How to Make a Gift Basket for the Gourmet Connoisseur

By on Feb 18, 2013

gourmet-picIf you have someone in your life for whom fast food is a four-letter word or who eschews common supermarket items because of their inferior quality, then you probably have difficulty choosing gifts – or inviting them over for dinner! Solve your problems with a gourmet gift basket (like the ones shown on this site) designed for the food connoisseur. Rather than spending a small fortune on pre-made gourmet gift baskets, assemble your own to delight your girlfriend or boyfriend.

The trouble with gourmet foodies is that they can probably tell if you go to your local supermarket and get some cheese with a fancy label. This makes them incredibly difficult to shop for – but not impossible. How do you satisfy their Danish Brie cheese tastes on your American cheese slice budget? It’s easy: go local. With locally grown and locally produced items, you can create a gift basket that is pleasing and affordable.

No matter where you live, there are local specialties and products. In Vermont, for instance, you could easily create your gourmet’s gift basket with pure maple syrup, award-winning cheddar cheese, fresh goat cheese, Vermont wine (like ice wine), and fresh breads. In Georgia, you can create a scrumptious basket with local peaches, peanuts, and Vidalia onions. You could include homemade preserves and jellies, and a bottle of Georgia vintage wine. You can find local treasures in any area of the country.

You could visit a farmers’ market and pick up all the ingredients needed to make salsa or a big vegetable soup. Simply assemble these in a basket, add the recipe on a printed card, and leave it to your connoisseur to enjoy. If your food lover loves to eat rather than cook, assemble a basket of fresh veggies and fruits with a homemade dill dip and some bread and cheese. All of this is delicious, natural, local food, and all of it should satisfy the palette of any gourmet. And best of all? It’s affordable!

Another money-saving idea is to look for inspiration online. Search “gourmet food on a budget,” and you will find endless recipes that sound far more expensive than they really are. For instance, you can make a basket which features ingredients for one or two of those meals. Here is a recipe for Middle Eastern Couscous, as an example.
Assemble for the basket:
• A small jar of olive oil.
• ½ cup of raisins. Put these into a half-pint canning jar.
• A clump of garlic (local if you can get it!)
• 1 ½ cups packaged couscous. You can either include the box or measure the amount and put it into a jar with a label.
• A small food baggie with a seasoning mix of: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon coriander, and ¾ teaspoon of salt. You can put this into a decorative paper envelope and label it for a nicer look or you could simply buy a bottle of each spice for the recipient.

Put the following instructions with the basket on a printed card:
• Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add the raisins, 1 minced garlic clove, and spices. Cook and stir for about a minute.
• Add the couscous to the pan with 2 cups of boiling water.
• Stir with a fork, cover tightly, and remove from the stove.
• Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes.
• Take the cover off, fluff the couscous with a fork to mix all of the ingredients together.
• Enjoy!

You can substitute any recipe you like, but the idea is to give them the tools (the inexpensive tools) with which to create their own gourmet dishes.

Gourmets may have expensive tastes, but you don’t have to break your budget to accommodate for them. Try these ideas next time the food connoisseur in your life needs a gift.

About The Author
JJ Smith is an event consultant that shares her party planning tips, favorite recipes and seasonal craft ideas at Gifts and Baskets, where she is a regular blog contributor.