[Disclosure: This post contains some Amazon affiliate links.]
I’m not sure where the past year has gone amidst Covid life, but I am here to remind you that Rosh Hashanah is in 2 months and a day! Personally I was in denial about this but when your best friend is a synagogue executive director, you are constantly being reminded we are not allowed to make any plans around that time. So, I figured since it’s on my brain, I’d start inspiring you with the project that I had really hoped to share last fall. I’m sure I am not the only one who found herself adrift last fall without their usual holiday plans. We have a group of friends who met when our oldests were newborns (for Seattleites, it was a Jewish PEPS group!) and we always do a big family Rosh Hashanah dinner with what is now 8 adults and 11 kids. Last year, that was impossible with Covid so I decided to put my usual cooking energy into a virtual hug via a gift basket, really focusing on high holiday flavors: honey, apple and pomegranate!
Let’s start with libations. First of all, last year definitely called for something way stronger than wine! Back in the before times, when tasting events were a thing, I discovered a local vodka company with the most amazing honey vodka, aka Nectar Vodka by local Seattle company Glass Vodka. For starters, this may be one of the most beautiful bottles ever and even solo would make a fab gift just about anytime. But, once you get past the bottle (and the gorgeous description cards that come with it straight from the distillery), it is downright delicious. I’m sure you could probably use it create the ultimate high holiday cocktail to carry you through a sukkah happy hour but frankly, it’s amazing to just sip. If you can’t find it locally, not to fret, they ship nationwide!
But of course, I could not leave the kids out of the libation category and wanted something novel, although I think we can all agree, you can never go wrong with Martinelli’s, especially a fancier one like this. Last year I lucked out and found an Italian pomegranate soda at World Market, bonus points for really cute labels. I can’t find it on their website, but here it is if it’s just calling you. Other current world market options to consider in the pom beverage category are this pom soda or cherry pom San Pelligrino cans.
Next up honey, pure and simple. To me, no RH celebration is complete without some fancier-than-usual honey. One of my favorite options for this is honeycomb. If you haven’t tried it, it adds a little crunch and texture to the honey and is delicious with just about anything but probably my most fave pairing is Humboldt Fog goat cheese. But honestly, regardless of what you pair it with, honeycomb will take your cheese plate (or apple slices) to the next level. One of the best honeycombs out there is by Savannah Bee Company, which conveniently is also at World Market, like much of my basket finds (yay for one stop shopping!).
Now for some sweet nosh to be loved by all! First, for a new version of apple dipping (which would also make a great school snack BTW), I grabbed all they had of Nosh Mates Apple Crisps with Salted Caramel Dip. I mean hello, even the brand name was made for RH!! Turning back to honeycomb and combining with life’s other sweet essential, chocolate, I found these cute mini Chuao Chocolatier Honeycomb Dark Chocolate bars on Amazon. Of course, you can always go full size but pro tip, this avoids kid (or adult) arguments if each gets their own. Last, since I wasn’t doing all the baking last year, I stumbled on this Honey Almond Pound Cake Mix while searching for honey. The packaging is so cute, it’s the perfect basket addition. And, I have it on good authority, it’s also quite yummy!
Okay, so now you have all of your deliciousness, how do you package it? There are of course, tons of options out there but the easiest (again remember last year, I ordered all of this for curbside pickup), was one of the gift basket kits at World Market. The great thing about these is they aren’t just a basket – they come with basket filling, tag and a basket bag! I went with the Natural Gift Basket Kit but there are several options available.
Of course, I couldn’t resist creating my tag and having an excuse to stamp. So, I stamped what may very well be my favorite Shana Tova Rubber Stamp onto watercolor paper using some Brilliance ink (I can’t remember the color – maybe pearlescent rust?). Then I used some Twinkling H2Os to watercolor it in before cutting it out in a tag shape. And since the devil is in the details, I then punched a hole reinforcement out of adhesive paper (bright color version) to give it that authentic tag look!
Finally, before tying it all up with a literal bow, I added a honeycrisp apple to complete the apples n’ honey theme! I was so pleased with the final result as were all of the recipients. Hoping that this year, we are in person, but we may just need to keep the vodka tradition! 😉
Are you already thinking about the holidays? What are you working on?