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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Giftable

TIP: Gourmet Grocery Store Gift Card

If you can’t think of a gift for people who like good food—because you don’t know exactly what they’d like—consider a gift card.

A gift card to a premium market enables recipients to try new things or buy luxury items like artisan cheeses.

Many of us our space-challenged at home, cramming those gift sweaters and bath products into already crammed drawers and closets. Unlike most gifts, which require space to store, a gift card can be spent and consumed in the same day.

You can purchase gift cards in-store, of course. Some retailers, like Whole Foods, let you buy the cards online as well, with the option to send them digitally with a personalized holiday message.

The photo is actually the 2014 limited edition holiday gift card from Whole Foods.

Solved: what to get your favorite cook or foodie.

 

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The limited edition 2014 holiday gift card from Whole Foods Market. Photo courtesy Whole Foods.

 

  

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GIFT: John & Kira’s Artisan Chocolates

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Splendid chocolate-dipped calabacita figs
with whiskey-infused ganache. Photo
courtesy John & Kira’s.

 

Still need some special holiday gifts?

Go no further than John & Kira’s. The dynamic duo of artisan chocolate can always b relied upon to handcraft memorable confections that are guaranteed to please.

For Chocolate Sophisticates: Chocolate-Dipped Figs

One of our favorite treats anywhere, the chocolate covered, ganache-filled figs are as good as it gets The figs are grown on a small family farm in Spain, then filled by John & Kira with a silky smooth, whiskey-infused Valrhona dark chocolate ganache. They are then enrobed in 62% dark chocolate: perfection!

A 12-piece box is $34.95; a 6-piece box is $24.50.

Get yours at JohnAnd Kiras.com.

Don’t want figs? Check out the Happiest Of Holidays gift box with ten different infused ganache fillings.

 

For Kids & The Young At Heart

Almost too cute to eat, hand-painted ladybug chocolates in red and green are filled with flavored ganache: raspberry in the red ladybugs and garden mint in the green.

A nine-piece box is $29.95, a five-piece box is $14.95 and a three-piece box is $10.00.

Another gift ideas is Holiday Marshmallow Heaven, chocolate-enrobed marshmallows with mint ganache, raspberry ganache, caramel and plain.

The handsome gift boxes are lovely “keepers,” and the letter-pressed card is another expression of John & Kira’s artisan approach.

Anyone who gets a taste will become a fan!

 

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Who can resist chocolate ladybugs? Photo courtesy John & Kira’s.

 

  

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GIFT: Nespresso Inissia

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The Inissia: just 4.7 inches wide by x 12.6
inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

 

So many of us these days can’t live without a great cup of coffee, often leaving our posts one or more times a day to obtain one.

The folks at Nespresso want you to have a great cup at your fingertips. They’ve created a new petite model, the Inissia: a single-serve coffee maker with a teeny footprint that fits in small spaces, from office desktops to dormitory rooms.

And it’s only $99!

Streamlined for maximum efficiency and simple to use, the small footprint (4.7 x 12.6 x 9 inches) weights a bit more than five pounds. The Inissia uses the same premium coffee capsules as the larger models. The water will be read in 25 seconds: an espresso (including the shorter ristretto and the taller lungo) or a full cup at the touch of a button.

You can make up to 9 espressos without having to refill the water tank.

 
A great gift for a college student or new member of the workforce, the Inissia is available in:
  • Blueberry Blue
  • Intense Black
  • Lime Yellow
  • Pure White
  • Ruby Red
  • Vanilla Cream
  •  
    It can be bundled with Nespresso’s wonderful Aeroccino Plus milk frother for $149.

     

    LARGER, WITH CREMA

    Another Nespresso innovation this year is the Vertuoline. It handles the larger American-style mugs as well as espresso cups, and tops both with rich, luxurious crema.

    Available in Black, Chrome and Red, the VertuoLine is priced at $299 and takes a new, flatter, rounder capsule than the original Nespresso machines.

    Check out the entire line at Nespresso.com.

     

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    A side view of the petite Inissia. It’s just 4.7 inches wide x 12.6 inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

     

      

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    STOCKING STUFFER: Bonnie’s Jams

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    Artisan jams are a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer. Photo courtesy Bonnie’s Jams.

     

    Most people won’t spend $8.99 on a jar of jam, opting for less expensive supermarket varieties that are higher on cloying sugar than on fruit flavor. That’s why artisan jam is such a welcome stocking stuffer or teacher gift.

    Why does it cost so much? The finest fruits, low sugar content (sugar is not only cheaper than fruit, but covers up sub-prime fruit) and hand labor to make everything from scratch in small batches, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    The flavors, which are made seasonally and are available until they sell out, currently include:

  • Apricot Orange
  • Fig Preserve
  • Peach Ginger
  • Raspberry Lime Rickey
  • Red Pepper Jelly
  • Strawberry
  • Strawberry Rhubarb
  •  
    In addition to the individual flavors, gift samplers are available.

