year the gift emphasis should be on distinctive, affordable and thoughtful as opposed to glitzy and over-the-top. Here, then, is the gentleman’s guide to gifts that will resonate long after the initial flush of wrapping paper and excitement are over.
Nothing elicits a smile like crafted artisanal cheese produced farm-fresh in upstate New York at Beekman Farm. The lauded Beekman 1802 Blaak Cheese is a superb 60-40 mix of goat and cow milk, and the black rind ash is not only edible, but helps mellow the acidity and promote ripening. The Blaak is reminiscent of Italian semi-hard cheese with a tangy goat milk taste and smooth cow’s milk finish. Aged four months in the Beekman 1802 caves and coated with ash, this is a gift that will last for quite a while and will be useful. Find it at Murray’s Cheese, Garden of Eden, Stinky Brooklyn and Marlow & Daughters; or order online at http://shop.Beekman1802.com.
Fine chocolate has universal appeal, and will conjure sweet thoughts of you with every bite. The French chocolate brand Valrhona is synonymous with excellence for a true chocolate connoisseur, and was founded in 1922 by a patissier from the Rhone Valley. Now Valrhona has garnered ardent fans in more thanb sixty countries with approximately 20,000 clients. Visit http://www.valrhona-chocolate.com to choose from gift boxes, ballotins, bonbon boxes, recipes and organic fine cocoa. From the Christmas Truffle Box and Estate-Grown Gift Box to the Equinox Collection Box and Degustation Grand Crus Gift Box, there is absolutely something at this website for every chocolate lover.
Technophiles will appreciate everything at WowWee.com, especially the robots and Chatterbots. The adventuresome Roborover, for example, has tread-based motion that allows it to roll up over rough terrain, a headlight for night use, eyes and mouth that light up when it speaks, and speech that grows more sophisticated the more you interact with it. Adults and children alike will have a fantastic time with Roborover. The Chatterbots at WowWee are animated computer accessories that speak and add levity to the workday. Your office mates will cherish them; find them and much more — including flying tech products such as the Hoverpod — for holiday at http://www.wowwee.com.
Prestige Identity is an exceptional source for distinctive, high-quality and long-lasting gifts, such as the Royal Flush Poker Game. James Bond himself would have used this game set designed by Philippi, made of black leather, polished steel and featuring a black velvet interior. This set is great for traveling or for trumping your friends at a poker party. Find it at http://www.PrestigeIdentity.com. Also at the site, you’ll find another ideal gift for the women in your life: Marianne Guedin Candles. Made of thick, recycled glass and filled with natural wax for a naturally green gift choice, you can opt for any of the fifteen fragrances from “maitres-parfumeurs” in Grasse, France in fourteen lovely colors. Peruse the fantastic offerings at this tasteful holiday gift source.
The Living Well Health Master is a powerful food emulsifier that pulverizes whole fruits and vegetables in mere seconds, allowing you to retain nutrients in soups, salad dressings, smoothies and whatever else you want to whip up in the kitchen. It comes with a variety of recipe booklets, a diet plan, and Healthy Basics book — and it’s sturdy and well designed. Give the gift of health this year, since nothing could be more valuable. Visit http://www.myhealthmaster.com to read all about it, and pay in installments if it’s more convenient.
The lightweight V-Moda Faze Headset for Apple iPhone and iPod, Blackberry, mp3 players, smart phones, computers and gaming devices takes earplugs to a new level. Sleek and noise-isolating, these are the headphones of kings. A built-in microphone enables users to speak on the phone while strolling, and the call/music control button keeps everything organized and simple. Kevalr-reinforced cable ensures durability, and deep, precise bass levels will make you swoon. Three additional pairs of of black and silicone ear fittings complete the audio picture. Buy this at http://www.v-moda.com.
Whether you’re trekking through slush and snow, or buying footwear for another this holiday season, you’ll find men’s snowboarding, trekking and snow boots that are both affordable and well-made at Payless stores. Waterproofing, Thinsulate insulation, and rubber outsoles are some of the details make an enormous difference when it’s freezing outside. Shop the variety of men’s boot styles at Payless.com.
Serious film students and buffs will find the Film Movement DVD-of-the-month concept brilliant: every month you can receive an award-winning foreign or independent film, and you can choose from different packages. The variety of movie options and offerings in the Film Movement library is astounding. Check it all out at http://www.filmmovement.com/filmclub.asp and choose by director, genre, country, awards and festival, or titles. Film Movement is a gift that will continue giving throughout the year, especially if your local theater doesn’t play independent movies.
Sheet Music Plus is another gift that keeps giving, so anyone who plays the piano, guitar, flute, trombone, violin, cello and many more instruments (including music for vocalists) will love a gift certificate or their favorite music from http://www.SheetMusicPlus.com. Twilight, Glee, Taylor Swift, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Instructional sheet music and Best Sellers are also found at this comprehensive site for beginners and the accomplished.
The cooking men you know will appreciate Fillo Factory’s healthy, organic, natural and kosher food products, which contain no trans fats. Choose a savory variety at http://www.fillofactory.com.
Another delicious option is Hotel Chocolate’s Chocolate Dipping Adventure for Two, which is an indulgent and heavenly blend of chocolate sauces for dipping, nuts, and caramel. Find this and other delectables at http://www.HotelChocolate.com
Every Man Jack offers Travel Sets and impressive gift sets for the holidays that will surely please a guy on the go. Find them at http://www.EveryManJack.com and at Target stores (www.Target.com). Clean him up, and smooth his rough patches.
The Luster Weekend White teeth-whitening system will restore your holiday smile to a super bright white for end-of-year parties and family gatherings. Luster gets teeth up to five or six times brighter. What could be a better? Find it at http://www.lusteroralcare.com.
At http://www.greenfuji.com, you’ll find Fuji green batteries for this holiday season, which is the best gift you can gift to Mother Earth. Eco-friendly and landfill-safe, this is a battery breakthrough that merits rejoicing.