Making A Custom Gift Basket

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - December 21, 2005
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Last-minute present-buying can be stressful - and if you’re in the throws of panic as you read this because your Christmas list is incomplete, then breathe a sigh of relief - here’s some help!

Food gifts are easy to put together, can be relatively inexpensive and can have the all-important stamp of Made in Hawaii on them. Assembling a meal in a gift basket, for example, is easy to do once you find a theme. An Italian dinner for two is a simple idea - gift baskets can be packed with pasta, sauce, cheese, a cheese grater, a wine opener and a bottle of wine. Or how about a wine lover’s basket? A bottle or two of wine, (pop in a bottle of Tedeschi Winery’s Brut Rose for a local touch) add one of the hundreds of books on wine available, a couple of Riedel crystal glasses, and you have a great gift that’s easy to put together. At Tamura’s on Waialae Avenue, they have a number of gift baskets ready to go - and prices start at around $30. They look great, and don’t require any additional wrapping. Perfect for last-minute presents. Or for those of you who are wrapping challenged.

Tamura’s also has a huge range of gourmet foods that fit well into any budget, and any food lover’s stocking. Jars of unusual sauces, marinated anchovies, imported cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes all make great stocking stuffers. Throw in a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant and you’ve got the perfect present.

Made in Hawaii gifts are abundant at Pat’s Island Delights on Waialae Avenue, and they have a number of beautiful gift boxes that you can fill with whatever you choose from the store. Have an uncle who loves to snack? They have dozens of unique island items - everything from jerky to li hing mui. Have an aunty with a sweet tooth? Delight her with a gift box of locally made candies and cookies. Pat’s will wrap and mail gifts, too, if you’re really leaving things to the last minute.

Lots of restaurants are getting into the gift basket trade - at Kakaako Kitchen, they’ll make you a basket filled with some of their own products. Russell Siu has an excellent range of dressings that go into the baskets - and a cookbook too.

Local cookbooks are abundant this year! Take a trip to any bookstore, including Native Books and Beautiful Things at Ward Warehouse, and you’re sure to find something for the gourmet cook in your house. The Compleat Kitchen at Ala Moana and Kahala Mall has a nice range of made in Hawaii food items, including Hawaiian vanilla beans from the Big Island, one of my favorite stocking stuffers. Compleat Kitchen also has myriad small tools and kitchen gadgets that make great gifts for those who love to cook - or who are in need of an kitchen drawer makeover.

Or how about a cheesecake for the dessert aficionado in your house? We’re talking a real New York cheesecake here, folks, one that weighs about as much as a yellow taxi cab and costs as much as two tickets to Spamalot. At A Taste of New York Deli And Market, you can pick up a cheesecake unlike any other in the city.

And if none of this helps, then why not pick up a gift certificate with a little bonus for you? At Hyatt, for example, buy a $50 gift certificate for any of its restaurants and get a $20 gift certificate for dining and its gorgeous Na Ho’ola Spa, free. After all the hassle of holiday shopping, you deserve a treat.

Happy eating and merry Christmas!

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