Hot Stuff

Oven-to-table inspires culinary sales
By Jessica Harlan

It’s just as beautiful on the dinner table as it is adept at baking casseroles, roasting vegetables, braising chicken, or baking a dessert. Oven-to-table pieces are growing in popularity as home cooks seek versatile, multifunctional pieces for convenience and aesthetics.

Le Creuset

Le Creuset

With oven-to-table pieces, “you can take a cooking vessel straight from the oven to the table for serving,” says Sara Whitaker, brand manager – stoneware for Le Creuset. To serve a meal, she adds, there’s no need to transfer the food from the cooking vessel into a serving bowl or platter – just set down a trivet, and it’s ready to serve.

“We describe our oven to table ware as the fait tout, which means, in French, ‘does everything,’” says Tara Steffen, marketing manager of Emile Henry USA. And indeed it does. “We offer unsurpassed cooking qualities and our designs are so attractive that they can be placed on the most casual or most formal dining table.”

Materials Matter
Oven-to-table collections are made of materials that are specifically developed to withstand high cooking temperatures. In the case of Emile Henry, burgundy clay, known for its superb heat diffusion and retention, has been used to make its products for more than 150 years. Emile Henry’s high resistance ceramic is oven-safe for up to 518˚F. Le Creuset’s nonporous stoneware is designed to be durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains and odor absorption.

Pillivuyt

Pillivuyt

Another popular oven-to-table manufacturer exhibiting at AmericasMart is Pillivuyt, which is made of durable, chip-resistant porcelain. “Pillivuyt porcelain is fired at 2,400˚F, so putting it in a 550-degree oven is no problem,” says Alice Title, president of Pillivuyt USA. “You can even use it on the grill or under the broiler.” The company even has a new line, called Ulysses, that can be used on direct flame such as a stovetop or on an induction burner. Meanwhile, Revol porcelain is also fired at a high temperature—1320˚F for 8 hours. “That process allows the pieces to be resistant to thermal shock, and oven safe up to 572˚F,” says Tenaya Da Silva, vice president of sales and marketing for Revol.

Convenience Counts

TVS-America

TVS-America

Sometimes metal cookware is pretty enough to qualify as oven-to-table. Case in point is the nonstick aluminum cookware from TVS-America, which is designed to be used as serving vessels. The cookware is oven safe up to 350˚ or 450˚F, depending on the piece, and includes collections designed by Karim Rashid, Angelo di Porto and Alberto Meda. “These pieces are designed to save time,” says Diane O’Donnel, national sales manager – North America for TVS-America. “Serving dinner from the oven eliminates having to wash extra serving dishes.” Many of the company’s designs are dishwasher safe and have a nonstick finish so they’re easy to clean by hand as well. In fact, most oven-to-table pieces are just as easy to maintain, a boon for busy cooks. Most are dishwasher safe, and are coated with a durable glaze that won’t scratch when scrubbed.

Aesthetics Work

Revol

Revol

The sky’s the limit with regard to what home chefs can cook in their oven-to-table pieces. Beef stew, braised vegetables, a cheesy casserole… in many cases dishes can be prepared ahead, refrigerated or even frozen, and then cooked when needed. And, of course, basic pieces or specialty pieces can also be used for sweets and other baked goods: brownies, cobblers, breads and more. For retailers who have a kitchen, nothing beats a live demonstration on the qualities of the pieces. Says Da Silva of Revol, “We have a chicken roaster that is perfect for demos.” A whole chicken, some vegetables, and garlic baked in the roaster, for instance, makes an easy demonstration that will showcase how easy the pieces are to use.

Manufacturers are responding to the customer interest in oven-to-table by increasing their assortment. Colors to suit all tastes and decorating schemes, multifunctional pieces, and specialized shapes, are among the many offerings that have grown this category. Le Creuset, for instance, has a new rectangular dish with a lid which doubles as a platter, and can also be used on its own as a baking dish. And Pillivuyt already has nearly 2,000 items in production, but is gaining traction in some of its unusual pieces such as its brioche mold and other specialty baking shapes.

Selling Oven-to-Table
These tips and talking points can help retailers promote their oven-to-table offerings.

Emile Henry

Emile Henry

• Play up fun details about the company. For instance, Emile Henry potters wear a bracelet with which they stamp their initials onto the pieces they create.

