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Holiday Food and Drink Gift Guide 2012

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Wednesday Dec 5, 2012

All through the holiday season, you just want to stuff your face. Everywhere you turn someone is offering you a drink. The sideboard is laden with all sorts of fattening goodies and one dessert is never enough.

Silver trays pass by and you help yourself: a lobster here, a scallop there, some foie gras, some terrine, a petit four, and a handful of truffles. You’re ready for more. Bring on the Bûche de Noël and another bottle of bubbly. Toast to the new year and order a truffle pizza.

But don’t forget to share the bounty. In the spirit of St. Nick, offer your friends and family some of the best tastes of the season.

After a year like 2012, they deserve something that tastes good.


Arnaldo Caprai: Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano DOCG 2005

Italian wine, like Italian fashion, has seasons of genius - and 2005 was one of those years when everyone smiled at the "renaissance" of the industry.

In 1955, Arnaldo Caprai founded one of Italy’s leading textile companies, which enabled him, in 1971, to buy vineyards in the hamlet of Montefalco in his native Umbria. Since 1988, Arnaldo Caprai winery has been managed by Marco Caprai, a man whose devotion to his craft earned his family’s vineyard the Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 "European Winery of the Year."

According to legend, Sagrantino is an ancient grape brought to Umbria by followers of St. Francis of Assisi during the Middle Ages. Arnaldo Caprai has resurrected the intensely colored grape with formidable tannins that had previously been most often utilized for sacramental wines.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano symbolizes the renaissance of Montefalco as a wine town, with the label’s etymology evoking the region’s softly curved hills. With top notes of plum, cinnamon, and blueberry all balanced in impeccable harmony, Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano 2005 is 100% Sagrantino grape. Aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, this powerful wine exhibits class, with a bit of swagger as the red floral fruit notes linger with licorice and leather. With this on your palate, you could easily imagine yourself in the company of Armani and Valentino.

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate, Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano 2005 is a collectible that could easily age in your cellar for another decade, filling you with pleasure about your future. You could easily save this wine for the next big thing in your life - or you could drink it now and toast to all that you’ve already accomplished. Our counsel? Buy a case now and let one bottle a year become part of your holiday tradition.

PRICE: $60.00
LINK: Arnaldo Caprai


Le Palais des Thés: Green Teas Box Set

For some people on your holiday gift lists, the nicest thing you can give them is the gift of time. This holiday season, spend some quality face time with some of your besties. Leave the iPhone at home and focus completely on your bff’s face - and listen.

One of the nicest places to share a tête à tête with a bestie is Manhattan’s The Lambs Club for tea. Make a reservation during the holiday season and sip tea from Le Palais des Thés.

One of Paris’s more illustrious tea purveyors, Le Palais des Thés has been serving some of the world’s most exceptional teas to its savvy clientele at more than 27 boutiques in seven countries. (The brand’s first NYC boutique just opened at 194 Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.)

Each one of Le Palais des Thés’ tea bags is filled with two grams of whole tea leaves, which unfurl completely in the large cotton muslin squares to release their full flavor and fragrance.

At the end of tea time, present your bestie with Le Palais des Thés Green Tea Gift Box. The beautiful presentation box contains nine of the purveyor’s most interesting green teas, including Thé du Hammam, Thé des Moines, Fleur de Geisha, Sencha Ariake, Tamaryokucha Impérial, Long Jing, Grand Jasmin Chun Feng, Thé des Sources, and Thé des Alizés.

The gift of time and tea for two: you’ll be in your bff’s good graces all year long.

PRICE: $49.00 / boxed set of 54 muslin tea bags
LINK: Le Palais des Thés Green Teas Box Set


God’s Love We Deliver: Michael Aram Mantaray Shaker with Holster

It’s been a rough year, no question - but if you think you’d had it bad, then take time to think about those in need of food. Take time this holiday season and reward service organizations like God’s Love We Deliver.

Founded in 1985 when one woman began delivering food on her bicycle to a man dying from AIDS, God’s Love We Deliver now cooks 4,000 meals each weekday, delivering them to clients living with life-altering illnesses in all five boroughs of New York City, Newark and Hudson County, New Jersey.

All of God’s Love We Deliver’s services to clients are offered free of charge, which means that contributions account for nearly 80% of God’s Love’s annual budget. Apart from volunteering and writing a healthy check, another way to help those in need of healthy meals is to shop the God’s Love catalog, which is always filled with tasteful baubles, perfect for holiday hosts and hostesses.

Michael Aram’s Mantaray Collection is inspired by aquatic imagery and the mantaray. "The grace of the mantaray and the glistening surface of shagreen was my inspiration for these cast and hammered metal pieces," says Aram. Cast in stainless steel and nickelplate, the Mantaray cocktail shaker comes with holster, making it perfect for resting on the night table - when the cocktail party moves into the bedroom.

Shake a pitcher of holiday cocktails and toast to the saints at God’s Love We Deliver.

PRICE: $99.00
LINK: God’s Love We Deliver Michael Aram Mantaray Shaker with Holster


Van Gogh Vodka: PB&J

Yum. Or not? At first, we couldn’t decide how we felt about Van Gogh Vodka’s PB&J, which takes one of the most iconic American flavor combinations from childhood and swirls it into vodka. Isn’t that a little like giving Honey BooBoo a big lady cocktail with her PB&J sandwich?

Then we tasted Van Gogh Vodka PB&J. The weirdest thing is that you smell the peanuts - but you taste the raspberry. And it’s decidedly delicious - a little like how you learned to love a peanut butter-and-pickle sandwich when you were shipped off to camp. The salt and the sweet in Van Gogh Vodka PB&J marry together nicely, not unlike the way you enjoy a salty caramel. There’s a hint of vanilla on the side and a smooth, velvety texture.

You’re going to want to mix this with milk for a novelty egg nog - or maybe with cola, for something like a cherry Coke. And when mixed with cranberry and apple juice, you’re drinking something akin to a spiked fruit salad - and how better to survive the holidays with your family. Just tell your mother you’re drinking the lunch she used to pack for you for school.

PRICE: $27.00 / 750 mL
LINK: Van Gogh Vodka PB&J


(Gift Guide continues on next pages...)


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