Every wine gift basket needs jam. So, the question remains, what type of jam should you pick? Well, I recommend picking fig jam for a few reasons. First, fig jam is not too sweet. It also is great with wine because it pairs so well with the fig component in wine. Plus, fig jam is the ideal jam to use when you are pairing cheese, jam and crackers. Even if you think that raspberry or strawberry jam is a tastier jam, it’s not the best idea when designing a wine basket. While there are some wines that will pair well with strawberry or raspberry, or other really sweet jams, they are unusual.
Make sure and get a high quality fig jam.
Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese (12 Month Aged)
I’m listing cheddar cheese first because it works great with both white wine and red wine. You should avoid the mild, store brand cheddars. They are too bland. They are alright if you are using them for cooking, but if you are going to eat cheese on a cracker, then you want to choose an aged, extra sharp cheddar. These cheeses will be much firmer than regular cheddar cheeses. They have less moisture then regular cheddar. You might even find that they don’t slice, but rather crumbles like a hard Parmesan.
If you are shopping in your local supermarket, try and find an aged cheddar. A popular country that makes aged cheddar is Ireland. Look for one that has been aged at least 6 months. It will come in a sealed package. This way, the person who you are giving the gift to will be able to slice or shave a nice bit of cheese onto a cracker and enjoy it with a wonderful herb cracker.
Rosemary Herb Crackers
Jam and cheese needs to have a cracker. I like crackers that have a bit of a flavor, but not a flavor that will contrast too much with the wine. For this reason, I avoid using the cheese heavy crackers. If you want to enjoy cheese, enjoy it in its real form. Cheese flavored crackers are nice, but when you’re having a wine tasting with real cheese, crackers and jams, you don’t want a really heavy cheese crackers (the snack type that you find in the supermarket aisle). They will overpower your pallet.
The main herbs used when making crackers include thyme, rosemary, and peppercorn. I like a rosemary or peppercorn. Either one is good. If you want to go the extra mile, you could get two small sleeves of both…one herb rosemary and one peppercorn.
Of course, you don’t have to avoid cheese crackers, just make sure they are subtle. You will have to hit the gourmet aisle, or order online, for these crackers. They are not made with an overpowering cheese flavor. They are subtle and made for cheese tasting and wine tasting. Parmesan cheese is a cheese that has umami, which is a flavor that represents “savory”. The cracker is perfect to use with fig jam or a slice of extra shap cheddar cheese.
Wine and chocolate is one of the ultimate pairings. If you’re giving someone a gift, then make sure you give them something that they don’t normally get for themselves. While lots of people love truffles, not many people buy them on the regular. Most people who buy chocolate buy bar chocolate. While bar chocolate is often really good ( especially for people who want to eat chocolate for their health) chocolate truffles are the most decadent and most luxurious.
I recommend getting simple chocolate truffles, rather than flavored truffles. Some truffles have liquor such as rum. I would avoid these and rather choose a truffle that is pure, a French style truffle that is simply made to showcase the dark chocolate.
Get an exotic type of truffles that the person might not normally be able to find at their local store. I like these two particular brands. They are small production when compared to the big chocolate giants and they make excellent dark chocolate truffles.
The first one is a great chocolate truffle that are made with a touch of alcohol. The pairing of alcohol and chocolate is great because it enhances the flavor of both.
The second choice is an amazing set of fresh truffles. If you want something that has enormous flavor, and is not made with old, stale chocolate, then check this out.
Wicker Picnic Basket
If you’re going to make your own gift basket, you will need to get a wicker basket. This is actually good because many of the pre-made chocolate and wine baskets don’t use high quality wicker baskets. They use cheaper baskets which end up getting tossed out. This is fine if you’re just looking for a decorative basket to deliver the wine, chocolate, cheese and crackers, but if you want to give a really beautiful basket, then here are some great choices.
Beautiful hamper style wicker picnic basket. You can check it out on Amazon and read reviews.
This one has a square design. It’s heavy duty and is a fantastic choice if you’re planning on giving this to someone who is planning on going on picnics with plates, silverware, and needs lots of space.