This post includes product recommendations. This is my honest opinion on what the best product I think is to buy and what I would purchase for myself. You will find Amazon affiliate links but I have not been paid by the maker of this product to endorse it.
I have not been shy sharing that Alton Brown and his show Good Eats has played the most influential role in my love of food and cooking. This creative show not only taught me about the food itself but also about the tools used to make the food. Good Eats was where I was introduced to Zyliss, a Swiss company founded in 1948 by Karl Zysset. It all started with a garlic press and since then they have introduced some wonderful and colorful tools to make the cook's life easier in the kitchen. Some of my favorite products of theirs are basic tools, but done in a fantastic way. To learn more about them check out this video. After that I will get into some of their products I personally recommend as gifts.
Zyliss Handheld Pizza Wheel
This was their first tool to check my attention. It's a pizza cutter that doesn't have a handle. Might sound strange at first. This cutter just has a plastic cover over the wheel. This allows your hand to be closer to the action and gives you greater control, making it easier to apply the right pressure to cut through pizza. I use it a lot to cut through raw dough, like when I am making homemade crackers. It's also super easy to clean because you can completely remove the metal wheel. Now the plastic on mine did break after many years of use. It broke where the metal wheel attaches. I plan to replace it soon and when I do I will have an extra metal wheel as a backup.
Zyliss Fruit Peeler
No doubt my favorite peeler. I love this thing. It's meant to be used on soft fruit, but I use it as main peeler. I have peeled peaches with it and was able to get the skin off without cutting too much into the fruit. It's easy to hold onto as well as to clean. I have had it for several years and it's still doing a wonderful job.
Zyliss 5.5-Inch Kitchen Knife
I own this knife. The best part about it is that it comes with a protective sheath. This keeps the knife protected and sharp in the drawer. This is also handy if you need travel with it, such as going camping, you have the perfect choice. I take it with us on all our camping trips. The purple color is pretty too!
Zyliss Stainless Steel 4-Inch Serrated Paring Knife
I bring this knife along camping too. Useful for the small jobs.
Zyliss Metal Ice-Cream Scoop
Another Zyliss item I was introduced to by Alton Brown. This scoop is easy to use. The handle fits your hand like a glove and the way the shape of the scoop makes it easy to really dig into the ice cream and come out with a perfect looking scoop, even when the ice cream is rock hard. I also have used this scoop for removing seeds from pumpkins and other hard squash.
Zyliss Stainless Steel Cheese Knife
This knife slices through cheese with ease and is easy to hold. It has an inner blade that you can use for thin slices of hard or semi-soft cheeses. If the cheese is too soft it doesn't work. Most of the time I just use the main blade. I also like the tip on the end that makes it easy to serve the cheese.
Zyliss Silicone Spatula
This is a strong spatula that is stiff enough to get the job done while still having some bend to it. Comes in a many colors to fit your style and kitchen.
Zyliss Meat Tenderizer
Before I wrote this post, I contacted the company asking them about some of their new products, they said one of their more popular new items is their meat tenderizer. This tenderizer has a pins that get pushed down right into the meat. I have a similar device that is designed a bit differently - but works much better than a mallet tenderizer, which is a glorified hammer in my opinion. They just rip the meat, where these pin style tenderizer actually do the job they are set out to. I use them whenever I make Alton Brown's Swiss Steak.