Tuesday, December 15, 2009;
-- Knives from New West KnifeWorks of Coyote Loop, Wyo., feature high-carbon steel from the Hitachi Co. of Japan and handcrafted hardwood veneer handles designed by Corey Milligan. A variety of sizes and designs is available. Shown here: nine-inch Phoenix chef's knife, $199; the Fusionwood "Chopper," $199; order online from www.newwestknifeworks.com.
-- Small-batch production is applied to teamaking at Smith Teamaker of Portland, Ore., where full-leaf green, white, oolong and black teas, plus infusions, are crafted. Shown here: Fez green tea, 1.8-ounce string-tie carton of 15 sachets, $14.99, and Brahmin's Choice black tea, 15 sachets in a "tip-top" carton, $11.99. East Coast retailers include Eli's and Zabar's in New York and DiBruno Bros. on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia; order online at www.smithtea.com.
-- A family recipe and tradition of handing out decorated cookies at Halloween has launched Gingerista this fall. The Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based operation offers a half-dozen with Harry, Harriet and Kiddos at $18, or you can order a customized set with as many parents (five inches tall) and children (about 21/2 inches tall) as you wish. Go to www.gingerista.com.
-- Chocolaterie Wanders of Manassas is making Chocolate Caramelized Almond Christmas trees for the third consecutive year. $18 to $20; available at Whole Foods Markets. They are six inches tall and have a shelf life of two to three months; $18 to $20, Biagio Fine Chocolate, 1904 18th St. NW, 202-328-1506; Periwinkle, 3815 Livingston St. NW, 202-364-3076; Opera House Gourmet, 9126 Center St., Manassas, 703-330-9636; and at Whole Foods Markets. Trees of various sizes can be special-ordered through participating retailers. These are too fragile to be shipped; for more information, call 866-792-6337.
-- Zoe's Chocolate Co. bar collection tastes as good as it looks. All four bars (almost four ounces each) would make welcome stocking stuffers or Hanukkah handouts. The Raw Bar is dark chocolate with a sprinkling of roasted cocoa nibs. The Espresso Bar is dark Swiss chocolate marbled with Italian espresso and white chocolate. The Sports Bar's dark chocolate contains puffed caramelized rice crisps and roasted honeyed peanuts. And the Happy Holiday Bar is white chocolate with crushed candies that are, of course, handmade by Z oe's. It comes in a red envelope; $7.25. Available at Biagio Fine Chocolate (202-328- 1506), Periwinkle (202-364-3076) and at the Zoe's Chocolate Co. store, 121A N. Market St., Frederick (301-694-5882); order online at www.zoeschocolate.com.
-- Dry Soda Co. of Seattle makes all-natural, low-calorie carbonated drinks in interesting flavors that are great on their own or as mixers. (The bottles' design has won awards and is featured on T-shirts you can buy online.) Flavors include cucumber, juniper berry, lemon grass, kumquat, rhubarb, lavender and vanilla bean. $5.99 for a four-pack or $1/69 per 12-ounce bottle. Available at: Dean and Deluca, M Street NW, 202-342-2500; MOM/My Organic Market, 3831 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, 703-535-5980, and some Whole Foods Markets. To order soda and T-shirts online, go to www.drysoda.com.