Ten Noteworthy Wines to Serve During the Holidays

Ten Noteworthy Wines to Serve During the Holidays

White wine, red wine, champagne, port… there are so many choices when it comes to serving wine around the holidays, especially when so many great foods are hitting the Christmas dinner tables, too! To help you from feeling a little overwhelmed at the sheer selection, GiftTree has gathered a list of ten noteworthy wines to serve during the holidays. And while we’re at it, we figured why not share some food pairing suggestions and a few of our favorite recipes? Onward!   1. Ramey Napa Valley Claret A classic Napa Valley claret, offering intense, smoke-accented aromas of cherry and blackcurrant, with Indian spice and floral notes adding to the complexity. Juicy and precise on the palate, revealing energetic dark fruit flavors and a hint of chewing tobacco. Closing tangy and long, with slow-building tannins and very good focus, this unexpected wine is red meat’s soul mate. Pair it with roast beef, shepherd’s pie or rack of lamb.   2. Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier This elegant white wine is crisp, with hints of apple, apricot, white flowers, and honeydew melon. It’s a medium-bodied blend, and when it comes to pairing, think sweet and sour! Chenin Blanc that makes the perfect companion to the Christmas ham or these incredible smoked cheddar and cherry jam puff pastries.   3. Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot Black cherry, boysenberry and plum flavors harmonize with the dark chocolate and cedar notes. This is a smooth wine with round, refined tannins well-suited for pairing with beef sliders, steak medallions, stuffed mushrooms, and any dark chocolate dessert!   4.  Martin Craig Luminist Chardonnay Radiant aromas of orange blossom and lemon zest are balanced with stone fruit notes. Those toasty aromas from...
How to Create the Perfect Cheeseboard

How to Create the Perfect Cheeseboard

Have you seen those Instagram accounts filled with photos of amazing cheeseboards? Lillith Spencer (@cheesemongrrl) comes to mind. Her incredible cheese and charcuterie platters are a rainbow of colors and textures. Each meat and cheese has its perfect place and a uniquely delicious culinary companion somewhere else on the board. In this great interview with RealPlants, Lillith describes her process: “I just start on one end and either work across the whole thing or sometimes I build like little kingdoms on different areas and then fill in the gaps in between. I begin by setting everything up, you know, grabbing my olives, et cetera. I always drain the olives, dry them off, and toss them in olive oil, because they stay really shiny that way. I slice a lot of the vegetables on the meat slicer, super-thin. There’s a lot of preparation, but once I’ve prepped all of the ingredients, it only takes me about half an hour to make a platter. I make sure that there are a variety of spreads, like fruity ones, honeys, and mustards. I like to make sure that there are not just sweet but also savory accompaniments—not just a bunch of jams. I like to add weird stuff too. It’s totally fun and fine to put kimchi on a cheese plate, for example, or even just plenty of fresh vegetables to add crunch that’s not coming from a cracker. It lightens and brightens the whole thing up.” But let’s take a step backward for us novices, and start at the very beginning: how do we know what a great cheeseboard or charcuterie platter is...
Create Your Own Halloween Party Platters

Create Your Own Halloween Party Platters

Halloween is the season for frightfully good treats and ghoulishly good decorations. So when it comes to creating your own Halloween party platters, don’t skimp on the creativity! We have a few ideas to turn your Halloween party into a monster mash. Mummy Hotdogs Ghosts and goblins of all sizes will love this super fast (and adorable!) snack. Begin by preheating oven to 375°F. Unroll a tube of dinner roll dough and divide into four rectangles. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into thin strips. Wrap several strips of dough around each hotdog to look like bandages. Bake until dough is lightly golden brown and hotdogs are hot. Add eyes by cutting out two tiny circles of provolone or other white cheese. Please next to each other near one end, and top with a small black olive bit on each. Optional: Add a half slice of American cheese before wrapping hotdog with dough.   Creepy Pizza Bagel Bites As a quick appetizer, turn pizza bagel bites into a spooky, savory treat. Kids will love help making mummified bagel bites, and can begin by slathering your favorite bitesized bagels with your favorite pizza sauce. Layer thin strips of mozzarella to look like mummy wrapping. Add olive eyes and bake until cheese is melted and the sauce is hot. For those who prefer a few more olives on their pizza, a creepy crawly spider design is as easy as 1-2-3. Begin by layering mozzarella on top of sauced bagel bites. Cut several olives in half lengthwise, and slice several more olives into rings. Cut the rings into half again creating half circles. Place a couple of half olives on the bagel cut side down, and add four ring halves on each side...
Spooktacular Halloween Treats for the Office

