Update: This giveaway is closed.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always very excited to receive gourmet gifts. Nothing makes me happier than a bottle of grapeseed oil, or a jar of fine pesto, or some tahini with an intriguing story, or a candy bar which reminds me of my beloved England, or… You get the idea 😉 I see such gifts as a window of opportunity: they’re my chance to experiment, to get out of the routine, to finally be myself in the midst of a crazy, busy world. As someone who appreciates gourmet gift-giving, I’m always on the lookout for high quality presents to share with foodie friends. Sometimes however, finding the perfect food-centered gift can be difficult. Equally important, what should I give to a foodie who (almost) has it all?
Thankfully, I found a way to solve my gift-giving dilemmas recently, when I was contacted by Nielsen-Massey to review the gift basket they had designed in partnership with McCrea’s Candies. As someone who had collaborated with Nielsen-Massey in the past, I was interested to review the latest Nielsen-Massey holiday gift suggestions, especially since they involved a partnership with a caramel-making company. Vanilla sugar and sea salt caramels in the same box? Count me in!
The basket I received featured one bottle of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Coffee Extract, one jar of their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, and two boxes of McCrea’s caramels: Classic Vanilla and Black Lava Sea Salt.
The presentation was elegant and the assortment of products made perfect sense to me. This basket had been designed to include flavors that worked well together and to stand out from the crowd.
Every one of these products could make up a delightful foodie gift on its own. The Nielsen-Massey coffee extract has a wide variety of uses, ranging from baked goods and cocoa to soups, gravies, tomato sauces and salsas. Meanwhile, the vanilla sugar can be used in cookies and cakes, sprinkled in beverages or on top of pancakes, fresh fruit or cookies.
I used 1 tbsp of coffee extract in my usual cheesecake recipe, which I topped up with vanilla sugar to enhance the texture and presentation. The coffee extract added rich, freshly brewed flavor and an unexpected espresso twist to my tried-and-tested vanilla flavored cheesecake, while the vanilla sugar provided a crunchy finishing touch my family thoroughly enjoyed.
I believe the purest of flavors can show off an artisan’s skills the best. Being such a purist at heart, McCrea’s top-selling vanilla caramels were my obvious favorite. The caramels had been infused with Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract to create an aromatic symphony of flavors, which burst in my mouth with fresh notes of decadent sweetness. Meanwhile, the black lava sea salt caramels surprised me with their mini-pockets of coarse-grained Hawaiian sea salt – a nice salty crunch which counterbalanced the overall sweetness of the candies. This is McCrea’s signature caramel, and what a joy it is!
I enjoyed sampling this Nielsen-Massey and McCrea’s gift basket and I appreciated the craftsmanship and attention to detail displayed flavor- and presentation-wise. These high quality products are likely to impress the most demanding food connoisseurs because the flavors are authentic and the products epitomize a persuasive mix of tradition and innovation. Give these away to your foodie friends during the holiday season, and they’ll love you forever 🙂
Nielsen-Massey and McCrea’s are offering Chicago Loves Panini readers the chance to win one gift box similar to the one I received, to make this holiday sweet, decadent and truly memorable.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: What gifts do you usually give to your foodie friends?
Giveaway open to US residents only. One entry per person. Deadline for entries is 6PM central time on December 27th, 2017. One winner will be chosen on or around December 28th, 2017 by using a random number generator and will have 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. I reserve the right to pick an alternative winner if the original winner does not contact me 72 hours after receipt of winner notification email.
*Disclaimer: While I received a complimentary gift box to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.
Denise Johnson says
I gift them different spices, sauces, and seasoning packages.
kelly tupick says
I like to gift them some sort of subscription box similar to this or make my own gift basket with an assortment of items. I may gift then a skillet or wok as well.
Ann Fantom says
I gift my friends homemade cookies, brownies and chocolates etc.
Kathy Davis says
I would give them a gift card to our local meat market.
Sandy Klocinski says
I love giving chocolate for gifts because it has a long shelf life and it’s a classy way to show all types of friends and family that you love them.
