Wine Gift Basket Ideas


A fine combination of food and drink, a wine gift basket is appreciated even by those who never indulge. Looking for that great Bordeaux in a special setting? Wracking your brain to think of the best way to present that perfect port? A wine gift basket is the answer.

 

A wine gift basket may hold just the vintage you’ve been seeking. Everything from a creative Cabernet to a zingy Zinfandel can be found nestled among a dozen other delightful treats.

A wine gift basket can hold that precious Syrah you’ve been dying for months to try. Or the centerpiece may be a quirky new item you heard about at a party yesterday.

Bottle sizes range from miniature hotel-type samples to a magnum of champagne. A wine gift basket could be filled out with a dozen small bottles of a favorite variety. Or, it might be a breathtaking variety that allows you to sample a new wine every month. A giant bottle from your favorite region in France or Italy can form the centerpiece of an outstanding package.

But the wine itself is only the beginning. A wine gift basket is filled with traditional and creative items. Delicious gourmet crackers sit beside irresistible truffles. Chocolates go well with a fine Sangria. Dried apricots and other fruits are the perfect companion to a stellar Chardonnay.

Wine gift baskets are among the finest of an already elite set of options. Filled with fresh fruits, cookies, nuts, and more they make for a gift that will be remembered long after the outstanding Chablis is gone.

Brut champagne might be more to your taste. Surrounded by a fine set of gourmet cheeses, a wine gift basket of champagne will make for a memorable afternoon that can go on late into the evening.

Even the container itself is part of a great wine gift basket offering. It can be a traditional dark wicker that reminds you of old Italy. Or it can be a contemporary computer age metal. You may like a sentimental porcelain, or you could go for an all-business gray made from Stealth jet composite plastics. The designs are endless.

Wine gift baskets are appropriate for any occasion. An anniversary is the perfect time to deliver a great vintage. Celebrate with a glass while you munch on a gourmet cracker. There’s no better time than a promotion at work to deliver that great Rose partnered with a fine garlic bread stick.

Whether for a personal celebration or a corporate event, a wine gift basket is the finest possible choice. Appreciated by everyone, they’ll be treasured for years.

Call us today at 1.866.683.3885 to order a wine gift for that special occasion!

 

Oprah’s Chocolate Set by Godiva 


Oprah’s signature is one of the only set pieces not made of edible chocolate.

Dedicated designers created this wall mosaic using a variety of chocolates, and chocolate is the glue that holds it all together. 

This one-of-a-kind chess set, is hand carved out of white, milk and dark chocolate

To make logs for the fireplace, Godiva designers filled mailing tubes with milk chocolate. Then, once hardened, they peeled the mailing tube away and carved the chocolate tube into a log of wood 

Intricate white chocolate flowers sprout from an equally indulgent vase.

Designers worked for more than 20 hours to create this chocolate chandelier. They strung each strand using a needle and wax thread.

To create pieces like this clock, designers used heated knives, to melt the chocolate. That way, they could create any shape they wanted! 

Oprah gives away a bottle filled with chocolate candies to a lucky audience member. 

Visit our website thesweetbasket.com today for great Godiva chocolate gifts and gift baskets with free Canada-wide shipping.

Creative Ways to Entertain in Style 
with Godiva Biscuits, Hot Cocoa and Coffee 

Tip number One

Top biscuits with mint-infused pastry cream or whipped cream, and, if desired, add a pomegranate seed, a hazelnut, chocolate-covered coffee bean, or candied orange rind.

Tip number Two

Crush several biscuits and sprinkle over ice cream, being sure to garnish with one whole biscuit.

Tip number Three

Nothing makes a more beautiful display than an abundance of beautiful food; stack large numbers of biscuits in neat rows for presentation. Add some color (mint, basil, rosemary, raspberries, etc.) for garnish.

Tip number Four

Serve a cup of hot cocoa with a biscuit on a saucer, helping your guests know that you’re serving the top-quality brand (of both biscuit and cocoa).

Tip number Five

Top hot cocoa with whipped cream, then shake cocoa powder through strainer to garnish. The same can also be done with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Tip number Six

Use cocoa to make chocolate-infused whipped cream.

