UncommonGoods - Picture-perfect Gifts
I love kitchenware and entertaining at home so I was thrilled when UncommonGoods asked if I would like to review some of their products. A Brooklyn-based social enterprise and a founding member of B Corporation, I found UncommonGoods intriguing not only for their sustainable and socially responsible practices and products but also for their commitment to ensuring their employees are well taken care of.
I was immediately attracted to the Cheese & Crackers Serving Board, Oven-to-Table Entertainment Platter and Agate Coasters from their Host and Hostess Gifts section. Unfortunately, the Oven-to-Table Entertainment Platter isn't available for international shipping at the moment. Thankfully, the other two items can be shipped internationally.
The Cheese & Crackers Serving Board (US$48 / S$70.80) was particularly eye-catching because of the ampersand groove that provided a whimsical yet practical solution to ensuring that cheese and crackers are presented in a neat and attractive fashion. Designed by UncommonGoods Product Development team and produced by J.K. Adams, this cheese board was made from North American maple with a teak oil finish. The board was so pretty, I placed my cheese directly onto the board but found that the Bleu d'Auvergne had left a stain by the end of the evening which could not be washed out. Care instructions for the board state that it should be washed with warm soapy water and dried immediately.
Verdict: I love this board as it's quite a conversation piece during a party. If you're looking for a lovely housewarming gift for a friend who loves cheese, this is definitely worth considering. To protect the board, I would recommend placing a piece of waxed paper (as depicted too on their site) under fattier and creamier cheese.
Designed by London-born Anna Rabinowicz, the Agate Coasters are made with agate from Southern Brazil. Presented in a black box, the Agate Coasters (US$64 / S$94.40) come in a set of 4 different colours (pink, white, blue and purple for my set). Historically thought to provide its wearer protection from harm, cure insomnia and produce pleasant dreams, the banded stones are unique hence don't be surprised if one set differs from another. The coasters were so pretty, I couldn't help but marvel at the range of colours and the swirls in the patterns. Made of natural stone, the Agate Coasters need to be handled with care as they could break when dropped.
Verdict: I loved how cool the Agate Coasters are to touch and how they added a splash of colour to my dark dining table. On first glance, the price seems pretty high for 4 coasters but when you consider that they were made from natural semi-precious gemstones, I guess this is a gift worth splurging on for a close friend.
Exclusive to UncommonGoods, the Horseshoe Heart Trivet (US$50 / S$73.70) caught my eye from the Housewarming Gifts and Kitchen Tools section. Hand-made in Idaho by Alexandra Paliwoda, a blacksmith and horseshoe master, the trivet features an upcycled horseshoe encircled by a swirling heart of steel. As the trivet was pretty wide, it provided a stable base for my cast iron pot and pan while protecting the surface from burning. Pretty enough to adorn walls or countertops for a rustic romantic touch, the Horseshoe Heart Trivet is a lovely addition to my kitchenware collection. Incidentally, a horseshoe is a good luck symbol and is best hung with the two ends facing up to prevent luck from flowing out. That said, it is apparently good luck to hang the horseshoe upside down in various parts of Europe, so I guess one has to pick which direction works best for you.
Verdict: I loved the Horseshoe Heart Trivet as it's wide, sturdy and doesn't wobble when I try to scoop food out of my 26 cm (5.5 quarts / 5.3 litres) Le Creuset Dutch Oven (not shown in photo).
Parents with young children would probably appreciate the Chalkboard Placemats that are sold in a set of four (US$35 / S$51.60). Featuring a reusable chalkboard-like surface within brightly-coloured frames, kids would be too busy doodling to gripe about how long they 're waiting for food to be served. Made with combed cotton and polyester, the placemats are suitable for children aged 3 and above. The Chalkboard Placemats meets all non-toxic specifications for art supplies and can be cleaned by washing with warm soapy water.
I took the Chalkboard Placemats for a test-run during a family lunch with my niece who is turning four soon. She was so excited about indulging her inner artist with the placemats, she wanted to continue drawing while being fed lunch. Sold in a set of four mats with 12 pieces of non-toxic chalk and a sponge eraser, the mats can be wiped off presenting a clean "board" for the next art piece. Not artistically inclined, I let my niece have the entire set so she can share them with her friends during kiddie parties.
Verdict: I had adult friends doodling on the placemats too so I guess this doesn't just appeal to kids. It seems a tad pricey but I guess it's a premium for peace of mind knowing that the art supplies are non-toxic.
UncommonGoods offers shipping to Singapore and offers the option of viewing prices in Singapore Dollars. As part of their Better to Give program, shoppers are offered the option of selecting a non-profit organization to receive a US$1 donation from UncommonGoods at checkout.
UncommonGoods Brooklyn Army Terminal 140 58th Street Suite B5A, Brooklyn, NY 11220 United States of America Phone: +1 883.365.0056
Operating Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 am to 12 am ET Saturday & Sunday: 8 am to 11 pm ET
PS: Thank you, UncommonGoods, for sending me these items to review. Look forward to buying the copper measuring spoons during my next visit to the USA. :)