Over the past 15 years, Chelsea Market Baskets has developed a custom gift program that is like no other. Our team of custom basket specialists are always looking forward to a new challenge and the opportunity to put their creative knowledge and expertise to good use. This often has us exploring Chelsea Markets’ concourse in order to fulfill specific needs and requests. There is little that we can’t or won’t do; including filling a cooler up with friday night memorabilia for Rosie O’Donnell or make sure the cast of a new play on Broadway gets a fruit basket filled with their favorite teas, fruit and chocolate treats on opening night.
See Our Custom Gift Gallery
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Our store is filled with chocolate bars, and each has its own personality. Gone are the days of the Hershey bar being the be-all and end-all for chocolate bars. Nowadays, each chocolate bar has a story to tell, an experience to share, and the quality of the bars rival the product you find in the chocolate boutiques on Madison Avenue. The origins of the cacao beans, additional raw ingredients, the company’s history, and the packaging all contribute to the experience of the chocolate bar. And each bar is as unique and appealing like people’s personalities, which led us to the idea of pairing some of our most notable bars and the person who typifies that bar.
Prestat Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Bar (2.65 oz $5)
This bar comes from a company with a storied past – literally as Roald Dahl was inspired as child by Prestat Truffles, and later wrote Will Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. The Prestat Dark Chocolate Raspberry bar reminds me of Queen Elizabeth, with her stiff upper lip but also shows her fun-loving side ( Who can forget the fun video segment from the London Olympics of HM parachuting into the Olympic stadium) this bar has something for everyone. Buy Prestat Dark Chocolate with Raspberry online at CMB.
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Last week in the blog, I briefly touched on the fact that Chelsea Market Baskets is now carrying a carefully curated selection of beers and hard ciders. We received our New York State Liquor Authority license and brought in a special buyer, Dale West Englebert, to consult on the new addition to the store.
Craft beers have been steadily increasing in popularity in the New York City hospitality landscape – restaurants are offering more sophisticated beers to complement dishes, and beer at a dinner out is as acceptable as ordering a glass of wine. Breweries have long been part of the New York City tradition, but like everything have waxed and waned in number due to influence from arriving cultures, availability of resources and public opinion (or law!). From 1850-1900, New York was the largest producer of hops, and to use all of the upstate growth, brewers of all nationalities, but especially German, tapped into the fresh water that was being funneled into city. When Prohibition shut the doors of the bigger breweries, the general interest in beer waned because it was easier to distill hard liquor than homebrew. Post-Prohibition beer consumption was marked by big brand distribution- names like Rheingold, Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, Miller, and Coors absolutely dominated the market.
Now, I did a good bit of reading for this post, and couldn’t find a pivotal moment when all of a sudden craft beers took off, but several current brewers, including Sal Pennacchio of Yankee Brewing Company, cited Michael Jackson’s book The World Guide To Beer to opening their eyes to the depth that beer can have!
Whatever the catalyst, New York, both city and state, is now home to a flourishing industry of beer makers, and CMB proudly carries the most unique, interesting, and quaffable varieties.
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Since 1990, I have been around the block a few times with the Gift Basket business and people often ask me about what makes a successful gift baskets and how has the business changed in the last few years. In this blog post I have put together some of my ideas on the subject. I have also included images from our new catalog to help illustrate my points.
Open and eat is a term used to describe a gift basket that provides instant gratification and does not involve having to think too much (or go to the kitchen and prepare something that might not be in your DNA nor physically located where you got the gift basket). A gift basket is very much about the present’s contents and how it is presented. I certainly have lots of ideas about the ingredients and the look and feel, but if there was a golden rule here it would be the satisfaction on treating your taste buds to something you just received and saying WOW that is good. Onto the details!
First off, it needs to taste good. Within varying business cycles, it is easy to get caught up in things that do not sell, or you have too much of and say – “oh we can use that in a gift basket.” Also product that has a long shelf life is often incorporated which makes the logistics of packing a gift easier and is mighty important in that many are sold in just 2 weeks of the year, thanks to Christmas, but my own experience has told me that long shelf life components do not sell as well, and more popular gifts involve “fresher product.” I like to say that we start with what is on the inside and what it is made out of and how it tastes and the real people that make it and work from there. In the gift basket industry, the packaging is always paramount but unfortunately this leads the chief value of what is sold is the packaging and not the food. I particularly think that it is wastefully based on the added packaging that is the basket and much of this is of little value because often it is discarded quickly after receipt of the basket. [click to continue…]
The entire team at CMB has eagerly jumped onboard with the blog topic of personal recommendations after reading guest posts by Nicole and Jessie. Today, three more CMBers suggest their favorite products- the ones that they steer shoppers in the store towards when daily (inevitably) asked “what do you like?”- and offer recipes and ideas for using the product at home. It’s personal shopping just for you, curated by an expert team that tries a lot of specialty food!
First up, a relative newcomer to CMB but native New Yorker, Nathaniel, who works in the store and can often be found demoing products in the corridor because of his charming disposition and upbeat attitude. It’s funny: he happened to pick a product that is brand new to the store this summer- just like himself!
I used the Preservation Society Pepper Jelly ($7.95) as a spicy glaze on a chicken and peaches dish — perfect for summer! It added a great kick and put a new twist on a great recipe. Can also be cooked on the grill! Here’s the recipe, which I adapted from the New York Times recipe for Chicken Thighs with Peaches and Basil:
Baked Chicken with Peaches and Pepper Jelly
- 1 chicken cut in 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of ground fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup of Preservation Society Pepper Jelly
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teapoon of pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
- 3 peaches cut in 1/2″ slices (can be quite firm)
Toss all ingredients (except 1 teaspoon of basil) together. Place in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done. Sprinkle remaining basil on top and serve with nice crusty bread or rice.
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