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Friday’s Featured Artisan – Sonoma Harvest

Have you ever tried a pomegranate white balsamic vinegar, or a Tahitian lime olive oil?  Staples such as extra virgin olive oil and barrel-aged balsamic vinegar can be found in almost every kitchen and pantry in the US, of course, but what makes cooking with oils and vinegars exciting is the endless possibilities of flavor profiles. Creating different blends of oils and vinegars can take a simple dish and elevate it to decadent heights, and Friday’s Featured Artisan, Sonoma Harvest, produces some of the most innovative flavors around. For the domestic diva who is busily putting together a home-cooked meal for a family of four and the head chef who is preparing a masterpiece at a gourmet restaurant, the epicurean experts at Sonoma Harvest see the potential of cooking with different flavors of oils and vinegars as totally limitless. Based in beautiful Sonoma County, California wine country, home to some of the finest winemakers, cheesemongers, artisan farmers and food producers in the world, Mike Brossier and his wife Francine established Sonoma Harvest in 2009. At that time, they started out with one employee and a daring vision: to bring the love of good food to the tables, kitchens and pantries across the United States. Seven years later, Sonoma Harvest has over 50 employees and is proud to be a part of the wine country lifestyle and heritage, producing some of the finest gourmet oils, vinegars, mustards and honeys in the world. GiftTree is excited to offer Sonoma Harvest’s D’Anjou Pear Balsamic Vinegar in a few of our exclusive gift baskets! How to use it, you ask? Try it as a vinaigrette in a salad! Combine the Pear Balsamic Vinegar with a light to medium extra virgin olive oil to bring...

How to Open Wine Like a Pro

Have you ever been to a party or a restaurant where wine was being served, and just marveled at the cork-popping prowess of the person opening the bottle? Well, you can have the same opening skills as any experience oenophile with the right tools and a little bit of practice. Read on for our guide: How to Open Wine Like a Pro in five easy steps, and you’ll be the one smoothly and effortlessly opening a bottle of wine and impressing friends and family at your next dinner party. #1 Gather The Essential Tools Foil Cutter or Knife Many great wine openers come with a little fold out knife attached – use it to cut the foil on the top of the bottle in two clean half-circle cuts just above the lip, and remove the clean disc of foil from the top with the edge of the knife. Otherwise a handy foil cutter made just for this purpose really makes for a seamless edge on the bottle. Corkscrew A waiter’s wine key is the perfect option here for an effortless wine opening experience. These openers have two “steps” to them, one that you rest on the bottles edge to get the cork part way out of the bottle, and a second step to pop it fully out of the bottle. There are many great types of wine openers on the market and this is just something that takes a little experimentation to choose which opener is your favorite. Towel A small tea towel comes in handy for wiping off the bottle’s rim, and wrapping around chilled bottles to absorb...

Why We Gift Wednesday (Back to School Edition!)

It’s Wednesday, again! And it’s back to school season! It seems like every week just gets continually faster as we get ever closer to the end of summer. We’re sure some of you parents out there feel the same – especially those with children who are on the cusp of heading off to college for their very first time living away from home. Things will never be the same as they once were before one of your littles left the nest, but the feeling of pride that comes along with seeing your kin go off in the directions of their dreams with unlimited potential in their futures helps to soften the blow, at least a little bit. Before you know it, they’ll be home for Thanksgiving break full of stories, many of which you probably won’t want to hear, but a few that will blow you away with their responsibility, smarts, drive, and talents. This week we’re celebrating those pre-back to school jitters, whether it’s to a giant University, or a small scale community college. There are so many educational paths that one can take these days, but one thing they all most certainly have in common is a feeling of excitement, anticipation, and nerves as the first days of class approach. Amongst GiftTree’s back to school collection, you’ll find a wide selection of gifts appropriate for everyone going through these nerve-wracking times – from teachers, to parents, to of course the students themselves. Young or old, a gift will help to inspire those heading back to school to hit the books running. Explore the entire back to school collection on...