Different cheeses and crackers.
Margaret Smith says
I like making gift baskets of some foods that I know they would like. Candy, cookies, cheese, crackers, meat, wine, etc. I also add in home baked items.
food! or some kitchen paraphernalia…
I give a variety of nuts and spices.
Jessica D says
I give them gift certificates to our favorite resturants.
kathy Persons says
I give homemade baked goods in a basket with some kitchen gadgets, new towels andpotholders
Cynthia C says
For my family, I usually give a nice piece of kitchen equipment. For friends, I give home made food items like cookies and candy.
Tracy Pryor says
I give them different kinds of cheeses and meats.
Michelle Garrity says
I make an amazing homemade BBQ sauce that I give.
Linda Lansford says
I give them chocolate
I give my foodie friends homemade cookies!
Kenneth Helmick says
Hot sauce baskets
Mary Beth Elderton says
I usually give baked goods as small gifts, but my only real “foodie friend” is my daughter-in-law. I almost always give her something for her kitchen. This year I will be adding a cool set of Wusthof Burger Knives.
vera wilson says
One really likes my pound cake, so make that special for her. Nephew loved my homemade chocolate pie so be sure he gets one of those.
I give my foodie friends chocolates from a local chocolate maker – they are the best!
Brandy Graham says
I usually give 2 of my bff’s a gift card to Starbucks. They look forward to that gift every year considering they go to Starbucks every morning.
Julie Terry says
I give my foodie friends seasonings, spices, new cookbooks.
Nicole Martin says
I would give them a grocery gift card.
I love to give cookies, thank you so much for the offer.
tammy kubitz says
I give my foodie friends pizelles. this year I am giving them garlic seasoning from TheBlondeItalian.com
Cindy Peterson says
I like to give my foodies interesting spices or salts.
Spice blends are my favorite thing to give!
Surinder gurm says
Chocolate with unique flavour like chai
Heather D says
I give special spices and sauces. Sometimes wines.
Kelly D says
I give a bottle of wine.
Tracy Davis says
I usually give wine and cheese gift baskets.
Kim O says
i give them fruit boxes from Harry and david.
Larry Gober says
My favorite gift to friends who love food are packages I created especially for them, can include spices, local cornmeal, coffees, local craft beers, and especially focusing on locally produced products.
Deborah N. says
I try to give different things each year. For example one year I gave aprons, another year I have homemade vanilla and nice dish towels. I usually give my husband a new cookbook.
Phil H. says
I give my foodie friends autographed cookbooks for Christmas.
kathy eyre says
It usually has something to do with spices, but I’ve been known to do a 6 pack of unique beer!!
Kim Avery says
I try to find them unique spices or make a blend of my own for them and maybe a cookbook they had been talking about.
Donna DePaolo says
As an event coordinator, I get to attend a variety of food events in my local area and sample the latest “hot” items. I give my foodie friends a sampling of what I’ve found to be the latest “hot” food as their Christmas present. Your giveaway basket would be a hit!
Kayte CookWatts says
I usually give local coffee or hot sauce. Sometimes local whiskey too.
I like to give out wild rice because it is a local food here in the midwest.
Katie Rose says
Either something I’ve baked, spice mixes, or helpful little gadgets for the kitchen.
Shelly P says
I give them expensive chocolate or gift cards so they can purchase what they like.
Unique kitchen tools and appliances
Kimberly G says
I give them chocolates and cheeses.
Allyson Tice says
I usually give a basket with homemade cookies and breads!
i love giving flavored syrups! maybe because it helps me convince them to make me special coffee drinks! ;D
alice minx says
I gift unusual spices or bakeware
Glendy C says
Usually chocolates or other sweets gourmet gift baskets
I usually give them baked goods, chocolates, or and Italian foods themed basket.
GENA BENNETT says
CRAFTED COCKTAIL MASON JARS, CURED MEATS AND CHEESE, SPICES, UNIQUE COFFEE AND TEA BLENDS, SAUCES, PASTAS AND TAPENADES!
I usually give them gift cards to Sur La Table.
