Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

I definitely think it’s harder to shop for guys because there’s such a lack of products out there for them! But I know I can NEVER go wrong with chocolates or alcohol.

LA Burdick Chocolate 

           I’m a sucker for chic packaging, especially when it comes to gourmet chocolates. Opening the boxes of LA Burdick was like opening a box of fine jewelry!! Everything is handmade, all-natural and shipped year round! The Gourmet S’mores kit is all handmade and has no GMO’s. Each gourmet kit includes six traditional honey grahams and six chocolate grahams – all topped with vanilla sugar; three small dark chocolate bars (a half-bar is the perfect portion for an individual s’more); nine marshmallows in 3 natural flavors – passion fruit-raspberry, vanilla and cappuccino. The penguins are hand piped and available year round and are a wonderful novelty chocolate to enjoy. Burdick Chocolate I may have stolen a chocolate graham cracker, chocolate bar and marshmallow when Dad was “saving” it sorry – it looked too good!


 Smith Island Cakes / original chocolate cake

This is the official cake of Maryland! Made from scratch, features layers of moist yellow cake and a fudge icing. The cake comprises ten, individually baked delicious layers. This one is incredibly dangerous if Dad is watching his weight, but well worth the chocolatey calories! I’m always hesitant to order cakes online since I had a bad experience in the past (*cough* Neiman Marcus cakes tasted like they were defrosted, refrozen and doused in chemicals) this was a very refreshing experience!!! The cake tasted fresh, just baked and I will certainly be ordering from them again! They have fantastic, quality products. Smith Island Cakes

Mantry Gift Boxes


   Mantry is the modern man’s pantry, they source each month for the latest and greatest products. This month’s box included macadamia nuts, pineapple gum syrup, granola, jerk marinade, ginger and jerky. The black pepper macadamia nuts are great crushed and mixed with panko as a breaking for fish. The jerk marinade includes scotch bonnet pepper (if you’ve been to the islands you know that scotch bonnet hot sauce is prevalent), ginger, scallions and spices – this is the perfect summer marinade for chicken before throwing it on your grill! Just grab Dad a beer and he’s all set! The pineapple gum is fantastic in rum punch or even just sparkling water with mint! Mantry

Equator Coffees aka the best espresso on the market right now!


   Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Napa Valley and a bucket list place is The French Laundry. Every culinary class I’ve taken, the professor/chef boasts a comparison “this is how they do “x” at The French Laundry…” Especially when the subject of servers came up…it was always mentioned that French Laundry staff are all salary, and generous ones. It’s been named the top restaurant in the world and consistently makes the list of Top 50 restaurants in the world. They do nine course tasting meals so this is not a place where you grab dinner and leave in 1-2 hours. It is hailed as an event. Founder Thomas Keller is a legend in the culinary world. He’s won chef of the year, James Beard awards, the list is just endless. Not to mention he’s super down to earth! I saw one interview where he was in his house showing off the Progresso soup he eats when he’s not cooking. All of that being said…do you see that gorgeously packaged coffees above?! The Equator Thomas Keller blend was created along with Chef Keller himself. This espresso blend (TK Espresso) was specifically created to be served in all of his restaurants and bakeries. The goal was to satisfy Chef Keller’s desire for an espresso that is not only rich and complex but, one that could stand on its own (as he takes his espresso) or in milk as many coffee drinkers prefer. The pursuit of the perfect ratio of elements, finally resulted in an artfully integrated cup. Equator proudly describes “Creating a coffee blend for a chef like Thomas Keller is a fascinating process and a once-in-lifetime opportunity.” French Laundry Blend has piquant top notes in a rich-bodied, fruit-toned base reminiscent of blueberries with cedar and nut accents. And you guessed it – it’s served at my bucket list restaurant too! Their Glass Keep Cups are essential for enjoying espresso on the go. I hate travel mugs, they ruin the flavor of the best beverage creation! These glass keep cups keep the flavor and quality in tact. Equator Coffees 

John Kelly Chocolates  


John Kelly is known for their truffle fudge and sea salt caramels. Their chocolates not only look pretty, but taste divine! The 8-piece signature handcrafted chocolate collection is my favorite and rated as a favorite with Dad! It includes their semi-sweet chocolates and dark chocolates paired with various flavors – peanut butter, walnuts, caramel, sea salt. I’ve never tasted any similar chocolate on the market. And the price point ($31.50) is very reasonable for a box of luxury hand crafted chocolates. John Kelly Chocolates I actually used two of their caramels on the bottom of an espresso and it made the best caramel cappuccino:  



 Hak’s BBQ Sauce

The best meal to make Dad on Father’s Day is anything grilled!! If it’s a weekday, I love making kebabs. These BBQ sauces are killer as a marinade and as a dipping sauce. The main reason I chose this particular brand is because the ingredients are real!!! Most sauces have a corn syrup base and s bunch of weird things you can’t pronounce. Just listen to the ingredient list for the Chipotle Bourbon variety – Apple cider vinegar, Molasses, Tomato paste, onion powder, garlic, ancho chile powder (ahhh, one of my favorites a more raisiny variety of chile pepper), bourbon (yass!!!) Yum!!! That sounds like a sauce I would make in my own kitchen, minus the time it takes. They’re all non-gom, no preservatives and made in small batches! And only $8/each. Other favs are Habanero Pineapple and Thai Chile Tamarind. Stay tuned bc I’m sure you’ll see many recipes using these!!! 

Partida Tequila


One of the highest rated tequilas on the market right now is Partida! Every ounce of Partida Tequila begins with a carefully cultivated supply of blue agave. Partida’s is grown near a dormant volcano in the Tequila Valley. Under the agave’s spiky tips lies “la piña,” tequila’s soul. Even with tequila, patience is a virtue. You cannot rush the growth of la piña – the bigger it gets, the more mature the sugars, and the more full, ripe, and flavorful it becomes. They wait 7-10 years.  Because of Partida, I learned that most agave is cooked “the old fashioned way” in stone ovens that are rarely cleaned. The soot that develops adds bitterness to the tequila – not something they want to share with you. At Partida they use only state-of-the-art stainless steel ovens to bake the agave, creating a smoother, cleaner taste. They age their tequila in Jack Daniel’s oak barrels. No additives. No coloration. My pick, the tequila blanco has a soft floral aroma blended perfectly with hints of citrus, fresh herbs and tropical fruit. This crisp-tasting premium tequila lingers on your palate, leaving it feeling clean and fresh. Stay tuned to my page because I’ll be mixing up the best Summer Margarita ever using Partida Blanco! Partida Tequila 

Tradestone Chocolates



Ahhh, saving the best for last. Although these didn’t last long in my house. Artisan chocolates and gourmet confections from the city of brotherly love! Their Chocolate Assortment features their top-selling items: caramel apple, absinthe/anise, hazelnut crunch, honey almond, rum raisin, toasted coconut just to name a few!! Their chocolate caramels are very smooth and features both milk and dark chocolate. I love how gorgeous their chocolates are crafted to perfection – the pictures above don’t even do them justice. Don’t just buy Dad one brand of chocolates, give him plenty of options!!! Tradestone Confections


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