Goodbye 2017

goodbye-2017

Goodbye 2017

Well, it’s been a fun year but we’ve got to say goodbye. Christmas may not be over yet, but 2017 will be at midnight tonight. Why not party down while the clock ticks away?

If you like the excitement of a Times Square ball drop party without the crowd, police checkpoints and freezing temperatures, you can watch the whole thing starting at 5PM Eastern at the official site of Times Square!

New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

If you’re entertaining for family and friends tonight, you’ve got a lot of options for a marvelous year-end wingding. You’re going to want to determine if you’re planning to have a supper or just appetizers and drinks. If you’re having a supper, are you providing all the food or are you having a potluck? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

If you’re planning to have a supper, then your appetizer count should be about 4-5 per guest. If you’re just doing finger foods and drinks, you’re going to want to allow for at least 12-15 per guest. With a sit-down option, you can provide appetizers that can be eaten with a fork. If it’s a standing mingle, you’ll need to stick to finger foods. Likewise, if you’re having a formal get-together you’re going to want to avoid sticky or heavily sauced items that can get on nice dresses and suits. If you’re having a casual affair, messy snacks are perfectly appropriate but be sure to provide a lot of napkins so they won’t be tempted to wipe fingers on your furniture.

Another key point for a wonderful party is providing a variety of drinks. Providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is key. New Year’s Eve is commonly associated with excessive drinking, but keep the kids and the designated drivers in mind. Cocktails and mocktails can be prepared to give a broad selection of flavor profiles. Mocktails are the non-alcoholic versions of their spiked counterparts. Pina Coladas, Margaritas and Daiquiris can be just as delicious without the booze but be sure to make it obvious which is which so the designated drivers and teetotalers don’t get an unfortunate surprise.

Holding a potluck dinner is a great way for family and friends to bond as the year draws to a close. Guests can bring their favorite foods to share with everyone and create an awesome year-end feast. This kind of comfort food can serve as a marvelous backdrop to a happy gathering. It also takes a lot of the stress off of the hosts both financially and in consideration of time and preparation.

However, if you insist on being the hostess with the mostest, you might opt to prepare all the food for the feast. If you are a hardcore foodie, this might be therapy for you. Some people absolutely love cooking and preparing food for others and this can be an excellent expression of your fondness for your guests. If you’re just a masochistic control freak, this could lead to a lot of stress just before the end of the year. Be kind to yourself. If you love cooking for your loved ones, by all means, go for it. If you’re just feeling like you need to pull out all the stops to keep up with the Joneses, do yourself and your guests a favor and just don’t. You should be getting together to have fun as you wrap up the year. Getting stressed out of your brain is going to make you an awful host and the butt of a lot of jokes in the coming weeks.

When it comes right down to it, as long as you are with your favorite people on this final night of the year it doesn’t much matter what you prepare to eat and drink. Dollar store soda and generic chips & dip are going to be just as memorable as a five-course meal and exotic cocktails if you’re having fun. What really matters is ringing in the new year with your loved ones. End the year on a high note and don’t stress about the victuals.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year!

Storage Ideas for Christmas Recipes

recipe-cards

Storage Ideas for Christmas Recipes

Every holiday season, many of us look forward to eating special treats made using long-held and cherished family recipes. Many families have holiday food traditions they hold dear. I simply cannot imagine a holiday without Nana’s plum pudding or Mom’s thimble cookies. Year after year, we enjoy these treats and use them as a way to stay connected with our families and the Christmas spirit. Keeping track of your favorite holiday treats will help things go more smoothly.