Tip number Seven

Create cocoa meringue morsels using Godiva flavored cocoa. Meringue cookies are generally made using unsweetened cocoa, but the flavored alternative adds a creamy touch to this light and airy treat.

Tip number Eight

Use fresh, dry coffee grounds for presentation; spread onto a plate, add some piles of whole beans, and arrange biscuits on top and alongside.

Tip number Nine

Freeze brewed coffee into cubes for making iced coffee that won’t get diluted by ice.

Tip number Ten

For both coffee AND cocoa, dust a little cocoa onto brewed coffee for a little mocha vibe.

Godiva Chocolates – Great Gifts for Everyone 

When many of us think about gourmet chocolates, we immediately think Godiva chocolates. They have made such a name for themselves that they are now one of the most successful chocolate manufacturers in the world. From its small and early roots right through today, it’s world-renowned. They have maintained only the highest standards of quality. What makes Godiva chocolates so special?

 

All of this exposure has surely not made Godiva overexposed. They are remain one of the more popular chocolate gifts given for every occasion. Next time you are in a dilemma about what gift to give for an upcoming event, remember that you cannot go wrong with a wonderful chocolate gift from Godiva!

What Sets Godiva Chocolates Apart from Other Chocolates 

There are a great many things that all great producers of gourmet chocolates share, starting with the ingredients used:

  • Godiva chocolates are made from the finest and most flavorful cacao beans that are chosen for their quality, they are then finely ground for an exquisite smoothness in the chocolate.

  • The highest quality dairy products are used as ingredients in the fillings of the various Godiva chocolates. This includes heavy cream and Grade A butter. 

  • They are constantly coming up with new products that stretch the limits of creativity and reinforce the ingenuity of their top chocolatiers. 

  • One of the most popular chocolate products in Europe is hazelnut praline and their European chocolates are made with very finely processed hazelnuts, chocolate, and sugar. 

  • Even the fruit used in fruit-filled Godiva chocolates is processed in their own unique way. They do not conventional freezing methods but rather use their own method that captures the freshness and flavor of the fruit.

  • All of the fruit syrups used in Godiva chocolates contain no artificial ingredients, which provides a flavor and intensity that cannot be matched by artificial alternatives.

  • Would you believe that the cherries they use in their cherry cordials are hand sorted to make sure that no pits end up in the final product?

It is no wonder that gourmet chocolates cost more than standard, ordinary chocolates that use cheaper ingredients and methods. This is also why Godiva chocolate gifts or other forms of Godiva chocolate are so special. The satisfaction that one derives even from a single gourmet chocolate is much more than that which you get from a candy bar from the supermarket!

Fine Chocolate Care Tips

Want to keep a secret stash of your gourmet chocolates fresh? Here’s some fine chocolate care how-to’s:

Fine dark and milk chocolate are made without preservatives and are generally meant to be consumed within 2-4 weeks, although if you store gourmet dark chocolate carefully in a dark, cool place, it can keep much longer.

  • Unfilled milk and white chocolate can be kept up for 7 or 8 months.
  • Unfilled dark chocolate can keep for up to a year.
  • Filled chocolates last about 2 or 3 weeks tops. Nut fillings can last a little longer. So eat up and enjoy them!

 

Place in an airtight container, keep the temperature around 60 – 65 degrees  (humidity should not be higher than 50%) to store for a long time. As chocolate absorbs surrounding odors, don’t place them near your onions and make sure they are well-sealed. If you live in a hot, humid climate and can’t eat your chocolates within a day or two, you’ll have to refrigerate them.

If you absolutely must do this, first wrap the package in foil, then in an airtight plastic container so it doesn’t pick up other food odors. Dark chocolate actually improves with age, like fine wine. Don’t hesitate to set aside a few pieces for a special celebration down the line. You may even want to experiment and make notes about the taste after different periods.

When you remove them from the refrigerator, don’t unwrap immediately but allow enough time, even up to an hour, to gradually warm up to room temperature. This will prevent moisture condensation on the chocolate which creates that grayish white “bloom”. Most agree that this bloom doesn’t affect the taste , however, some devoted aficionados will disagree.

