A Year in Kitchen Gear
The kitchen essentials you couldn’t get enough of in 2023.
Our editors’ picks for beautiful objects to give and receive.
THIS LIST HAS a lot of love. As it should. Because aren’t the best gifts — for others or for ourselves — just another way of expressing love? From personal recommendations I’ve treasured for decades to wish-list items we’ve all long desired, the things below are an index of what we’ve been loving (or eyeing) here at Departures. What unifies them is that each adds to a more beautiful life. And I don’t just mean aesthetically, though they’re all decidedly fit for any aesthete. Rather, it’s about the way in which each embodies a sense of craft, comfort, and connectivity. In other words, they are exceptional gifts.
This candle smells like a warm embrace — of honey, spiced vanilla, musk, and cinnamon. It’s an intoxicating must-have for any lover of scents. The company has been purveying candles and fragrances since 1643, when founder Claude Trudon became the owner of a small store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Housed in an amber glass vessel, the beeswax Cire candle nods to the company’s history and deep relationship with bees. Even sweeter, sales from the Cire candle help benefit the Orne Dark Bee Conservatory in Normandy. SHOP NOW
For the classic accessory lover, the Chaîne d’ancre is a storied staple. In 1938, Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermès family, took inspiration from a ship anchor chain to create the iconic form. This bracelet, luxuriously weighty and gleaming with a hardy toggle clasp, is a timelessly versatile power accessory — its design made for the traditionalist and the punk in equal parts. The best part? The Chaîne d'ancre’s build only gets better with wear — a true everyday heirloom. SHOP NOW
This bottle is the perfect dinner-party gift, made for the aperitivo lover looking to up their spirit game. Red is like the nice craft version of an Aperol or Campari — none of the syrupy chemical stuff, just the botanicals. With a distillery based in Brooklyn, the Forthave brand feels special, homegrown, and authentic in every way (one of the founders even designs the labels). The entire portfolio is delectable, but Red is a great starting point. A bittersweet aperitivo infused with 13 botanicals, including orange, chamomile, and rose, it’s delicious over ice with sparkling water. Also excellent in a Negroni. SHOP NOW
For finicky sleepers, this pillow is a godsend. It’s ideal for those who need a pillow that can stay plush on its own (thanks to high-pile memory foam) and robustly fill the gap between neck arc and bed. When you move, it gives just enough to provide a cradling sensation without completely deflating under the head. It is, in essence, the gift of a good night’s sleep. SHOP NOW
For homebodies or the chronically chilly, this is an opulently fitting gift. There are few knitwear names more revered than Loro Piana, and this blanket is a delicious example. 100% cashmere in a beautiful jacquard weave with a chubby little fringe, this throw is made for swaddling your dearest loved ones on the couch with a good movie and some piping-hot tea. I love the soothing colorways. SHOP NOW
For the urban outdoorsman, the Vela e-bike is a streamlined option that marries form and function. I love how the bike has a retro look to it, a nostalgic design almost veiling its modern capabilities. The specs: a 350W motor with a 550W boost to assist you up to 20 mph; a hidden removable battery (so you don’t have to lug your entire bike around to charge, just the battery); and a “no assist” option for when you want to ride your bike like a non-motorized one. SHOP NOW
For the ultimate self-care garb, look to Pratesi. The heritage Italian brand reigns supreme when it comes to all things bedding and bath. The Treccia robe, in a plushy 100% combed cotton terry with hand-applied embroidery, is made for the most opulent of home spa experiences. It can also be monogrammed. SHOP NOW
For mood lighting wherever you need it. Produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Verner Panton’s original 1971 Panthella floor lamp design, this portable lamp is rechargeable (via a USB-C cord) and includes both a dimmer (so you can still optimize the mood) and a timer (so it will turn itself off after you’ve fallen asleep with a book across your face). It’s a perfect bedside lamp that will do double duty as a reading light while taking a bath or as something to illuminate your crossword puzzle while lying on the couch. SHOP NOW
Hand blown in small batches (about 50 at a time), this set is a grounded, earthy beauty — ideal for the unfussy home entertainer. I love the way the faceted sides throw light like a chandelier. The thick glass and low base keep things feeling not so precious. Beauty isn’t meant to collect dust on the top shelf. SHOP NOW
For the gift of pure adoration and admiration, I unlock my heart and present Ted Muehling Acorns. I could write a much longer story on Ted Muehling earrings, but for now I’ll just say his exquisitely minimal designs have, for me, represented the perfect gift for quite some time. Muehling opened his SoHo shop in 1990, and his designs (ranging from subtle to statement, and always with an eye for breathtaking materiality and form) have adorned the ears of a certain kind of effortlessly chic, discerning individual ever since. My father has gifted my mother a few pairs across their many years of marriage, my mother in turn gifting some to her dearest friends. Recently, my partner gave me a pair of my very own for our anniversary. I cried. SHOP NOW
Sophie Mancini is a New York based writer. Under the New York Times’ creative agency, she helped lead the relaunch of Departures Magazine, where she then went on to become the food editor. Her background spans editorial, brand, and books.
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.
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