Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016
In case you forgot the memo, Mother’s Day is coming soon (May 8th or 3 Sundays away from publication)! If you haven’t gotten or made anything for your mom, here’s some stylish or cool ideas for her.
You can’t go wrong with giving your mom a bottle of fine Perrier-Jouët Champagne Brut Champagne. Notes of lemon, lime and fresh pear on the spice-tinged nose. Dry, offering tangy citrus fruit flavors and a touch of white pepper. Shows good clarity and bite on the finish, which leaves a bitter quinine note behind. This is great to have it served simply straight or paired with raw fish and shellfish.
Chivas Regal 12-Year is a blended scotch with flavors of caramel, overripe dark fruit, a light nuttiness and vanilla make up the bulk of the initial nose. Give it a moment or three to open up and some mild notes of graham, dark honey, an ambiguous sweetness. A bit of spice pops up and mixes with a bit of dark honey, overripe citrus and overripe dark fruit. A light sweet malt, vanilla, red licorice and wood move about with a touch of cocoa. This scotch has some smoke and a light alcoholic burn and it lingers for a little while. It’s a good, middle-of-the-road scotch.
Jameson is triple distilled Irish whiskey, compared to the typical 2x distilled of Scotland and America, which gives it more of a light clean flavor. Overall, Jameson is a tasty whiskey that I enjoy for what it is. It’s not my first choice neat, but on the rocks it’s nice and as a mixer it’s excellent.
Robert Mondavi ‘Private Label’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a limited production wine, originating from the coastal vineyards of Monterey County, CA. Grapes are picked at the peak of ripeness, after which the wine is aged and blended to deliver fruit flavors and complexity.
A portion of the blend is aged for an additional three months using a combination of new and used Kentucky Bourbon barrels, creating one of the first Bourbon barrel aged wines produced in the United States. This wine is rich, full-bodied on the palette, and the 2014 vintage delivers flavors of black cherry and blackberry.
Maison Kayser‘s offering for Mother’s Day is a sublime red berry Charlotte in large and individual sized cakes. A soft almond cake base layered with blackcurrant mousseline, vanilla crème brûlée and berries confit, topped with pink biscuits from Reims and fresh berries. When you take a bite, it’s intensely tart from the berries but the creaminess from the mousseline and crème brûlée layers balances it out. It’s a great addition to the table for Mother’s Day brunch or dinner.
Ruby Zaar Baked is an artisan brand for cookies. What makes them stand out is their use of ethically sourced and fair trade chocolate (from Guittard), baked in small batches, and the cookies’ flavors are globally or nostalgically inspired. These cookies are delicious and each cookie contains a lot of ingredients (like the Midnight Train to Georgia cookie that has peach, pecans and maple, it’s heavily studded with pecans).
Of course, chocolates are a safe go-to idea and Stick With Me Sweets is a great option for gorgeous, incredibly flavorful chocolates by a former Per Se chocolatier Susanna Yoon (for those in New York City, she has a shop in Nolita). Yoon makes everything in her store by hand, in small batches, using Valrhona chocolate and high-quality, natural ingredients. Dark and white chocolate bon-bons are the specialty of the house, and they’re available in 24 flavors that include Black Sesame Passion fruit, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Bourbon-Maple Pecan, and New York.
Norman Love Confections is another great option for handcrafted chocolates since 2001, produced at chocolatier Norman Love’s facility in Fort Myers, Florida. There is a special Mother’s Day collection that has flavors like mangoes with a touch of habanero, a bonbon inspired by rum cake, and a bonbon that is based in vanilla caramel made with espresso-steeped cream and finished in dark chocolate.
For the high-style lady who wants to impart that in her home, Alessi is a best bet. Alessi is an Italian brand founded in 1921 specializing in creating gorgeous brass and nickel silver housewares for both the kitchen and the table.
If she loves espresso, the futuristic yet sensuous Pulcina espresso pot (designed by architect Michele De Lucchi and created with the global Italian coffee brand, Illy) makes a pot of great stovetop espresso (because of its shape externally and internal design) and serve it with the wavy, teardrop shaped espresso cups called E-LI-LI (designed by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas).
