On the shelf
It's easy to forget that the popular chocolate and hazelnut spread Nutella is based on gianduia (also spelled gianduja) - which is (you guessed it) a chocolate and hazelnut spread. The original, though, is a sophisticated, adult version of Nutella - it's not as sweet and it's nuttier and richer. The Caffarel Crema gianduia contains 40 per cent hazelnuts, compared with Nutella's 13 per cent. Yes, you can use it as a spread but it's even better as a filling for bite-sized tartlets. It's HK$90 for 330 grams at Great in Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9986.
I use instant-read thermometers for all kinds of things - measuring the water temperature for fine quality tea (you don't want it to be too hot), when I'm tempering chocolate and when I'm making fruit preserve (the 'setting' temperature is about 105 degrees Celsius). My usual thermometer has a tiny dial, so I decided to finally upgrade to a digital one. This Admetior thermometer has a long metal probe, let's you switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit and has a huge temperature range of minus-45 to 200 degrees Celsius. It costs HK$118 at City'super, Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 2888.
The sturdiest skewers for kebabs and other types of grilled meat are made of metal, although these can be expensive. I found some 26cm metal skewers at the Jusco HK$10 Plaza Plus in Wan Chai (M/F, Wing Tak Mansion, 15 Canal Road West, tel: 2892 1812). They're slightly flattened, so the ingredients stay on without moving around and, at this price, you can buy a lot.