Posts Tagged ‘Wine Gift Baskets’
Wally & Terry holding the Muppets bag
Being in Hollywood, we send a lot of gift baskets to celebrities in movies and TV shows. Over the last couple of months we have been called upon to provide gourmet gift baskets and wine gift baskets for the cast of the new Muppet Movie being made by Disney. First of all, it’s just exciting that there is going to be a new Muppet Movie. Secondly, it’s so cool that we got to participate in some way.
But recently we received a surprise gift from The Muppets thanking us for all the work we did for them. So here are Terry and I (Wally) holding our Muppets Messenger Bag in our shop on Melrose. It will be a great new travel home for my laptop.
Other recent movie and TV projects we’ve been involved in include our appearance in No Strings Attached and providing gift baskets for Exit Strategy (made for TV starring Ethan Hawke) and The Game of Life, among others. We are currently working on a large project for TV Guide.
St. Patrick’s Day may be the impetus for focusing on the two artisan Irish Cheeses we are featuring here, but we are happy for any reason to showcase stellar cheesemaking.
Ireland is renowned for its lush green fields and clean air. This makes it the perfect environment to produce the top quality milk needed to make great cheese. The cheeses pictured here, Darú and Cahill’s Porter, come from well-tended farms that combine creativity and innovation with respect for traditional craft and simplicity.
Darú is a beautifully balanced handcrafted farmstead cheese with a natural rind and long finish. It is a semi hard cheese made with pasteurized cow’s milk from the herd of the Maher family in the heart of Tipperary where the pastures are fresh and green as the Emerald Isle. Vegetarian rennet is used in the production of this cheese and therefore it is suitable for vegetarians.
To learn more of the Cooleeney Cheesemakers and their farms, visit http://www.cooleeney.com/on_the_farm.php
Cahill’s Porter is Irish Cheddar flavored with Cahill’s own farm-made Irish Porter (a dark beer). The cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. All of their cheeses are handcrafted and individually blended and have no artificial ingredients. Cahill Farms, too, uses vegetable rennet in their cheese production.
These cheeses pair well with beer or stout and are equally friendly with a red wine such as our Marimar Pinot Noir. You may request either of these cheeses in one of our Wine Gift Baskets or Gourmet Gift Baskets. Put your request in the Other Info box on the order form and we’ll replace the regular cheese with the one you specify. There will be a $3.50 charge added to your order for either of these premium cheeses. The additional amount will not show on your online order but will be included on your invoice.
These cheeses are, of course, available for purchase in our store. You can also call Fancifull at 800.350.4437 to order these and other products for yourself or to have us create a custom gift basket for you.
I can’t recall exactly when we first became acquainted with the Marimar wines, but I certainly remember our meeting with Marimar Torres at her winery about a year and a half ago.
We sat alone with her and her sales rep in her large tasting and dining room at the winery in Sebastopol, California. It was a beautiful spring day, sun shining, leafy green vineyards all around, a parade of elegant wines on the table and a gracious and passionate hostess telling us about her life’s work. We were captivated.
We have been selling her wines ever since. She grows only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, just like they do in Burgundy. Her wines are sophisticated, deep and balanced – wonderful by themselves and outstanding with food. They are exactly the kinds of wines Terry and I treasure both for ourselves and our gift baskets.
A member of her staff dropped in to see us the other day and we were blown away by the wines again. And we bought a lot. We think the La Masia Pinot Noir, from the Don Miguel vineyard (named after her father), is an incredible wine for the price and we are featuring it in many of our wine gift baskets. Treat yourself to some as well. You’ll be very happy you did when you’ve got a glass of this wonderful wine in your hand.
Being an elf is not a job for the weak. For weeks now, Terry has been in the midst of designing holiday gift baskets for an array of clients.
Once again we are designing a whole holiday catalog for Universal Studios, a variety of baskets in all shapes, sizes and price points.
The wine gift basket pictured here features two Universal branded wines and great foods in a striking basket made from barrel staves.
Barnes & Nobles has just brought us an exciting opportunity to package their Nook electronic reader for the corporate market. Ususally when we design a corporate gift basket such as this it’s for promotional use by the company we’re designing for. But placing the incredibly user friendly Nook, with its various accoutrements, in an attractive container with coffee, tea, possibly wine and such makes a fantastic gift basket good for the holidays, a birthday or a get well gift basket. We look forward to offering this to our clients this holiday season.
There are other projects afoot as well, including one for Heineken that will involve clear ice buckets and fake ice… Exciting! What can we design for you?
Zonin Primo Amore – 2005
This delicious blend of Sangiovese and Merlot will delight you. For a “low-end” wine it’s astounding. Then again, with the great resurgence of wine making in Sicily, where this wine is from, maybe it’s not so surprising after all. But we were excited enough to buy every case we could get. It surely proves our belief that you can’t judge a wine by the price tag – it’s what’s in the bottle that counts.
Brilliant, attractive and warm ruby red color. Intense and pleasantly vinous to the nose with outstanding fruitiness and an appealing spicy vein. Dry on the palate with a sultry, mellow and spicy taste and a fine, harmonious balance. The wine can be consumed throughout a meal and makes a particularly fine accompaniment for barbequed meats and spaghetti Bolognese.
A wine tasting tip that is often overlooked is to smell your glass before you pour any wine in it. Sometimes it can have residue that will affect the taste and smell of the wine. A glass in a restaurant might smell like ammonia if it wasn’t rinsed properly. Not a pleasant taste to add to wine!