• Create a rainbow. Many companies, such as Le Creuset, offer their products in a wide array of colors. By showcasing the entire spectrum, you add color and visual interest to your display, and give customers the option to pick one that perfectly suits their décor.

• Show off the versatility. Include pieces in tablescape vignettes with other cookware and with gourmet foods to show how these pieces are workhorses but also complement beautiful dinnerware patterns and table linens.

• Take advantage of manufacturer’s point-of-sale materials. Pillivuyt offers brochures and shelf talkers. “These help explain the quality and justify the price,” says Title. The company’s “Pillivuyt University” also rewards salespeople who educate themselves about the product. “Nothing sells Pillivuyt better than a store worker who knows, understands, and loves the product,” she says.


For more information: Emile Henry – 302.326.4800, emilehenryusa.com; Le Creuset – 877.418.5547, lecreuset.com; Pillivuyt – 952.474.4016, pillivuytus.com; Revol – 678.456.8671, revol1768.com; and TVS-America – 716.863.5200, tvs-spa.it/en.

Images courtesy of Emile Henry, Le Crueset, Pillivuyt, Revol and TVS-America

Biggest and Best Gourmet and Tabletop Collection to Date at AmericasMart

AmericasMart® Atlanta advances our long-standing role as the center of global entertaining trends with our January 2017 presentation of the largest-to-date permanent Gourmet Housewares, Gourmet Foods and Tabletop and Entertaining collection at The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market®. The multi-floor showroom collection showcases more than 800 lines housed in nearly 150,000 square feet of exhibition space.
The collection’s growth is fueled by top lines and designs enhanced by the accessibility and connectivity of tabletop and gourmet product strategically located and aligned to ensure natural shopping synergy. Buyers from both categories can easily source complementary merchandise on contiguous floors, and can access adjacent Building 1 home furnishings offerings, which encourage interior designers and furnishings retailers to explore new categories. This expert design has made AmericasMart the Market of necessity for top tabletop and gourmet manufacturers and specifiers, and yielded a Marketplace of flagship showrooms.
New-to-Atlanta exhibitors Crow Canyon Home, Spiker, SCS Direct, Promaster, Rojemac, Prima Design USA and TMD Holdings join lines including Versace, Wolf Gourmet, Q Squared, WusthofHoliday Fried Pecans, Stonewall Kitchen, Tervis, Baccarat Crystal, Juliska and Spiegelau at the January Market.

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AmericasMart’s permanent showrooms are complemented by the temporary Gourmet Foods, Housewares, Tabletop and Entertaining, and juried Tabletop LUXE and Gourmet LUXE collections. Highlights include Architec Brands, Coast and Cotton and Talisman Designs in Housewares; Ben & Lael, Inc., Britten Couture Home, Gitter Gallery, LLC, Libbey, Inc., Nora Fleming, LLC, Mahogany Home, Le Cluney, Magenta, Sobremesa by Greenheart and French Studio Imports in Tabletop and Entertaining; and Georgia Grown, Cherry Republic, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Louis Sherry Chocolates, Owl’s Brew, Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, The Resident Chef, Savannah Bee Company, Verdant Kitchen, Beautiful Briny Sea, and DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Gourmet Foods, plus many, many more.

“From the pantry to the kitchen to the table, the must-have product is all here,” says Kristi Forbes, AmericasMart vice president of Gift Leasing. “Not only do we have the most comprehensive collection of housewares, gourmet and tabletop product, AmericasMart sets the trends and the standards for the industry.”

Exhibitors are reporting a wide range of buyers at the Markets. Chris Rosse of Rosse & Associates, Inc., who has shown at AmericasMart for more than 30 years, reports a mix of buyers including Latin American stores ordering high-end luxury items and younger buyers sourcing better casual product with a focus on organic or handmade craftsmanship.

Buyers are able to find inspiration like never before with a more interactive educational series in the Demonstration Kitchen, sponsored at the January 2017 Market by Fiesta Dinnerware, which launches its new color exclusively at AmericasMart. On tap are an appearance by Paula Deen; designer Nathan Turner shooting and live streaming his popular new Design Network “Snack Chat” series with food and lifestyle expert, Julia Reed; Annette Joseph, author of “Picture Perfect Parties” presenting “The Ultimate Party Pantry & Food Styling Workshop;” and a designer panel discussion “Home for the Holidays: Setting the Trends in Tabletop & Seasonal Décor” with Reed, Joseph, Bonnie Mackay and Steve McKenzie, with more events to come.

