this weekend was a busy one – it completely (& sadly) flew by! between watching chris run in his first ever half marathon & hosting the in-laws, practically every moment was jam packed with places to be & people to see. for a homebody like me it was quite a change of pace from recent weekends, which have for the most part only blissfully involved parenthood marathons on netflix & ice cream on our sofa.
lazy? – maybe.
awesome? – totally.
anyhow, this weekend really marked the kick start of our busy summer. like most twenty-somethings, our summer weekends fill months in advance with travel, weddings, lake weekends, family time & other shenanigans, & i couldn’t imagine kicking off the craziness of summer any way better or more pleasant than with a bridal shower for my soon-to-be older sister-in-law, katie.
katie is the kind of person who joyfully takes life by storm. she’s a rockstar at work & still manages to do so many cool & fun things – like throw murder mystery housewarming parties, travel the world, & sing & dance in musicals in local theater. she’s curious at heart & conversations with her are often deep, funny, heartfelt, & full of wacky tangential comments all at once.
so, when i got the invite to katie’s bridal shower i couldn’t help but smile; it is only too perfectly appropriate that someone as fun & full of life as katie be showered with an afternoon of “entertainment-themed” gifts.
i knew as soon as i saw on their crate & barrel registry the beautiful cheese board & cheese knives they had chosen that i would be setting katie up with the ultimate cheese gift basket.
cheese boards are the most effortless way to entertain (after all, who seriously doesn’t love cheese & crackers??), & pulling together a cheese gift basket is such a snap. all you need are some artisan crackers, your favorite cheeses, a bottle or two of nice wine, & some pretty packaging. four easy components for one totally customizable gift that will always be a hit.
i was running short on time (see above, busy weekend), so i knew trader joe’s would be the perfect one stop shop.
i grabbed a box of their multigrain pita bite crackers with flax & chia seeds (so nutty & delish!), their trio of goat cheese (yum), a gooey-soft triple creme brie (double yum), & their italian truffle cheese.
for the record, this italian truffle cheese will go down in history as one of my favorite tj’s finds of all time. ummm…holy goodness. it’s neither an especially hard cheese nor a soft cheese, but it is chock full of deliciously intoxicating truffle flavor. it’s an amazing addition to any cheese board, but it also melts beautifully for an elegant grilled cheese or fancy pants truffle mac & cheese. let’s be real, it’s also an amazing snack straight out of the cheese drawer. tons of flavor, versatile ingredient, & feels really fancy but is very reasonably priced.
next stop was some celebratory wine – a nice argentinian red & bubbly-crisp italian prosecco always fits the bill.
the final step is making the cheese gift basket look as pretty as it is tasty. i am obsessed with finding a fun wire milk crate. The one pictured is beautifully rustic yet stylish with its shiny copper handles & the quality is excellent. it truly makes the perfect gift basket vessel: everyone oohs & ahhs when they see it, & it is the kind of gift that keeps on giving since it can be used as a super cute organizational storage bin in your recipient’s home.
first, fill the base of the crate (or other basket of choice) with some tissue paper or craft paper.
once there is a good base to work off of, it is easiest to work by filling the basket from the front to the back. you’ll want to take into consideration the different heights of the items you’re putting in your gift basket (taller items should be in the back so as not to overshadow the smaller goodies), & keep the items that you really want to showcase in the middle of the basket.
for my basket this meant placing the bottles of wine in each of the back corners & nestling the variety of cheeses in front of them so that the labels could be read clearly. the pita crackers got taken out of the clunky box they came in & transferred into a cellophane gift bag. last was the piece de resistance, katie’s gorgeous crate & barrel cheese knives, which i stood up in the center of the basket.
voila, a beauty of a cheese gift basket with just a trip to the grocery store & a couple of assembly hacks for beautiful presentation.