We were recently in Barolo (researching wines for our gift baskets) and one of the wine makers we were visiting took glasses from her wood cupboard and rinsed them with a little wine before we tasted. She said the wood gave the glasses a woody smell so she always rinsed the glasses with wine first.
So smell your glass first! Your wouldn’t want to spoil the aroma of a lovely wine like the ones we put in our wine gift baskets, would you?
Piemonte was a pilgrimage for me and Wally. It is home of the Slow Food Movement, great cheese, and some of the most popular Italian Wines. Barolo is made there from the Nebbiolo grape, and is considered “The wine of kings and the king of wines.” I also knew with all the different vineyards, grapes, and designations that, like Burgundy, Piemonte was going to require a personal visit so I could wrap my head around this magical land of wine and food.
While there we were lucky enough to meet with several winemakers, all of whom made marvelous wines that are available to us in the U.S. One of our favorites Mauro Veglio. We met with his wife and partner, Daniela. She was charming and funny, with a beautiful cantina set off by a huge half-circle window overlooking the vineyards that was the perfect vantage point for Daniela to school us on the different vineyards and grapes of the region.
Terry and Daniela in front of the half circle window
We sampled their Dolcetto, Barbera, and Barolos over a course of an hour or so. Now here is the exciting part: We have the Dolcetto and Barbera here in our shop now for your gift baskets. The Dolcetto is bright and vibrant, the Barbera a bit heavier, and both with a good acidity that pairs perfectly with the fatty foods of Piemonte. Both of these wines are featured together in one of our most popular Italian Gift Baskets: La Dolce Vita – the Piemonte version! Of course, you can always opt for one of them in many of our wine gift baskets as well.
The Sicilian Village Olives are by far, the most popular olive (and possibly product) we carry in our shop and in our gift baskets. Every time I serve them at a tasting I hear the exclamations, “Oh my goodness, these are amazing”, and they sell out. I have other good olives, but there is something special about these.
Here is what Dave Quartaro, President of Sicilian Village has to say about his process and why his olives are so darn good:
“Nothing else comes close to the taste of a Sicilian olive. That’s because good things take time and, in today’s hurry-up-and-go world, most olive producers take shortcuts – like using chemicals to rush the curing process. Not at Sicilian Village.
Our olives are carefully picked, then allowed to cure naturally in salt – without any rush – until their flavors develop fully. Next, they marinate slowly until they’re infused with the seasonings of a recipe that’s generations old. Only then do we allow the Sicilian Village olives to leave our premises.”
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Today’s topic is a rare Italian wine from Piemonte – Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. If you’ve visited the Fancifull Gift Baskets web site or followed any of our blogs, I’m sure you’ve noticed how passionate we are about the foods we carry in our store and put into our gift baskets. Many of these require some clarification. This is certainly true in the case of the lovely Ruchè grape with it’s enticing floral and wild berry aromas.
“If it’s so good”, you may ask, “why haven’t I heard of it before it appeared as an option in one of your wine gift baskets?” Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, there just isn’t much of it! The Ruchè grape production comes from a mere 100 acres of vines in the region of Castagnole di Monferrato, which is near Asti in Piemonte, Northern Italy.
Secondly, the wines that get the attention in this area are the three B’s made from the Nebbiolo grape: Barbara, Barbaresco and Barolo! Tough competition indeed. But Ruchè (pronounced roo-KAY) is an absolute delight to have on the dinner table – and at a very affordable price. So, next time you want to send someone an Italian gift basket or just surprise them with a new wine in one of our wine gift baskets. I highly recommend this rare little gem that we have here. My mouth is watering just thinking of it and a creamy Gorgonzola cheese. And I’m really looking forward to trying this wine with the winemaker at his vineyard next week. Yes, we are headed for Italy, and this is one of our stops. Buon appetito!
My husband, Wally, and I have just returned from France and I can hardly express what a great time we had.
One of the highlights was meeting with Sylvain Fadat at his vineyard in Montpeyroux.
His Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux is one of our favorite wines and is included in many of our wine gift baskets. It’s the favorite at our wine tastings, too. And, after meeting him, it’s obvious why his wines are so good.
Sylvain is an artisan. His enthusiasm for his wine and life shows in everything he does. He even farms organically. It takes a lot more work, but it improves both the quality of the wine and the environment, so he wouldn’t have it any other way. You should hear his stories of the scare tactics the chemical companies use to try to sell him their product. Luckily, he knows better.
He took us on a tour through his cave and his vineyards. We met his lovely wife, tasted wines, and then he insisted on taking us to lunch! Oh yeah, he also gave us a couple bottles of his wine not available in the US.
If you haven’t tried his fantastic Domaine d’Aupilhac, you should.
The Languedoc has long been the top producing wine area in France. Unfortunately, it has also been known for producing the worst wines in France. Sylvain and other vingernons (vintners) of a similar mind and dedication are changing all that.
The night before we met with Sylvain we ate at Le Mimosa, a small but well-known restaurant in the neighboring village of St Guiraud. They served us a different wine with every course, all of them from the Languedoc. It demonstrated the diversity and quality of the wines coming from this region right now. It was a night to remember. Among the wines we tasted was a Carignan that was also made by Sylvain. It came with the cheese course and sang with the Roquefort (also from the same area). We’re going to get that wine here if we can.
And if you’re ever in the south of France, you should get yourself to Le Mimosa. You’ll be glad you did.
Regarding the wines in our gift baskets, remember that you can select Domaine d’Aupilhac to be included in many of our wine gift baskets. It’s a great wine and sells for $25. Great with lamb, steaks or just by itself. Cheers!
Click Here to go to Sylvain’s Domaine d’Aupilhac website.