Spooktacular Halloween Treats for the Office

Three or 93, everyone loves a good Halloween treat. And with so much creativity surrounding the season, there’s no reason why your goodies shouldn’t be gruesomely, ghoul-ishly good. So here are a few tricks to great Halloween treats for your office party! Build-Your-Own Caramel Apple Bar Caramel apples are a staple of the season, and with a build-your-own caramel apple bar, co-workers can create their own perfect treat! Begin by slicing a variety of apples into wedges (the smaller pieces will allow everyone to make a few different creations). Then, place caramel, melted chocolate and other sauces in crockpots or over tea light warmers to keep them gooey throughout the day. Arrange toppings such as crushed peanuts, sprinkles, mini candies and crushed cookies into muffin tins to keep them organized. Co-workers can pair their favorite combination of apples, sauces and toppings. Be sure to have plenty of skewers available because these easy, delicious treats definitely won’t last! Easy-Peasy Monster Cookies Short on time? Whip up a quick batch of your favorite cookie dough (or purchase some at the store – we won’t tell!) Roll out the dough and get to work with Halloween cookie cutters. Schmear a nice goopy layer of frosting on top and voila! As an added bonus, if you’re even shorter on time, grab extra frosting, sprinkles and other cookie decorations while at the store and let your co-workers decorate their own treat! Spooky Punch Add a creepy punch to your punch with a floating ice hand. Begin by whipping up a batch of your favorite punch. Thoroughly wash a rubber glove, turn inside out, and...
History of Housewarming Gifts

History of Housewarming Gifts

If you have ever moved, you know how stressful and tiring it can be. Getting everything unpacked and put together just right is a tedious job! But when everything does come together, a popular tradition is to have family, friends, and new neighbors over for a housewarming party to show off the new home. If you’ve ever been to a housewarming or apartment warming party, you know it’s customary to bring a gift for the home owner to help them settle in. But how did all this begin, and what is an appropriate gift to bring? GiftTree is here to explain the history of housewarming gifts and how it originated into what it has become today. We’ll also share insight to make sure that when you attend a housewarming party you come bearing a gift that leaves the home owner feeling appreciated and comfortable in their new home. Housewarming parties are thought to have originated in France. The gathering was a thank you dinner for those who helped build the house. People who attended would bring firewood to warm the house and create a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere, which is how the name “Housewarming” came to be. Bringing firewood transformed over the years into giving gifts that would help warm and bless the house. Some of the more traditional gifts given throughout history included: bluebirds, pineapple, and gift baskets. Bluebirds were thought to bless the house with happiness and good luck and similarly, pineapples where a symbol of openness and hospitality. Gift baskets had a variety of meanings depending on what was inside them. A popular combination was bread,...
Master Cheese and Meat Pairing

Master Cheese and Meat Pairing

Summer is in full swing which means it’s time for memorable get-togethers and gatherings! Spending time with loved ones and friends enjoying appetizers and cold drinks is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. One of the biggest challenges of entertaining is finding the perfect appetizer to please everyone. Pairing a perfectly mastered cheese and meat platter is a great way to have a fun, crowd-pleaser that is sure to be a hit! When putting together your meat and cheese platter, picking out the right combination of meats and determining that perfect cheese pairing can seem overwhelming. There are so many options! Luckily, Gift Tree has done the hard part and we’re here to help you put together the perfect cheese and meat platter that will leave everyone coming back for more. When determining that special cheese to compliment the cured meat on your platter, it is important to keep in mind that opposites are what lead to the perfect combination. For firmer, thicker cut meat use a softer cheese and for that paper-thin slice of meat make sure you are picking out a firmer, denser cheese. Below we’ve listed a few pairings that are sure to be crowd pleasers: Goat and Sheep Cheese and Encased Meats Encased meats are cured in a casting and are usually aged in a more humid environment, in turn creating a softer, flavorful cured meat. The most common of these are sausage and salami. These meats offer a bold and spicy taste with a strong presence of black and red pepper, truffle, and other spices. These meats are best paired with a...