Posts Tagged ‘Gift Baskets’
How We Can Help Easily
I knew I loved José Andreés when I first ate one of his San Nicasio Potato Chips. The lightest most delicate potato chip I had ever had. It transformed how I saw chips. I had never put potato chips in our gift baskets before, but knew my clients and their recipients needed these.
Then there was the Foie Gras S’more at his Las Vegas Restaurant. Bazaar. Surely it was a joke. We queried the waiter who patiently, and a bit condescending, told us it was the real deal, We ordered it because we had to see for ourselves. On the first bite I began to laugh out loud. Yes, he made food that made me laugh out loud because it was ridiculous. Foie Gras with a barely sweet soft marshmallow and bitter chocolate on a homemade graham cracker….it was a sensory sensation I will never forget, the flavors and textures all interacting perfectly to deliver a dish I had never experienced before. My husband took a bite later in the meal and had the exact same experience – he laughed out loud. It was that extraordinary.
I was impressed by this guy. Then I saw him popping up to help those affected by Natural Disasters. The Earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane in New Orleans, Feeding Federal Employees when the government closed. At first he did it as an individual. He began World Central Kitchen in 2010 as an organization that would bring food to those affected by natural and man-made disasters.
A recent interview with him and director Ron Howard on Stephen Colbert, they were promoting the documentary We Feed People about the World Central Kitchen (WCK), made me realize we need to help.
When disaster hits people need to know they will eat. It is essential. WCK dispenses thousands of meals a day. They get in there, set up and feed people. Andrés explained he got frustrated watching people waiting for the government to help. He knew he could do something. This is what chefs do. They feed people. No matter what they get food out.
At Fancifull we are all about food and we love to find ways to make this world a better place, it is part of our DNA. This seemed like a perfect way to do that. WCK has the track record, it gets meals out and does it quickly
By portioning part of our sales to WCK it allows you to send beautiful gifts and each gift will feed people around the world. The gift that keeps giving, right?
My birthday is June 16th so I targeted that day as the end day for the fundraiser. I want to send WCK a big donation as a birthday gift to me. A gift to all who will benefit from it. I love to feed people. I want people with full bellies and happy faces. I also want people I don’t know, people who are in some far off place, who are worried about their life ahead to know they won’t starve, that someone is looking out for them.
There are graduations, Father’s Day and all sorts of occasions coming up. Let’s send gifts, tell people we are thinking of them and let people around the world know we care too.
I share Andrés love of John Steinbeck and he quotes him here
“Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people may eat, we will be there. We must be there.”
Did you know?
At Fancifull we do branding and create custom corporate designs for a variety of needs. Here is a custom gift basket we designed and produced for Rovi Advertising for Industry Up Fronts (television sales events). We shipped them all over the country as well as delivering locally. It was a party and relax type of gift and we helped with branded cards, shot glasses, mints and a custom logo on the tin. Some clients, such as Rovi, knew exactly what they wanted and we helped bring it to life. We also help clients with design ideas when they know they need to send something but don’t know what. Oftentimes a corporate client will have branded items and not know what to do with them. Fancifull can incorporate them into a gift that will be sure to grab a client’s attention. What can we do for you?
“Eureka! There’s gold in them thar hills.” That was the cry of the 49ers who came to California in the 1800s looking to score a fortune in the gold rush. Now up in the hills of Marin and scattered throughout the state, is gold of a different kind. It still of the land, but in the form of milk and dairy products.
Northern California has long been considered a food epicenter focusing on family owned farms producing organic product. The establishment of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) helped assure that the area of Marin would continue to support farmers and green space rather than being overrun by condos. You can learn more about MALT here: http://www.malt.org/
The call of gold lured me and Wally to load up our wagon and head up north to those very same hills in March to attend and help with the California Artisan Cheese Festival which was held in Petaluma from March 22nd-24th.
The weekend was filled with tours of local cheese makers’ facilities and farms, seminars (beer and cheese at 9:30 am anyone?), tastings, meals, and a Marketplace on Sunday. We attended our first festival last year and immediately became members of the Guild which gave us the opportunity to help set up and run their booth at the Marketplace. Having to be there at 9 am was difficult, but talking about the work the Guild does and the classes they offer in conjunction with the College of Marin was gratifying.