You can create that special holiday feeling each year by returning to your favorites in due course. The easiest way to do this is to have them stored in a coherent fashion. Here are some excellent ways to store your recipes:

      • 5 x 7 Cards – Many people still like keeping 5 x 7 cards in a box to save their recipes. It’s a good approach because you can take the cards out and use them while you’re cooking. Some people like to laminate the cards to keep the recipes from smudging.
      • Cookbooks – There will often be only a handful of recipes you like or cook out of any given cookbook. A great way to store these is to mark the pages that have the recipes you like and keep them on a bookshelf in your kitchen. In the table of contents, highlight the recipes you like best so that you don’t have to leaf through the entire cookbook all the time. It’s also worthwhile marking any recipes that you’ve tried and didn’t like. Highlighting the good recipes and the not-so-good will save you a lot of time searching through your cookbooks.
      • Electronically – Another way to keep your recipes is in soft copy. There is software for recipe databases that you can use on your computer, or you can just use the filing system and folders already available on your computer. For recipe-keeping software, try Big Oven. I’ve included a Holiday Meal Planner sheet and list sheet for your Favorite Christmas Recipes.
      • Online – Sites like Just a Pinch offer ways to save recipes and add your own original recipes and pictures. Just a Pinch additionally lets you print out your own cookbook based on the recipes you have created.
      • Photos – Another good way to keep a recipe is to take a photo with your phone of the dish, print it out, and then glue or write the recipe on the back of the photo. That way they know what it’s supposed to look like when they’ve made it.
      • Recipe Book – Get a notebook or scrapbook with clear sleeves, then just put the recipes inside. You can put magazine recipes, recipes printed out from the computer, your 5 x 7 cards, and even recipes written on the back of Christmas paper inside this notebook. It’s a great way to keep them.

cookingA great idea regardless of how you save your recipes is to make a note if you altered them. The holiday food traditions we look forward to are the byproducts of experimentation by previous generations. The creators of the original dishes may have never intended to make them again. They just happened to feel like doing something different or adding something new to the holiday table. When you tweak a recipe and it turns out great, making a note of it allows you to repeat it next time. This way, it becomes part of your family heritage and people can remember your contribution with as much nostalgia as you hold for your own ancestors’ recipes.

More than mere sustenance, the family traditions we enjoy year after year are a source of pride and lead to conversations about family members and fond memories of holidays past. Traditional family foods can be one of the most important parts of the holiday season for many people.

 

egg-nogThere was once, however, a time in each and every family history before those recipes existed. Mom had to make those thimble cookies for the first time. When she did, she may have placed them right next to chocolate chip cookies made with her Grandma’s secret recipe, having no idea they would become such an integral part of the holiday. She simply hoped that she could add a little bit to the holiday by trying something different. Our holiday food traditions are special to us, and it is wonderful to experience those comforting recipes each and every holiday. It’s important to remember how those traditions began. Taking the source of those traditions into account, we can be spurred to create our own.

This holiday season, consider doing something new. Think about adding a different plate to the dinner or treat table. Make a side dish not generally found on your holiday table or try a new cookie recipe. Try a few new ideas and see what happens.

dinner-with-friendsSome of the new options may not be very well received and others may be enjoyed, but not nearly as much as your family’s holiday classics. However, one might receive such rave reviews that you decide to try it again next year. In years to come, that simple decision to experiment may turn into part of your family’s traditional holiday table. The new cookie recipe you find in a holiday recipe collection this year may eventually become a staple item that your great-grandchildren cannot imagine missing.

Traditions are an important and wonderful part of the essence of one’s family. Wouldn’t it be nice to add your generation’s recipes to the holiday traditions you all hold so dear? Inventing new holiday traditions has no precise formula. One cannot really intentionally “design” a new holiday food tradition. They tend to grow over time. New traditions do require a willingness to prepare an inventive new dish. This holiday season, consider your potential role as a creator of a meaningful holiday tradition and add something new to the holiday feast.

Pork and Sauerkraut

Pork and Sauerkraut

Happy New Year! I can’t think of anything more traditional for New Year’s Day than good ol’ Pork and Sauerkraut!

Me on 01JAN16Where I grew up was on the border between the outskirts of Philadelphia and the eastern reaches of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. This led to two different traditions in my household. The Mummer’s Parade or the Tournament of Roses in the morning followed by Pork and Sauerkraut for supper.

