Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Cheese, Chocolate and More!

A Representative Selection from our Holiday Gift Guide

Do you have a food lover, budding chef, charcuterie aficionado or chocolate fiend in your life? Short on gift ideas? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered! Our staffers thought long and hard to come up with their top picks for what they would give to food-loving friends, family members and loved ones – here are the results:

Saladini Offset Cheese Knife

Saladini Offset Cheese Knife – Do you know someone who appreciates exquisitely crafted knives and loves cheese? Made by master Italian knife makers, Coltelleria Saladini, this offset cheese knife is a beautiful object in its own right. Versatile on any cheese board, the blade can handle both soft and hard cheeses while the offset style prevents your knuckles from hitting the platter. An elegant and practical gift for the cheese lover in your life.

Specialty Salt Sampler

Specialty Salt Sampler – Julia, our spice buyer, seeks out the best salts, peppers and spices to stock our shelves. This sampler contains a collection of salts from around the world ranging in color, taste and texture – from pink, to black, to white, to smoked, to mixed with herbs. Great for those talented home cooks in your life or someone who you think is the salt of the earth!

Alice's Granola

Alice’s Granola – Alice, our Head Baker, has worked at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge for over thirty years. She works tirelessly to perfect each of her recipes – be it her sour cream coffee cake, or her French macarons – putting her heart and soul into each delicious goodie. This holds true for her granola which flies off our shelves year-round. Made with oats, honey, coconut, dried tart cherries, raisins and a variety of nuts, we love its toasty flavor and the savory notes of the nuts balanced with the sweet of the fruit and honey. This holiday season, give all of this goodness packaged to the brim in a beautiful, reusable glass jar from Weck!

Housemade Charcuterie Bundle

Housemade Charcuterie Sampler – Julie is our talented, multi-award winning charcutière. Her products are staff and customer favorites year in and year out. The diversity of her work is impressive and the quality is exceptional – winning one staffer over to the joys of pastrami with her unique and richly delicious duck pastrami, and yet another staffer to chicken liver mousse with her extraordinary cornichon-garnished mousse (recently chosen by Yankee Magazine as a 2013 Editors’ Pick, we might add!). With our charcuterie sampler, treat the meat lover in your life to a cross-section of Julie’s handiwork: bacon, rabbit pâté (a Good Food award winner), pork rillettes packed in a reusable Weck jar and two links of boudin blanc sausage. One staffer wrote of the boudin blanc, “it’s perfect for holiday entertaining, by itself or as part of a mixed sausage plate.” All of this meaty-goodness is paired with a jar of cornichons and a jar of French whole grain mustard. Classic.

American Artisan Chocolate Sampler

Artisan American Chocolate Sampler – We have been repeatedly bowled over by the chocolate being made in the United States and have revamped our Artisan American Chocolate Sampler to include several of the extraordinary chocolatiers that are new to our shelves. This sampler includes bars from Potomac (VA), Ritual (CO), Fine & Raw (NY) and Woodblock Chocolate (OR). Also included are bars from Rogue Chocolatier (MA) and Mast Brothers (NY) – two chocolatiers who were (and remain) at the forefront of the artisan chocolate movement. As one staffer wrote, “for the best bean-to-bar chocolate in the world, look not beyond the bounds of the United States of America!”

Cocktail Bundle

Cocktail Bundle – One of our favorite sounds is that of a cocktail shaker at work. Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of fun building up what we call our “cocktail shelf” – now brimful with special ingredients – from artisan bitters, to syrups, to Luxardo cherries. If you know an aspiring mixologist or if you want to expand your own bartending horizons, this bundle has everything you need!

Global Cheese Sampler

Global Cheese Sampler – One of our most popular samplers, this is a great way to introduce someone to cheese or to indulge a connoisseur! We love making up this sampler, choosing cheeses in peak condition from all around the world. We stock cheeses from France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and, of course, from the best artisan American cheesemakers. You’ve got the whole world in your hand – give the gift of cheese this holiday season!

Fondue Bundle

Fondue Bundle – We use cheese in as many ways as possible – from straight-up, to paired with condiments and, of course, in our cooking. Fondue is one of our all-time favorite ways to cook with cheese and this bundles provides all of the cheesy essentials for a delicious meal! Fondue is a great way to gather folks together – be it for a fire-side party or a family meal that gets everyone engaged. In this bundle, we include three marvelous melters for a total of 1.5 pounds of cheese, appropriate seasonings, our house fondue recipe and – to top it all off – a jar of cornichons, our favorite little pickles and a fondue pairing classic! Know someone with a fondue pot that is gathering dust? Folks who love a good family meal? Or, looking to have a fun evening with friends? Then, this is the bundle for you!

Antiqua Balsamico Hand Blown Bottle

Antiqua 20-year Balsamic Vinegar – As one of our staffers wrote, this is an, “excellent gift for a home chef with its beautiful flavor and lovely hand-blown bottle.” This exceptional balsamic is from Modena and is the kind of special treat most home chefs would never buy for themselves but would love to receive. We like a small drizzle of this on fresh berries – or on fresh ricotta cheese. Also beautiful for finishing dishes or paired with aged Italian cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or Calcagno.

Confitures de Raphaël Sampler

Confitures de Raphaël Sampler – Raphaël jams are some of our favorites for gift giving for two reasons: they taste darned good and they are beautifully presented. Eponymously named after their creator, Raphaël is a shy fellow who prefers to hunker down and focus on his work, namely perfecting his confitures. Raphaël uses fruit organically grown in his orchards as well as a small selection of citrus grown in the warmer regions of Europe. This sampler includes five sample-sized jars, making it an ideal gift for a toast lover, a breakfast enthusiast, a scone maker, or a cheese lover who likes to experiment with pairings!

Berti Pandolce Classico

Berti Pandolce – One of our cheesemongers and bakers spotted Berti’s beautifully-packaged pandolce on a trip to Italy several years ago. Berti is a bakery that was founded in 1896 by Luigi Ferretti – today, it is helmed by Luigi’s great-granddaughter, Stefania and her husband Marcello. The bakery is located in Fontanigorda, a small, beautiful village situated in Liguria, the northwestern part of Italy. Using top-notch ingredients and following traditional recipes, they turn out some amazing pandolce. So impressed were we by the flavor of the bread, we immediately set about finding a way to import it to the States. It took a little while because it was the first time Berti’s breads had traveled such a distance. Now, we are thrilled each year when they appear on our shelves and we can enjoy these delicious holiday breads flavored with vanilla and honey and chock full of (among other goodies) raisins, candied fruit, and pine nuts! An ideal gift for the person who likes a slice of cake with their afternoon tea, anyone whose idea of a heavenly treat is a glass of vin santo, or anyone who enjoys truly delicious Italian holiday breads.

To view our 2012 gift guide, please click here.

  • ginny

    They are all so lovely. Thank you for the ideas…elegant, creative, and practical…

  • http://www.housemouseoncheese.com The House Mouse

    The Offset Cheese Knife just made my list!