Every year, it’s the same thing: little kids getting brightly colored baskets full of paper fluff and sugar, sugar, SUGAR! And eggs, can’t forget the eggs. While we love a classic, candy-filled Easter basket, their really isn’t much about them to appeal to anyone over the age of twelve, and that’s a darn shame. After all, there’s no age limit on holiday spirit, why should there be one on Easter baskets? Beyond all the plastic eggs and endless piles of sweets, there’s something truly heartwarming about receiving a basket of goodies made just for you, and at Oliver’s, we have everything you need to show your friends and family a little love this season.
Let’s start at the beginning: the basket. Everyone has seen the chintzy, pastel monstrosities put out every year around this time; while this kind of candy-colored insanity might be good for the kids, skip the nonsense and go for something that can be used well beyond Easter for your grown-up baskets. If you want to go for a traditional basket, go for something made with eco-friendly materials and that’s durable enough to stand up to reuse – a hand-woven, artisan basket makes a beautiful gift by itself, but fill it with goodies and you have a truly unique Easter basket anyone will appreciate! Alternatively, an sturdy, attractive bag can also make a fantastic Easter “basket”; try to keep the tastes of the person or people you’re preparing this for in mind, but otherwise pick something that goes with the theme of the basket you’re preparing. When in doubt, go for something simple and classic, after all the focus is mostly going to be on the content!
For the Sweet Lover
Let’s face it, for some people, Easter is always going to be about sweets, sweets, SWEETS! This year, leave the jelly beans and sugary chocolate eggs to the kids – Oliver’s has everything you need to satisfy any sweet tooth like a grown-up! A good place to start is with some kind of flavored candy, and nothing hits the spot quite like caramels; we recommend the fun and funky caramels made by 3D Candies. Whether you go for the standard salted caramel or the out-of-this-world blue cheese caramel, you’ll know you’re only giving the highest quality caramel available.
Next, no Easter celebration is complete without chocolate, and we mean a lot of it, but before you start stuffing your gift baskets with the same bars of chocolate as everyone else, consider trying a bar from Volo Chocolate! A Sonoma County-local company, Volo produces gourmet bars in a variety of flavors with ethically sourced chocolate of the highest possible quality; each bar of “craft chocolate” is produced right here in Sonoma County with as many local ingredients as possible. They even get into the Easter spirit with a glorious, 62% solid dark milk chocolate rabbit! You can also try a box of gourmet chocolates from Sonoma Chocolatier. Also from Sonoma County, these chocolates produced as locally as possible, and they strive to use organic ingredients as often as possible. Their chocolates are also guilt-free, with the chocolate itself coming from sources that are verified to be environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Sonoma Chocolatiers show their commitment to the environment in other ways too – there packaging is always either recyclable or compostable! Finally, round out your basket with something a little less sweet like Bella Rosa coffee. With eight flavors to choose from, this local company will have the perfect coffee to accompany all of these gourmet sweets, and you have the added benefit of supporting yet another company committed to high quality, ethically responsible products.
For the Spa Lover
Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys sweets, even during a holiday as sweet-centric as Easter. Never fear, our Wellness department has the kind of quality bath products you need give the gift relaxation instead! You’ll want to include a range of different products, and if you have any uncertainty about whether or not the intended recipient has sensitive skin, better to go safe rather than sorry. A great start is a scented body lotion, we recommend the lotions made by Skikai right here in Sonoma County. Shikai’s lotions are made from premium quality botanicals and draws on the ayurvedic traditions to create all natural products that actually work. We love the light, sweet scent of their Vanilla lotion; with aloe, borage, and shea butter, it’s a must for any spa-themed Easter basket!
With a lotion, include a few products for bath time as well like a face mask, soap, and bath salts. For a face mask, check out the masks produced by Andalou Naturals. This company has been committed to products that are more than the sum of the parts since 1989, and they continue to support organizations focusing on women’s education and social responsibility around the world; plus, their cruelty-free masks also come in single-serve packages, making them a budget-friendly Easter basket addition! For soaps and bath salts, look no further than Three Sisters Apothecary! This family-owned, community-based company produces soaps that are completely natural, both in the ingredients they are made with and in the packaging they are sold in. We are particularly fond of their lavender and arnica soap and bath salts – the calming scent of lavender combined with the healing power of arnica lends a true spa experience to every use. Finally, include a few little odds and ends to finish your Easter basket; try a fun color loofah and some eco-friendly nail polish, or try a beard oil and gel eye mask.
For the Wine & Cheese Lover
If it’s not about chocolates or relaxation, it’s got to be about wine! Yes, nothing says “grown-up Easter” quite like a bottle of good wine and some delicious snacks to go with it, and Oliver’s wine and cheese departments have the goods to make it truly gourmet. There are a few things to consider when putting together this basket, namely shelf stability – pick products that can sit at room temperature for an extended period of time without spoiling, or ideally, pick products that can sit at room temperature indefinitely. Regardless, choosing a basket that allows the entire gift to sit in the fridge is going to give you a lot more wiggle room as far as what your can fill it with. As far as what those are, think cheese board but in an adorable, Easter-themed basket – include a good cheese and meat, some crackers, a sweet and/or savory spread, and tie the whole thing together with a good wine. For cheese, we recommend either the Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam or Point Reyes Farmstead Gouda. The Mt. Tam is a Brie-style triple cream cheese wrapped in white paper; it displays beautifully in a basket, and goes really well with a sparkling wine. On the flipside, the gouda is aged for 2 years and has a wonderfully bold, nutty flavor and lots of crystallization, making for an incredibly flavorful bite. To go with either of these, try a real, aged salami made by Fra Mani in Berkeley! Their gourmet aged meats are made from animals that have been raised humanely and are crafted in a centuries-old tradition by master artisans.
As far as crackers, nothing could be better than the Rustic Bakery flatbreads! Based in Marin, Rustic Bakery produces flatbreads that are clean and crisp in flavor and texture; they’re the perfect vehicle for cheese and meat, and with a range of flavors to choose from, they’re guaranteed to be a hit! For a spread, check out the jams and preserves from either Jamnation or Lala’s Jam Bar; this quarter, we have Lala’s Pepper Jam and Winter Strawberry Jam in our R.E.V. ad, which means not only are they gourmet and made in Petaluma, they’re also at a fantastic discount! If those don’t strike your fancy, Jamnation’s creative jams might do the trick! Whether it’s their raspberry-basil “Razzle Bazzle” or their “Can You Fig It” with fig and thyme essence, these jams make a great accompaniment for any cheese! Finally, finish off your grown-up Easter basket with a true grown-up treat – WINE! This week, we’re pleased to feature some delicious wines in our weekly ad perfect for Easter. For a more subtle wine that’s offer delicious flavor for a reasonable price, check out the Martin Ray Rose of Pinot Noir; with notes of golden raspberry, honeycomb, and stone fruit, the crisp acidity and clean flavor make it the perfect wine for any Spring gathering. For a little more pizazz, consider the Monthuys Pere et Fils Brut Champagne. This true, French champagne presents a bouquet of apple, peach, and pear with hints of yeast and honeyed fruits, making a truly luxurious addition to an already gourmet basket!
This Easter, get into the holiday spirit like the classy adult you are – whether it’s sugary treats or high quality bath products, Oliver’s has eggs-actly what you need to make your love one’s holiday special!