Well, nowadays I’m the dad and we have a little tradition of our own. My sons’ Boy Scout Troop 624 holds an annual Pork and Sauerkraut dinner at Schuylkill Lodge 138 in Orwigsburg, PA. Every member of the troop shares KP duty serving up the holiday fare. It’s a wonderful time to get in touch with the community and share some fellowship with the troop families.

So, why Pork and Sauerkraut? Well, tradition holds that pork is lucky because pigs root forward rather than backwards like chickens and turkeys. As such, pigs are considered to be symbols of progress and are indicative of the promise of a New Year. Traditionally, when cabbage was harvested and preserved at the end of October it would take about eight weeks for the fermentation of sauerkraut to complete. This made the sauerkraut available right in time for New Year’s. They added on the symbolic meaning of the shreds of cabbage. The long shreds are meant to symbolize long life. In either case, the tart sauerkraut is a wonderful flavor pairing with the fatty, salted pork.

Here’s a video recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy.

Gift Ideas – Food Tours

Gift Ideas – Food Tours

A food tour can be a fantastic gift that keeps on giving. Food tours are where you go around the city, the state, the country or even the world sampling the cuisine from different places.

Cooking Classescooking

The first step in giving gifts of food related experiences starts at home. Some people of the people on your Christmas gift giving list simply love cooking. To add to their joy of cooking, you can give a gift of cooking classes. A site that lives for teaching the fine arts of cooking is Sur la table. They list classes throughout the country that your loved one can attend and enjoy. Another site that thrives on teaching the skills of producing wonderful food is Taste of Home. Find your nearest class and make a reservation as a gift.

If you search for “cooking classes” plus your ZIP Code, you may find a wonderful service like the one I have in my area who provides in-home cooking classes. Chef Gloria Luzzatto has her Glorious Gourmet PCS service in my neck of the woods. Be sure to book her early, she’s only one person and her calendar is likely to fill up quickly!

Food Tour

restaurantIf you wanted to do it on a budget, then you could put together a picnic basket filled with a bottle of wine and a picnic set, but include a few gift cards from local restaurants that your friend or loved one enjoys or some that they haven’t been to before.

You can find inexpensive and high dollar picnic baskets online, with an array of restaurant gift cards to chains such as Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Changs, Macaroni Grill, and dozens more.

You could put together a breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert gift that included a gift card to a place that serves breakfast like Cracker Barrel, include a Subway Sandwich gift card for a quick lunch, put an Outback Steak House gift card in for dinner and top it off with a dessert gift card to the Cheesecake Factory!

Your loved one could make it a full day doing a food tour, or break it up into separate food events.sandwich

Now you can also make this an amazing, high end gift! How about buying a new piece of luggage and filling it with some travel items, along with the menu from the local cuisine stops of another area that you’ll drive or fly to? Maybe throw in a couple of airline tickets to an exotic getaway! Other high end options are touring local or regional wineries and taking a dinner cruise on a nearby river or coastline.

Gift Ideas – Wine and Cheese

Gift Ideas – Wine and Cheese

Wine and cheese pairings make wonderful Christmas gifts for friends, family and acquaintances. wine grapesYou definitely want to make sure that the recipient drinks wine, because not everyone enjoys an alcoholic beverage. But if they do, there are some fantastic choices for you to send them.

One of the premiere brands to consider in this realm is Wine.com – and those selections can even be ordered on Amazon, too – where many of them have free Super Saver shipping.

For example, the Bordeaux Style Gift Set with Scharffen Berger Chocolate & 2 Wine Glasses from Madsen Family Cellars with a bottle each of their Gold Medal Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot provides two stemless wine glasses and a bar of gourmet Scharffen Berger Chocolate.

cheeseThen there’s the Raspberry Chocolate Wine Gift Set by Westport Winery which includes a bottle of their raspberry chocolate dessert wine “Red Sky at Night”, a pair of Westport Winery cordial glasses and box of five raspberry velvet chocolate truffles.

