THE NIBBLE Online Food Magazine
Suggests Fabulous Valentine Gift Alternatives
January 9, 2006, New York — Not everyone wants a big box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Some people don’t like it. Some people can’t eat it. Some people might like it, but they’ve worked too hard on their diets to yield to the temptation. And some people just prefer savory to sweet. Karen Hochman, Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE™ (online at TheNibble.com) suggests scrumptious alternatives for loved ones, gal pals, or anyone who has a piece of your heart.
AMAZING SWEETS THAT AREN’T CHOCOLATE CANDY
We love chocolate, but we understand that a box of it can be too much of a good thing. Here are just-as-wonderful alternatives.
1. Salt Caramels from Recchiuti Confections. Michael Recchiuti’s smokey, seductive caramel is a work of confectionary art…enrobed lightly in chocolate and topped with sea salt. They are so good, we just might prefer them to chocolate ourselves.
2. Cocoa Nuts Framboise Pralines. Traditional French pralines are whole almonds are roasted and caramelized on the stovetop, dipped raspberry purée and dusted in cocoa. Handmade by a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, they are little bites of heaven! If your Valentine doesn’t like raspberries, there are six other flavors, including Café (coffee), Épices (spice), Orange, Noir (dark chocolate), and Azteque (Spicy Aztec).
3. His Portrait in Cookies. Rolling Pin Productions will create cookies that look like your loved one, your dog, your house…not the photo cookies that you may have seen on the party circuit, but hand-designed and decorated. He/she/it never tasted so sweet!
4. Elegant Cheesecakes. A raspberry swirl cheesecake that looks like a gorgeous gift box with ribbons, bows, and roses…a bittersweet chocolate sour cream cake “box” that opens to reveal a milk chocolate truffle…are these works of art masquerading as cakes, or cakes that are art? Either way, they taste as good as they look, and are a gift that will be remembered for years.
5. Enstrom’s Sugar-Free Almond Toffee. People who can’t have sugar but still demand the best, can have it from Enstrom’s. The makers of what we think is the best classic toffee in America, also make a sugar-free version with maltitol that tastes almost identical to the original.
6. Edible Arrangements. Send “flowers” and sweets at the same time with Edible Arrangements. Fresh fruits—melon, pineapple, berries, grapes—are sculpted and arranged to look like a basket of flowers, eliciting a “wow” from everyone who receives one. We regularly receive boxes of the finest chocolates in the world, but nothing makes us happier than a healthy, gorgeous Edible Arrangement.
For those who just don’t like sweets, here are terrific treats that make great gifts—and they have absolutely no sugar:
7. Caviar For A Year. If money is no object, give your loved one a monthly caviar delivery that lets him or her taste a different fine caviar each month. Each monthly shipment from, Caviar Etc. includes the blini, crème fraîche and a mother of pearl spoon. Equally wonderful for $58.50 is a 6.5 ounce jar of Truffle Tiger Eye Caviar from Tsar Nicoulai.
8. David Burke Gourmet Pops. From celebrity chef David Burke, these sexy pops—gourmet food on lollipop sticks—come in goat cheese, smoked salmon, and foie gras. They make a romantic grazing dinner, or appetizers with champagne before heading out to your favorite restaurant. (They arrive frozen, and defrost in 2-1/2 hours.)
9. Heart-Shaped Ravioli. Ravioli is a food of love—yes, everybody loves it! It’s incredibly easy to make, so it doesn’t distract you from your loved one. Alfonso Gourmet Pasta makes red and white ravioli hearts in both cheese and lobster.
10. Mascarpone is for Lovers. That’s the name of this gift from The Mozzarella Company, one of America’s best cheesemakers. It’s a half-pound pecan praline mascarpone torta that arrives on a red Valentine doily on a white ceramic plate with a cheese knife. It’s a perfect dessert—all you do is supply the strawberries, cookies, champagne…and love.
CALORIE-FREE GIFTS FOR DIETERS
11. Bling H2O Spring Water. Designed for the stars, these frosted glass bottles of mineral water, studded with Swarovski crystals, will make any woman feel like a star herself. The limited-edition bottles are 750 ml, the size of wine bottles, and make drinking those 8 glasses a day a pleasure. How many fashion accessories are edible and this healthy?
12. Serendiptea Chocolate Teas. This tea company makes several teas are chocolate-tinged and delicious, not gimmicky. They were an oasis at The Chocolate Show in New York City in November—we enjoyed them as much as the luxury chocolates.
Also check THE NIBBLE’s February issue, online at TheNibble.com February 1, for the best chocolate gifts and the most romantic wine and spirits.
Karen Hochman is available for interviews to discuss how people can quickly and easily give a thoughtful, different, and greatly-appreciated Valentine’s Day gift that looks like they searched for months. Photos, details and links to find each of these items and other suggestions can be found in the February issue of THE NIBBLE™ online magazine at www.TheNibble.com.
About THE NIBBLE
THE NIBBLE™, Great Food Finds™, is an online magazine about specialty foods and the gourmet life. It is the only consumer publication and website that focuses on reviewing the best specialty foods and beverages, in every category. The magazine also covers tableware, gourmet housewares, and other topics of interest to people who love fine food. THE NIBBLE grew organically from its 2003 origins as e-mailed product recommendations to New York City wine collectors and gourmets, to a formal Top Pick Of The Week electronic newsletter that reaches a broad national audience of food enthusiasts. The monthly magazine, featuring dozens of product reviews, articles and reference materials, was developed to meet the demands of readers—and to meet a gap in the marketplace—for more extensive information about specialty foods. All content is archived on TheNibble.com for permanent reference and is free of charge.
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