01.Gift ideas for the kitchen
If someone you know loves to cook, or even needs a little extra help in the kitchen, these Christmas gift ideas will be sure to please.
We've put together a selection of some of CHOICE's latest-reviewed kitchenwares and appliances, including slow cookers, espresso machines, and the Thermomix.
And if you need any more help with your Christmas shopping...
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A slow cooker will make a fantastic gift for someone who's short on time. This handy machine lets you throw in the ingredients in the morning, and forget all about the cooking. At the end of the day, dinner is ready. And don't worry - it's also designed to cook safely while unattended. This appliance isn't just for those hearty winter meals - in summer the slow cooker can make a pot roast or one-pot meal without heating up your kitchen like an oven. We tested 15 slow cookers, including models from Breville, Kenwood and Russell Hobbs, for cooking performance and ease of use. Take a look at the Slow cookers review for more information.
Home espresso coffee machines
You don't need to spend $1000 on a good quality espresso machine for your house. One of the top scorers on test was less than $350. In fact, three of the four models priced above $1000 are at the bottom of our results table. The best machines can froth milk well, and are easy to use. They should also have a cup warming feature, programmable coffee delivery, and a large-capacity water tank that's easy to fill. We've tested a range of models including the Sunbeam Cafe Latte, and the DeLonghi Nespressa Essenza. For more information, take a look at our Home espresso coffee machine review.
If you haven't heard, the Thermomix is the ultimate kitchen gadget. It can do pretty much everything; chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam, weigh food. While it falls short of actually doing all the washing up (but it does have a self clean function!), it does make cooking a breeze, especially if you're cooking for a big group of people. After CHOICE tested the latest version, the TM31, our home economist Fiona Mair - a harsh critic - declared it her new favourite appliance. Check out our Thermomix review for more information.
You can be guaranteed that someone you know will make a new year's resolution to be healthier, or get more fruits and veggies into their diet, or lose weight, or all of the above. A juicer will make the health-conscious feel a little better about their over-indulgences over the Christmas period. Not to mention, juicing your own fruit and vegetables combos is infinitely more cost-effective and satisfying - just make a lot at one go. Look for a model which has dishwasher-safe parts, and comes with comprehensive instructions. CHOICE tested 26 juicers, including models from Breville, Sunbeam and Greenpower. For more information, have a look at our Juicers review.
What would the Australian festive season be without a backyard barbecue? Most of us will be spending the warmer months outside, as the days get longer and the evenings balmier. A good barbecue makes the experience a whole lot better. It also gives you an excuse to be outdoors! If someone you know is lacking in the barbecue department, a good quality model would make a fantastic gift this Christmas. CHOICE has tested the latest models from Weber, Everdure, Sunbeam and Beefeater, to find out which ones have the best cooking performance and are the easiest to use. For more information take a look at our Barbecues review.