Sunday, November 3, 2013

Holiday Gifts For The Hosts/Home

Gifts that guarantee an invite back…the no-brainer choice is ALWAYS luxury chocolates---and the best is from La Maison du Chocolat.

It starts with the Holiday 2013's festive packaging ---an annual creative effort with this year's theme A Midwinter Night's Dream…

Each morsel, whether a Maison truffle, creamy filled ganache, mouth watering solid chocolate or deluxe Macaron à la Ganache- is a revelation as to what quality really is. Seriously, have just once, and what goes for chocolate in the USA becomes a bad joke on tastebuds.

Limited Edition Gift Box of Macarons $22
Duo of Pears, Noire de Noir, Blanc de Noir, Noir Hazelnut, Nougat Dark and Nougat Creamy -The Midwinter Night's Dream Coffrets $48, $67, $98 

Elegance personified-with "a nod to the carols of yesteryear…"La Mason du Chocolat's seasonal offerings of chocolate and macarons crafted by master chocolatier Nicolas Cloiseau result from months of sourcing the exact ingredients and combining them just so…a process unique to this adored French company.

The results are out of this world delicious---

The nearly week long effort to create this masterpiece-a clock like mechanism held in place by a lacework of delicate strands of chocolate=reindeer dashing against the stars and a night sky. The mediant disc garnished with pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, chocolate beads and cocoa nibs.


An artistic showpiece-extremely limited edition -made entirely by hand=  A Midwinter Night's Dream ($1,150)-is composed of two finely crafted frameworks in dark chocolate, latticework of reindeer and stars chiseled in white chocolate, open disks of dark chocolate stars covered in gold leaf, roasted crunchy nuts of the mend ant (almonds from Valencia, pistachios from Sicily, hazelnuts from Piedmont, pecans, chocolate beads and nibs) set in milk chocolate. Even the base is chocolate and edible. Measuring 17.7 inches height/15.3" diameter/8.7" in depth this 13.11 lbs  masterpiece is a big wow.

seasonal selections...

A Gift to One-Self:

The health benefits of chocolates-found in cocoa flavonoids contain powerful phyto-nutrients and theo-bromine that help support cardiovascular circulation…oh as if we needed another reason to indulge.

Another way to get the benefits-sans the calories and inexpensively= the chocolate flavored powder CocoaVia-that comes in a sweetened-or not, versions-as well as fruit flavors (Summer Citrus, Cran-Raspberry). Mix in coffee, milk (hot, cold) or sprinkle on oatmeal or hot air popped corn (what we did with the sweetened chocolate flavor-authentically chocolate tasting it was too).

At 20 calories/per packet -the Cocoapro™ extract is an easy, portable way to get the circulatory benefits. 

FYI CocoaVia supplements are convenient capsules-good for those with food allergies.

Home Gifts: 

Deck the halls…from Frontgate and Ballard Designs Southern Living-on HSN
We devour the Frontgate and Ballard Designs catalogues we receive in the mail, every so often. The beautifully staged homes furnished impeccably -display the good life lifestyle that many Americans dream about.  And all for sale too…in case we want to replicate-EVEN A TEENY TINY BIT.
Yet we always wondered whether in person with an up close inspection-whether the offerings on the page were as high quality as appeared to be in print. Amazingly, we can say yes -at least to the vast gift suggestions we saw at the superbly tricked out limestone mansion that hosted the Home Shopping Network's holiday fare. 
Frontgate Wooden Nutcrackers

Who knew that this on television channel and increasingly popular online resource for unique gifts -now include select, limited edition items from many brands…including the aforementioned  and home decor gifts (Grandinroad),   fashion labels (David Meister, Vince Camato), jewelry (RJ Graziano, Robert Lee Morris, Rhajana Khan), Beauty (Lorac, Trish McEnvoy, Lancome)…to name a very few.

Grandin Road battery operated candles-no worry about open flames-authentic looking too

HSN Ballard Designs Southern Living glassware

Gifty gadgets,,,,

OKAY,  not festive but necessary-emergency battery, lights, radio, car cables…serious back-up for when the electricity goes out.

Our top pick---easily-the re-jiggered original pinball machines… from HSN Frontgate. Anyone would make room in their cramped dwellings or spacious homes-for these super fun, light filled levered- refurbished games from yesteryear.

Ms PacMan
Guarantee time off a screen-iPads, tablets, smartphones---YES. The real games that require brain cells engaged=Frontgate's deluxe 3D Monopoly

other deluxe games sets-family fav Scrabble

Even we non-cooks want this-an HSN exclusive from Wolfgang Puck…rapid pressure oven…(currently sold out UGH)

Bottom Line: Instead of fighting the snarling holiday crowds-shopping from one's tablet while getting a pedicure-now we're talking…variety, budget friendly, easy shipping, festive holiday wrapping options…easy returns= YIPPY.