Gifts of Taste for the Palate!

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Thanksgiving is a special time when we pause to admire nature’s weather, aromas and colors as a calm prelude to the holiday. We honor our nation’s heroes with Veterans Day and look forward to rekindling the joys of seasons past.

This season of amazing flavors liberates creative culinary ideas that share passion through gifts of food and wine. The tastemakers in our lives will be making lists for exquisite Thanksgiving menus or possibly digging up that family recipe for homemade cranberry sauce used but once a year. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and gratitude. We’re thankful for what lies within our dwelling and we also look outward for what makes us thankful in our communities and workplaces.
Why not share the gifts of thanks now, before the hectic holiday schedules begin? You may want to bring a tasteful gift to upcoming events. To give the simple pleasures of taste, it takes a bit of creativity and some interesting ideas. If you’re considering doing something new with wine gifts, here are a few!

Gather your tools!
Prepare your assembly area with gift-decorating items such as wine bags of cloth and paper, tissue paper of any color or texture, fabric remnants, silver and gold pens, ribbon, scissors and a hole punch. Whether you purchase wine bags or make your own, the bags should be 15 inches long and 6 inches wide. There will be room to add a token or two to the bag if you like. Assemble, punch your note card and add with a ribbon to create a seasonally appropriate gift!

Keep it simple
Did you come across a quality wine this year? Buy a case or two of your favorite prosecco, chardonnay or zinfandel and begin there. Savings are often available with bulk purchases, and your winery will be happy to help. Whether it’s a simply wrapped bottle or paired in a basket of tasty treats, you’re sharing something you enjoy with those you appreciate, and it’s a token of great discovery for both of you.

Build Your Pairings
Great things come in small packages; that’s true for mini bottles of honey, chutney, pickled onions, nuts, olive oils, chocolates, jams and cooking spices. Assortment packs can be split up and added to a wine bag or a basket for a larger display. Look for assortments of jerky such as beef, bison, elk or salmon this time of year, and shop your neighborhood specialty stores for locally produced items. Many of these items make great gifts for non-wine drinkers as well.

Prepackaging a couple dozen gifts of taste makes the gift-giving frenzy a bit more palatable! If you know there’s a garden lover or expert baker in the group, just add a small utensil with ribbon to the outside of the bottle neck and you’ve got the perfect personal token of appreciation.

The great thing about cigar smokers is that they appreciate being remembered for being a cigar lover! Just one cigar for an aficionado will be remembered as the thoughtful gift of taste for whom it was intended. Paired in the wine bag of zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon, it will make a lasting impression for a friend, colleague or bridegroom.

Gifts That Keep Giving
Some of your loved ones seem to have everything. Consider gifting a one-year wine club membership to your favorite winery. You all will enjoy your wine journey together as you receive or pick up every new wine release. Your winery may even thank you with a special token as well.

Got Corks?
If you’re looking for ways to use your corks at the Thanksgiving table, corks make great place setting holders. On a flat surface, slice ¼ inch into the cork lengthwise, creating a slit for the name card. Add a decorative embellishment to the card and you’ve also created an ice-breaker for your guests.

Collect colorful leaves or seasonal greenery; drill a small hole into the center of the cork and insert the stem. Gather into a clear container for an interesting centerpiece!

Message in a Bottle
Make it memorable! Will this year’s holiday plan include relatives and friends who rarely get to connect in person? Before the evening closes, rinse the bottle of the main headliner. Have a supply of small slips of paper for everyone to write a heartfelt wish on, rolling it up tightly, and pass the empty bottle around for everyone to drop it into the bottle. Return the cork, then have everyone sign the outside of the bottle, creating a priceless keepsake for years to come. Rereading those messages years from now will be a beautiful moment everyone will appreciate and be thankful for.

This time of year is meant for gratitude, and I wish you a heart full of blessings throughout the season. ■

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