Friday’s Featured Artisan: Volpi Foods

The cornerstone of Friday’s Featured Artisan Volpi Foods’ success is its unparalleled dry cured meat. In 1898, John Volpi set sail for America from his hometown of Milan, Italy, bringing with him little more than a vision to utilize his craft and artisan skill. Having learned from his elders the ancient European art of dry curing, John had a plan to bring this centuries-old tradition across the ocean, supplying customers in America with his exquisite dry cured meats. In 1902, he opened the doors of Volpi Foods, a small store at the intersection of two dirt roads in a neighborhood in St. Louis known as The Hill. There, he created cacciatore— a seasoned, dried salami that was small enough to fit inside the pockets of the local clay miners. Cacciatore is a rich, bold, Hunter’s style salame, perfect for thick cut slices. He used only local ingredients and sought out only local suppliers, and dried the meats using the same method he’d learned in Italy: opening and shutting windows to control the temperature and humidity of the air that circulated throughout the room. The customer’s response to John’s exquisite craftsmanship was overwhelming. He soon added delicacies such as prosciutto, guanciale, pancetta, and coppa. Today, the Volpi storefront remains on the very same spot in St. Louis where John founded it and run by the very same family. For more than 110 years, Volpi Foods has been continually offering unique twists on the classic specialty foods—satisfying meat lovers’ discerning palates in ways that promise to change the landscape of the category. We at GiftTree absolutely love the sweet, spicy, luscious texture of Volpi’s dry cured Italian meats,...

Why We Gift Wednesday (Anniversary Edition!)

This Why We Gift Wednesday, we’re celebrating romance and all the forms it takes. From grandiose gestures to the small everyday things, there are so many little ways to celebrate the love in your life and keep it burning strong. The great thing is, every couple is different – what means the most to one couple might not be another couple’s style. You know your partner best, and what they’ll appreciate. And if you’re left with questions, the gifting experts of GiftTree are here to help! Explore below to find an idea that strikes a chord with you: A Toast to Your Love Champagne Basket Nothing is more classic than a bottle of champagne to toast to another year spent happily together. This elegant fleur de-lis keepsake container featured premium champagne paired with gourmet savory snacks and confections – the perfect romantic picnic just waiting to be enjoyed. Organic green olives, mixed vegetable antipasti, seasoned snack mix and cheese straws provide salty nibbles, while candy berries and chocolate wafers offer a sweet crescendo in this collection destined to delight the senses.   Personalized Anniversary Wine Crate Honor their relationship with this one-of-a-kind anniversary gift. Your special message and a premium wine are elegantly presented in a sturdy Happy Anniversary wine crate. Choose your wine, then choose your inscription for a extra special touch. Included in this Gift is your selection of one of three great wines: Tanner Ridge California Chardonnay A youthful, well-balanced Chardonnay with lively acidity and abundant fruit. The balanced combination of sweet oak and ripe layers of green apple, citrus, and cream deepen into a lingering finish,...

Which Glass is Right for My Beer?

Summer is in full swing here at GiftTree HQ, and there’s nothing we enjoy more than an ice cold beer on a scorching hot day. There’s nothing wrong with drinking your golden brew straight from the can, but if you really want to take your beer game to the next level, you need only one thing: a frosty vessel. Why do you need a beer glass? BeerAdvocate explains it best: “As soon as the beer hits the glass, its color, aroma and taste is altered, your eye candy receptors tune in, and your anticipation is tweaked. Hidden nuances become more pronounced, colors shimmer, and the enjoyment of the beer simply becomes a better, more complete, experience.” (https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/glassware/) Here are a few of our favorite glasses to get you started:     Pilsner: Tall, slender and tapered, this glass maintains the carbonation and hue of your beer while preserving its foamy head. Obviously a great glass for pilsners, but also a solid choice of barware for European beers like Doppelbocks, Schwarzbiers, or Witbiers.         Pint: The classic beer glass. The reason you’ll see this glass everywhere is because it is affordable, easy to store, and even easier to drink out of. This glass isn’t specialized, and can handle just about any type of beer you care to pour in it from an IPA to a Saison. If you enjoy beer as much as we do, pint glasses also make fun collectables!         Stein: These thick and sturdy glasses add gravitas to any home bar! Steins come in lots of fun shapes (think horns) and can come with or...