“AmericasMart has a fantastic demonstration kitchen, the best of all the markets,” says Jonathan Pearson, chief executive officer of Kitchen 2 Table. “It is the heartbeat of the facility.”

Other events at the January 2017 Market include a fundraising event for Les Dames d’Escoffier and Gourmet Catalog’s Start of the Year Member Conference.

For more information about The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market in January 2017 including events and exhibitors, visit www.AmericasMart.com/January.

Temps on the Move

Tabletop & Housewares and Gourmet Foods Shift Locations
By Chris Gigley

AWH_PHOTO-6101With an aim toward connecting buyers with the product they are looking to find, AmericasMart has moved two Temporary product collections in Building 2. Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares is now located on Floor 2, while Gourmet Foods shifted up to Floor 3.

Marie Knight, vice president of Tradeshows for AmericasMart, cites two reasons for flip-flopping the categories. First, it reflects the growth of the tabletop and housewares industry. “It’s what more people are doing these days, coming together and enjoying each other’s company,” says Knight. “As a result, there is an array of options available beyond the traditional high-end product. New lines are bringing the fun back to the category.”

AWH_PHOTO-7384The move also puts Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares adjacent to the High Design area, a juried selection of design-oriented products located on Floor 1. Tabletop Luxe, a juried selection of high-end tabletop products in the pre-function area of Tabletop & Housewares, has moved to Floor 2, making the progression from Floor 1 to Floor 2 even more natural for buyers.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is strengthen the natural synergy that already exists between Tabletop & Housewares and the more design-oriented products found in High Design,” says Knight. “We want to attract design-oriented buyers and give them access to more of the products they need.”

Moving the Gourmet Foods area to Floor 3 provides direct access via bridge to the Temporary collections showcased in Building 3. “As consumers revive entertaining in their homes, Gourmet products continue to be a viable option for a range of retailers,” says Knight. “The location makes the collection even more accessible to a growing buyer audience.

For more information about The Atlanta International Gift & Home
Furnishings Market® January 12 – 19, 2016, visit AmericasMart.com.

Tabletop 101

Your Guide to Dinnerware Materials
By Jessica Harlan

Dinnerware is made of a wide range of materials, from earthenware to bone china. But how much do you really know about each material type? Educate your staff on the properties of stoneware, porcelain, earthenware, bone china, and other tabletop offerings so they can help customers make the best choices. Here’s our guide to the basic terms you should know:

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Earthenware: This material has been fired at a lower temperature, so the glaze and the body haven’t been fused together. “People like earthenware because it has a warmer feel,” says Chris Rosse, owner of Rosse and Associates. Earthenware is known for its rustic look, simple shapes and thicker body.

Faience: This dinnerware is a higher quality earthenware. “It’s almost porcelain, but not quite,” says Rosse. “You can get more detail in your shapes.” Gien dinnerware is a great example of Faience.

Stoneware: This style of earthenware is fired at a higher temperature than earthenware so it is more resistant to chipping, but is still heavy and thick, and doesn’t have a lot of detail in its shape and design. Higher quality stoneware has kaolin in it (a clay used in porcelain) to make it strong.

Porcelain: Porcelain contains a white clay called kaolin that makes it strong enough to withstand the high firing temperatures needed to vitrify it so the glaze and body are fused, says Wendy Kvalheim, CEO and design director of Mottahedeh & Co., Inc. Many manufacturers add certain other ingredients to their porcelain clay to give it durability and other properties. For example, Caskata artisanal tableware contains magnesium, which gives it strength and a creamy color – most porcelain has a cool, greyish cast. Porcelain sounds upscale, but there is a wide variety of quality levels (and price points) available.

Fine China: Fine china has quartz and feldspar in its white clay and is fired at a lower heat than porcelain, says Michelle Richards, spokesperson for Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton. It has a similar bluish or greyish hue as porcelain.

Bone China: Kvalheim says it was the English in the late 1700s who experimented with adding bone ash to porcelain to avoid it slumping in the kiln. Simultaneously delicate and strong, the inclusion of bone ash to the clay gives bone china incredible durability, which allows it to be formed into sophisticated and detailed shapes with a super-thin profile. Bone china has warm, ivory tones, has translucency thanks to the thinner shape and it’s also more chip resistant than other materials. Shawn Laughlin, owner and designer of Caskata, says her Insignia C collection is the last domestically made bone china.