A mouth-watering option is the medium sized Savory Sophisticated Gourmet Food Basket with Caviar by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets with Fine Black Capelin Caviar and a variety of crackers, cookies, pretzels, nuts, dips and sauces in a simple, willow basket adorned with ivy vines.

wine glass

The Italian Classic Gift Basket by igourmet contains a stunning array of cheeses, olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and more items produced in Italy that are attractively packaged in a dark stained wood planter. This gift basket contains cheeses that would pair well with some of your favorite wines.

A wonderful package of Christmas themed wines is the Season’s Greetings Christmas Wines Mixed Pack. It’s a festive collection of Moscato, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel and Riesling wines that would pair well with a number of the gift baskets mentioned here.

For instance, a lovely gift basket that would pair nicely with the seasonal wine collection above is the Well Stocked Gourmet Basket with Smoked Salmon by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets. It is a generous and impressive helping of the good life with an oval willow basket filled with everyone’s favorite gourmet chocolates, confections, and sophisticated snacks.
wine escape

With a classic assortment of savory snacks and sweet holiday treats, there will be something for everyone as friends and family gather around to enjoy in the Holiday Greetings Christmas Gourmet Food Gift Basket by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets. There are a variety of sweet and savory items assembled in a red and gold stamped tin basket to delight that special someone on your gift giving list.

The North Coast Tasting Flight Wine Mixed Pack from the William Hill Estate Winery provides a Red Blend, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, a Napa Valley Chardonnay, a North Coast Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc to please the palate of friends and family.

wine and cheese The Happy Holidays gift basket by Wine Country Gift Baskets is a wonderful treat to pair with your favorite wine. With festive favorites like Walkers shortbread Scottie Dogs, peppermint candy, butterscotch, milk and dark chocolate, hot cocoa and more, it’s sure to please the most discerning connoisseurs on your shopping list.

Finally, the Let It Snow gift box by the Seattle Gift Basket Company is fun and festive. It contains cashews, sausage, a Chocolate Espresso Bar, dark chocolate blueberries, Lindt Truffles and something that my family and I enjoy in lieu of champagne for special events, Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. If you want something that seems like champagne but that you can share with the kids for a holiday toast, Martinelli’s provides a variety of sparkling fruit juices to fit the bill.

Gift Ideas – Candy

Gift Ideas – Candy

Candy is one of the sweetest gifts to give your special friends and family at Christmas! You have options all year long, but there are some unique selections you may want to choose as gifts this year.candy

Candy Crate offers retro gift boxes of candy from various decades. You can get a gift box of candy from every decade dating back to the 1940s as well as vintage candies from the 1800’s and 1900’s. This generally makes a great birthday gift, but it’s perfect for Christmas, too.

All of the gift boxes differ according to what was popular during that decade. For instance, the 1940s gift box will include candies like bubble gum cigars, Slo Pokes, taffy, candy cigarettes, Sugar Daddies and much more. The 1980s gift box would feature candies popular then, such as Jolly Ranchers, wax fangs, Fruit Stripe gum and more.

Candy Crate even has some Christmas-themed gifts you can consider, like the Nutcracker Tower Candy Gift Box that’s filled to the rim with classic candies like candy canes, coal candy, peppermint puffs and more.

Ferrero Rocher is a popular Christmas candy you probably see featured in stores you frequent during the holidays. Each piece of candy is carefully wrapped in a gold foil, making the appearance of the gift as striking as the taste!

candyIf you’re buying for kids, then you may want to send the Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets Fun and Games Snacks and Treats Care Package Gift Box. It’s filled with lots of classic, portable games, popcorn and candy.

A more elegant candy gift basket for adults or families that’s made by the same company is the Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets Large Sweet Sensations Cookie, Candy and Treats Gift Basket. This comes with butter cookies, toffee, truffles, wafers, buttermints, cream puffs, caramel corn, cookies, cake and more.