Friday’s Featured Artisan: Sartori Cheese

Friday’s Featured Artisan Sartori Cheese is a fourth generation, family owned and operated artisan cheesemaker with a passion for specialty cheeses and unique recipes that have been handed down for many generations. In the early 1900s, Paolo Sartori set off for America as an Italian immigrant aboard the Finlandia. While on board the steamship, he worked his way to the upper decks and struck up an unlikely friendship an Italian Count who started a cheese company in Minnesota, and invited Paolo to come and work for him. It was there that Paolo Sartori learned the business and art of cheesemaking, and in 1939, he moved to Wisconsin and started his own cheese company that is now simply known as Sartori Cheese. Today the company is in the hands of Paolo’s grandson Jim Sartori, and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. Sartori is most known for their BellaVitano, a cow’s milk Italian farmstead cheese with a nutty, fruity taste that’s also available in a number of different flavors including merlot, balsamic, raspberry and our personal favorite here at GiftTree, black pepper. Starting out like Parmesan, it has a creamy, rich texture with light fruity notes and a sweet and tangy finish. When you bite into a slice of BellaVitano, there’s a slight crunch that comes from calcium crystals that form as the cheese ages. GiftTree is proud to carry Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano cheese in a number of our Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie gifts, and we hope you get a chance to indulge in this delicious cheese!...

Send Summer Refreshment with Juicy Fruit Baskets

It’s a great time to send summer refreshment with juicy fruit baskets! This time of year presents many occasions to send someone a juicy fruit basket – from back-to-school, to Labor Day, to summer weddings, birthdays and more. There are also great varieties of fruit in season, like succulent oranges, delectable berries and crisp pears. Here at GiftTree, we have a superb selection of fruit baskets for all your summer gifting needs, here are a few of our favorites!   Fresh Fruit and Cookies Basket The Fresh Fruit and Cookies Basket combines a healthy treat with something sweet (a few sweet things in fact)! Featuring an excellent selection of pears, crisp apples, juicy oranges, along with sweets such as chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, marionberry shortbread cookies and more. Each gourmet item is individually wrapped for freshness, and the gift is accentuated with a hand-tied satin ribbon with optional personalization.   Fruit and Gourmet Delight The keepsake old world trunk comes packed with fresh fruits and gourmet fare both savory and sweet, great for foodies, globetrotters and geography teachers at the start of another school year. This gift includes fresh fruit such as gift grade pears, crisp apples, premium juicy oranges, along with savory treats such as pistachios and seasoned snack mix. We certainly don’t want to forget the sweet treats such as Chocolate Dolcetto Wafer Rolls, fruit slices, jelly beans and more.   Fresh Fruit and Gourmet Keepsake Chest Send along your best wishes with this cheerful gift of succulent fruits and gourmet confections in an exclusively designed keepsake chest. The chest comes packed full of gift grade pears, crisp apples, premium juicy oranges, as well as Gourmet caramels,...

Why We Gift Wednesday (Cousins Edition)

This Why We Gift Wednesday, we’re focusing in on the family members the truly blur the lines between family and friends. Not the ones that we feel obligated to spend time with because we’re related, but the ones that we totally choose to hang out with, because we’re so much more like friends. Here’s to the cousins who we grew up shooting Nerf guns with in the backyard and now depend on to swap stories about our children’s achievements, and ask for advice on our challenges. Raise a glass and toast that cousin who somewhere along the line transformed from just another member of the family tree to a lifelong friend and confidant.   Comment Below:  Do you have a cousin who doubles as a wonderful friend? Tell us about...

Friday’s Featured Artisan – Plum Island Soap Company

Friday’s Featured Artisan Plum Island Soap Company was born out of its founder Michele Diodati’s passion for creating all-natural soaps and lotions for her own friends and family that were free of any chemicals or harmful ingredients. She mixed up recipes in her kitchen to cure her baby’s diaper rash and experimented with natural ingredients to relieve her own growing anxiety when reading labels on products in her cabinets. When Michele first started out, she sold her soaps at Farmers Markets in and around Boston as well as craft fairs throughout New England. She was sure to collect email addresses and contact info of the customers she met along the way, and kept in touch with them as the business grew. As it turned out, there were a lot of people out there who shared her concerns, and were also looking for natural spa and bath products. It’s these customers’ continued loyalty that have helped Plum Island Soap Company stay true to their path of purity. What started in the kitchen took over the living room, and shortly thereafter demanded the whole house and now, Plum Island Soap Company operates out of a little cottage on Plum Island, Massachusetts. This is the magical place where all the soapy, buttery goodness takes place. They make their products daily out of a little tiny shop, mixing and packaging their all-natural line. In some ways, they operate like a bakery, using similar equipment and making everything in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. From the very beginning, the mission was to create bath products using the purest, simplest ingredients, without using dyes, perfumes...