If your mother is a coffee geek, she might appreciate Fellow Duo Steeper. It’s a sleek, thoughtfully designed coffee maker that is based on the immersion method and it does not require paper filters or an additional vessel to capture the brewed coffee. It creates a beautiful cup of coffee without the grit of a French press but has some of the body.
The famous Japanese glassware brand Hario (they’ve expanded to other minimalist designed housewares recently) created an Olive wood collection for their beloved V60 coffee maker. The warm, golden blond wood contrasted to the clear glass makes it feel stylishly warm instead of its normally austere aesthetic.
BeanFruit Coffee is a small specialty roaster based in Southern Mississippi. In a region where serious, Thirs Wave coffee does not exist, they create beautifully roasted beans. My morning cups of coffee were great, especially with their fruity Colombia Aromas Del Sur Palestina Micro-Lot.
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company is an award winning coffee brand (it’s earned a number of 90+ scores on Coffee Review). We adored the Kintamani, El Diamante, Hambela coffee beans. All expertly roasted beans letting each lot of coffee (each from different regions of the world like Bali, Guatemala and Ethiopia) expressing its terrior. (I am aware I’m using wine lingo for coffee.)
JBC Coffee Roasters is a roastery based in Madison, Wisconsin and a 2016 Good Food Awards winner. We loved their meticulously roasted coffees. The Khamama Kenya brews a red berry fruit with nice acidity. The Rock the House Blend was surprisingly good (usually I tend to stick with single origins these days) and very silky, smooth cup of coffee with notes of sweet peach.
Olympia Coffee Roasting Company> is another great roastery based in Olympia, Washington who has earned awards over the years. They source their coffees well and you can taste the wonderful flavors of citrus on the Mikumba (Burundi coffee) while sweet caramel and creamy body of the San Sebastian Resevera (Colombian coffee).
Steamm Espresso is all about the bottled espresso. Sure, there are many great brands who can ship cold brew coffees but rarely espresso shots. Besides delivering shots of caffeine to you, this brand has a humanitarian mission to donate polio shots to children abroad for every bottle of espresso shot sold. Steamm espresso is different than the traditional pulled espresso hot since it’s steeped and enriched with cacao beans, giving you antioxidants as well as deepening the natural cocoa flavors of the espresso roast.
Finex Cast Iron Cookware is a cast iron cookware company based in Portland, Oregon. They take pride in having to design and make their pans in the U.S. When you do cook with the heavy skillet or grill pan, you will fall in love how great these pans cook. My food is cooked evenly and when I sear chicken or any meat, it does create a beautiful golden brown crust.
Le Creuset is one of the well known French cookware brand namely for its enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. We weren’t aware of its pâté terrine pan. Since I don’t have the time to make pâté or any terrine, this pan doubles up as a large loaf pan (its volume is about 8 cups) and baked my dark rye beer bacon loaf beautifully.
Malai Ice Cream is the most unique ice cream brand I came across recently for the global inspired flavors. Most are Indian inspired from its use of rose, cardamom, cloves and its own blend of chai. The ice ream texture is silky, dense enough on the toungue and the flavors are wonderfully potent.
Kyle’s Kimchi is a Brooklyn based kimchi maker. Their kimchi is nicely spiced and fermented enough to give it some flavor. We do like the creamy kimchi slaw for burgers and sandwiches. The standard and radish kimchi are great to have with rice or any other dishes you’d desire.
The Olivique is Spanish Mediterranean extra virgin olive oil brand produced in The Old Monastery of El Bercial de San Rafael. They create four different varieties of olive oils that vary in range of flavors (from peppery, spicy to fruity) and serve different purposes for a dish that you would cook or drizzle on your food. All were delicious to cook and eat.
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Perrier-Jouët Champagne Brut Champagne
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Finex Cast Iron Cookware
Olympia Coffee Roasting Company
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company
Malai Ice Cream
Stick With Me Sweets
Norman Love Confections
Ruby Zaar Baked