Serena Powell says
I usually try to get them some quality kitchen ware or local made food items.
Antoinette M says
I give them gift cards to their favorite store.
paige chandler says
I give a really good bottle of olive oil
Harry and David pears.
Gift cards to local restaurants
Chocolate, spices, gift cards or gadgets!
Monique Rizzo says
I usually give them interesting specialty spices
Ashley C says
I like to give them gourmet or specialty food items
We have a local company that makes various jams and I give those a lot.
I’m giving bars of chocolate and dark chocolate this year.
Chloe Fordree says
Fredrick Pauly says
It depends on what type of food they like.
Lorena Keech says
We usually exchange homemade candies and flavored nuts. I would never presume to pick spices or flavoring for a true “foodie.” Even if I love them, I know everyone has their own faves.
Albert L Peruzzo says
Sarah Mathias says
I usually give a food gift basket or a gift card to a restaurant they like.
Donna Clifford says
Cookbooks, really good bakery items, or sometimes I bake things myself.
Susan Christy says
I give them fudge. It’s my favorite thing to make during the holidays and their favorite thing to eat.
An assortment of homemade Christmas cookies and cheesecake.
susan smoaks says
i love to gift kits to cook or bake with to my foodie friends.
I love giving my foodie friends chocolates from my favorite chocolate shop in Santa Barbara.
I like to make a new dish and give that with a cooking utensil and the recipe to my foodie friends.
Michelle Fuller says
I buy the person a spice collection from whichever region of the world.
Lauren Abbott says
Usually, for my foodie friend, I give them gift cards to small, local places I want them to try, that way I can share my favorite foods with them easily.
Holli Joren says
I make desserts/cookies for them.
Rebecca W says
I like to bake homemade cinnamon rolls or cookies to give as gifts. Everyone loves receiving them!
Gina Freire says
Chips and soda is what my friends get from me.
I do chocolates usually from a local shop. Yum!
I give them chocolates.
Angie Ford says
I always send my foodie friends an assortment of candy,cookies ,and fudge.
I like to give a gift set to a local olive oil store.
We do chocolate covered macaroons.
I usually give out my homemade cookies.
Erica B. says
Restaurant gift cards.
I give my foodie friends fancy vinegar and olive oil sets.
Lisa Voyce says
Gift cards to their fav restaurants.
Sarah Cool says
I usually make gift baskets with all their favorite items to eat or snack on
Kim Miller says
Jennifer Reed says
For my foodie friends I usually give a great bottle of olive oil or vinegar. They always seem to appreciate it and use it.
angie w says
I gift my friends homemade things like decorated cookies or cupcakes
Melissa Shirley says
I usually try to find a unique footprint of gift basket with unique seasonings or sauces
I usually get my foodie friends baking ingredients, like high quality chocolate, extracts, butter, oil, etc. For those that don’t like to cook or bake, like my parents, I make them something they love. My dad’s a sucker for the classics, just like me. We both go for chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, chocolate chip cookies and fudgy brownies! My mom on the other hand loves vanilla cake with coconut frosting.
Jodi Hassel says
Gift certificates to the newest restaurants
Hesper Fry says
I like to give a gift basket with interesting and good food items!
Amber Williamsen says
I like to give them unique foods from around the world. The food subscription boxes are awesome also!
Jake B says
I’ve been known to give them homemade cookies or take them to a nice restaurant of their choice to experience new foods.
We give an assortment of things….this year it was homemade bread and yeast rolls to accompany dinners. Changed up the recipe from here just a bit : https://gypsyroadschool.blogspot.com/2015/03/king-arthur-knights-of-bread-table.html
Danielle Magee says
I usually give homemade goodies and wine to my foodie friends.
Cheryl VanBrunt says
I usually give them a gift card to a restaurant I know they like.
DeeAnn S says
I like to give homemade jellies and jams, breads, cookies, and candies.
Shannon Baas says
Brenda Robinson says
I try to find a gift card to their favorite store
I usually give them gift baskets with some of their favorite food items or brands, and then also include a gift card to a restaurant or coffee shop.
