In tight economic times, putting together thrifty yet thoughtful presents doesn't have to be difficult
(ARA) - Worried about gift-giving this year? Don't stress. With a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of detail, it's easy to whip up the perfect present with the right personal touch, says Emmy award-winning chef and cookbook author, Giada De Laurentiis.
"I love to add a homemade element, whether it's a freshly baked dessert or custom wrapping, because it makes the gift that much more unique and personal," De Laurentiis says. "I also find that pairing a present with a favorite bottle of wine adds a delicious and elegant touch."
Whether you're trying to find the perfect gift for an outdoorsy friend or the host of a holiday gathering, De Laurentiis shares her customized gift ideas that make it easier than ever to give a perfectly personal (and price conscious) present:
For the movie fan
As the granddaughter of famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada knows just what a movie aficionado wants. She suggests choosing a colorful popcorn bowl and adding a bag of gourmet popcorn kernels, an herb-infused olive oil, a favorite light-bodied white wine like Pinot Grigio, and a classic movie on DVD. "Giving the gift of a movie night is the perfect touch for cinema enthusiasts," De Laurentiis says. "Plus, the infused olive oil gives the popcorn a special gourmet flair without breaking the bank."
For the travel enthusiast
A travel-themed gift basket is a great match for any jetsetter, and De Laurentiis enjoys spicing this one up with a little Italian flare. In a canvas tote bag, pop in a popular travel book, a portable clock, a pocket translator and a batch of your favorite biscotti. "I sprinkle green and red sugar crystals on top of my holiday biscotti for a festive garnish," De Laurentiis says. "Also, this kind of Italian cookie pairs nicely with a crisp, fruity Italian wine like Bella Sera (R) Moscato."
For the epicurean
A cookbook is a classic choice to give your favorite foodie, so why not spruce it up Giada-style? "I like to include a finished product of one of the recipes so the recipient can get a flavor of what's inside," she says. Pair those with a favorite bottle of wine - "You can't go wrong with a smooth Bella Sera Pinot Noir," De Laurentiis says - and place everything in a decorative wicker basket with a colorful ribbon, and your epicurean gift is cooked to perfection.
For the outdoor adventurist
A portable butane camping stove is a must-have for every outdoor enthusiast. Accompany it with cooking utensils, a sturdy skillet, a batch of homemade Italian flat bread and a versatile red wine like Merlot, and you've created the ultimate camping cookout gift. "A cooking kit is perfect for your ourdoorsy friends or relatives because it contains practical items they can use for many of their excursions," De Laurentiis says. When it comes to baking flat bread, De Laurentiis suggests brushing the dough with extra-virgin olive oil to get a crispy, shiny crust.
For the romantic
Whether you're gifting a hopelessly romantic friend or a newlywed couple, De Laurentiis suggests giving the gift of love with a stylish container full of freshly baked chocolate desserts. Along with it, she adds a pair of wine glasses and a bottle of dry, light-bodied red wine, such as Chianti. "With a delicious dessert and the zesty touch of Chianti, this gift idea is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy romance," De Laurentiis says.
For the holiday gathering host/hostess
A bottle of wine is always a thoughtful hostess gift and appreciated at holiday get-togethers. "Bella Sera wines pair wonderfully with a variety of foods, so bring bottles of both red and white to a holiday party," De Laurentiis suggests. "That way everyone can choose their favorite and truly get in the holiday spirit."