Since we teach classes and hold tastings in our shop, we like to get as much insight as we can from the Cheesemaker perspective to share with our students. This lead us to the New Kids on the Block Seminar early Saturday where we got to listen to and ask questions of four Cheesemakers who were bringing new cheese to the market. They spoke frankly about their development process and the challenges in introducing a new cheese to the American public. Janet Fletcher of the San Francisco Chronicle lead the discussion with the cheesemakers and asked pointed questions to keep the info flowing. One of our favorite new cheeses is Point Reyes Bay Blue. Cuba, the cheesemaker for Point Reyes, talked about how he has refined this recipe for years before releasing it. While visiting Point Reyes two yeas ago we had the opportunity to try it in its first stages! Patience pays off. The new Bay Blue is astounding and already winning awards. But it took over two years to get it right! That is a lot of time and effort. We felt fortunate to be able to experience its evolution, it gave us terrific insight into the process of taking a pretty good cheese and turning it into a great one.
Luckily for our Fancifull Customers we have an in with the dairy, so they shipped us a wheel even though it wasn’t in wide distribution yet. Nice to have friends in high places.
Toward the end of the seminar, our moderator, Janet Fletcher, let us know that she had just released her latest book: Cheese and Beer . I bought one immediately (and had her sign it). It has lots of information that should contribute to some tasty classes at Fancifull.
At lunch, we shared our table with the folks from Cypress Grove, another of our favorite cheese companies. Wally would eat Humboldt Fog every morning if he could and I have to say the same about Midnight Moon.
The afternoon held a wine pairing seminar with old world and new world cheese and wine. Old World basically means Europe while new world speaks to the U.S. and Australia. The class was very similar to what we offer in our classes at Fancifull but it was fun to be a student rather than the teacher. There is always so much to learn and Laura Werlin, author of several books on cheese, was a terrific tour guide.
This cheesy weekend left us brimming with ideas and new product to bring into our shop. There is just so much great cheese out there, how do we sell it all? Answer: One wedge at a time. One gift basket at a time.
Because of our personalized service at Fancifull we seem to become intertwined in our client’s lives. We help create memories.
This week one of our gift baskets was part of a scavenger hunt a woman devised for her boyfriend on their anniversary.
They had attended our Valentine’s tasting where Wally was wearing a top hat. The top hat and our shop on Melrose were part of the 3rd clue.
Kristin was the one who greeted him when he arrived and quizzically said “I’m here on a scavenger hunt?” Wouldn’t you know, we had a gift basket for him and, on the card, the clue for his next destination.
Have we mentioned how much we love our job?
Terry August, our founder, has been asked to give an informative seminar on the art and business of gift baskets this weekend at the 37th Winter Fancy Food Show.
Over 17,000 attendees are expected at the show along with over 1,300 exhibitors representing 35+ countries.
Monday morning she will be sharing her 25 years of experience with an audience of food manufacturers and gourmet food retailers, including people in the gift basket business. The attendees are in for a great time. Terry is a very animated and engaging speaker, and will be giving an interactive talk where the participants will be encouraged to ask questions.
While at the show, she will also be researching new foods and keeping in touch with many of the craftsmen that make the fine products we feature in our store and gift baskets.
Despite 100 degree weather in Los Angeles, Fall is upon us, and I am excited by the change of seasons. In Southern California we have to rely on the little things to get that autumn feel: the days are noticeably shorter, the sun hits at a different angle creating long shadows, my roses and tomatoes are fading, pumpkins, ghosts and spider webs decorate the porches and lawns in my neighborhood.
As a designer this means that I get to design differently. My palette expands into the burnt oranges, olive greens and aubergines I love so. Rather than create gift baskets for outdoor picnics and barbecues I get to think about the family gathered around a table enjoying their gift.
When putting together a gift I’ll think about the person receiving it, enjoying the wine in a cozy home nestled in by the fireplace. I know, it is the romantic side of me, but I often envision the person getting the gift and how they will experience it. I’m tempted to put instructions in, but that is just the mother in me.