Susan Climan says
Good chocolate and wine!
Meredith Brooks says
Usually I give cookbooks or kitchen gadgets. Thanks for the chance to win.
Karen Gonyea says
I love to gift the ingredients to a new recipe and include the recipe card.
Vicki Andrew says
cheese and crackers or chocolates
Mary Gardner says
I usually give my friends home made baked goods such as shortbread or gingerbread.
I travel a lot, so I like to pick up local ingredients and condiments. Mexican vanilla is always a hit, as well as jerk seasoning from Jamaica.
Rose Santuci-Sofranko says
Honestly, I only give gifts to my husband and a sibling…and neither of them are “foodies”….but they do like snacks as gifts!
Trisha McKee says
I love giving kitchen tools, such as unique cutting boards or timers.
Kim myers says
I like to give wine. You can’t go wrong with that.
Laurie Emerson says
I give them cookbooks, foods they have never tried before and gift cards to food sites so they can try ones they might like.
kathy pease says
I usually bake all kinds of sweets for gift baskets
Joni Chadwell says
I love to give lots of homemade cookies and my “special” Chex Mix”
Usually gadgets or baskets with spices and sauces.
I love giving See’s candy to my foodie friends.
Erin M says
I give restaurant gift certificates.
Michelle H. says
It varies. Lately, I have been giving them homemade candy along with other things I know they like.
Vikki Billings says
I like to give cook books to my foodie friends!
Susan Chester says
I love to make and give an assortment of home-made cookies!
Juanita May says
Cookbooks or gift baskets with good quality olive oil, wine and cheeses.
Jerry Marquardt says
I like to give away an assortment of candies, cookies and cheese baskets on the holidays and for birthdays year round.
Carla Pullum says
Candles is the main request from all my friends as gifts!
Eileen Boyce says
I give cookies, chocolate, nuts and spices.
I give them gift cards to their favorite restaurant
Scott D says
I am asked to make my Beer Cheese.
I bake cookies, but not your ordinary cookies. I make madelines, pizzelles and other less known cookies.
Janice Gabriel says
I give my foodie friends gifts ranging from homemade cookies to Hungarian or barbeque seasonings to gourmet coffees or teas or accessories.
Jane McGregor says
Yogurt covered pretzels!
Jessica Whitehouse says
I give restaurant gift cards or gift baskets with fruit, chocolate, snacks, and specialty foods.
Janice B says
We bake lots of different cookies. I like to make up trays with a variety of cookies for my friends.
I give them homemade goodies and the recipes to go with them.
giftcards to their favorite restaurants
spice collections, cook books, new apron and oven mit set, thick bamboo cutting board, chefs knife
Janine Hwang says
I’d give serving platters!
yana ryjova says
nice olive oil sets make great gifts.
Julie R says
Kitchenware from crate and barrell
Sarah L says
I like to give herbs and spices from my local spice shop.
Thanks for the contest.
kerry p says
i usually know my foodie’s friend’s favorite products, so i make my own gift basket of their favorites. it could be anything… candy, spices, cheese, etc.
Melinda A says
I usually just get them a gift card so they can get whatever gizmo they are needing or wanting.
Rachel V says
I give a cookbook, kitchen gadget, or a dessert.
I like to give chocolate and spices
Taryn T says
It is always a little intimidating to give foods to foodie friends. I do make a mean fudge that seems to be well liked, though. I also like to mix salty and sweet treats.
Brandy Williams says
This year I made gift baskets for everyone with their favorite treats. My brother got a beef jerky and candy theme basket. My kids got movie snack themed baskets.
I make food baskets..some with baking supplies..some with candy
Joy L says
Gift cards to a restaurant are always nice.
Kat Emerick says
I like to give a nice cookie cookbook and some spices that they may use.
Anne Perry says
I like to make gift baskets. Farmer’s market finds like macadamia nuts, organic dragon fruit & persimmons.
Darlene Owen says
I usually give them a gift card to a nice restaurant they like to go to.