Or, you might order another Art of Appreciation gift – the Sweet Sentiments Cookie, Candy and Snacks Gift Tower. This is a gorgeous set of gift boxes designed with red and gold details. The boxes are packed with luscious sweets like toffee, chocolate truffles, shortbread cookies and bonbons. The decorative boxes are well worth keeping for reuse.

Broadway Basketeers makes a sweet treat that’s perfect to give as a gift – the Celebration Gift Tower with Sweets & Nuts. These boxes are also very ornate and they’re stuffed with taffy, toffee peanuts, caramel cookies (salted), and traditional chocolate chip cookies.candy

Before you buy a candy gift for someone on Christmas, please be sure they don’t have any specific food allergies, like peanuts or tree nuts. And if they have special dietary needs like gluten free or sugar free versions, you can find gift baskets that cater to their needs!

Gift Idea – Meat and Cheese

Gift Idea – Meat and Cheese

Meat and cheese gift baskets are a great food gift to give during the holidays. They’re perfect appetizers for entertaining, so hosts and hostesses appreciate the thoughtful gift. There are many brands and variations of the gifts to choose from. Having snacks of this sort handy is a real benefit when family and friends drop by for a spontaneous holiday visit.meat

The Hickory Farms company is well-known for its delicious summer sausage, but they have so much more to offer, and their brand is synonymous with gift giving around the Christmas season. The company even offers free shipping to the military – a very patriotic act by this company! In addition to sausages and cheese blocks, they also sell signature nut gifts and fresh fruit, too.

The Swiss Colony company is a household name, just like Hickory Farms. They are known for their sausage and cheese blocks, but there’s one gift box in particular that’s always a hit. It’s the Swiss Colony Sausages ‘n Cheese Bars, which comes in 4, 6 or 8-piece options.

You can get their 4-piece pack, which includes Kreme Kaese and cheddar cheese, and their original and summer sausages. The 6-piece Swiss Colony gift box includes the previous four items, but you get to add in some Colby cheese and a garlic beef sausage for your gift recipient. And the 8-piece pack gives you all previous selections, along with a Caraway beef sausage log and Swiss and Edam cheesecheeses.

Other brands have some amazing offers, too. A company called Wisconsinmade makes a tantalizing food gift basket called the Deluxe Meat and Cheese Gift Box. It includes beef summer sausage and salami, a variety of cheeses in the flavors of tomato basil cheddar, cranberry cheddar, and roasted garlic. It comes with a cheddar cheese spread and a few mustard options, including stone ground, sweet and hot, champagne, and honey. A box of wafer rolls completes the gift basket.

Check out the Art of Appreciation Gift Basket called Smoked Salmon and Seafood Gourmet Gift Box. It has a fishing themed container, so it would make a great gift for a special man in your life. It includes sausagessalmon fillets, an herb pate, smoked salmon pate, cheese straws, and a variety of crisp crackers for the recipient.

Another excellent gift option for the meat lovers in your life is one of the many selections from Omaha Steaks. A marvelous sampler is their Family Value Pack which includes top sirloins, roasted chicken breasts, burgers, jumbo franks and stuffed baked potatoes. As a chaser, you can also get the Assorted Individual Cheesecakes to keep the holidays sweet.

The holidays always bring savory images of the sausages and cheese logs offered by vendors like Swiss Colony and Hickory Farms. These seasonal treats are a great way to entertain guests or to enable your loved ones to entertain their guests when they receive these packages and baskets from you.

 

Gift Idea – Special Diet

Gift Idea – Special Dietno no no

At Christmastime, a lot of us take for granted that cookies, pies and cakes are going to be on the menu for the duration. Unfortunately, not all of us are
in a position to enjoy the traditional treats that so many of us enjoy, but as the angels say “Fear Not” because there are fun alternatives for those with special dietary concerns.

