Party Guide: Good Taste

Cups, spirits, billiards—the shopping list for holiday festivities goes on and on. This batch of thoughtfully designed goods for playing, sipping, snacking, and (inevitably) cleaning it all up means no host has to hit Party City.

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1. Porcelain Ice Cream Cone

This handcrafted dish has all the charm of a cone, minus the drippy mush that often leaks out the bottom. Have your cone and eat all the ice cream, too. ($18, www.brookfarm-generalstore.com)

2. Belle-V Ice Cream Scoop

Consulting firm Lunar Design is now making its own wares, starting with an ice-cream scoop whose elongated head is canted at 45 degrees--the scooping sweet spot, according to very important research. (Starting at $40, belle-v.com)

3. Sugar Knife Marshmallows

Oakland-based Sugar Knife uses none of the corn syrup and gelatin found in standard marshmallows, and instead concocts its spiked treats--in flavors such as Guinness-chocolate and Frangelico--with all-artisanal ingredients. ($7, sugarknife.com)

4. Stacking Nut and Shell Bowl

Michael Graves's vast new housewares collection for JCPenney is full of "aha" design details, like this serving dish: It's made from ceramic and terracotta, and it comes with a handy hiding spot for pistachio shells and olive pits. ($30, jcpenney.com)

5. Short Stack Editions

Pocket-size and smartly illustrated, these are single-ingredient cookbooks made by chefauthors. Published so far: eggs, tomatoes, and strawberries. ($12, shortstackeditions.com)

[Photos by Greg Broom | Prop Styling by Hannah Jensen]