Godiva Chocolate Recipes

Godiva Brownies

Yield: 24 bars
Difficulty: *Easy 
Preparation: 45 minutes plus baking and cooling times

Special Equipment: 


3 (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup butter
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Godiva Liqueur
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped walnuts

  1.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15 x 10 x 1-inch jellyroll pan.
  2.  Place chocolate and butter in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until   chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes.
  3.  Beat eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in mixing bowl until thick and lemon-colored, using electric mixer at high speed. Add liqueur and chocolate mixture, mixing well.
  4. Add flour, mixing just until combined. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until no imprint remains when touched lightly with finger. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Store bars in an airtight container.

 

 

Godiva Chocolate Coconut Sensation

Yield: 16 servings or 27 cupcakes
Difficulty: Intermediate 
Preparation: 1 hour plus baking and standing times

Chocolate Cake:


2 bars (1.5 oz. each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, broken up
1 cup water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, or 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to make 1 cup

Coconut Filling: 


1 egg
2/3 cup light cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

Easy Chocolate Glaze: 


1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
4 bars (1.5 oz. each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Place chocolate and water in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat butter in large mixing bowl until softened, using an electric mixer on medium to high speed.
  5. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine buttermilk and melted chocolate. Alternately add flour mixture and chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Make the coconut filling:

Slightly beat egg in a medium saucepan. Stir in light cream, sugar and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut. Cover and cool completely.

Make the chocolate glaze:

Combine corn syrup, butter and water in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir gently until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Assemble the cake:

Place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread with coconut filling. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread chocolate glaze over top and sides of cake. Allow cake to set completely. (If desired, decorate cake as in photo before glaze sets. See To decorate cake.)

To decorate cake:

Place 1 bar (1.5 oz.) Godiva Solid Ivory in small microwave-safe cup. Microwave on medium (50%) for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Spoon into parchment cone. Decorate edge of cake as shown. Add 2 Godiva Solid Ivory chicks and 3 foil-wrapped eggs. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour to set decoration. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

For Glazed Chocolate Easter Cupcakes:

  1. Prepare cake as directed, but pour batter into paper lined 3-inch muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Place 1 spoonful coconut filling in each.
  2. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Prepare chocolate glaze as directed. Spread glaze on cupcakes. Top with Godiva chicks or foil-wrapped eggs.

 

Chocolate Macadamia Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Yield: 32 cookies
Difficulty: *Easy 
Preparation: 20 minutes plus baking and cooling times

Cookies:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, slightly softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, cut into chunks
1 cup (6 ounces) peanut butter chips
3/4 cup salted or unsalted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped*

Make the cookies:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together flour and baking soda. Set aside
  2.  Beat butter in mixing bowl at medium high speed until creamy, about 1 minute, using electric mixer. Gradually add granulated and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, add dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until blended. Add chocolate, peanut butter chips and macadamia nuts and stir just until blended.
  3.  Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto a non greased baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until light brown on the edges.  Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

*If using unsalted macadamia nuts, add 1 teaspoon salt with dry ingredients.

 

 

Chocolate Raspberry Petit Fours

Yield: Approximately forty-eight 1-inch squares
Difficulty: Intermediate 
Preparation: 2 hours 30 minutes plus baking and cooling times

Raspberry sponge cake:

1 1/3 cups cake flour 
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2/3 cup Raspberry Puree* 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 tablespoon Chambord (raspberry flavored liqueur)
3 large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Raspberry ganache: 


1 1/3 cups heavy cream 
2/3 cup Raspberry Puree* 
16 bars (1.5 oz. each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry flavored liqueur)

Decoration:

2 bars (1.5 oz. each) Godiva Solid Ivory, chopped
Red food coloring

Optional garnish: 


Fresh raspberries 
Sugared mint leaves

Make the raspberry sponge cake:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15-inch by 10-inch jelly roll pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper
  2.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3.  Mix Raspberry Purée and butter in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the Chambord and remove from heat.
  4.  Place eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer at high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Lower to medium speed and carefully pour the hot Raspberry Purée into egg mixture, beating well. Add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until incorporated. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  5.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely.