Food gets exciting at this time of year as well. I can’t wait to put together Autumn Harvest Baskets. They’ll include Pumpkin Butter with Maple Syrup, Yam Good Cookies, Dark Red Wines, a Riesling or two to go with that turkey, Rich Pates, Dark Chocolates.
Summer is over, so I consider Fall and Winter official Chocolate Months. I can ship chocolate gift baskets and receive chocolates without fear of them melting. I’ll be getting chocolates from Michel Cluizel, Fresh Truffles from Coco Delice and our own heavenly Norman Love Chocolates.
Well, once this heat wave passes…
I almost forgot I am in Southern California.
But the cool will come soon and then we can rejoice with wild abandon at the bounty we have and enjoy. – Terry August
Note from the sales team: you can order your holiday gift baskets now at www.fancifull.com.
Terroir is an important concept in wine. I believe it also translates to food. Here is a good definition of Terroir from the Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil:
“This French word means the total impact of any given site: soil, slope, orientation to the sun, and elevation, plus every nuance of climate including rainfall, wind velocity, frequency of fog, cumulative hours of sunshine, average high temperature, and so forth. There is no single word in English that means quite the same thing. Generally viticulturists believe that soil indirectly bestows flavor (and relative quality) only insofar as it is one of the voices in the chorus of terroir.”
Wines from different vineyards, coffees from different plantations, cheeses from different regions, indeed all real foods everywhere exhibit the effects of their terroir. This is one of the things which makes the foods we carry in our shop so interesting.
It doesn’t matter what you are eating, whether it is a hamburger and fries or foie gras and champagne – it is the ingredients used that make each one marvelous or mediocre. At Fancifull that is what I look for when choosing what goes into our gift baskets. Fresh natural ingredients, organic, no odd chemical fillers. Because you want to taste the food, not the chemicals. I’ve tried cookies where the butter leaps out at you because it is so fresh, and then I’ve tried ones – in beautiful tempting packaging – that taste like cardboard. For example: Americans have a style of chocolate, as do the Europeans. Both have great chocolates. I can’t argue that a fresh truffle is better than a perfect peanut butter cup if both are made with good ingredients. And why argue anyway? Eat them both and enjoy. We will always be searching, tasting, and finding the best ingredients the world has to offer so you can send the best gourmet gift baskets.
Genuine, real, not fake. I like to travel because I like to experience authenticity in the world at large. For instance, I love being in the countryside of Italy and eating what is grown locally. I want to smell the air, meet the people, find out how they have been making this food for hundreds of years and why it is so good. This is true of anywhere I go, whether it be close to home or in far away lands. Even more so, I love to bring these experiences back to share with friends and family. I cook meals similar to those I’ve had on my culinary voyages and bring back jars of ingredients to taste. I find this is a better snapshot of a country than a photo. My joy in Fancifull is that I get to delight you with the pleasures I have found. I get to stock my shelves with the foods and wines I’ve tried and share them with you and your friends. Welcome to the family.
Gourmet gift baskets and wine gift baskets containing genuine artisanal wines and foods can be purchased online at www.fancifullgiftbaskets.com, in our store at 5617 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, or by phone at 800.350.4437.
It takes a certain amount of courage to have integrity in this world. You have to stand by your principles as the crowd tells you to step down. You know what is right, but darn, you are so tired – can’t you just take the easy way out this time? But you can’t.
Cowgirl Creamery in California
When I talk to the people behind the handcrafted food we carry I am always a bit in awe. These people aren’t in it just for the money. Yes, they want to survive, and survive well. But to go through the work they do you have to have passion. Passion for your product, for the methods that work, for putting in the long hours and attention it requires to make it come out perfect every time.
