Welcome to the T List, a newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. This week we made it our Valentine’s Day gift guide, with recommendations on what we covet for ourselves and for our loved ones. Register here to find us in your inbox every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at tlist.†
French-inspired chocolates with Japanese flavors
It was a leap of faith when Michiko Marron-Kibbey decided to give up her preschool education job to pursue her dream of learning how to make pastries and chocolates. Maroon-Kibbey — who eventually studied at the Parisian culinary school Ferrandi and apprenticed to Japanese confectioner Mori Yoshida — especially liked the challenges involved in mastering chocolate, a temperamental and capricious food. In 2018, she launched Los Gatos, California-based Deux Cranes, collaborating with her childhood friend Ayaka B. Ito on the art direction and design of the brand. “Cranes are known as pairs for life and are symbols of longevity in Japan,” says Marron-Kibbey. But the brand’s name also reflects the way the chocolatier incorporates the flavors of Japan (think buckwheat, matcha, miso, and yuzu), where she and Ito mostly grew up, with the aesthetics of making French chocolate. This holiday, Deux Cranes offers several limited-edition chocolates and bars in decadent and romantic flavors — raspberry, passion fruit, pistachio and rose — in addition to its more classic dishes.
A 1963 biography of the painter Florine Stettheimer contributed greatly to the impression that she was a “locked-up spinster” whose work was too frivolously ornate to be taken seriously or exhibited regularly. Barbara Bloemink’s recently published “Florine Stettheimer: A Biography” serves as a necessary correction: To begin with, the artist was a committed feminist who really enjoyed the single life. The writer also excavates Stettheimer’s impact as a forward thinking thinker whose paintings challenged societal norms of racism and anti-Semitism, highlighting the monumentality of her work, both in scale – the artist preferred large canvases, which was unusual for female artists at the time – and the big themes such as American patriotism and women’s independence. And then there’s Stettheimer’s delicious palette. Critics noted that her colors were so bright that neighboring paintings became dull, and Bloemink’s text is complemented by lavish depictions of Stettheimer’s works, along with photographs of her equally lavish costume designs and residences, occasionally designing furniture and fixtures to suit her. paintings fit.
Colorful scarves handwoven from yak wool
Dechen Yeshi grew up with a Tibetan father and a French mother, Kim Yeshi, who was enamored with textiles. Kim had long heard from traditional Tibetan tailors about fabrics made by yaks each spring from the wool yaks make, and in 2004 Dechen traveled to Tibet to experience the fiber for himself. Sure enough, it was mild and unbelievably warm – the nomadic herders of the Tibetan Plateau regularly take the sturdy animals to great heights and in harsh weather conditions. Several years later, the mother-daughter duo hired Nepalese artisans to come to the Tibetan village of Ritoma and teach a group of locals how to weave the wool by hand. The resulting label, Norlha, has been a fixture in the community ever since. And while the line now sells lavish throws and a range of garments, it started with scarves. In Tibet, Dechen says, a white scarf symbolizes auspicious beginnings and is a common gift for a birth, homecoming or graduation. Why not for Valentine’s Day too? Though you might prefer one of the brand’s earth- or jewel-colored options, each of which can be passed down by 10 different makers before shipping. “We like that the scarves keep the essence of the plateau, but work across different identities and cultures,” says Dechen. “And you feel this protection when you wear one. It’s like a companion, almost.”
Cocktails to make you feel far away
If a winter getaway isn’t in the cards, why not try a home transport cocktail? In the Balearic Islands, “basbas” is an expression of affection for the spirit hierbas, which was first distilled there by monks in the 15th century. The version of the drink from the recently launched Basbas (the brand) tastes like anise, citrus and sage, and can be drunk on its own or used, for example, to replace the rum in a mojito. It is made in the Santa Eulalia region of Ibiza according to a recipe kept secret by a single family for generations. For a taste of Oaxaca, opt for a bottle of Madre Mezcal, who recently collaborated with Brooklyn chef and artist DeVonn Francis on a trio of salt blends—black citrus, chili, and medicinal herbs (turmeric, ginseng)—that hint at the tradition of sprinkling of sal de gusano, or “worm salt,” on an orange slice served alongside mezcal, drawing on Francis’s own Jamaican heritage. And for those seeking some non-alcoholic sophistication, Aplós, a hemp-infused blend developed with Lynnette Marrero, a James Beard Honoree and the bar director of popular Brooklyn Peruvian restaurant Llama Inn. Besides noticing the calming effect, you’ll pick up notes of yuzu, rosemary, and dandelion.
Amid a February tableau of pink paper hearts and candies in red boxes, there’s something invigorating about all things orange, including rocks. Californian designer Irene Neuwirth was inspired by tropical flowers to create her unique tangerine garnet and fire opal bracelet. Fire opals are formed at volcanic depths, and another can be seen — fringed by pavé pink sapphires — in a dazzling Suzanne Felsen cocktail ring. Cathy Waterman, another Californian designer with a taste for plants, chose opaque carnelian, a semi-precious stone that has been used for ornamentation since the Bronze Age, for a pair of earrings modeled after clovers and accented with small diamonds. For a sassy statement, consider the lip-shaped Carnelian Rouge Baiser ring from French designer Marie-Hélène de Taillac. Two equally cheerful and more affordable alternatives are Lizzie Fortunato’s persimmon Lucite Ridge Cuff (which comes in a rainbow of hues – try stacking a few) and Mondo Mondo’s Jelly Earrings, both of which are reminiscent of the ferocious statement jewelry of the ’90s. 80, and would help make any date night shine.
Bouquets for transferring love and more
I’ll use any excuse to give flowers that don’t necessarily have to be romantic in tone. As Schentell Nunn, the founder of Los Angeles-based flower company Offerings, puts it, “They’re really just an offering of respect in so many ways.” A childhood spent in contact with Vermont’s verdant landscapes led Nunn to start working with flowers at age 17, and she launched her company in 2018, after studying interior architecture. fashion shows. One of her Valentine’s bouquets features stocky garden roses set against larkspur and foraged grass. On the East Coast, best friends Effie Cudjoe and Rugie Jalloh star as the duo behind the Brooklyn-based flower studio Reflorish (by day Cudjoe works in marketing and Jalloh in social impact operations), beginning in 2020 to serve as “a source of joy.” for others”. Their designer’s choice bouquets start at a reasonable $75, while their Valentine’s Day-specific offerings include toffee roses and ranunculus paired with inky purple scabiosa or plaid fritillaria.
An incense holder that does double duty
Although she is the founder of the unisex skin and body care line F. Miller, Fran Miller doesn’t start her day with cleansing and moisturizing. “The first thing I do in the morning, before I grab a glass of water or make a cup of coffee, is light the incense on my coffee table,” she says. So when her brand expanded into homewares (an olive green bottle of Nalgene printed in a squiggly font with the word “Hydrate” was an early viral hit), producing her own incense holder seemed like a logical next step. She first collaborated with artist Sam Jayne, and after that version promptly sold out, Miller teamed up with her boyfriend, Tel Aviv-based jewelry designer Sapir Bachar. “We thought about how we could create a calm environment and a safe space through organic shapes,” says Bachar. The result is a minimalist, curved sterling silver band that, if you happen to fit a graceful size three, doubles as a pinky ring – and comes with 40 green tea incense sticks, the ultimate mood makers.