AFAR Gift Guide 2014: Tastemakers' Picks

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AFAR Gift Guide 2014: Tastemakers' Picks
AFAR innovators on what they want to give—and receive—for the holidays
Photo Courtesy of Clay McLachlan
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    James Freeman, founder of Blue Bottle Coffee
    Where I want to go: 
    “The rooms are only ok, but the Hotel Okura in Tokyo has the most beautiful common spaces of any hotel I have ever been to. Built in 1962, it is the pinnacle, in my opinion, of stylish Tokyo mid-century serene. The sad part is that it is being demolished in 2015 to make way for an even bigger hotel and office tower. The holidays of 2014 are probably the last time guests can experience those immaculate spaces. I plan on staying there before the doors shut.”  

    What I plan to give:

    “I'll be giving Blue Bottle’s geeky new version of the moka pot. The coffee maker is a collaboration between the designer Joey Roth and Blue Bottle. In addition to being very beautiful they make, in my opinion, better coffee than any moka pot I have ever tried.”  

    What I hope to receive:
     
    “I love Christine Ferber jam so much. Épicerie Boulud in NYC carries it
    and you can also find it at the Pierre Hermé shops in Tokyo and Paris.
    I 've been bottle aging cocktails—mostly negronis but some others—on the advice of a good friend and wonderful sommelier, Paul Einbund. I have been aging the drinks in glass and getting some amazing tastes so now I want to ask my wife Caitlin, for a crown cap machine and 6-ounce mini bottles. The bottles can hold two cocktails and look super cute on the shelf. Come to think of it, bottling a bunch of cocktails this holiday means they’ll be ready for gifting next year.” 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Clay McLachlan
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    Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill Stone Barns
    Where I want to go: 
    “I'd take my family on a bakery tour of Paris, where wheat achieves Nirvana in the form of Poilâne miche and Pierre Hermé croissants. In the fantasy version, French food writer Clotilde Dusoulier would guide us around best new boulangeries, and we'd bring home fresh bread to an apartment on the Left Bank.” 
     

    What I plan to give:
     
    “A starter collection of heirloom grains from Anson Mills—graham wheat, antebellum cornmeal, and Abruzzi Rye Flour. It's a delicious education in what grains should taste like.” 
     

    What I hope to receive:
    “A KoMo grinder, which we use at Blue Hill at Stone Barns to grind flour to order. (It's convinced me that I'd like my own.) Ten years from now, home mills will be as ubiquitous as coffee grinders.” 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.

    Photo Courtesy of Mark Ostow
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    Daniel Humm, chef of Eleven Madison Park
    What I hope to receive:
    “I have to be organized in the kitchen, and I need the same sense of organization when I travel. Sometimes that can be difficult to do as traveling is inherently a stressful, disorganized activity, but one thing I’ve always loved to have help the experience is the right luggage. The right piece of luggage can make a trip so much more peaceful, whether it’s a quick flight, or a week-long adventure. I want a Victorinox carry-on that can log lots of miles.”

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.


    Photo Courtesy of Francesco Tonelli
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    Dominique Ansel, French pastry chef and mastermind of the cronut
    Where I want to go: 
    “The Amazoe in Greece. Right after the bitter winters of New York and the nonstop pressure of holiday season, sun, sand and peace sounds just about right.”
     
    What I plan to give:
    “If I could, I'd give everyone a Cronut pastry for the holidays, but unfortunately, there's only so much our kitchen can handle. I advise pre-ordering.”

    What I hope to receive:

    “I usually sleep about 4 hours every night and recently tried out a Hästen's bed. It felt like I was being hugged from all angles."

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.


    Photo Courtesy of Thomas Schauer
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    Susan Easton, founder of From the Road
    Susan Easton's brand From the Road, sells limited-edition artisan goods from around the globe. 

    Where I want to go: 
    “I can’t narrow it down to one place. These are currently at top of my list: Vines Resort and Spa in Mendoza to partake in a great new world wine experience; Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flat to photograph the surreal landscape; Myanmar's floating village of In Paw Khon to see lotus weaving masters in action; and Amangiri in Utah for amazing architecture, gorgeous surroundings, and lots of pampering.”  

    What I plan to give:

    “I'll be giving our super light VAYU cashmere scarves that are hand woven and hand tinted by master weavers in Nepal. I love when gift giving and cultural preservation intersects.”   

    What I hope to receive:

    “I have been eyeing designer Paris Kain’s unique jewelry line, Abraxas Rex. His prehistoric megalodon shark tooth necklace decorated with a single diamond is rustic luxury at its best.” 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Andrew Kossow
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    Jim Shay, president of men’s fashion brand Isaia
    Where I want to go:
    “I am dreaming of a beach escape to relax and want to stay at Cocos hotel on Antigua. If I get some energy, I really want to go to Cuba.”

