Holiday Foodie Gift: DIY Mediterranean Food Basket

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When I need a unique and well-received gift for the holidays, I always turn to a gift basket. In this post, we’ve got an easy-to-assemble Mediterranean themed gift basket idea that every foodie will love. For the ultimate in holiday gift baskets, iHerb makes shopping super easy and has a great selection of international grocery items including gourmet oils, spices, cereals, olives, chocolates, teas, coffees, honey and snacks. Just order everything from iHerb and have it delivered in a flash while you relax at home watching Netflix. And be sure to enter a promo code for your next purchase at the end of this article.

Find an elegant and reusable container

I love giving a gift basket in a container that the recipient can reuse for storage or decoration. Places like Home Goods, Marshalls, Target, and Michael’s have lots of great options. Additional decorative touches like bows and ribbons can give your basket some serious holiday appeal. Some gift basket container ideas include wooden or wire crates and many come with a chalkboard plaque where you can write a sweet little message. Before officially choosing your container, make sure it will contain all the ingredients and treats you might want to include.

What to include in a Mediterranean gift basket:

Gourmet oils

For thousands of years, olives and olive oil have been an integral part of the diet and culture in the Mediterranean. Olive oil is not only a nice addition to any gourmet food basket and wonderful for dipping bread or basting on food, but it’s also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Like fine wines, the flavor of olive oils can vary between regions and olive types. The flavor profiles can also vary from peppery, smooth, buttery, sweet, grassy, ​​and even fruity.

When choosing an olive oil, look for dark colored bottles to avoid early light oxidation as it has a shelf life of around 18 months and they do not improve with age. Also look for certifications on the label that will let you know this is real olive oil, as there has been a flood of fake olive oils being sold in the market. If you are looking for a really nice brand of olive oil, try GAEA, a producer of delicious, sustainable olive oils from Greece. One of my favorite olive oils is their USDA Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil made from organic Koroneiki olives that are hand picked and cold pressed within hours of harvest. This beautiful olive oil is certified organic and is sweet with herbal and fruity notes.

And if you’ve never tried tuna marinated in olive oil, be sure to give it Wild Planet Petite Tonno Wild Tuna in Pure Olive Oil A try. A Mediterranean staple, try this tuna and you’ll never want the canned stuff again.

For a few unique culinary oils, iHerb has a wonderful selection from La Tourangelle which makes their oils by hand in California using the same 50 year old traditional methods as their sister in France. Perfect in any Mediterranean basket, their oil varieties include Hazelnut, pistachio, walnut and almond. They are delicious in salads, soups, for dipping them with herbs or for adding rich flavors to pasta, meats and vegetarian dishes.

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Salts and spices

Anyone who loves to cook also loves to have an arsenal of different spices and salts in their pantry. We have included popular spices that you would see all over the Mediterranean, such as a Organic garlic mill of Drogheria and Alimentari, Mediterranean sea salt & Red bell pepper. Smoked paprika, a spice commonly used in Spain, gives a delicious smoky flavor to things like chorizo, paella, and patatas bravas (a Spanish potato dish), but it’s also a delicious addition to things. like dips, marinades and seafood. And for an all-in-one Mediterranean seasoning, this McCormick Gourmet Global Selects Mediterranean Herb & Salt Blend is a great choice. A fragrant blend of salt, oregano, fennel, red pepper, lemon peel, crushed red pepper and garlic, it is perfect for adding a touch of Mediterranean flavor to meats, seafood, vegetables and salads.

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Olives, snacks and Mediterranean cereals

Greek olives make perfect sense in a Mediterranean gift basket. These little packets of Greek olives from GAEA are the perfect size for a basket and come in a variety of flavors such as plain pitted Kalamata olives, marinated Kalamata olives with extra virgin olive oil, thyme, oregano, orange zest and red peppers, and Pitted green olives with chili and black pepper. They make a delicious snack themselves or come with a little wine, cheese and crackers – like these Jovial Organic Sourdough Rosemary Yeast-Free Crackers. Einkorn, the oldest variety of wheat that hasn’t changed for 12,000 years, is coveted for its high nutrient concentration, low gluten content, GMO-free status, and warm nutty flavor.

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Fruits

Strawberries are a popular fruit in the Mediterranean diet. We’ve included a delicious jar of St. Dalfour Deluxe Strawberry Spread, perfect for spreading on morning toast or even with goat cheese and crackers. Figs are also another fruit enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean since the times of ancient Rome and Greece. These whole Smyrna figs taste like honey, jam and butterscotch and pair deliciously with salads, Greek yogurt or wrapped in prosciutto. They are healthy too! Rich in fiber and probiotics, figs are excellent for digestion and are also a great source of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

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Chocolates and nuts

A little something sweet or crunchy is always a welcome treat in any holiday gift basket. Nuts like pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds are popular in the Mediterranean and whether roasted, raw or coated in chocolate, they make a lovely gift. Do your best to make sure the person you’re building your cart for isn’t allergic or on a nut-free diet. In keeping with our Mediterranean theme, we’ve included pistachio milk chocolate, dark espresso chocolate, and a healthy, palm-less, gourmet style. Hazelnut and cocoa spread of Artisana Organics Honey it is absolutely delicious. It also tastes wonderful drizzled with feta cheese or Greek yogurt and makes a lovely addition to any gift basket.

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More fun gifts for foodies

If you really want to take your gift basket on top, add something to it where your foodie can also have fun in the kitchen. We’ve added this Cultures for Health Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit to fit into the Mediterranean theme of our basket, but iHerb also sells another kit available that provides the tools needed to make queso blanco and paneer.

Include these starter packs in your shopping cart so they can make their own creamy, probiotic-rich Greek yogurt. This cheese kit would even make a great gift on its own!

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Jothi Venkat

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