How to Write the Perfect Birthday Card Message

Celebrating a dear friend or family member turning another year older (and wiser) is such a fun part of life. It’s their day to shine, and be shown just how much they’re loved while being showered with gifts, and indulging in decadently sweet desserts. But, sometimes expressing your excitement for someone’s special day is easier said than done and when you sit down to write that perfect birthday card message, writer’s block strikes! Don’t worry, here at GiftTree we have your birthday card covered! With our selection of ideas below, you’re sure to find something that sums up the message you have in your head that you need to get down on paper. Read on for our guide on how to write the perfect birthday card message:   For family and dear old friends: Happy Birthday! May your day be filled with scrumptious cake, amazing gifts, decadent cake, smiling faces, and did I mention cake? You deserve it!     P.S. Cake! As you blow out the candles this year, just think – it’s another wonderful year you’ve had the chance to enjoy me as your (daughter/friend/niece/etc.)! Here’s to next year and all the great times we’ll have together. Today we celebrate all the wonderful years you’ve been in our lives. We look back and total up many, many years we’ve counted on you, and your warm, funny, personality. Don’t think about exactly how many years, just hurry up and blow out all those candles so we can get started on that cake! Happy Birthday! You take care of everyone else, so today’s your day to put up your feet and let...

Why We Gift Wednesday (Hiking Partner Edition!)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, where GiftTree headquarters are located, we’re hiking fanatics! Ask just about anyone what their favorite hobby is, and you’re likely to hear hiking somewhere in the list, and more often than not, right at the top! Speaking of the top, reaching a summit with someone just seems to instantly bring you closer – the mix of endorphins and elation at having reached a goal together all seem to culminate and make for an even closer friendship. Not to mention the deep conversations that just seem to flow and echo through the empty, serene forest as you take each step. This Why We Gift Wednesday we’re celebrating those in our lives who are our partners on the trail, who stick by our side as we overcome obstacles, cross bridges, and ultimately work towards reaching those peaks that bring about so much joy and a huge sense of accomplishment. And when we return to the car sweaty and covered in dirt, are right there with us scarfing down Chex mix, and maybe cracking open a celebratory beer in the parking lot. Comment Below: Do you have a hiking partner who’s just the best person to hit the trails with? Maybe they’re with you metaphorically as you make your way along the ups and downs of life? We’d love to hear your story – it could be featured on the next...

Friday’s Featured Artisan – The Magnolia Company

In Central Florida, warm sun and gentle rain showers cover over 250-acres of thriving Southern Magnolia trees, whose lush leaves are used to create gorgeous wreaths and home decor by Friday’s Featured Artisan, The Magnolia Company. In the 1800’s, Jeremiah Underhill arrived in America as a farmer with a passion for growing and gardening premium foliage. His son Joseph was awarded a land grant for military service, and that land became the homestead for The Magnolia Company farm and estate, which to this day, is still owned and operated by the Underhill family. “We at The Magnolia Company desire to continually expand upon our rich heritage of producing very high quality products through creativity, ingenuity and old-fashioned hard work. Being firmly rooted in these principles, we look forward to serving you in this tradition.”  Here at GiftTree, we’re honored to partner with The Magnolia Company in three of their outstanding designs that are truly living works of art. We especially love the All Natural Lavender and Magnolia Wreath! Fragrant and naturally beautiful, this spectacular wreath combines fresh-cut magnolia leaves with dried lavender and floral accents. The handmade wreath features a thick base of green magnolia leaves embellished with dried lavender sprigs, hydrangea, globe thistle, and pepperberries. The finishing touch of a lavender ribbon completes this stunning creation that will be appreciated for many seasons. This large wreath can last up to five years and is a simply gorgeous addition to any home.     Comment Below:  Indoor plants, wreaths, garland… what kinds of leaves and foliage do you gravitate...

