Monday, December 23, 2013

Gourmet Gifts and Party Pleasers

It seems like no matter how much you plan for the holidays, you always forget something or somebody. So wether you need to put together a last minute gift basket or stock your kitchen with goodies to last through the rest of the year. I've recently found a few fun consumables that are also new to the marketplace in general. Impress your guests and your hosts with some or all of these treats.

You can never go wrong with putting bags of gourmet chips in your gift baskets and having extra bags in your pantry, for when celebrations lasts longer than anticipated or unexpected guests arrive. When I opened a box of English chips from Tyrrells, you would've thought I had a box of gold, the way my friends reacted. Tyrrells chips have recently been launched in the US with unique flavors like Mature Cheddar and Chives, Worcestershire and Sundried Tomato or Beetroot, Parsnip and Carrot with a touch of Sea Salt. What makes them different, besides the flavors is that they are cooked by hand in small batches. We couldn't wait to open them and dig in and I couldn't get enough of the Sweet Chili and Red Pepper. They run around $10 a bag.

On the sweeter side, look for Snappers, a delicious new product from the Milk Shake Factory by Edward Marc Chocolatier. They are the perfect flavor combination of salt and sugar. And the perfect texture combo of crunchy and chewy; made with pretzels, caramel and chocolate.  Until now, you've only been able to find these in the Pittsburg market. However, Costco has picked up the tempting treat and now sells Snappers at select locations for $8.99 a bag. They are turtle-like but without the nuts and also a bit messy but soooo tasty.
 To wash down both of these treats, try something sparkling, like a lovely Cremant d'Alsace from Helfrich winery in France. The grapes in this bubbly come from the oldest documented and northernmost Grand Cru vineyard in Alsace.  A bit yeasty with lots of minerals, flavors of green apples and in the $20 range, it's one heck of a great bargain for what's in the bottle. It's tre impressive! I could drink champagne or sparkling wine every day, all day, on it's own and with almost any food. In fact one of my favorite things, because it's so yin and yang, includes bubbles and chips!

Grab these for your Christmas or New Years celebrations and enjoy. Cheers.

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