Don’t Guess People’s Taste – Give Them a Hickory Farms Gift Card

Hickory Farms gift cards
Hickory Farms understands that it can be hard to choose gifts for loved ones. Luckily, we’ve made gift-giving a breeze by offering Hickory Farms gift cards in amounts of $25, $50 and $100 for you to give to business clients, colleagues and friends.

To help you get a jump start on your holiday shopping, we’ve found some great gift suggestions for every taste and preference.

Gifts for Women

Family gift ideas from Hickory Farms

Source: Jens Mortensen via Real Simple

This trio of hand creams by Tocca from Sephora will keep hands soft and sweetly scented all winter. Reasonably priced at $20, this item is perfect for a Secret Santa or office gift exchange with pre-set spending limits.

Corporate holiday gift ideas from Hickory Farms

Hickory Farms Petits Fours

A gift box of Hickory Farms petits fours makes a nice communal offering for your office mates and is on sale now for only 17.99!

Family gift ideas from Hickory Farms

Source: cuyana.com via Real Simple

A warm alpaca infinity scarf will keep anyone snug and cozy on cold, windy days.

Gifts for Men

Hickory Farms gifts

Hickory Farms Tastes of the Trade Tool Bag

Hickory Farms Tastes of the Trade Tool Bag  is chock full of everything a man needs to snack on during football games — 100% beef summer sausage, two kinds of savory cheeses, two varieties of crackers and spiced almonds, plus a reusable tool bag for extra storage space!

Family gift ideas from Hickory Farms

Source: Jens Mortensen via Real Simple

He’ll love a unique flask with its own shot glass stopper — especially one that’s a perfect hip pocket fit.

Hickory Farms gifts.

Source: Jens Mortensen via Real Simple

A selection of dapper pocket squares will add the finishing touches to his business suits and keep him fashionable all season long.

Don’t stress over holiday gift-giving. Use our suggestions and finish your shopping early by purchasing a selection of gift cards or other Hickory Farm gifts,  so you’re never caught empty-handed by surprise. Stop by your local Hickory Farms store, order online, or call 800.753.8558 to make sharing the holiday spirit a little easier this year!

The Truth About Wine & Chocolate

We know what you are thinking, and no – this is not a post about the health benefits of wine and chocolate. Because let’s be honest, it’s all about moderation!

If you’ve been following our blog recently, you may have noticed that we’ve been delving into the art of wine tasting and wine pairing, with topics including How to Host a Wine Tasting and Wine & Cheese Pairing 101. Today, we’re going to talk about wine and chocolate!

wine baskets

Source: YMC

To the dismay of foodies and sommeliers, the idea of pairing red wine and chocolate is a popular misconception that continues to gain traction. We hate to be the bearer of bad news to red wine lovers and choco-holics, but these two treats together, in fact, is not always a match made in heaven.

“Everybody loves the idea of pairing chocolate and wine, and with good reason,” Ray Isle of Food & Wine says, “But the flavors of chocolate and wine aren’t always that compatible. And the culprit is the chocolate.”

As Sarah Chappell of Serious Eats explains, the sweetness of chocolate when combined with a dry red wine will result in a bitter and sour aftertaste that is not as pleasant.

Like wine, chocolate is complex. In addition to being sweet, chocolate can also be bitter, acidic and sometimes fruity. The only wines that pair well with the intense flavors of chocolate are those that have equal intensity of sweetness and fruitiness.

The most important rule to remember is never to pair chocolate with a table red wine. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if chocolate is coming in the form of a subtle ingredient in a sauce. A hint of chocolate in a steak sauce, for instance, goes great with a robust red. When it comes to desserts, however, always pair chocolate with a sweet dessert wine.

Hickory Farms has gourmet gifts for both wine and chocolate lovers. Visit our online store to learn more about our selection of wine gifts and our Italian Ice Cream Truffles, a summer favorite.

Wine & Cheese Pairing for Intermediates

Last month, we touched on the subtle art of wine and cheese pairing. Today, we’re going to move past the 101 basics to delve a little deeper into this fine food art, thanks to a request from one of our Twitter followers.

As Wine Enthusiast magazine explains, wine and food pairings are all about acidity, texture, fat and tannin. Found in bark, plants, seeds and fruit skins, tannin is a naturally-occurring polyphenol that gives wine its dryness.

 

wine pairing tips

Photo via Wine Folly

One simple yet effective strategy is to divide cheeses into four main groups. Each group can then be paired with particular wines to achieve a complementary or contrasting flavor.

The 4 Cheese Groups

 

  1. Bloomy: These are your creamy cheeses with soft rinds. Pair them with chardonnay, pinot blanc, sparkling wine, or champagne.
  2. Hard: These firm cheeses (which can be aged) usually come with a salty and/or sharp taste. Pair them with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel, bardolino, or chianti.
  3. Blue: These types of cheeses, as the name implies, have a blue tinge and pungent flavor. Pair them with Riesling, port, sauternes, or eiswein.
  4. Fresh: Tangy and mild, these cheeses are soft and spreadable. Pair with pinot grigio, cauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, tocai friulano, or Beaujolais.

The next step in learning how to pair wine and cheese is to become more acquainted with your wine tasting palette so that you can begin to refine your flavor detection abilities. This map of the tongue from Musings on the Vine can help!

wine pairing

Photo via Musings of the Vine

Another strategy is to stick to the classics. A couple of the most common wine and cheese pairings are mild cheddar with chardonnay or parmesan with a cabernet sauvignon. The Wine Vibe, a wine review and wine education blog by industry professionals, has an additional list of classic pairings.

What are some of the wine and cheese pairings you know and love? Or, what strategies do you use to find new and delicious wine and cheese pairings? Share your thoughts or experiences in a comment below or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.