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Counter Revolution

Sometimes an appliance is more than just a household tool: it can also be a special occasion waiting to happen. Here’s your roundup of countertop equipment that will extend your kitchen capabilities a little beyond the ordinary.

In A Whirl

Smeg’s fetching retro-style blender looks like it’s about to whip up a malt-shop milkshake,but we’re thinking it could concoct a mean cocktail too. (Margarita, anyone?) It’s especially good for grinding coffee beans. Available at national retailers like Lowe’s and Hudson’s Bay. $349.99, smeg.com

Sparkling Simplicity

Simple and beautiful, Sodastream’s award-winning beverage maker is a one-touch sparkling water source. With a single push, the redesigned carbonating bottle easily locks into place and the entire top surface is responsive to touch, making it simple to see and select your level of carbonation. Available in black, white and red. $149.99, sodastream.ca

Toast Master

If you’re going to keep something out on the counter all the time, it should look good. KitchenAid’s two-slice toaster fills the bill with clean contemporary lines and a choice of colours (Contour Silver, Onyx Black and Empire Red). It can defrost frozen slices and will also keep toast warm while you’re getting ready to butter it. It fits bagels, too. Available at national retailers and online. $169.99, kitchenaid.ca

Perfect Probiotics

The Cuisipro Collapsible Yogurt Maker sits on the counter when you want it, then accordions to fit on a shelf between uses. To make your own yogurt, you heat three cups of milk (soy, almond or coconut), add a starter (like a couple of teaspoons of your last batch)and pour it into jam jars or equivalent containers. The yogurt maker will keep the mixture at the perfect temperature overnight and shut off automatically. Bonus: you can add any flavouring you like. $65, cuisipro.com

Goodbye, Gluten

The Cuisinart Programmable Breadmaker was designed with gluten sensitivity in mind. Its low-carb and gluten-free settings allow home bakers to customize their bread to the needs of their household without losing out on texture and taste. It makes pizza dough too! $199.99, cuisinart.ca

Bring On The Syrup!

All-Clad’s four-slice Belgian Waffle Maker is all about cozy weekend brunches in the kitchen with your best pals, but it also conjures up the possibility of fancy desserts featuring fresh Ífruit and shaved chocolate. With features like non-stick coating, a light that shows you when the grill has reached the optimal temperature and an overflow trough to deal with batter runoff, it makes it easy to produce perfect waffles. (In a Good Housekeeping test of 12 different waffle makers, this one was a top scorer and tied for easiest-to-use product overall.) Available at Hudson’s Bay and fine gourmet retail shops across the country. $300, all-clad.com