Katie Bellamy says
Gift cards! They can go and get what they want! 🙂
Mary Jacobowitz says
I give them gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to buy new cook books.
Philip Lawrence says
lly give my foodie friends things that I have baked myself.
Jaclyn James says
I always give my foodie friends an assorted gift basked of the best cool culinary items I can find!
Sharon Schoepe says
Gift cards. You can never go wrong with gift cards.
Tammy Woodall says
I like to give my foodie friends Mason Jars ingredients for meals, Pecan Treats, and Chocolate goodies.
Reindeer food- trail mix with chocolate, raisins, and other things mixed up together
Debbie B says
i fix up a basket with unique spices and rubs for cooking
I gift them different spices and teas
Elizabeth Ray says
I usually gift homemade fudge. (No complaints yet!)
amy guillaume linderman says
love to give soup mixes in a jar! and a nice hearty bread mix
I give them chocolates.
Brooke R. says
I like to give gift cards to a new restaurant or a fun baking kit full of new flavors.
Vicki D. says
Usually, I make a plate of homemade goodies. I will either make a bread, some cookies, or some candies. Everyone loves it!
LeAnn Harbert says
I give a gift card to a new restaurant they haven’t tried.
Brandi Dawn says
I like to gift random oddities that I find at Farmers Markets. World Market also has fun finds to gift!
Jeremy McLaughlin says
Gift cards to restaurants.
Janet Boyanton says
Usually I give them an assortment of spices.
Lissa Crane says
I always love to make my own baskets of unique foods that I find when I travel.
Abigail Gibson says
I will give a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
Casey Everidge says
I usually give them different food related gift cards!
monique s says
I give them fun new spices and seasonings or cooking accessories
Amber Hensley says
I usually give them a cook book or gift card to their favorite restaurant!!! 🙂 Happy Holidays!
I like to give them different spices and sauces and any cute serving dishes I can find.
connie danielson says
I give them cheese and crackers and then some assorted chocolates!
Dericka Buckles says
I like to give gourmet cheese and meat baskets.
Stacy D. says
I normally give them gift cards to wherever they go the most!
Andrea P. says
I usually give my foodie friends Spices, biscotti or cookies!
Sharon Rooney says
It depends on who they are. I sometimes give wine and cheese or cookies and candy.
Yvonne Delgado says
I usually give them dry fruit, good quality chocolates, and some quality popcorn in a few flavors.
Breanna Davies says
I try to give them gift cards to their favorite places to eat or favorite local stores to buy products to cook with.
Angelica Dimeo says
I try to give gift cards to different food places
Kelsey vinson says
Gift sets. My dad got a hot sauce set. Or the brewery gift sets, cheese sets, etc
Julie Waldron says
We give them gift cards to local restaurants.
Laurie Nykaza says
I check first for food allergies to the party I am gifting too because my son has Celiacs disease and i do hate when people gift me items that he cant eat. I give fruits and items I know the person will love chocolates ,cakes etc.
I just gave my foodie friend a basket loaded with spices, fresh herbs and lots of hot sauce..
Donna L says
I like to give cookies.
Jo Ricker says
I usually give gift kits to my foodie friends. Coffee kits, tea kits, sauce kits, spice kits. Depending on what they like or what flavors they enjoy.
Shelly Leatham says
We usually make gift baskets with spices, wine, kitchen gadgets, homemade food items and a gift card!
Audrey Stewart says
We are a family of pie bakers. We always give then an apple pie. We have a tree.
Jessica L Pumo says
Smoked and seasoned salts are a favorite. We’ve also been known to give fresh citrus from our trees and homemade ricotta.
I like to give them hard to find candies.
Richard Brandt says
We usually give coffees from local roasters.
I like to give my foodie friends something homemade like a pie or cookies! If there is no time for that, than I would give them chocolates from a local place. Thanks for the chance!
Peggy Rydzewski says
Usually some local BBQ sauces
Ken Ohl says
I usually go with a Hickory Farms Gift Box
Jennifer Scheldberg says
I like to give dessert or drink mixes.