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...
Easter Entertaining Part 2: Dinner and Desserts

Easter Entertaining Part 2: Dinner and Desserts

Welcome to Easter Entertaining Part 2: Dinner and Desserts! Now that appetizers and champagne pairings are all planned out, it’s time to start looking at what’s for dinner and dessert on Easter Sunday. Bringing that springtime feeling to the Easter table while still making sure your guests leave full and happy can be achieved! Onward! What’s for Dinner? Main Course Idea #1: Salmon and Beets (with yogurt sauce over watercress) This springy and refreshing recipe from Country Living is good for you and tastes unbelievably delicious! Fresh dill and a little lemon juice and zest make this a satisfying meal that’s still light and perfect for an Easter sunday afternoon lunch or evening meal. We bet even the kids will give it a try (and like it!).             Main Course Idea #2: Roasted Stuffed Pork Loin Succulent pork tenderloin is stuffed to perfection with a blend of savory herbs and toasty pecans (that can be omitted if your family doesn’t like nuts or has an allergy). Another idea is to add dried cranberries. Lighten up this rich roasted pork loin with a side of sweet corn salad à la Barefoot Contessa, and you’ve made a decadent meal for Easter dinner.   Main Course Idea #3: Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna This wonderful meatless dish boasts five pounds of spinach and three pounds of mushrooms, making it big and hearty enough for a large crowd! Madiera wine and fresh parsley add depth and richness to the creamy sauce.             What’s for Dessert?   Dessert Idea #1: Speckled Malted Coconut Cake We just...
Get Ready for National Beer Day

Get Ready for National Beer Day

On April 7th, 1933 President Roosevelt took the first step toward ending Prohibition and signed the Cullen-Harrison Act into effect. Beer drinkers everywhere rejoiced, and were able to purchase beer again for the first time in thirteen years! Many years later, we now mark this momentous occasion each year by celebrating National Beer Day. Do you have everything you need on hand to join the fun? If not, we have some ideas to help you get ready for National Beer Day. While many people drink their beer straight from the bottle, we find that drinking from a glass can be equally delightful. If you can’t decide between the two, then our unique Hopside Down Beer Glass may be the perfect choice! This innovative glass combines the simplicity of a longneck bottle with the elegance of a high-quality pint glass. By utilizing dual-wall technology the beer will stay icy cold, while the outside of the glass remains room temperature and condensation free. Complimentary monogramming of your chosen initial ensures everyone knows who this glass belongs to. Take your favorite six-pack of beer with you in this stylish Wooden Six-Pack Holder. Whether you are headed to a friend’s house, or out to your backyard, this carrier will protect your precious cargo. Handmade in San Francisco from reclaimed redwood beams, and featuring a steel handle, it’s sure to last for years to come. Beer aficionados will tell you that drinking a beer from a glass that was designed for that style of beer will enhance the beer’s flavor. This Personalized Beer Glass Set was specifically crafted to hold your beer perfectly. Featuring...
Festive Holiday Party Recipes

Festive Holiday Party Recipes

The holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means- Holiday Parties! Whether you will be hosting a festive fête or an intimate soiree, nailing the perfect seasonal menu is the key to pulling off the ultimate party. While seasonal décor goes a long way for setting the mood for your celebration, nothing spreads the holiday cheer quite like a merry meal. Check out some of our favorite festive holiday party recipes and get inspired!   Cioppino In my house, it really doesn’t start to feel like the holidays until we bust out the cioppino. I seriously can’t overstate the importance of cioppino – I would be disowned from my family if I showed up to our holiday gathering without this delicious stew in hand. With its fiery red broth brimming full of the bounty of the sea, this recipe is actually pretty easy to make – it just takes a bit of prep work. Feel free to adapt it to use whatever seafood is the most fresh, and don’t forget to serve it with lots of crusty bread!         Gooey, Cheesy Fondue There is just something about dipping things into hot molten cheese that screams “holiday!” to me. While the time-honored Gruyère and white wine fondue is a classic for a reason, I’m very partial to this boozy cheddar variation that swaps out the white wine for Irish stout and a generous splash of whiskey. The addition of mustard and garlic really make it sing! Serve with accompaniments like crusty bread, sliced apples, and winter root vegetable crudité and bask in the...
Arranging The Perfect Charcuterie Platter

Arranging The Perfect Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie platters have the potential to be the food focus of any great cocktail party, and are the perfect no-fuss appetizer to set out and get any dinner party started. You’ll be able to prep everything in advance so you can be right there sipping and savoring alongside your guests instead of fussing over a needy canapé. With our easy guide, any novice can put together a wow-worthy, balanced and aesthetically pleasing charcuterie platter centerpiece with a little something for all tastes to nibble on. Plan for about 1-2 ounces of meat per person, as well as about 1-2 ounces of cheese, and double that if you won’t be serving dinner, or if the rest of the spread is light. Read on to learn all about the ins and outs of assembling the perfect charcuterie platter:   Add height for interest A flat, boring platter will taste fine, sure, but a platter with a balance of different heights will add interest and practically attract people to it like a magnet. A champagne flute and a thin tall vase filled with thin breadsticks known as grissini, pickled green beans or asparagus spears, or long carrot sticks will fit the bill nicely.   Use cool containers you already have Rather than a flat board with meat just sitting on it, why not add a plate set atop an upside down highball glass to make a mini stand to hold that brie? Add a cute teacup in one corner stacked high with buttery club crackers. Grab a mini colander and fill it with an array of grapes, dried apricots, and quartered figs. The possibilities are endless if you take a look...
How to Host a Backyard Movie Night

How to Host a Backyard Movie Night

Happy Summer, everyone! Nothing comes close to the feeling of a balmy Summer night. Hanging out in the backyard on a warm summer night is a great idea, but how about taking it to the next level and hosting an outdoor movie night? It’s much easier than you’d think – with a little creativity, a few setup essentials, some loved ones to snuggle up with and a lot of fresh popcorn, a backyard movie is the perfect summer night.   Here are seven simple steps to create the perfect backyard summer movie night:   1. A laptop, projector and speakers. With a few extension cords, you can prop up your equipment on a table or lawn chair, easy peasy! Just make sure that you test out your set up – that way you can ensure there won’t be any technical difficulties on the night of the big premiere. 2. A large white flat sheet. A big white flat sheet makes the perfect movie screen. You can use nails or thumbtacks to fix the sheet up against any wall, fence or flat surface. Giving it an iron before hanging to work out any wrinkles is a great idea, too! 3. Plenty of ultra-comfy seating. Spread out beach blankets, quilts, bean bag chairs, cushions and pillows to make sure that every guest has a super-comfortable area to lounge. Check the weather before the movie night too, and warn your guests that they might want to bring a light jacket or another blanket if the temperature dips. 4. Lots of snacks and drinks! Offer plenty of popcorn, candy, soft drinks and other beverages, just like the movie theater! Setting up a little refreshment stand is a fun...