Make the raspberry ganache
:

Heat the cream and Raspberry Purée in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the Chambord. Pour into a jelly roll or baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let the stand at room temperature until cooled and thickened, about 1 to 2 hours. (The Raspberry Ganache can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed. Bring Ganache to room temperature or gently reheat until spreadable.)

Assemble the Petits Fours:

  1. Cut cake in half crosswise, making two 10-inch by 7 1/2-inch rectangles. Spread 2/3 cup Raspberry Ganache over one layer. Top with second layer. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Cut cake into 1-inch squares. Place half the cake squares on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Freeze remaining cake squares. Place the remaining Raspberry Ganache in a 4-cup microwave-safe measuring cup with a pouring spout. Microwave on medium (50%) for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. (Ganache should be thin enough to pour.) Slowly drizzle the Ganache over each Petit Four, coating all sides evenly. Return any Ganache on baking sheet to measuring cup. Repeat melting and pouring the Ganache over cakes until each Petit Four is coated. Repeat with remaining cake squares. Chill the Petits Fours in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Decorate the Petits Fours:

Place Solid Ivory into small microwave-safe cup. Microwave on medium (50%) for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Tint pink with red food coloring. Spoon into parchment cone and decorate the Petits Fours, as desired. (Or, drizzle the Petits Fours with melted pink coating, using a spoon.) Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set decoration. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

*To make Raspberry Purée, thaw 1 1/2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen unsweetened raspberries. Press berries through a fine-mesh strainer, using a rubber spatula. This yields approximately 1 1/3 cups purée, which is enough for the cake and Ganache.

 

 

 

 

Crêpes de Godiva

Yield: 8 crepes 
Difficulty: Easy 
Preparation: 45 minutes plus cooking and chilling times

Crêpes: 


1 large egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup Godiva Liqueur
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Pastry Cream:


5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups milk, scalded
3/4 cup Godiva Liqueur, divided

Garnish:


Sweetened whipped cream
Sliced strawberries
Fresh mint leaves


Make the crêpes:

  1.  Combine egg, flour, milk, butter, Godiva Liqueur and sugar in blender jar. Cover and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2.  Heat lightly greased 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. For each crepe, pour 2 tablespoons batter into bottom of skillet and tilt to cover bottom. Cook until edges are light brown, turn over and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove crêpe and stack between sheets of waxed paper. Refrigerate until serving time.


Make the pastry cream:

  1.  Whisk egg yolks, sugar and orange zest in saucepan until blended. Add flour and mix until smooth. Gradually add milk and 1/2 cup Godiva Liqueur and mix until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook stirring 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining Godiva Liqueur. Sieve mixture into bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Fill each crêpe with 1/2 cup pastry cream. Fold crêpe in half and garnish with whipped cream, strawberries and fresh mint.

 

 

 

 

Grand Marnier Brownies

Yield: 15 brownies
Difficulty: Easy 
Preparation: 30 minutes plus baking and cooling times.
Special Equipment: 

10 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely broken walnuts
15 chocolate-dipped walnuts for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond the two long sides of the pan. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil-lined pan. 
  2. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium (50% power) 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. 
  3. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in Grand Marnier, vanilla and orange zest. (The mixture may look slightly curdled.) Beat in melted chocolate. Beat in flour and salt, using low speed. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter in prepared pan. 
  4.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 2 inches away from center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not over bake. 
  5.  Cool in pan on wire rack. Place brownies in pan in freezer for 20 minutes. Using the two long ends of foil as handles, lift the brownies out of the pan. Gently invert brownies onto a cutting board and carefully peel off foil. Place brownies top side up and cut into 15 squares. Top with chocolate-dipped walnuts, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Pecan Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Yield: 10 servings
Difficulty: Easy 
Preparation: 1 hour plus baking, cooling and chilling times.
Special Equipment: 

Pecan Cake Layers:


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans*

Chocolate Fudge Frosting: 


6 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, cut up
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Spiked Cream (optional):


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons bourbon

Garnish:


1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups pecan halves, toasted*
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Make the cake layers:

  1.  Lightly butter bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.°Preheat oven to 350 
  2.  Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3.  Beat butter in large bowl until smooth, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in both sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in pecans and mix just until blended. Spread batter in prepared pans.
  4.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

*To toast pecans, spread on baking sheet. Bake at 350°F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted. 

