Gourmet Gift Giving

Create the perfect mix of fine food for your favorite connoisseur

Yes, it’s the thought that counts – and in that vein, homemade cookies are a lovely gift from the heart. But should you require a gift that exhibits the flash of cash, the glow of luxury, the shine of extravagance, here are some suggestions for packing a food basket that is sure to impress, for someone who’s really worth it.

Laudemio Marchesi de frescobaldi extra virgin olive oil
$49.99 / 500 ml
Available at Whole Foods
This extra-virgin olive oil, which comes packed in a custom box, is from a small, family-run olive farm in Florence, Italy. It is made in the European style from three olive varietals, with an emerald tone and the taste of freshly pressed olives.

Manch-Ora Saffron
$13.99/1 gram
Available at Whole Foods
That price may not sound like much, but put it this way: There are about 28 grams in an ounce, so the price of an ounce of this, the world’s most expensive spice, would be $392 (or, around $6,000 per pound)! Or look at it this way: It takes 150 saffron flowers to make the gram included in this pretty little glass bottle. Thankfully, only a few threads are needed for most classic recipes, such as paella, so this bit of Spanish saffron should last a gourmet several meals.

Hawaiian vanilla Co. Pure vanilla Extract
$16.99/4 ounces
Available at Whole Foods
A nice little extravagance for your gourmet friends on the mainland, especially if you accompany it with this “lucky I live Hawaii” note: Hawaii is the only place in the United States that produces vanilla. Hawaiian Vanilla, from the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, is known for its luscious scent and deep flavor.

tea forte Lumiere Set
Available at Neiman Marcus
The pyramid-shaped tea infusers of Tea Forte are said to be ideal for brewing tea, as the shape and silken material allow hot water to fully infuse the blends of whole-leaf tea and herbs. They also look a bit like Christmas trees, which is a festive note. This set includes a glass tea cup, a tray for holding the tea bag and 10 teas from the winter collection.

vosges Exotic Caramels
Available at Neiman Marcus
This has got to be the coolest packaging idea ever – a two-tier “hat box” with layers that swing out to the sides. It’s perfect to serve as the centerpiece on a holiday dessert table, and the box is reusable to hold jewelry or craft items. Oh, and the chocolates – luxury caramels in flavors that mix in bee pollen, anise myrtle and blood orange juice, just as an example. They have names like Rosey, Sunshine and Wink of the Rabbit.

Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Modena
Available at R. Field Wine Co.
This is authentic balsamic vinegar like nothing you’ll find on supermarket shelves. Aged 25 years, it is an extra vecchio (extra aged) balsamic from the Barbieri family in Modena, Italy, made from cooked organic grapes, naturally fermented and concentrated to assure a deep, slightly sweet flavor. Each bottle is numbered and sealed with a Seal of Guarantee.

fran’s Chocolates Washi Box
$135/14 ounces
Available at R. Field Wine Co. by special order only Fran Bigelow of Seattle’s Fran’s Chocolates is renowned for the subtlety of her candymaking. An assortment of dark, bittersweet, espresso, oolong, orange, single-malt whiskey and raspberry flavors is packaged in a handmade Japanese Washi box. Note that patterns on the box may vary.

2005 Domaine Leroy Corton Renardes
Available at R. Field Wine Co.
Don’t count on this gift to fill out your gift list – only two bottles are available in Hawaii, going to the first two buyers with $1,699 worth of wine-love to spare. This fine Pinot Noir is a noble Grand Cru from Domaine Leroy, one of Burgundy’s most sought-after wineries. It is described as “seductively fragrant with a velvety, suave texture and impressive depth and length.”

Glenlivet 1977, Douglas Laing bottle
Available at R. Field Wine Co.
Glenlivet, Scotland’s oldest distillery, sells 6 million bottles each year, but only 239 of this limited-edition bottling were produced. Aged 28 years, this single-malt scotch was bottled in 2006 in distinctive glass from the Glasgow-based Douglas Laing and Co. For the true whiskey connoisseur.

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