I talk to cheesemakers who won’t make their cheese if they don’t feel their milk is good enough that year. They sell the milk instead. The better vignerons prune back their vines to get a low yield thus more flavor to the grapes. Yes they could let the grapes just grow wild and make a lot more wine. But that would mean making mediocre wine. So they can’t – it isn’t in their blood. In a world where the operating procedure is more and more for less and less no matter what the cost in quality, this is a refreshing change.
in Montpeyroux, France
There is nuance in food that comes from the land and the skill of the producer, but it takes someone who understands that to bring it out. You raise the animals well so you get the most flavor while preserving the earth, you grow organically, you keep testing until you get it exactly right – this is where passion comes in. Besides passion they also have pride. Get them talking about their handicraft and you’ll hear Rashida from Cast Iron Gourmet talk about perfecting the recipe for her Bacon Chutney, or Sylvain Fadat explain in his heavily French accented English how he dynamited this old lake bed because he knew it would have the soil for the grapes he wanted to grow. La Bonita California will expound on the local farmers they get their fruit from and why. And you taste that passion and pride in each slurp, sip and bite.
They watch you taste their product and beam like a mom with her child. And when you get it, when you get how good it is and acknowledge their job well done, you see the sense of satisfaction in their face, the smile, the light in their eyes. And that is why I love to carry artisan food. I could say these people need our support, that’s true. But it is so much bigger than that. We need their food. It’s wholesome, delicious, nourishing and one of the great joys of life. So we need to support them so they can support us with this vast array of wonderful food that has the stamp of the artist. Otherwise we’ll be left with nothing but the cheap bland genetically modified nutrient-lacking mega-corporation foods that are flooding our supermarkets today. This is a worthwhile venture, and a tasty one. Support your local artisans and they will support you. For life.
The Fancifull Pavilion as it appeared in
the movie No Strings Attached
Farmers Markets, in my opinion, are playing a vital part in bringing real food back to the table in the US. I’m sure there are millions of Americans who think of Kraft American slices when they hear the word cheese! I love seeing the expression on a persons face when they experience one of our California artisanal cheeses for the first time. The shock. The joy!
We’ve been including more and more artisanal foods in our gift baskets so that we can share our joy in really good foods with as many people as possible. Most people don’t know that we’ve also been participating in several local Farmers Markets. We love that people are getting excited about the cheeses, salamis, crostini and other great natural products we have discovered since starting our little company in 1987.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area you can now sample (and buy) some of our fine foods not only in our shop, but also at these Farmers Markets:
Century City – Thursdays, 10 – 2
Bank of America Plaza – Fridays, 10 – 2
Melrose Place (at La Cienega) – Sundays, 9 – 2
So stop by and experience for yourself the joy of Toma cheese, Fra Mani salami, Vella cheese, Rustic Bakery crostini and other fine products that we carry in our store – it’s going to be love at first bite! Want some for yourself but can’t visit our store? Just call us and we’ll prepare a box full of delight just for you!
Of course you can also send these out in one of our gourmet gift baskets or wine gift baskets.
Please call with any special requests.
Wally, Terry, and John Williams
It was a perfect night to try a new wine. We were home from work early, meaning by 7! A wine shipment had arrived in the afternoon. Hadn’t tried this one before, but we knew the producer so we bought it without tasting. This winemaker warrants that kind of trust.
I took one sip and turned to look at Terry – with my eyes open wide and my mouth agape. She said “Oh stop being so dramatic.” “It’s not me,” I said, “it’s the wine.” She reached over, took my glass and had a sip. She gave me the same look!
So what is this giant blockbuster wine I’m going to tell you about? Some big fabulous California Cab? A muscular concoction from the south of France? Perhaps a beguiling Burgundy.
But no, it was a dainty Rose from Napa Valley! John Williams of Frog’s Leap Winery had once again surprised with his mastery of the grapes. A delightful wine with a pretty French name: La Grenouille Rougante. It’s a wine that seems to dance in your mouth. Crisp acids, pleasant tannins, enchanting fruit aromas and a clean bright finish that reminds you of a shiny spring day after the rain.
Thank you, John Williams, thank you.
We’ll certainly be putting some of this in our wine gift baskets, but he doesn’t make much of it. For a short time though you can send someone a special treat. Or just call us and get some of this unique Rose for yourself. It doesn’t have to come in a gift basket in order to wind up on your table.
Send me a picture of your look when you first try it, will you?