Western Living Magazine
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Gift ideas from your holly jolly editorial team.
We’re simple magazine editors, with simple needs: all we really want for Christmas is for you to sign up for a free print subscription to Western Living. But if you’re done doing that and need a little something to read while you wait for your copy to arrive in the mail, here are a few more things that made our wish lists this year.
No disrespect to the throw my aunt lovingly crocheted for me 15 years ago, but I’ve been dreaming about spending a cozy winter’s night snuggled up under this Museum blanket by Studio Arhoj ($265). Could there be a more beautiful tapestry to wrap oneself in for the time-honoured holiday tradition of enjoying a rum-and-nog by the light of the tree and/or re-watching Parks and Rec for the 29th time? —Stacey McLachlan, senior editor
Has someone invented a design-forward toaster that actually works? Judging by the reviews on every website I’ve scoured, the answer is no. This feels hard to believe (according to the always-reliable Wikipedia, toaster designers have had about 130 years to get it right) so consider this my official callout: if anyone knows of a toaster that isn’t an eyesore and can also cook a bagel, please let me know. Or buy one for me. ‘Tis the season. The one pictured above is from Alessi and on sale for $80 at Indigo now… it has mixed reviews. —Alyssa Hirose, managing editor
Vancouver ceramicist Janaki Larsen is an artist whose work is literally in demand all over the world: Noma famously hired her to do their dinnerware, as did a new restaurant in NYC more recently. (When I popped by her studio during Design Week this past September, she laughed that it was time to get an assistant after the thousands of plates she’s created.) I have one treasured piece of hers that I inherited from a friend who passed away, and I’ve been obsessed with collecting more of her perfectly imperfect designs—like this gorgeous serving bowl with a torn edge and pitted glaze ($185). The dinner parties I’d host to celebrate this one incredible dish! —Anicka Quin, editorial director
By now I’m trusting that all of you have read and probably re-read my tome on buying bubbles for the holidays, so you have a sense of just how near and dear I hold Champagne. The funny thing is, I’m a relatively late convert to the allure of pricey sparkling wine. As a young me working in The Wine Cellar (Canada’s first private wine store, BTW) I was frequently known to poopoo the idea of dropping $80 on a bottle of Champagne: “Give me $80 and I’ll by you a bottle of still white wine that’ll knock your socks off.” And I wasn’t totally wrong: you could by a transformative bottle of Chenin Blanc for the price of a mass-produced, mass market entry-level bottle of Champagne. But—and this is a sentiment I’m still coming to grips with even in my advanced years—it’s not always all about money. For me (and most of my fellow wine writers), indulging in a bottle of well-made Champagne still represents a pinnacle of winemaking: the intersection of art, history and tradition. A wine that, almost across the board, is the best pairing for whatever it is you’re cooking. Plus, it’s a host gift that always make people feel immeasurably happy.
I suppose I could ask for a bottle of, say, Taitinger Comtes de Champagne (a personal fave), but that’s the difference between giving someone a fish and teaching them to fish. So I’ll go for the book Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region ($119)—likely the greatest, definitely the most voluminous book every written on the region. It’s huge (300-plus pages), has handy maps and opens up an entire world of small producers and hidden bottlings I’ve never know about. I can’t wait.—Neal McLennan, wine and spirits editor
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