Make the frosting:

  1.        Place chocolate in food processor bowl. Cover and process until finely chopped.
  2.        Heat cream and butter in saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Add hot cream to chocolate and process until completely smooth. Add vanilla and process to blend. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until of spreading consistency.

Assemble the cake:

  1.        Place one cake layer upside down on serving plate. Spread a generous amount of frosting over top of cake layer. Place second cake layer right side up on top. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting.
  2.        Arrange pecan halves in concentric circles on top of cake.

Make the spiked cream:

  1.  Beat cream with sugar and bourbon in medium bowl until soft peaks form, using electric mixer at medium speed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2.  Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over top of cake. Slice cake and place on dessert plates. Add a dollop of spiked cream to each, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Godiva White Chocolate Butter Bars

Yield: 12 to 15 bars 
Difficulty: Easy 
Preparation: One hour plus baking and cooling times

Butter cake: 


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
2 large eggs, at room temperature 
l 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup milk 

Topping: 


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 
2 large eggs, at room temperature 
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided 
1/4 teaspoon almond extract 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
2 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Solid Ivory, melted 
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped 

Make the butter cake:

  1.   Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  2.   Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3.   Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, using electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Lower the speed and add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, blending until the batter is smooth (do not over mix). Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Make the topping:

  1. Beat cream cheese, eggs, 3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, almond and vanilla extracts at low speed. Beat until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth. Pour over batter and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned all over. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes.
  2. Drizzle the top decoratively with melted solid ivory and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

The Chocolate Shot


Long before chocolate was eaten, it was served and enjoyed as a drink. The Maya drank ‘chocolatl’ made from roasted cocoa beans, water and a little spice. Montezuma shared it with the Spaniards. Hernan Cortes wrote a letter to the King of Spain calling chocolate “The divine drink which builds up resistance & fights fatigue”. 


Europeans and South Americans have enjoyed drinking chocolate for centuries. In the USA drinking chocolate is usually recognized as milk mixed with cocoa powder; gritty and not very satisfying. Unlike “Swiss Miss” cocoa or “Nestles’ Quick” and milk, drinking chocolate is like…… DRINKING CHOCOLATE!
With Starbucks’ introduction of “Chantico”, US consumers are re-discovering “chocolatl” (drinking chocolate). Preparation combines a blend of real melted chocolate, high quality powdered cocoa, milk or cream, sweeteners and spices or flavorings. Many (including Starbucks) serve drinking chocolate using powdered mixes which must be prepared. Once the mix is in liquid form it is generally heated and frothed using a cappuccino machine. Unfortunately that results in the one consistent criticism; inconsistent preparation. An unsatisfactory cup is usually due to insufficient heating and mixing. Proper temperature is key regardless of the mix used. Even the best drinking chocolate mixes come across the palate as gritty if served at too low a temperature and frothing will never give a consistent serving temperature.

Enter “The Chocolate Shot” or Chocolatera’

Because the drinking chocolate experience can vary depending on the knowledge and skill of the preparer, the Chocolate Shot uses a dual thermostat to maintain proper temperature (around 95-100° F is the spot I’ve found most pleasing) and a dasher to slowly agitate the the 1 liter container of liquid chocolate. A proper serving temperature and the gentle tempering of the chocolate by the rotating dasher ensures a smooth rich drinking chocolate experience with every cup.

To top off the perfect cup of drinking chocolate, once it has been dispensed from the Chocolate Shot Machine, use a molinillo to froth the drink. A molinillo (pronounced “moh-lee-NEE-oh”) is a Mexican “whisk”. Made of wood and spun by rolling between the hands it froths the perfectly heated chocolate drink.

