A Preview of Cool Kitchen Tools

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

Of all the food-related trade shows I attend, the International Home + Housewares Show at McCormick Place in Chicago is my favorite. Like a kid in a candy shop, I love to be able to preview all the cool kitchen tools and appliances before they hit the shelves of Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma and all the other cookware stores around the country. With more than 21,000 buyers from around the globe visiting 2,000 exhibitors, this is an annual show of consequence in the housewares business.

I used to cover the show, writing freelance stories for the Associated Press. After an absence of many years, last week, I happened to be in Chicago at the right time to check out the latest for Special Fork.

Here are some of the new products that caught my eye from the thousands of products exhibited.

  • Vacu Vin Coconut Opener is a nifty tool for taking apart a coconut, not the easiest task if you’ve ever attempted to crack the hard shell. You use the point of the tool to poke the eyes and drain out the coconut water, which has become such a popular drink. Then you use the blade to tap around the equator of the coconut to break it apart. This tool will be available end of March and in addition to cookware stores, might be found in produce sections where coconuts are sold. MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) is $11.99.
  • Riedel, known for designing wine glasses for specific wine varietals, has teamed with Coca-Cola to create a glass specifically to enhance the flavor of the cola, while capturing the iconic curves of the Coca-Cola bottle. . As explained to me, the bowl shape enhances the flavor and aroma and the thinner glass holds the temperature. MRSP is $19.90.
  • Microplane introduced a cube grater with three grating surfaces; you can use the cube to measure the amount you’ve grated and there’s a lid so you can store grated food afterwards. Another new product I liked was a zester with its own snap-on tray to capture the zest and one that makes zucchini ribbons. The tools will be available in August.
  • Zeroll Déco Spoons come as a boxed set of two spoons with bowls that curl in towards the center to form a drizzling spout. You fill the spoon with sauce and draw the sauce on your plate in whatever pattern you like – so many artistic possibilities for plate presentations. MSRP is $29.95 for the set. The large spoon is 9 inches and the small spoon is 7.5 inches.
  • The Waring inverted blender has a 1.75 horsepower motor and ten speeds. The shape of the blender looks like it’s upside down, with the top smaller that the bottom, so it drives ingredients towards the blades, eliminating the need for stirring and scraping. MSRP is $299. You can whip cream in the blender and grate ice into fine snow.
  • A new vacuum sealer from Sous Vide sports a streamlined design that’s not as bulky as the typical vacuum sealer so it can sit attractively on the countertop. It seals a strip that’s extra-wide for a more durable seal. MSRP is $129.
  • KitchenAid’s new 14-cup food processor with ExactSlice System, uses a lever to adjust slices from thick to thin. It also comes with a dicing kit. Available June 1 for MSRP of $349.99.
  • Opinel’s Le Petit Chef is a knife set for children by the French maker of fine professional knives for chefs. Three years in the developing, the knife set was introduced last Christmas in Europe. It consists of a knife, finger guard and vegetable peeler. It has an MSRP of $54.95, which may seem high, but it’s a superior knife for kids; not a child’s toy.
  • SilverStone microwave pressure cooker allows you to cook faster and hotter. There is a valve to release pressure after the dish is cooked, or you can wait until the pressure goes down on its own. MSRP is $49.99 for the 2.3-quart size and $69.99 for the 3.4-quart size.
  • OXO’s easy-to-use mandoline has the blades built in to slice in three thicknesses or to julienne, so you don’t have to deal with switching out sharp blades. MSRP is $39.99.
  • A pomegranate and orange press from Frieling Cilio is a manual juice press. It’s built on a sturdy base. You press down on the lever to squeeze out the juice. MSRP is $159.95.
  • Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) cutting boards from Kodai are beautiful to look at and have natural anti-stain and antibacterial properties. Hinoki is also a lighter wood than the typical Hard Rock Maple used for cutting boards and softer, which means it won’t dull your knife edge as quickly. One style of cutting board has a slide-out tray for transferring cut ingredients ($72 MSRP). Another has a beveled edge so you can position a tray or plate seamlessly under the board.

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Posted: Mar 23rd by Sandy_Hu