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Sunday, September 6, 2015

REVIEW -- Gift-a-Feast Gift box

Gift-a-Feast gift boxes

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Wish you had time to send a gift that truly brightens a friend’s day? Then Gift A Feast is for you. We shop for handcrafted treats from the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving food scene. Then we wrap each product by hand into a gorgeous package, include a handwritten note card with your personal message and ship nationwide.
I love getting a gift box of goodies. It's always so fun to get a surprise box, open it up and see all the goodies inside.

That's basically what Gift a Feast is... a surprise box of goodies from a friend. I was fortunate enough to receive the 'Feast of Appetizers' box for review.


Stock photo of the items I received

Since my photo-taking skills SUCK, I'll be using ALL stock photos from the Gift a Feast's website for this review. Let's take a look at everything I received.

Fra'Mani Salame Calabrese
Fra'Mani was founded in Berkeley in 2006 by Paul Bertolli, celebrated California chef and culinary writer, to produce premium cured meats in the famous tradition of Italian artisans (and of Bertolli's grandfather, a salumiere whose prosciutto and soppressata vicentina served as early inspirations for a career in gourmet cuisine).
Fra’Mani’s Salame Calabrese is a unique take on a Southern Italian style, combining wild fennel seed, sweet and hot Calabrian pepperoncino, and chili flakes.
This was interesting. I liked the salame, but it seemed very difficult to cut. I ended up having to ask Mama Melissa or Grandma to cut me some. It really isn't all that spicy, even though the 'recipe' says it includes Italian hot chili peppers and chili flakes. I likened the spiciness to a Slim Jim stick.
TASTE: 8/10

Central Coast Creamery Seascape
Central Coast Creamery was founded by cheese-maker Reggie Jones in Paso Robles in 2008 and produces a series of uniquely American cheese blends and flavors with milk from California’s hormone-free cows and goats.
Central Coast Creamery has won multiple “Best in Class” awards, including from the World Cheese Contest in Madison, Wisconsin. Guests always rave about this cheese when we serve it.
We chose Central Coast Creamery’s Seascape, a hand-crafted, aged cheese made from blended goat and cow milk. We fell in love with this cheese the first time we tasted it, and every time we serve it, it wins converts.
I liked this cheese. It tasted a lot like parmesan and reminded me a lot of the grated cheese you'd find in Pizza Hut or Kraft's Three Cheese Blend Grated Cheese. It wasn't a 'hard' cheese, but yet it wasn't a 'soft' cheese. I could easily cut it with a butter knife, but it didn't flop around like sliced mozzarella does.
TASTE: 9/10

Good Faith Farm Raw Lucques Olives - Lemon and Rosemary
Todd and Catherine Benson founded Good Faith Farm in 2006, shortly after settling into Flournoy in the northern Sacramento Valley. They had no plans for saving century-old olive groves, or for getting into olives at all, but when they sampled packaged olives produced in the area, they were saddened by the widespread practices of heat-canning and chemical cooking with lye to accelerate fermentation. They embrace the slow process of fermentation, curing olives for six to eighteen months in a brine solution composed of sea salts from Northern California and salt from ancient sea beds in Utah.The extra time is well worth it, producing olives with a variety of complex, earthy flavors, and a crisp texture.
To round out this gourmet appetizer gift box, we’ve included a pint of green Lucques olives seasoned with rosemary and lemon from Good Faith Farms. These are not your ordinary olives.
I liked these olives, but yet didn't. I am not one for pitted olives. I like my olives pit-free, pimento optional. I prefer BLACK olives to be completely honest.
However, these were delicious and not as salty as the commercially available green olives. I couldn't really taste the lemon or rosemary flavors, but Grandpa ADORED these olives, and he's VERY fussy.
TASTE: 8/10