    What I plan to give:

    “ I want to send my mother to cooking school in Italy as she just retired and now has the time to enjoy.”
     

    What I hope to receive:

    “I want a cool vintage Brionvega RadioFonografo.” 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Jim Shay
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    Taavo Somer, found of the Friends & Family Design Collective
    Where I want to go:
    Hotel du Cap-Eden-Rock in Antibes, France. We've been trying to go for years. Some of our friends go and the stories they tell are incredible. The diving board into the sea is a nice touch. And there are European babysitters to take care of the kids. The Europeans really have a way of living elegantly with children. I fantasize about this while I'm in snowy New York City."

    What I plan to give:
     
    "I've been spending a lot of time in Japan at our Freemans Sporting Club store in Tokyo. I love bringing back things for my daughters, like casual kimonos that the girls can wear at bath time. Everything is packaged so beautifully and designed so well, it's always inspiring to shop there."
     

    What I hope to receive:

    "What I've always wanted is a vintage Detomaso Pantera, which is a crazy car from the 1970s. It's the cheaper, even-less-dependable, version of a Lamborghini. It looks faster and more exotic than it actually is. It definitely has more bark than its bite. My wife says we have to get rid of the old Mercedes wagon before we get another car, and she's right of course." 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Liz Barclay
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    Tom Marchant, founder of Black Tomato
    Black Tomato is a UK-based travel company. 

    Where I want to go:

    “I want to go to Myanmar, whilst it still remains an undiscovered gem of a country untouched by mass tourism. As Rudyard Kipling once described it’s a country ‘quite unlike any place you know about’, after decades of isolation, Myanmar remains truly authentic and in many ways has changed little since colonial times. I’d start by exploring the countless temples of Bagan and visit remote hill-tribes surrounding Inle Lake where visitors are few and far between. Then head up to the mountains where you can find vineyards and wineries such as Mine Thauk that are pioneering the country’s boutique wine production.”  

    What I plan to give:

    “As most of my friends and family love music as much as I do, I’d get them the unique Chinon Legato speaker dock for i-Phones. It’s the perfect useful gift that incorporates a vintage style with modern functionality.”    

    What I hope to receive:

    “A Framed Vic Lee original from my favorite art store Nelly Duff to go on my New York apartment wall and remind me of one of my other favorite cities, London.”

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014. 
    Photo Courtesy of Tom Marchant
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    Raan and Shea Parton, founders of Apolis
    Apolis is a lifestyle brand that co-creates products with manufacturers from around the world

    Where we want want to go:
    We like to mix our travel with both high and low experiences to really understand a variety of cultures and see them from the local’s viewpoint. To start, we would love to make a long overdue visit to our most successful development partner in rural Bangladesh. Mohammed G and his team have been sewing Market Bags for us since 2011 and it would be great to spend time with them in their beautiful country. We would also love to stay at the newest Ace Hotel, the  AmTrade Hotel in Panama, with our wives. We have made a collaborative gauze scarf with Atelier Ace, based on our friendship with the late owner Alex Calderwood, and this new renovation was also designed by our good friends at Commune. It is the only worldwide property of their hotel group we have yet to see in person and would love an excuse to visit.”

    What we plan to give:
    “We are planning to gift these our close friends and family these items themed around being a global citizen: First, an Apolis alpaca travel kit which is hand knit in our Peru co-op. It includes the alpaca blanket, eye mask, and travel pillow which are all essentials for a road trip or global adventure. Secondly we will gift a copy of Marcus Samuelsson's book Yes, Chef which is the inspiring global story of the importance family, food and travel played in his rise to fame. Lastly, we will gift a copy of the new Alfredo Rodriguez jazz album The Invasion Parade. He is a close friend who has an inspiring story of defecting from Cuba to be produced by Quincy Jones. He even moved in with Raan and stayed on his couch while he played worldwide during his first year in the U.S.”


    What we hope to receive:

    “We love the world of photography and have gradually begun to know the team at Leica. Over the years we have been blown away by Leica’s attention to detail and their desire to never stop innovating. Since we document our global artisan suppliers to learn about their culture and their customs, our dream gift this year would be the new Leica MP camera to document our travels.”
     

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014. 
    Photo Courtesy of Raan and Shea Parton
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    Bobby Dekeyser, founder of DEDON design
    Where I want to go:
    “I am always traveling between different places all over the world. But sometimes, a certain degree of consistency is important as well. The gorgeous Balearic island of Ibiza has long been a second home to me. Together with my family, I spend my summer vacation there each year. And even after all these years I am still fascinated of the beauty of the island and of the experiences at every turn that make Ibiza such a magic and unique place on earth. I love being in the mountains as well. I am fond of the Austrian culture in general and one of my favorite ski destinations is the Arlberg region, due to its never-ending slopes. But also Megève in France, with its distinctive coziness, and the Giardino Mountain Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, which is the perfect place to relax after a long day of skiing.”  