Ten Ways to Cure the Kids’ Summer Boredom

Here we are in the long, warm, lazy dog days of summer. The independence day decorations are packed up and most of us have returned from our much-anticipated summer vacations, and that means there’s pretty much an entire month remaining of the kids just kind of “hanging out at home” before school starts. So when we hear the two dreaded inevitable words: “I’m bored!” Not to fear, GiftTree has a come up with this list of ten fun summer boredom-busters for kids of all ages. Onward!   1. Backyard Campout! Help the kids set up their own backyard campout! It’s fun for kids of all ages and teaches them to be resourceful. Check out this helpful resource and complete guide to backyard camping with kids. 2. Cook together! Plan out lunch and dinner menus and get cooking! Kids love to feel involved in their parents’ busy lives, so why not let them help you plan out August’s dinner menu, gather recipes together, and even cook together? If you have a picky eater or need a little help browsing recipes, Real Simple has a great list of 50 Family-Friendly Dinners that kids are sure to love to cook and eat! 3. Get their Room Ready for a New School Year! Everyone loves to enter into a new year feeling organized and tidy,  but cleaning, sorting and re-organizing your kid’s room might feel like a chore when you put it like that. Present it to them in a way that they can see it as a room-makeover! They get to choose new decorations, re-arrange the furniture, and make sure they have a great spot to study...

Why We Gift Wednesday (Nature’s Magic Edition)

This Why We Gift Wednesday we’re giving a shout out to the adults in our lives who sparked our imagination as kids, who kindled our spirits, and who made us more aware of the magic all around us. As we think about the people in our lives that made a difference to us throughout the years, sometimes those small learning moments are the ones that had the most impact. Is there someone in your life who took the time to show you a cool bug, a beautiful waterfall, or marveled along with you at a stunning sunset? Comment Below: We’d love to hear about the people in your life you remember showing you something magical in nature that you’ll never forget. Or, maybe you’re the one passing on your knowledge to the next generation. Share your story! It could be featured in the next...

Sunny Spa Gifts For a Summer Day

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a spa day! If you’re looking for the perfect spa gift for women or men on your list, a gift recipient in your life, now is the time. With shorts, tank tops and sandals, more skin than ever is showing and in need of pampering, exfoliation and hydration to keep it looking its best. Plus, the weather is great to sit outside and host a D.I.Y. spa day right in your own back yard or deck on a breezy summer’s afternoon complete with a glass of crisp rose wine, and a selection of refreshing nibbles. Our selection of spa gifts a great place to start towards a day of ultimate relaxation, and a refreshing retreat! Tip: Wet some towels, ring out most of the water, roll up and place on a platter in the fridge. They’re great to grab at the end of a summer spa pampering session to cool down. Pair with some ice cold cucumber and lemon infused water and your at-home experience will rival a high-end spa in no time.   Bath and Body Invigoration Our Bath and Body Invigoration is a great choice for a spa gift for women that offers the ease of a spa pampering session all in one place, while also being easy on any gift giver’s budget. With it’s bright, bee-friendly and natural products, and a selection of spa tools all wrapped up in an adorable wooden spa bucket, this kit is destined to wash away the day’s stresses and pamper the body from head to toe.     The Man Can Men need...

Friday’s Featured Artisan – Sasanian Caviar

Friday’s Featured Artisan, Sasanian Caviar, is the undisputed recognized source for the finest caviar in the world. Hailed as “the Ambassador to Luxury”, Sasanian offers a collection of the highest quality Imported and American caviar, always sustainably sourced. If you’re not familiar with caviar but you’re just not sure where to start, there’s a lot to be learned! Caviar has been a part of culinary culture for centuries, with roots tracing back to Persia, Greece and the Roman Empire, exploding in popularity when it expanded to Russia and the European monarchies. Caviar can come from many types of fish including several species of sturgeon, paddlefish, salmon, trout or whitefish. The eggs, referred to as “roe” or “pearls”, can range from teeny-tiny granules, like Flying Fish (Tobiko) roe, to very large pearls like Salmon roe, that burst with the flavor of a fresh fish in the ocean with a subtle hint of sea salt. It’s usually spooned on to a blini or white bread with crème fraîche or sour cream. It’s highly recommended to use a spoon made from Mother-of-Pearl or one that is not metallic, as the metal can interfere with the delicate flavor of the roe. GiftTree is proud to partner with Sasanian to offer three beautiful gift sets of caviar, and we’re sure you’re going to absolutely adore the fresh flavor and luxury experience.     Exclusive to GiftTree, Sasanian offers up this selection of fine Siberian Baerii Sturgeon caviar, creamy medium-sized pearls from pristine fresh water, and wild Alaskan Salmon Roe, large pearls bursting with the flavor of fresh ocean breezes. These fine caviars are served on savory Russian blinis with Mother of Pearl serving spoons....

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...
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