Vitrified: This refers to the process of heating clay to a temperature that’s so hot, it fuses the glaze and the body together and makes the surface glass like, so it is impervious to water.

For more information: Caskata – caskata.com, 508.242.5573; Mottahedeh – mottahedeh.com, 800.443.8225; Rosse & Associates – rosseandassociates.com, 404.522.7574; and Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton – wwrd.com, 732-938-5800.

Images courtesy of Caskata, Mottahedeh and Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton.

Registering an Impact

Nontraditional opportunities for independent retailers to shine
By Jessica Harlan

Not everyone getting married is a cookie-cutter couple in their 20s, and retailers who make sure to address and include couples of all kinds have an opportunity to grow their registry business. It’s important not to overlook couples who are getting married in their 40s, 50s or older; second marriages, and same-sex couples. While these less-traditional pairs might be putting slightly different items on their wish lists, chances are they want the same thing from the retailers where they choose to register: great customer service, plenty of options at a range of prices, an easy-to-use system for their guests, and generous return and completion policies.

Personality matters

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

For couples who’ve already lived on their own before tying the knot, their registry might be all about “upgrading what they have, as opposed to getting something for the first time,” says Sherri Crisenbery, vice president of Lenox Corporation. She points out that a couple might have been living with inexpensive dinnerware or maybe even hand-me-downs, and a wedding presents the chance to trade up to something they really love, and a higher end choice.

Kirsten Ott Palladino, editorial director and cofounder of the online magazine Equally Wed, which caters to the LGBTQ+ community, agrees. She’s seeing weddings and registry gifts that are truly personal and reflective of the couple.

But whatever life stage they are in, retailers can help couples make their choices based on their lifestyle and entertaining habits. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the registry checklist, but we encourage couples to think about how they truly live,” says Laura Mackin, director of marketing for Mariposa, Ltd.

Beyond the place setting

At La Bella Vita, a specialty retailer in Cleveland, Ohio, owner Barbara Strom says she sees a slight difference in what couples in their late 30s and older are choosing for their registries. “They are more established with their homes and are just looking for accents to transition the two household styles,” she says. “If they are in their 40s or 50s, they are into less serveware and more décor.”

On her list of essential registry items are better dinnerware that can be used every day but also dressed up, good-quality flatware and serving pieces, formal glassware, platters, and serving bowls. Easy maintenance, such as Mariposa Aluminum or Michael Aram metal, instead of sterling, is also a popular choice.

Assorted frames by Mariposa.

“And don’t forget frames!” says Mackin. “Many couples spend a good amount of time and money selecting a wedding photographer that matches their style. When the wedding is over, show off the photos in beautiful frames.”

Finally, the most important thing for retailers to remember is to provide a welcoming, all-inclusive experience for all couples who walk through your doors.

For more information: Equally Wed, equallywed.com; La Bella Vita, labellavitacleveland.com, 212.292.3000; Lenox Corporation, lenox.com, 800.223.4311; Mariposa, Ltd., mariposa-gift.com, 800.788.1304; or Michael Aram, michaelaram.com, 866.792.2726.

Raising a Glass

Here’s to increased barware and stemware sales

waterford-mixology-mad-men-editionThank Don Draper: The suave fictional character from Mad Men deserves credit for helping to fuel the current cocktail craze, which is boosting sales of barware and glassware across the country. Consumers are buying more specialized glassware than they have in decades. Learn to understand the finer points of barware and stemware to ensure you have the right selection for your store. Here are some starting points when you’re shopping AmericasMart:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm with too many choices, particularly wine glasses. Most customers will only need a red wine glass and a white wine glass, and perhaps a champagne flute.
  • Partner with reps or manufacturers for employee education. Your staff should be knowledgeable about everything from the composition and manufacturing processes of the products, to the various shapes of glasses and stems.
  • Brush up on your beer knowledge. The craft beer movement shows no signs of slowing down, and you can increase your customer base – especially of men –by carrying an assortment of craft beer glasses. If you have a beer shop or a growler shop in your area, consider co-marketing with them to promote both of your businesses.
  • Offer brochures or other flyers that have facts, information and care instructions about the different materials used for your glassware, whether it’s glass, crystal, lead-free crystal, or acrylic/co-polyester.
  • Partner with a local restaurant or bar for a cocktail seminar. The mixologist or bartender can teach your customers how to make a cocktail, and you can promote glassware, serving pieces, and other entertaining items.

