Here are the do’s and don’ts of an expert
Making gift baskets may seem easy, but according to those who do it all the time, it can be a tricky art form.
Sue Frye, retail manager at Temptations Gourmet Café on Oleander Drive in Wilmington, has over a decade of gift basket making under her belt and has perfected all the hacks to make the perfect one. Her high-temperature shrink wrap gun is her most trusted tool as she produces hundreds of baskets in the store each year.
Here are some of his tips and tricks:
Do: get a mix of things
Frye begins by arranging a mix of items that vary in size, height, and content. His favorite strategy is to mix salty and sweet like cocktail peanuts with chocolate truffles or red and white wines.
Don’t: buy all the glass
The glass is heavy, it slips and rattles in the basket, even after being shrink-wrapped. Break up wine bottles and small jam jars with paper products or smaller cardboard treats. Definitely don’t ship a basket with lots of glass either, Frye said.
Do: Choose a theme
Frye has created all kinds of baskets, and even the basket itself is a place where you can get creative, she said. For example, she made an “Italian Dinner” basket with pasta, pasta sauce, wine, and other goodies. She used a colander as a basket. Or treat a football fan to a game basket with seasoning and spice mixes, craft beers and popcorn.
Do: Add Padding
At Temptations, Frye places wrapper peanuts under a sheet of tissue paper as the base for the gift basket. It’s the secret to keeping presents out of the basket and keeping them in place so they don’t slip. If things start to wiggle, she places small pieces of tissue paper here and there to hold things in place. A final shrink wrap will keep everything solid.
Don’t: Leave gift recipients hanging
If you put crackers in the basket, go ahead and throw in a cheese and vice versa, she said. Carefully pair foods so gift recipients can open the basket and enjoy almost immediately.
Do: Use locally made items
There are all kinds of locally and North Carolina-made products available for gift baskets. Frye said these are the best products to use because they are not only high quality, but showcase all the things our region produces.
Journalist Ashley Morris can be reached at [email protected].