Rustic Bakery Olive Oil and Sel Gris Flat Bread and Rustic Bakery Savory Cheese Coins
Carol LeValley and Josh Harris, specializing in creating artisan breads, crackers, cookies, and pastries by hand, in small batches, and from the finest organic grains and seeds. Initially designed to complement fine wine and gourmet cheese, Rustic’s artisan baked goods have since taken on a life of their own, appearing in artisan shops in San Francisco and in local and high-end grocery stores throughout Northern California. They have three locations in Marin County—where all of their goodies are produced—and where they regularly draw crowds for their popular breakfast menu and for loaves of freshly baked whole wheat bread. We can't resist the savory cheese coins!
Rustic Bakery’s famous Olive Oil and Sel Gris Flat Bread is a great compliment to pretty much everything, and a good palate cleanser, something to come back to between the richly complex flavors ahead.
We’ve also included Rustic Bakery’s Cheese Coins, savory cookies made with aged gruyere, artisan cheddar, and reggiano parmesan, along with enough butter and flour to keep them wonderfully crumbly.  These coins disappear in minutes in our house!
I'm going to review these separately, but together...

Flat Bread
This tasted like a stale saltine cracker or a baked burrito shell. Not saying that's bad, because I love the burrito shells. I really couldn't taste the oils or the other seasoning on the bread. These were very crunchy, but not to the 'break-your-teeth' crunchiness.
TASTE: 9/10

Cheese Coins
Honestly, these tasted just like Parmesan Cheez-its, but softer. I loved these.
TASTE: 10/10

Jade Chocolate's Mangoes & Chocolate
Mindy Fong left a career in architectural design to become a chocolatier after she fell in love with dark chocolate during her pregnancy with her daughter. Based in San Francisco, she melds flavors from Asia and the Pacific islands with those of the West to create distinctive treats.
Absolutely disgusting. I don't like dark chocolate to begin with, so the dark chocolate ruined this for me. Everyone that tried this had the same reaction... nobody liked it. The mango pieces were chewy, which were fine, but the dark chocolate doesn't meld well with the flavor of the mango.
TASTE: 2/10

June Taylor Candied Seville Orange Peel
June Taylor has been making fruit preserves in Berkeley, California since the late 1980s. Reviving the traditional art of fruit confectionery, she candies all the citrus peel not used in her marmalade making. We love the complex mix of sweet and bitter.
One word: YUM! These were very chewy. I liked the bitter 'bite' when I first started chewing a piece, then the sweetness hit. Very reminiscent of the gummy orange jelly slices.
TASTE: 9/10

One thing I like about Gift a Feast is the fact that they actually gift wrap the boxes for you. When the recipient receives their box, it truly IS like opening a gift.

Michael, Head 'elf' at Gift a Feast sent me this photo before my box was shipped.


Stock photo of the wrapped boxes -- I chose the 'Sweetheart' wrapping

I honestly don't see disabled people having an issue with these boxes, minus cutting the meats. As I said above, I needed Mama Melissa or Grandma to cut the salame for me, because it was difficult for me, even with a steak knife. Everything was easily opened.

Another plus to these boxes (with the exception of a few) is there is no cooking required. Just open the package and eat. That's a plus for those that have trouble cooking.

These gift boxes are available from The Gift-a-Feast website starting at $39.99 and higher.

FINAL THOUGHTS
An awesome idea to show your appreciation to a special family member, friend or colleague who's hard to shop for.
STARS:
WOULD RECOMMEND: Yes

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

A HUGE THANKS TO GYPSY AND THE ELVES AT GIFT A FEAST FOR ALLOWING ME TO DO A REVIEW FOR THEM.

2 comments:

  1. Oh dear you have me hankering for some good cheese. I think the cheese from Central Coast Creamery Seascapes would be my favorite next to the Rustic Bakery Savory Cheese Coins, Yum. I love that they ship anywhere in the United Stares but the thing that sold me was the fact that they hand wrap the package, I love that extra touch. Thanks for sharing!

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