Waterford_London_Desktop_bar_BB_Italia“It seems everyone’s doing a spin on classic cocktails,” says Price Ketchiff, vice president of retail sales for the U.S. and Canada for Crystal of America. “The push from Mad Men has helped revive the speakeasy, and we’re seeing a lot of craft cocktails in the restaurant and bar scene. People are paying attention to that and replicating it at home.” Crystal of America is the parent company for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachman.

Some of the most popular glassware shapes include double old fashioneds and highballs, as well as a revival of the coupe shape: a curvier version of a martini glass or champagne saucer.

Fortessa2“When you’re out at a restaurant or a bar, you see a lot more cocktail menus than ever before,” agrees Lara Aldrich, vice president for the consumer products division of Fortessa, parent company for Schott Zwiesel and D&V. Like Ketchiff, Aldrich sees the coup champagne glass as being a strong seller, and also sees growth in whisky glasses of all types, whether for neat pours, double old fashioneds or whisky based cocktails.

And speaking of Mad Men, Waterford scored the trendy show’s license for a barware line. The Mad Men collection helped Waterford expand the already hot barware business with designs inspired by the 1960s, says Rick Fencel, vice president of sales for independent accounts.

In terms of wine glasses, casualization just keeps going to a new level every year, translating into the growing popularity of stemless wine glasses. The other trend is in softer and curvier shapes, and more attention to detail.

spiegelau-beer-tasting-setAlong with cocktails, the craft beer movement is also gaining momentum, and with it, beer glasses that are specially shaped to complement different beer varieties. Spiegelau has several different beer glass shapes, including a recently introduced IPA glass, as well as glasses for stout, pilsner, lager, Belgian ale and hefeweissen (wheat beer). As with wine glasses, “The shape of the [beer] glass plays a role in the transfer of taste and aroma to your palate,” says Ketchiff. Rather than working with designers, Spiegelau develops glass shapes with sensory workshops; in the case of its IPA glass, the company held a workshop with Dogfish Head Brewery.

The Latest about Lead

Schott ZwieselMore and more manufacturers are making lead-free crystal and glass, on the heels of California’s Prop 65, which requires retailers in that state to post warnings to consumers about products with lead content. While manufacturers say that the lead content in crystal was never enough to endanger consumers, the legislation has encouraged them to find other ways to give strength and clarity to their glass formulations.

All crystal glassware has a metal component, so manufacturers seek alternatives that can lend similar properties. For M. Block, this means a new material called Kwarx, which has the clarity and look of lead crystal, but twice the strength of regular glass, and the durability to be washed in commercial dishwashers without clouding over time. Kwarx is used to make stemware including red wine balloons and tulips for white wines, says Don Brown, the recently retired vice president of the Block House division.

And Schott Zwiesel crystal is made of Triton Crystal, which contains titanium oxide in place of lead, for added strength and brilliance. Other manufacturers, similarly, have their own proprietary crystal formulations to take advantage of various minerals and ingredients that will give crystal the look, durability, and enduring clarity of lead crystal.

One word: Plastics

LeadingwareCasualization as another strong trend in barware – mason jars affixed to wine stems, for example – and with that comes acrylic, which is a strong seller for outdoor entertaining, poolside or picnics. LeadingWare Group offers a plastic material created by the Eastman company; Tritan Co-polyester. It is touted as being 90 percent as clear as crystal, unbreakable, dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. This material is being used to make elegant, high-end stemware and barware shapes that have the advantage of being virtually indestructible. It’s reusable (but also recyclable), which makes it a greener option than disposable plastic drinkware that’s often used at outdoor parties.

To educate consumers about this option, Judy Ko, CEO of Leadingware Group, encourages retailers to arrange for wine tastings so consumers can get used to sipping from this type of drinking vessel, and to realize that they are a far cry from cheap disposable stemware. “They can understand that these are ‘real’ wine glasses,” and that drinking from them doesn’t negatively affect the experience of enjoying a glass of wine.

 

For more information: Fortessa Tableware Solutions 800.296.7508, fortessa.com; M. Block/Block House – 800.621.8845, mblock.com; Leadingware714.965.1616, leadingware.us; Crystal of America888.4RIEDEL, riedelusa.net; Lenox800.223.4311, lenox.com; Waterford877.720.3485, waterford.com.