Like any major festival or celebration, Christmas is, above all else, about good company and good food. The kitchen may see more activity in this period than at any other time of the year. Those hosting Christmas parties are likely to start planning weeks in advance, gathering ingredients, equipment and recipes.
Blunt knives, bent chopping boards, not having the right sized roasting pans or enough oven space can all make the festive cooking more of an ordeal than a pleasure. But just as treating yourself to new workout clothes motivates you to get to the gym, kitting your kitchen out with the right equipment, and even treating yourself to a few little culinary luxuries, can inspire one to cook up a feast – and makes the presentation and clean up a cinch.
Bon Vivant, which has recently relocated to Camana Bay (between Digicel and Bedside Manor), has everything the amateur or professional chef could dream of for the kitchen, from large appliances to fun gadgets, all of which will make the cooking easier and more enjoyable.
The Le Creuset cookware sets are well worth investing in. The vibrantly coloured enamelled cast iron pots and pans will last a lifetime says Cynthia Hew, owner of Bon Vivant, and can be handed down from generation to generation. Not only are they great to look at, they are also multi-functional. Casseroles can be used to brown and caramelise meat and onions on the stove top, then moved to the oven to simmer and from there can be taken straight to the table. Cookie trays can equally be moved from fridge to oven and also double as serving platters. Le Creuset is the cookware of choice for many a French chef due to their versatility and their superior ability to retain both heat and moisture in meat.
Good quality pots and pans are an essential for any home cook. Bon Vivant carries All Clad and Viking cookware made from high grade of stainless steel. These ensure that heat is retained and evenly distributed across the cooking surface and the addition of copper accelerates the speed at which pots heats up.
The one thing anyone hosting Christmas dinner should invest in is a good turkey roaster -it’s an absolute must-have and Bon Vivant have a particularly good one from All Clad.
Small appliances such as blenders, food processors and mixers that can chop, slice, grate, mix or whisk will all cut down on preparation time and make the job far easier and faster, giving you more time to socialise.
When catering for larger than normal numbers, a standard kitchen oven is not always large enough to cook everything or even have it all warm at the same time. “It’s a problem I always run into,” says Hew. “The Breville Smart Oven is ideal though. It’s a mini convection oven that you can put on your counter top and it provides one more outlet to cook on.”
Little gadgets from potato scrubbers to ceramic knives that never dull, silicon oven mitts and tea towels all make life in the kitchen easier – and also make great stocking stuffers.
Having recently hired a trained chef on the retail side, Bon Vivant will be offering evening cooking classes two to three times a week from their demonstration kitchen in Camana Bay. These evening classes can make great gifts (gift certificates are available) for those whose who would like to hone their cooking skills, and learn some new techniques, tips and tricks. Cooking classes cover all sorts of cuisine styles, from pasta-making to Asian to tapas. Participants are welcome to don an apron and get involved if they wish. The cost of the class includes two glasses of wine and, of course, the meal that is prepared. Groups are kept down to approximately 12 to 15 per class and classes last around two hours.
There is plenty for the man about the house to choose from as well, from sophisticated coffee systems to outdoor barbecues and grills. The Big Green Egg charcoal smokers are particularly popular, says Hew. These oval shaped systems can be turned down ‘slow and low’ to cook a joint overnight, or up high to sear or bake.
Bon Vivant strives to offer the best quality kitchen ware and the best possible prices. The store carries many top brands including Smeg, Gaggenau, Bosch and Frank and, because they are part of a buying group all their appliances, utensils and accessories are sold at prices comparable to those one would find in the US.
From a culinary standpoint, there is no better place to get equipped for Christmas.