Temperatures have cooled down enough where many of us are now putting away the fans/air conditioning units and now bringing out the heaters. If you're fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home or apartment, the traditional open flame is probably the most inviting way to stay warm. But renters like ourselves could only dream of enjoying a fire indoors…until we realized there are now products available that safely bring the fire to the tabletop without the need of an actual fireplace.
The benefits of using bio-ethanol fuel as explained by Ben include: extremely clean burning (no soot marks), does not add toxins to interior air and bio-ethanol is derived from renewable sources. Just don't take too close of a whiff! We accidentally inhaled a little too closely while inspecting the unit and was quickly reminded bioethanol is still a hazardous liquid.
The effect is quite relaxing and sets an intimate mood for entertaining, though we're still getting used to having an open fire in the home (even the small Avani can put out thousands of BTUs of heat), so we're not yet completely relaxed being the worry-warts we are. A small indent receptacle allows for fragrances to be added (think scented oils) for an additional sensory element, but we preferred use without, since we're not big fans of artificial scents.
The Avani is just one of several models available from Brasa. A larger Mercer offers a wider and longer flame, while the Hudson is for those looking for a larger unit closer resembling the traditional fireplace, but in modern form (the Hudson can also be used outdoors). If the svelte Avani (14.75 x 5.75 x 3.5 in) is too large for your space, shelf-friendly fire lamps could be used in multiples to create a romantic mood (you sly, suave devil, you). Prices range from $165 to $625, depending on size. It may not be a real fireplace, but for small space dwellers, these might be the next best thing.