Buffet Enhancements International, Inc.T, the worlds largest manufacturer and distributor of Chocolate Fountains (manufacturer of The American Chocolate FountainT) have exclusive American distribution rights for the 110/120v NSF-UL approved Chocolatera’ or “Chocolate ShotT”. This wonderful Italian machine is designed expressly for drinking chocolate. The Chocolate ShotT is not a complicated or expensive device. It simply tempers and heats the chocolate consistently dispensing the most delicious chocolate beverage you’ll ever taste. An additional feature of The Chocolate ShotT is the beverage container, holding the dasher and chocolate, can be removed and refrigerated for next day use.

Buffet Enhancements also distributes Bensdorp Robusto Choco-late’ (Barry-Callebaut) for use in The Chocolate Shot. Liquid dark chocolate enriched with Dutch cocoa powder. Packaged in ready to use 1 liter cartons, with a taste so pure and powerful it is best enjoyed in a demitasse or espresso cup.

An irresistible rich thick espresso like european drinking chocolate.



Gourmet Gift Baskets For Corporate Gifts.

Corporate Gift baskets are one of the best ways an establishment can strengthen or create new relationships. A well given corporate gift can only show suppliers , retailers, employees or clients that you are serious and mean business. Unlike a personal gift, a corporate present should be a reflection of your enterprise or outfit. You are not “only” giving a gift ,a wise person might seize the chance to promote his outfit at the same time.


Corporate gourmet gift baskets should be well designed or decorated to look classy and elegant , they usually contain a combination of wines – gourmet foods – chocolate – fruit -nuts – gourmet cheeses.

Where to buy corporate gourmet gift baskets?


An overwhelming first impression should be your ultimate goal!There are many reputable online gift basket companies . You want to make sure that you purchase your corporate gift basket from a well experienced company that have gift basket designers.

In other words, whether you buy corporate gift baskets or any corporate gifts on the Intenet, make sure its presentable and you don’t look cheap!

How Much Should I Spend ?

The amount to spend depends on how much the gift recipient is important to your enterprise .

Giving a 10$ keychain to a client who spends 100 000 $ a calendar year at ones store in our opinion is not wise .There’s that old saying ” its the thought that counts ” this may be true for personal presents but for corporate presents its quite a different ball game.

Pairing Wines & Chocolate

Some say it can’t be done, pairing wine with chocolate, but if you have theright wine to complement the right chocolate it can be a match made in heaven! Whether you are pairing a delicate white chocolate or a lively dark chocolate with wine, there are a few pairing tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Successfully Pairing Wines with Chocolate

Rule #1, the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards sour.

When pairing wines with chocolate, your best bet is to match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, a bittersweet chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face California Zinfandel.

Similar to “formal” wine tasting, if you will be experimenting with several varieties of chocolates, work from light to dark. Start with a more subtle white chocolate and end on a dark or bittersweet chocolate.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions

White chocolate tends to be more mello and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry (try Manuel de Argueso Pedro Ximinez), a Moscato d’Asti (try Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti 2005), from Italy’s Piedmont region offers a hint of carbonation, or an Orange Muscat (such as Quady Winery’s Electra 2005 Orange Muscat). The Sherry and Moscato d’Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones present.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Pinot Noir (Rex Goliath Pinot Noir) or a lighter-bodied Merlot (try Hogue or Columbia Crest) will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats (try Bonny Doon’s Muscat Vin de Glaciere 2004) or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates.

Dark Chocolate Wine Suggestions

Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offers a roasted, slightly bitter flavor itself, with perhaps a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabs and Zinfandels have a history of perfecting the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel (try Grgich Hills Zinfandel 2004) will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations.

Call us today to order your wine gift for that upcoming occasion or visit our website today!

The Versatility of a Wine Gift Basket

Wine gift baskets are an elegant surprise for many occasions. Besides wine there are many different items that can be included to round out the basket. Gift baskets are seeing a rise in popularity because they incorporate many little items into a great showpiece. They can also be made in many different ways to suit the occasion and the person.


Wine gift baskets can be formal or fun, depending on who and when they are given.
 

