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Old 01-20-2005, 07:49 AM   #1
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Shopping for wine glasses and cutlery -- Need your advice.

I'm shopping around for wine glasses and cutlery. I would really appreciate some advice... Thanks!

1. Should I invest in fine crystal wine glasses or should I just get high-end glassware that look almost exactly the same? They are both fine-stemmed. The crystal ones seem clearer though and have a very nice clinking sound for when you toast glasses. The crystal ones are anywhere from 6 to 10 times more expensive than the glass version. Breakage of any of the crystals (which is inevitable), will be SO painful. Can guests really tell if it's crystal or glass? Which one should I get?

2. What brands of high-end stainless steel cutlery (spoons/forks) would you recommend? I saw some nice German-made ones and there was one design in particular that I loved. But it's very pricey. Assuming daily use and good-care of these spoons and forks, will they retain their sheen for years to come?

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Old 01-20-2005, 07:54 AM   #2
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Go for glass, I wouldnt give a rats if I was given crystal at someone elses place, I would be more concerned about the actual contents of the glass and how much thought went into the wine choice. And also like you said, you are going to wince everytime people even toast their glasses together with the crystal ones.

One thing is essential, stick to regular shaped wine glasses, not some desinger look rubbish. Something that will allow the wine to breath, but also trap some of the aroma.

I hate the old saucer champagne glasses that are currently heading into style again now, yes it looks good...but where are my bubbles? Flat champagne in 20 seconds.
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:15 AM   #3
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Just goes to show that we're all different. My problem with glass isn't that it is not crystal, per se, but that the glasses have a 'lip' on them that just doesn't feel the same as the fine edge of crystal. Here in the US, almost anything you buy, even the best US-made stuff, has a thickness to the lip of the glass that makes me feel like I'm drinking out of plastic. Fine for everyday, but I like having something better for special occaisions. And, yes, I like the 'ting' of a toast given with good, European, crystal stemware. But you don't have to buy Reidel (which I find pretentious) to get there. Look around a little more. I assume you're not buying your every day stuff, but looking for something to enjoy with special meals.
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:25 AM   #4
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I'm with you, Claire. I cannot ABIDE drinking from glasses with thick lipped edges.

Most of my crystal is Waterford with some Stuart and Edinburgh crystal for different sized glasses.

Even for everyday, I use 'good' ordinary glasses (from Poland and Slovenia) - the manufacturer' say they are crystal, and they do have a hollow-sounding 'ting' when struck.... but they are quite flimsy, really.
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:46 AM   #5
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Oh, dear. This is what I hesitated to say with fear of offending someone. We were a military family, and I spent about a third of my first 18 years in Europe. The plain old "glasses" my parents bought in Germany and France were of what most in Europe would consider everyday quality. They wouldn't even call it crystal. On our trip to Slovenia 10 years ago, we learned that it was still so. You don't need to go top of the line to get good quality, but even now I'll be damned if I can find a consistent source. Anything I've bought or looked at made in the US has that lip (I think it's called a "bead") that I don't like. It makes it sturdier, and it's OK for most of what I need. I did find that wine catalog sold Speigelau (or something similar) at a fraction of the cost of Reidel.

If I were young and just starting out, and was really intersted, I'd buy plain old glasses all around (wine and otherwise), then buy four generic wine glasses (anyone here chime in on what shape) in good crystal with a fine lip. I don't think shape matters as much as the feel of the edge of the glass on your mouth, and yes, that fine "ting" when you propose a toast, because a celebration of life is what drinking is supposd to be about.

BY the way, to get that "ting" just right, hold the glass by the stem or foot (my freinds here mostly hold it by the bowl!!)
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:25 AM   #6
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My Waterford, Edinburgh and Stuart crystal all have the most satisfying 'ting'... it's the cheaper Slovenian and Polish stuff that has a fairly tinny 'ting'... 8) But they do at least have no 'lip' and are quite clear and shiny - and certainly good enough for everyday use.
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:32 AM   #7
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Will your guests be able to tell the difference? Yes, most will. Should you get glass or crystal? Well that is up to your personal tastes. If money were no object then I would say get the crystal. Glass stemware can be very nice though and no one who comes to your house will be offended that you used it. If they are then they should not be welcome in your home IMO.
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:40 AM   #8
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remember not to store any alcoholic or acidic beverages in leaded crystal containers and decanters. the lead will leech in to the beverage, thus giving the drinker a nice shot of lead poisoning. it is ok for a short time, like the few hours of a dinner or party, but do not use it to store them any longer. it makes me cringe every time i see people pour a drink from a leaded crystal decanter from a liquor cabinet. i wonder how much lead they are ingesting...
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Old 01-20-2005, 12:27 PM   #9
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Chopstix - I've got 4 sets of 4 different stemware by Waterford, I think it's the Marquis pattern - VERY simple and inexpesive at $12.50 a stem - it's still hard not to flinch when you see one go flying across the courtyard via a backhand gesture (not the top 2 in this pic but the 4 pics under the top 2 - my wine glasses.

This is so difficult to say - - - - the "stemware" we pull out most of the time when our drunk friends are over :roll: is just some kind of glass that I got at Wal-Mart for .79 each - people always comment on how they like them - the stem is a little swirled, but it's a sturdier glass but still attractive. While you are looking for a GREAT sale on stemware you can always get something like this - I got 12 - for under $12.00 :oops:

What's also fun to do is go to different specialty shops and look to see what is on sale and start a "collection" of stemware. It makes for a very attractive table setting I think.

My favorite glasses - of which there are only 2 left (very sad indeed) are Champagne flutes - I had to make payments on them - I like to treat myself and then be selfish with those glasses. 8)
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:39 PM   #10
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Kitchenelf my parents use similar stemware. They have some very fancy and expensive stuff, both crystal and glass, but the ones they like to use the best were bought at the Christmas Tree store (do they have this store outside of MA?) and they paid about 25 cents a glass. They are very pretty glasses and everyone who drinks out of them always comments on them. We still use the good stuff for formal dinners, but for everyday it is the inexpensive ones. The great thing is if they break then it is OK. No one feels horrible about ruining them because they are so darn inexpensive.
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