     
    We especially liked the Raspberry Lime Rickey, sweet fruit with a delightful bit of citrus tang. It’s a charming variation on the always-popular raspberry jam.

    The recipes for the jams; but these are so good, most folks will want to enjoy them simply, on toast; or straight from the spoon.

    Check out the options at BonniesJams.com, and send some to people who will appreciate the difference.

    You’ll also find delightful recipes that use the jams.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Embossed Cake Pan & Cake Mix

    Buy one for yourself, buy one as a gift, but turn holiday cake-baking into a no-fuss event with an embossed cake pan.

    A plain bundt or loaf cake is instantly decorated by the design embossed in the pan. Aside from an optional dusting of confectioners’ sugar, there’s no more work for you to do—a welcome time savings during the holidays or any time of the year.

    Nordicware has an extensive collection for every season. For the holidays, check out the Cathedral Pan and other winners, including Bûche de Noël, Christmas Village, Fairytale Cottage, Gingerbread House, Gingerbread Man, Holiday Tree, Holiday Wreath, Star of David and a dozen more.

    Pair the cake pan with a package of Nordicware’s terrific bundt cake mixes for a delightful gift.
     

    BAKING TIP

     

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    It’s time for cake! One of numerous holiday-themed cake pans. Photo courtesy Nordicware.

     
    While the nonstick finish assures you that the cake will come out of the pan easily, and cleanup will be a breeze, it doesn’t hurt to take this extra step:

    Use Baker’s Joy, a nonstick spray with flour, to carefully spray all the nooks and crannies so the details are perfect.

      

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    PRODUCT: Moonstruck Chocolate Gifts

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    Hand-decorated Bark Bars are works of art. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Moonstruck Chocolates has been pleasing Oregonians since 1995; and thanks to the rise of e-commerce, all of us can get their handcrafted chocolates.

    Whether for stocking stuffers or a principal gift, Moonstruck has distinctly different offerings, from the beautiful chocolate bars shown here, the beautiful bonbons below, and everything in-between.

     
    STOCKING STUFFERS

    Bark Bars

    The Bark Chocolate Bars are beauties, at $9.00 apiece:

  • Dark Chocolate, Candied Orange & Hibiscus Bark Bar
  • Dark Chocolate, Strawberry & Basil Bark Bar
  • Dark Chocolate, Raspberry & Fennel Bark Bar
  • Dark Chocolate, Praline Pecan & Ginger Bark Bar
  •  
    Tumbled Chocolates

    Tumbling is the way the centers are enrobed in chocolate. For $5.00 per package, these bites are wonderful stocking stuffers, each more delicious than the next:

  • Milk Chocolate Tumbled Caramelized Hazelnuts
  • Milk Chocolate Tumbled Sea Salt Caramels
  • Dark Chocolate Tumbled Blueberries
  • Dark Chocolate Tumbled Beerberries
  •  

    WHISKEY-INFUSED CHOCOLATES

    We love whiskey-infused chocolates, and Moonstruck has two wonderful collections, exquisitely painted by hand:

    New American Whiskey Flight Bonbons

    The New American Whiskey Flight is a six-piece collection of bonbons: pairs of three whiskey-infused truffles.

  • The Knob Creek Whiskey Truffle features ivory ganache infused with Knob Creek Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Dads will appreciate bold notes of oak, caramel and fruit.
  • The Makers Mark Whiskey Truffle features creamy milk chocolate ganache infused with Makers Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Vanilla, oak and smoke nuances play along the palate.
  • The Woodford Reserve Whiskey Truffle marries Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey with rich dark chocolate ganache. Deep, spicy notes end with a clean finish.
  •  
    Nestled into a custom-designed box with a royal crown motif, the collection is $15.

     

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    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Oregon Distillers Collection

    Oregon is home to numerous craft distillers, which inspired Moonstruck’s Oregon Distillers Collection. This exciting box of bonbons includes:

  • Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle
  • Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle
  • House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle
  • House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle
  • House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle
  • New Deal Distillery Ginger Liqueur Truffle
  • Oregon Spirit Distillers Wild Card Absinthe Truffle
  • Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle
  •  
    A 12-piece box is $25.00. The bonbons are approximately 5% alcohol content by weight.

    Both boxes are memorable chocolate experiences.

    There are seasonal treats like Santas and penguins, and many other beauties to discover at MoonstruckChocolate.com.

      

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    STOCKING STUFFER: Sara Snacker Cookies

    If you’re Sara Snacker (legally, Sara Leand), your entrepreneurial journey began in college, where you built and ran a snack company out of your college dorm room, selling cookies and treats across the campus as well as to local merchants.

    Sara now has an an entire cookie company, focusing on the nostalgic flavors of childhood. They’re different, fun and above all else, tasty.

