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Holiday Food and Drink Gift Guide 2012

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by Mark Thompson
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Crystal Head Vodka: Skull-Tini Glasses

Comedian Dan Aykroyd has made a career out of making you believe things that were unbelievable, so when you hear that he’s the entrepreneur behind Crystal Head Vodka, you kind of wonder, "For real?"

Yes, for real. Crystal Head Vodka is an award-winning Canadian vodka, that is quadruple-distilled, triple-filtered and then triple filtered again through Herkimer diamonds. For real? Apparently - because this naturally pure vodka is completely free of any additives, thanks to the use of glacial aquifer water of Newfoundland, Canada.

As for the crystal head bottle, apparently that has something to do with an archeological mystery concerning 13 crystal heads that were found around the world, from Tibet to the American Southwest, which have powers of enlightenment for those who possess them. For real? Hmm.

Regardless of whether or not you buy into the mythology, the bottle is a keeper. And so are a pair of skull-tini martini glasses that feature glass skulls on the stem with "Crystal Head Vodka" imprinted on the base. Packaged in a reusable gift box, the 7.5 ounce glasses stand 6.5 inches tall and are dishwasher safe - and guaranteed to enlighten you for eternity.

PRICE: $30.00 / 2-pack
LINK: Crystal Head Vodka Skull-Tini Glasses

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Attems: Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT 2011

Some people find something they like to drink - and refuse to budge. Some people we know love Pinot Grigio with the same fervency that some children cling to a belief in Santa Claus. Why fight it? If they’re happy with Pinot Grigio, then make them happy with one of the best Pinot Grigios from the Friuli Venezia-Giulia region of Italy.

With more than 1,000 years of viticulture, the Attems winery can trace its roots to the year 1106 and the picturesque vineyards are a testament to Pinot Grigio’s place in the pantheon of oenophiles.

A copper-tinged straw yellow in color, Attems Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia 2011 has a bouquet of ripe tropical fruit with notes of apple and pear. A clean mineral edge with a crisp acidity makes this Pinot Grigio a lovely complement to poultry and perhaps even a Christmas goose.

There’s a reason that Pinot Grigio is, arguably, the most well-known wine in the world - and the freshness and fruitiness of this beloved wine is given a contemporary profile in the hands of Attems.

PRICE: $19.00
LINK: Attems Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT 2011

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Mackenzie Limited: Sticky Toffee Pudding

Henry James once famously said that the most beautiful words in the English language were "summer afternoon."

Not to argue with the Master, but we might make a case for "sticky toffee pudding." Merely saying those three words is enough to make us swoon the way some people do to hear "I love you."

A classic British dessert, sticky toffee pudding is not so much a pudding as it is a dense and moist sponge cake served with an intensely delicious and decadent buttery toffee sauce. This is the sort of Victorian dessert that revives your faith in English cuisine and makes you want to shout, "God bless us, everyone."

Founded by a Scottish national in 1984, Mackenzie Limited offers more than 275 gourmet foods in eight different categories. Their version of sticky toffee pudding is rich and satisfying - and if you’re thinking about serving it for a holiday party, you might think about stashing another one in the pantry for personal consumption.

One pudding serves 6-8 people - that is, if they’re polite guests and not greedy for seconds.

PRICE: $26.95
LINK: Mackenzie Limited Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Teroforma: Ekke Shot Glasses

You know that feeling when your eyes alight upon a thing of beauty, an objet d’art - something that you feel the need to touch and pick up and hold in your hand. Something that you want to take home and claim as your own.

The husband and wife team behind Teroforma created their company in order to meet interesting artisans in new places - and the result is a line of hand-picked designers who create some of the most imaginative objects in the world.

Whisky Stones, for example, which keep drinks cold without dilution are milled in Vermont by the oldest soapstone workshop in the US - and are the perfect addition to a high-end scotch that you don’t want diluted by ice cubes.

A set of soapstone shot glasses by Norwegian designer Thea Mehl is equally effective. The soapstone is non-porous, which means that no flavors or odors linger after usage. The Ekke Shot Glasses are milled at Amit Stoneworks in India, not far from the Taj Mahal, which makes them even more romantic as a gift for your beloved.

PRICE: $40.00 / set of four
LINK: Teroforma Ekke Shot Glasses

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(Gift Guide continues on next pages...)



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