2012 picks: Holiday gift guide for food lovers
The holidays are right around the corner, and it's time to get serious about your gift list.
Despite what you might read, there's no one-size-fits-all solution to gift-giving. While thoughtful gifting doesn't mean breaking the bank, it does mean putting a little bit of time and energy into thinking about the person on the receiving end.
That said, simply paying attention to the everyday habits of family members and friends can give you important clues regarding what they might enjoy receiving as a gift.
Does your best friend always dive for the chocolate when she's had a hard day? What about your uncle, who swoons over honey-roasted beer nuts? And your cousin, who has always wanted to cook, but who can't seem to find the time to learn? What about the frugal gourmand in your life who can't always afford his or her upscale taste?
Whether your recipient is kitschy and quirky, sophisticated, picky or just plain practical, with a little bit of thought, and a quick scan down this list (which happens to include some of my very favorite things), you're sure to find something that fits the bill.
You can order beer flights, wine flights and cognac flights. So, why not do the same with tea? Your tea-loving friends will appreciate the gift of one of Rishi Tea's tea flights, crafted to present the flavors of an origin or to highlight a specific flavor or ingredient. Perfect for anyone wishing to learn more about the subtle differences in flavor between a variety of delicious teas, flights are available in black, green, Oolong, Pu-erh and white teas, with prices ranging from $15 to 19.50.
While we're talking beverages, I should probably mention my new favorite obsession, Valentine Coffee. This low-profile Milwaukee roaster has been infiltrating the Milwaukee restaurant scene with their unbelievably smooth coffee for a couple of years now. You may have spied them sampling their wares at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmer's Market. But, lucky for all of us, they're now selling their goods online as well. A best bet for the winter months would be their Bali "Blue Moon," an organic, Rainforest Alliance-certified bean with a beautifully bold, full-bodied and rich flavor and a surprisingly long, dark chocolate finish. This amazing seasonal coffee is awesome. Big. Rich. Smooth. Chocolate-y. Satisfying. Just $10 for 12 ounces.
Of course, you can make any one of your friends into a bakery connoisseur simply by buying them a gift certificate from Rocket Baby Bakery. This excruciatingly delicious hot spot in east Wauwatosa has gained quite the following for its freshly baked artisan breads, scones, Danish, muffins and other gourmet baked goods. I'd recommend a bag of their deliciously buttery croissants. But, you'd be remiss if you didn't pause to grab an order of their deliciously addictive monkey bread, redolent with cinnamon, spice and all things nice. Gift cards are available for any amount.
Got friends who want to get more acquainted with the basics in their kitchens? Treat them to a class or two at Braise Restaurant in Walker's Point. Topics for January range from "Gluten-Free Cooking" and "Swiss Wines and Cheese Pairings" to instructional classes on basic knife skills and more. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and are scheduled to provide a foundation for beginners and complement advanced cooks' repertoires.
Gift certificates are available. Classes range in price from $30 to $50 each.
If you have a bit of money to spend and would like to impress the chocolate lover in your life, why not treat him or her to the Hot Chocolate Massage at Bella Lei Salon & Spa in Cedarburg ($145). This indulgence takes the stress out of the holidays by combining the healing powers of smooth hot lava stones with a luxurious chocolate blended oil, followed by an invigorating Peppermint-Pattie foot rub. Complimentary gourmet chocolate from Amy's Candy Kitchen is also included. Pick up certificates at Bella Lei Salon Spa, W62 N560 Washington Ave., Cedarburg or by calling (262) 375-5500. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)
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