    The all-natural line includes:

  • Chipn’Etzel Original Cookies, made with potato chips & pretzel bits.
  • Chipn’Etzel Dark Chocolate Cookies, with chocolate chips added to the potato chips and pretzels.
  • Hot Chocolate Cookies, baked with rich dark cocoa, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.
  • Ice Cream Cone Cookies, chocolate and vanilla chips and sugar cone bits.
  • Lemonade Cookies, baked with real lemonade.
  • S’mores Cookies, combining crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallow, and chocolate chips.
  •  

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    Sara Snacker: nostalgic cookie fun for the holidays. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

  • Vanilla Milkshake Cookies, baked to taste like a real vanilla malt.
  •  
    Looking for a fun stocking stuffer? Check out SaraSnacker.com.
     
    We’re especially partial to the new flavors: Hot Chocolate, Ice Cream Cone and S’Mores.

      

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    STOCKING STUFFER: Brownie Brittle

    What a fun riff on conventional brownies.

    Brownie Brittle was invented by Sheila G. Mains, who liked the crispy, crunchy edges the brownies made in her bakery, decided to make things even crisper.

    She worked on the recipe until she had crispy square—the same rich chocolate taste as the brownies, but wafer-thin with an amazing crunch. They’re brownies turned into cookies.

    Today, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle snacks are available in:

  • Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle
  • Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle
  • Toffee Crunch Brownie Brittle
  •  
    A piece of Brownie Brittle is delicious by itself, with ice cream and with hot and cold beverages. As a stocking stuffer, the richly-hued bags are suited for festivities.

     

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    One of four delicious varieties of Brownie Brittle. Photo courtesy Sheila G’s.

     

    You can punch hole in the top of the bag and add a ribbon.

    You can find Brownie Brittle at retailers nationwide, or at Shop.BrownieBrittle.com.

    Five-ounce bags are $3.99, one-pound bags are $8.99. There are gift boxes, samplers and variety packs.

    —Steven Gans

      

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    GIFT: Mrs. Prindable’s Caramel Apples

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    The Nutcracker, a keepsake toy, stays with
    you after the apple has been enjoyed. There are teddy bears and other seasonal options. Photo courtesy Mrs. Prindable.

     

    We recently recommended a stocking stuffer of Mrs. Prindable’s caramels. For 25 years, Mrs. P. used that caramel to coat scrumptious jumbo apples, with a top layer of chocolate.

    We love these apples, great gifts for individuals or families. In addition to the half-inch-thick coating of delectable chocolate and caramel, you get lots of crunchy Granny Smith apple. The combination of indulgent and healthful is a delicious treat.

    The extra-fancy apples are crisp, juicy and jumbo: an impressive 4.5 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide and 1.5 pounds. They’re available in eleven flavors* and can be sliced to serve up to 10 people.

    If you want a bit less, there are Petite Apples, still sizeable at 3.5 inches tall and half a pound, serving two people. They’re available in seven flavors.

    Jumbo apples are $23.99 to $29.99 each, the higher price for apples decorated for the season, which includes a novelty keepsake like the Nutcracker and Champagne bottle in the photos here.

     

    Each apple is hand-dipped in the day’s fresh batch of wonderfully flavorful caramel and chocolate. Depending on the flavor chosen, the apple is then hand-rolled in the finest nuts and toppings.

    Order your apples at MrsPrindables.com. They’ll arrive in a couple of days, nicely gift boxed and much nicer to eat.

     

    APPLE OF THE MONTH PROGRAM

    We’d like Santa to give us an Apple of the Month Program. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but an apple a month will live in memory for a long, long time.

    The program is available in six-month and 12-month subscriptions, $169.99 and $399.99, respectively.

    Each month, the lucky recipient will receive one of the best-selling flavors.

    Are you listening, Santa?
     
     
     
    *Choices include dark chocolate caramel apples, mlk chocolate caramel apples and white chocolate caramel apples, with or without nuts—almonds, cashews, pecans or walnuts.

     

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    Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your choice of apple, topped with a keepsake Champagne bottle novelty. (Shown: the Toffee Walnut apple, one of our favorites.) Photo courtesy Mrs. Prindable.

     

      

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    STOCKING STUFFER: Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crisps

    We love Pretzel Crisps year-round. The flat, bite-size pretzels are terrific for snacking from the bag, dipping into hummus or other dip favorite, topping with peanut butter and a slice of apple, or turning them into canapés, topped with cheese, ham, smoked salmon and so forth.

    Throughout the year, Pretzel Crisps are available in Original plus Chipotle Cheddar, Everything, Jalapeño Jack and Sesame.

    But for the holidays, the special goods come out: chocolate-coated pretzels with a garnish of crushed candy canes.

    They’re available in two versions:

  • Dark Chocolate & Peppermint
  • White Chocolate & Peppermint
  •  

    These delicious combinations of sweet indulgence and salty crunch are affordable stocking stuffers or party favors.

    We enjoy them plain, with a sweet dip, as a garnish for ice cream, or with a cup of something hot (cocoa, coffee, milk, tea).

     

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    Delicious in both dark and white chocolate. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Pretzel Crisps are available at retailers nationwide. Here’s a store locator. You can also find them online.

    Discover more at PretzelCrisps.com.

      

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