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.