There is a wide range of items that can be put in a wine gift basket. Of course the wine is going to be the central item in the basket. A large bottle or a couple large bottles could be used. To spice things up small sample bottles could also be used. Food and wine go together well. Dry pastas, cheeses, crackers or meats could be a savory addition to the wine basket. On the other hand for a more decadent basket, gourmet chocolates and cookies could be stuffed in. Additionally gift baskets could also include accessories, like cheese cutter, corkscrews or even the new bottle covers. The main deciding factor of what goes into a wine gift basket is the theme.

Themes for a gift basket can cover a wide range. Choosing a theme is usually going to be based on the situation. For a business acquaintance the gift basket should be kept formal and traditional. A good idea would be a nice bottle of wine with some accessories and a few food items like cheeses and crackers. A friendly gift basket could be more fun with mini wines, cute accessories and some great chocolates. Another way to use a gift basket is to use it as a way to showcase another present. For a very special person a wine basket could also contain two tickets for a vacation in wine country. A person could also match the wines with gift certificates to a fancy restaurant. The creativity and imagination of the person giving the basket is the only limit to what can be done.

Wine gift baskets are a great gift that can easily fit into any situation. They are formal enough to give for a business gift, but fun enough to give to someone special. Gift baskets are great because they can be given to anyone and tailored to any situation. Gift baskets can be spiced up into a big gift or be a simple gift.

Visit us online today at www.thesweetbasket.com to order a wine gift  for an upcoming event or call us at 1.866.683.3885 !

Sitting Shiva Sympathy Gift Basket –
The Jewish Tradition of Mourning

Sitting Shiva is the tradition of mourning in the Jewish religion. It begins with “the meal of consolation,” prepared by family and neighbors. Those who cannot to make a personal visit, send a food gifts basket such as a Shiva Food Gifts or Sympathy Gift Baskets with a thoughtful card in an appropriate and helpful gesture.

Strength in numbers 

Sitting Shiva is the tradition of mourning in the Jewish religion. Gathering together as a community is at the core of sitting Shiva, just as it is at the core of many Jewish traditions. The strength and support of friends, family and neighbors, during sitting Shiva, plays a key role in helping the bereaved get through the process of grieving. 

Shiva is the mourning period, traditionally observed by the parent, spouse, sibling or child of the deceased. During Shiva (“sitting Shiva”), which is traditionally a seven day period that begins immediately after the funeral, the family stays home to focus on their grief, remember their loved one and receive visitors. Although traditionally a seven-day period, many families sit Shiva for a shorter period; perhaps 1, 2 or 3 days. The Shiva period is often announced at the funeral. 

Sympathy Gift Baskets are Customary 

Jewish custom discourages sending flowers or gifts other than food when people are sitting Shiva. In fact, Shiva begins with seudat havra-ah, “the meal of consolation,” prepared by family and neighbors. For those who are unable to make a personal visit, sending a food gifts basket such as a Shiva Food Gifts or Sympathy Gift Baskets, with a thoughtful card is an appropriate and helpful gesture. 

“I find that when giving a sympathy gift or sympathy basket, people feel the need to send it immediately,” says Jane Moritz, owner of The Challah Connection. “However, it’s important to remember that people are visiting throughout and even after the Shiva period. The need for food to share continues for some time, so spacing out gifts is perfectly acceptable.” 

Be sure to find out if the family sitting Shiva keeps kosher so you can send an appropriate food gift basket. In addition, when you are thinking of what to write, a simple message when people are sitting Shiva is best. Consider a message such as “With our heartfelt sympathy,” or “We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts,” or the most traditional, “May God comfort you among all mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” 


What you can do and say 

For many, consoling the bereaved that are sitting Shiva can be difficult and uncomfortable. However, Jewish customs are quite clear in describing proper etiquette and that helps alleviate awkward feelings. Generally, be a good listener and be as helpful as possible when people are sitting Shiva. 

Soon after arriving, visitors should approach the mourners and sit quietly with them, possibly offering a hug or handshake, but letting the mourner begin the conversation. They may not feel like talking at all, and sitting in silence is perfectly acceptable. Alternatively, the visitor can simply say, “I’m sorry,” and that can be enough. Just being there says it all—words are not always necessary when visiting those sitting Shiva

It helps to remember that Shiva occurs during the most intense days of mourning. Those who have just lost a loved one will experience a range of powerful emotions, and that is an important part of the healing process. This is the perfect time to share stories, photos and cherished memories of the deceased. Moreover, if you do not know what to say, remain silent.