Gluten Free

Do you have a loved one or special friend on your Christmas list who is on a Gluten free diet? There are many people going on this now, even though it was originally used as a treatment for Celiac Disease. Now, people are using it as a way to treat autism, to lose weight, and to ease digestive discomfort.

gluten freeLuckily, there are many gluten-free food gifts you can buy online. The Gifting Group makes a Gluten Free Gourmet Festive Twig Gift Basket with Cheese Knife that’s packed with olive oil sea salt crackers, cashews, olives, Busseto salami and Napa Valley Whole Grain Mustard – all free of gluten for that special someone in your life!

Then there’s the Holiday Delight Gluten Free Gift Tower by Gluten Free Palace. This gift includes chocolate chip biscotti, raspberry linzer cookies, black and white cookies, packages of dried fruit, pocorners and jelly bellies that are not only gluten free but are also certified kosher!

Know someone who has a sweet tooth but can’t eat gluten? Try the Gluten Free Cookies Gallon by Apple Cookie & Chocolate Company. This gift is a 1-gallon can filled with delicious fresh baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies. When the mini crunchy cookies are gone the can turns into a coin bank.

Another idea is to make a gift basket on your own! You can find lots of gluten free baking items online or in local grocery stores, and package them into a basket that you buy at an arts and crafts store.

Sugar Free

The holidays can be hard on those who are on a strict sugar-free diet. Whether they’re diabetic or just giving up sugar for some other reason, you can give a Christmas gift that satisfies their sweet tooth.

The Gift Basket Dropshipping company makes the Simply Sugar Free Gift Basket, which includes sugar free chocolates, jelly beans, fruit candies, andsugar free a variety of snacks like crackers, pretzel sticks, cheese dip, popcorn, and coffee – all in a lovely wicker basket.

There are a number of wonderful treats that you can put together to create your own sugar free gift basket such as Gimbal’s Sugar Free Scottie Dogs, miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the Go Lightly “Just Chocolates” variety, Werther’s hard caramels, Swiss Miss sensible sweets light cocoa mix and Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bars. To add some sugar free baked goods, check out the marvelous recipes in Terry Smith’s book Sugar Free Baking Recipes: Delicious Baking Recipes With No Added Sugar. When you put these treats together with creativity, your loved ones will really appreciate the care you’ve shown.

It’s no fun having to feel deprived around the holidays, so if you do know someone who’s on a sugar-restrictive diet, this kind of gift would perk them up through the Christmas season.

Gift Idea – Tea

Gift Idea – Tea

In many homes around the world, hot tea is the drink of choice while in the American South, sweet, ice-cold tea is a staple. Whether hot or cold, tea makes a great gift at Christmas for friends, family, co-workers or neighbors.

There are many tea gifts you can give to someone, but a few are really impressive. Take the Numi Organic Tea Flowering Gift Set, for example. It tea leavescomes in a handcrafted Mahogany bamboo chest filled with teas just as organic green tea, Osmanthus flower, organic oolong, Jasmine and more.

The initial presentation to your recipient is impressive enough, but inside there is a glass teapot with six flowering tea blossoms that bloom inside the pot when you pour the water over the tea to steep it. And each flower can be steeped 3 times before it’s finished.

The Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets company makes some wonderful tea gift sets for those on your Christmas gift list. Try the Tea Time Treasures Tea Pot Shaped Gift Bag Tote set, which has Enlight-Tea-Ments English Breakfast Tea, Enlight-Tea-Ments Apricot Medley Tea, Longevity Chai Tea Mix, Joy Chai Tea Mix, Peace Chai Tea Mix, Petals Ice Tea Drink Mix, A single sample of premium Ashby’s Tea in Raspberry, Lemon and Green Tea. Along with the varieties of tea, the gift includes Mrs. Grace Lemon Tea Cookies, Too Good Gourmet Raspberry Tea Cookies and a chocolate dipped Silk Crunch Cookie.

The same company makes the Tea Lovers Care Package Gift Box, which is presented in an adorable tea box tied with a satin bow. tea steepingInside, your gift recipient will receive breakfast tea and mixes, along with a big selection of treats like cookies, flavored honey sticks, bonbons, and more.