    What I plan to give:

    “The perfect gift idea for people who like to spend time outdoors is my Bobby Board. To me, stand-up-paddling is the ultimate way to explore, discover and enjoy the outdoors, all while getting a full-body workout. I started stand-up-paddling during my time in Geneva. Every morning I started the day with a tour on the lake. On the one hand it was a perfect physical exercise and on the other hand an exceptional way to clear my mind for a great day to start. I use the board pretty much everywhere I can find water: the Hudson River in New York, or Hamburg’s Alster River, or on one of the many lakes in Muskoka, Canada. For my two daughters, I like to give a bottle of perfume. Valentina by Valentino comes in a pretty bottle and is a simple, fresh scent.”

    What I hope to receive:

    “My favorite place to be for the holidays is with my family and friends in the Salzburg area—Muhr Lungau to be precise. To remind me of this place, and all the happy times, I would like to receive a Cire Trudon candle.  “Gabriel” has a woodsy scent, with notes of chestnut, birch wood, cashmere wood, moss and cedar.”

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.  
    Photo Courtesy of Dedon
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    Philippe and Ashland Cousteau, environmental advocates
    Where we want to go:
    “This year we are spending Christmas in the little French country town Sarlat in Dordogne. It’s a beautiful medieval town with cobblestone streets and a quaint Christmas Market. Then we’ll head to Paris to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends.”   

    What we plan to give:

    “We have a second cousin who owns a gorgeous château and vineyard, Chateau Belles-Graves in Pomerol, Bordeaux. They produce excellent wine that means a lot to us. It's the wine we served at our wedding and makes a wonderful and personal gift.”
     

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.

    Photo Courtesy of Philippe and Ashland Cousteau
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    Thatcher Wine, founder of Juniper Books
    Juniper Books, in Boulder, Colorado, curates private libraries and designs custom book jackets.

     Where I want to go:
    “The French Alps to ride my bike on legendary Tour de France climbs including the Alpe d'Huez, etc. and also look for old books. I may not find many books there so once the kids have learned enough French we'll fly home via London and I can do some antiquarian book shopping there.”  

    What I plan to give:

    “Lighting a candle and curling up with a engaging book is the good life for me. The Sage & Walnut Library candle from Lafco will make any room feel like a library with deep and earthy scents. Everyone I have given these candles to loves them.”  

    What I hope to receive:

    “I love really big books and I love books that come in sets; the amazing National Geographic three book set from Taschen is stunning. It's full of images by captivating photographers including Steve McCurry and Frans Lanting and it's incredibly well designed with slipcases that turn into bookstands.”

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Heather Burn Knierim
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    Leigh Rawdon and Emily Meyer, co-founders of Tea Collection
    Tea Collection is a San Francisco-based children’s clothing company.

    Where we want to go:
    Emily: “Costa Rica because it’s warm, sunny and there is surf. There is a little cultural connection and relaxation for everyone at this family-friendly destination. I’d book my family at Florblanca or Harbor Reef.  
    Leigh: “I want to book a multisport family trip to South Africa and Botswana with the active-travel outfitter Backroads. I would love to bike among penguins and zebras, and I’m sure my kids would too. Or I’d love to go on this Tanzania Family Adventure from National Geographic Expeditions.”  

    What we plan to give:

    Emily:  “Handmade canvas tents from Kaufmann Mercantile.”  
    Leigh: Little Passports, and EEME, are gifts that keep on giving and are educational for the whole family.”   

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.

    Photos courtesy of Leigh Rawdon and Emily Meyer
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    Stephanie Gilmore, surfer
    Where I want to go:
    “I would love to sail on a yacht with friends to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. There is a wave called Cane Garden Bay that I have heard is magical on a swell day.”
     

    What I plan to give:
    “My friends will all be getting the new autobiography of Rick James, Glow.”

    What I hope to receive:

    “I have had my eye on an all over white ping pong table or I would love a Bella Notte linen bedding collection.” 

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Gilmore
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    Tony Hawk, skateboard icon
    Where I plan to go:
    “I want to take my family to Iceland. My wife and I went a few years ago and it was magical. It's like all the best parts of Scandinavia with beautiful, surreal landscapes.”

    What I plan to give:

    “The new Sony ActionCam mini is the smallest camera that can deliver the best quality. I even mounted one on the bottom of my skateboard and it wasn’t obstructive. It comes with plenty of accessories too.”

    What I hope to receive:

    “More Sonos speakers. I have a few in my living and family rooms, but I never imagined how much I would use them. And you can group them to play the same music throughout the house, or have each one play separately. They are all wireless, and provide access to all of your music apps and libraries.”  

    See our AFAR Holiday Gift Guide 2014.
    Photo Courtesy of Dale May