Best Hostess Gifts – Day 7 of The 12 Days of Shopping

Anne Taintor napkins, coasters, magnets, capability mom loves them allI love finding great hostess gifts, really. It’s fun and easy to create a signature gift. Anything Anne Taintor is fabulous.

Why Whine:

There is the favorite I-don’t-know-what-to-bring-or-even-if-this-is-decent-because-I-am-re-gifting-it bottle of wine – it is what you do with it. The Dollar Spot in Target is filled with great wrapping paper, cello and gift bags. anthropologie and sur la table dishtowels from capability mom Deliver the wine with a bow or personalize it with your own art work (get out the Mod Podge!), ribbons or ornaments. I keep a stash of Target ornaments and papers that I use for package decorations. Affix the tag to ribbon or write your message on the package.

Let’s Dish:

I also pick up pretty dishtowels throughout the year, holiday themed or not, you can use them as wrapping paper for wine, baked goods or tuck them into a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and the dry ingredients and recipe for your favorite holiday treats.

Chow Down:
Choccapability mom finds the best chocolate gift - and they are mice LA Burdickolate is always a favorite and you don’t have to spend a lot but feel free to upgrade, you can also go higher end both container and chocolate to make it even more special. I have found great containers at Target, Marshall’s, T.J. Max, Home Goods and The Container Store. The best chocolate (both in presentation and taste) I ever received was from this company, L.A. Burdick, and I may have eaten this box by myself, maybe.
Plant an Idea:
Prarosemary tree from Whole Foods Market by Capability Mom Bloggmatic Mom likes to give a lemon cypress or a rosemary tree. I got one last year that I didn’t kill kept alive for three months finally succumbed to my inattention. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have them for under $10. You could decorate it with little tiny presents or bows but they are gorgeous as is, smell terrific and you can tuck a favorite rosemary recipe in the card.

Spice It Up:

This is an item that I have long coveted – Dean & Deluca’s Spice rack. Cool, modern and a little geeky, which I love, of course. capability mom has long coveted this spice rack from dean and delucaIt is on the splurge side, so if you want to do this less expensively, pick up nice spices at your favorite local place like Sofra Bakery or you could head to Target for this cool Trudeau 16-bottle spice rack – $31.99. Still not what you are looking for? The Cheese Shop in Wellesley has spectacular food gifts and makes the best gift baskets. Also try Formaggio Kitchen – great cheese, chocolates and more in Cambridge and Hi-Rise Bakery – also Cambridge – for their own jams and a nice selection of wines (they package everything beautifully). Still not what you are looking for? Try Uncommon Goods, Black Ink or Just Next Door.

I almost forgot one of my favorite holiday haunts…Fastachi in Watertown – homemade chocolates, roasted nuts, specialty candy and nut butter (try the almond) – all prettily packaged, fresh and delicious.

Wine and chocolate

capability mom finds chocolate covered wine a treatYou know that line from Jerry Maguire “You had me at hello” (pre-couch jumping days for Tom Cruise)? Well, this pairing had me at hello (and I am not an easy sell).  The first time I tried chocolate and wine together was at a really sweet vineyard in Napa Valley but that was a long time ago and now I get my wine and chocolate at Marty’s – a local liquor store that also has a pretty decent deli, with great cheeses and specialty foods, including chocolate. It’s nice but it’s no Napa.

Both Pragmatic Mom and I both received lovely bottles of…wait for it….chocolate covered wine! Seriously, you ask, how is that even possible? And, if possible, isn’t it…messy? Well, I was curious and thrilled to find out (germ freak that I am), that the bottle of wine is covered in a plastic wrapping that you take off with a sweet ribbon that runs up the side of the bottle and the chocolate peels off in gorgeous pieces. I opened mine over the outer plastic wrap to catch any crumbs but it really wasn’t that messy.

It is a really sweet idea for a unique hostess gift and the presentation is lovely.  The red is a California Meritage wine which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec and comes dipped in dark chocolate.  The white is a very nice California Chardonnay and the bottle is dipped in milk chocolate.  The chocolate is lovely,  rich, Belgian chocolate made by a small family owned business (they have been making chocolate since 1940).  Each bottle is hand dipped in the chocolate and presented in cellophane gift wrapping tied with a ribbon.  This is a nice value and the chocolate and wine are carefully chosen to nicely complement each other.  This would be a nice hostess gift or sweet addition to a night out with your girlfriends.

The shipping is FREE and the price is discounted by $5. That’s right, $0 Shipping. Reg. $44.95 Special $39.95. Prices from My Wines Direct.

Valentine’s Day is Monday, February 14 – it may be too late to get this in time for that day but at least you have a reminder and a good idea – chocolate and wine.

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