Shiva—an act of kindness 

If there is a chance to be helpful, make an offer, or just complete the task, when appropriate. Run errands, pick-up at the airport, host someone coming in from out of town, cook or clean up, or take care of children. Whatever can be done to remove daily chores from those sitting Shiva becomes an immense help. Shiva calls should be thought of as an act of kindness, not as a burden. The visit can be an hour or less to avoid tiring the family. Different families will observe Shiva in different manners. It is traditional for mourners to have a tear in their clothing to symbolize their loss; they may sit on low stools or even on the floor to show the depth of their sadness, and some show a traditional disregard for vanity and personal comfort by maintaining only the minimal standards of personal care, dressing simply and covering mirrors. Usually a 24-hour candle burns in memory of the deceased. In some homes, mourners will recite Kaddish up to three times a day with a minyan, which is a group of 10 Jewish adults. At times, it is difficult to gather a minyan, so visitors who can participate are especially appreciated.
  

 

 

Why Fruit Baskets Make A Good Gift


If you are at a loss when it comes to the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend, family member, or neighbor, or are trying to find a suitable gift for a colleague or client, consider a fruit basket. Fruit baskets make excellent gifts, especially for those individuals who have everything. Instead of giving a monetary gift or gift card that lacks personality, consider choosing a fruit basket that includes the recipient’s favorite fruits and healthy snacks. Since the contents are generally healthier fare than the typical junk foods that tempt the taste buds and expand the waist line, a fruit basket can be enjoyed guilt free!

Fruit baskets make great gifts for:

  •     College students: College students are notoriously poor eaters. Especially during stressful times surrounding midterms and final exams, college kids do not receive the proper nutrition-and proper nutrition will allow them to excel in their studies. Gift your college student with a fruit basket filled with fresh fruit and other healthy, nutritious snacks to show your love and support. Furthermore, since fruit baskets can be consumed, they will not take up precious space in dormitory rooms like other superfluous gifts. 

  •     Campers: For those with younger children, consider sending a fruit basket to your favorite camper to ease homesickness while providing a healthy approach to snacks. Campers enjoy the thought of gifts while away from home, and fruit baskets are perfect for sharing the contents with bunk mates and newly made friends

  •     Dieters: What better way to show your support of a dieter who has either just begun a newer, healthier lifestyle or is currently working his or her way to the goal line. Fruit baskets will relieve some of the sweet temptations that cause most dieters to stray while showing the individual that you support their decision to eat and live healthier

  •    

    Business Associates: When it comes time to purchase gifts for those in the business world, the task can be quite daunting. Unwritten rules in the business world provide razor-thin guidelines for what gifts-and price ranges-are appropriate, so instead of trying to figure out who receives what, send a fruit basket instead. Perfect for new clients or old business relations, fruit baskets allow you to express a sentiment without having to worry about what to buy and how much to spend. Also, fruit baskets can be shared within the company easily, so everyone can enjoy the gift.

  • Elderly friends, neighbors, or family members: Elderly friends, neighbors, or family members: Many elderly individuals find themselves faced with too much “stuff” in their lives. Especially if they are downsizing to a more comfortable home, these extras can quickly overwhelm their homes. Instead of purchasing gifts that will only add to the space problem or sit unused, consider sending a gift basket instead. Gift baskets are perfect ways to provide elderly friends, neighbors, or family members with healthy fare while giving a lovely gift.

  •     New Homeowners: If you have been recently invited to a housewarming party or know of a couple or family who has just moved into a new home, then consider giving a fruit basket. Especially when faced with meeting new neighbors, a fruit basket is an excellent gift that everyone will enjoy. Furthermore, a fruit basket will provide the family with a bit of healthy food while the cupboards are still being stocked.

  •     Anyone: Regardless who you gift, a fruit basket is the perfect idea. Allowing you to provide a gift that requires thought without knowing a great deal about the recipient, a fruit basket will save you a great deal of time, hassle, and worry about finding that perfect gift.