Gourmet Gift Baskets

Written by Sarah Provost
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Gourmet gift baskets are fun to make and fun to receive. They're easy, too: just go to a specialty market or the gourmet section of your supermarket and grab whatever looks interesting. But with a little more thought, you can put together an exceptional and impressive basket.

One of the best ways to pull a basket together is to focus on a particular cuisine. Unless you live in a truly tiny town, you probably have ethnic neighborhoods where you can find unusual ingredients. A Thai basket, for instance, might contain lemongrass, Thai basil, chili-garlic paste, cellophane noodles, canned coconut milk, Kaffir lime leaves and nam pla (fish sauce.)

Even if you do live in a hamlet where the local deli makes their sandwiches on white bread, you can still put together a gourmet gift basket by pairing accessible ingredients with exotic recipes you get off the Internet. How about an international basket? For Africa, put in a jar of peanut butter and a recipe for peanut soup. For Italy, a can of tuna and a recipe for tonnato sauce. For South America, black beans, limes and rice for Cristianos y Moros.

Regional American Gourmet Baskets

You might also stay closer to home with regional American gourmet items. Consider filling a basket with maple syrup from New England, chilies from the Southwest, wild rice from the Northwest, cheeses from the Midwest and pralines from the Deep South. Throw in a pineapple from Hawaii and smoked salmon from Alaska, too, so no region feels left out!

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