The WISSOTZKY Magic Tea Box is an 80-piece tea set that makes a great gift. You get black tea, fruit tea, and herbal tea. There are eight total flavors inside the beautiful tea box.

The Sweetest Mom Tea and Cookie Gift Basket is a tea gift set that includes a Mothers Are Forever Inspirational Keepsake Book, Gourmet Cookies, Tea and more in a Sunny Yellow Woven Tote.

The Art of Appreciation You’re My Cup of Tea Gourmet Food Gift Basket is a great choice, too. The wicker basket is shaped like a fanciful teacup! It overflows with tea goodies, including a variety of teas, biscotti, chocolate squares, cookies, and more.

They also make a Victorian Lace Gourmet Food and Spa Gift Basket Set with Clock, which includes tea and a whole lot more – and it’s all packaged in an antiquetea time looking wooden chest that has a clock in it. The chest has English Roses painted by hand on it, and inside is a spa delight – bath gel, body lotion, body butter, body scrub, candles, notepad, cookies, picture frame and tea.

Want to go all out for someone really special in your life who loves tea? Sign them up on your dime for a Teavana tea of the Month Club. They have the Connoisseurs Club, White Tea Club, Green Tea Club, Black Tea Club, and Herbal Tea Club – where your gift recipient will get a new set of tea each month for a whole year! This is a gift for a very sophisticated tea drinker.

Of course, the best thing you can give is some of your own time. Go have a cup of tea with your special someone and celebrate the holidays together.

Gift Ideas – Chocolate

Gift Ideas – Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? I know I do! There are so many chocolate gift sets you can choose from – some with nothing but chocolate, and others with a variety of items in the set.

For the refined pallet of a chocolate connoisseur, you’ll want to order the Leonidas Belgian Chocolates. If your loved one enjoys chocolate, they’ll be chocolate opened up to a new world of taste once they have these. You can get them truffles, pralines, and butter creams with many flavors – like Antoinette, which tastes like a smooth Brandy, or Eve, a milk chocolate blend with banana filling.

Harry & David Truffles are one of their signature items. You can buy the milk chocolate version or one that pairs their truffle line with their Moose Munch snack candy and chocolate covered blueberries. They have other candy items you can select for gifts as well.

Chocolate Treasures Gourmet Food Gift Basket by Art of Appreciation Gift Baskets is an assortment of premium chocolates in a beautiful wicker basket. It includes delectable goodies such as Amella Caramels, Icewine Caramels and Godiva Gems.

chocolate crewA name every chocolate lover on your Christmas list will recognize is Ghirardelli, and they have a Ghirardelli Deluxe Chocolate Gift Basket that’s worth its weight in happiness. It’s a tremendous collection of top gourmet chocolates, like the Ghirardelli squares, toffee or Espresso chocolate bars, and more.

One of the most popular (and more affordable) options for your chocolate loving friends and family is the Chocolate Sampler Gift Basket by ig4U. This cute woven bamboo basket is filled with treats like peanut butter cups, marshmallows, chocolate covered nuts, truffles, cookies and milk or dark chocolate pieces.

You can find a myriad of other chocolate gift baskets at all sizes and price ranges. Some of the sets are a little more unique than others. The Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueur Bottles Gift Box is one such item. If you know someone on your list who enjoys liquor and chocolate, then consider this gift. The box comes with sixteen chocolates filled with certain liquors, including Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Jack Daniels, Drambuie, Southern Comfort, Cutty Sark, Ricard, Jim Beam, Sauza, Stolichnaya, and Beefeater.chocolate bite

If you have any Oprah Winfrey fans on your list, or just someone who enjoys hot chocolate around the Christmas season, then consider getting them the Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate Party Box. She featured this on her Favorite Things episode, and it’s been a bestseller ever since. It comes with 18 ounces of their secret hot chocolate mix, two huge goblets to drink from, and the secret to making their perfect cup of hot chocolate.

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