Do you have friends or associates from out of town to whom you'd like to send a little bit of Cleveland? Or perhaps you know a former Clevelander that longs for reminders of Northeast Ohio? Here's how to put together a simple and elegant Cleveland gift basket.
Select a medium to large basket to hold all of your NE Ohio goodies. Fun baskets can be found at garage and estate sales or visit a local craft store. For a true Ohio touch, order a Longaberger basket, made in Central Ohio. Line the basket with Easter grass or other filler.
What to Put in the Basket
There are a myriad of Cleveland-related products to put in your gift basket. Here are a few ideas:
- Stadium Mustard: Cleveland is the home of Stadium mustard, the tangy, dark mustard served at ballparks and stadiums throughout the country. There are two types: Original Stadium Mustard and Bertman's Stadium Mustard.
- Ohio Ice wine: Ohio ice wine is some of the best in the world. The sweet, dessert wine is crafted by allowing the wine grapes to freeze on the vine before pressing them. Chalet Debonne and Ferrante Wineries produce award-winning ice wines. Buy them directly from the winery or look for them at local groceries and wine stores.
- Great Lakes Brewing Company Beer and/or logo wear: What about a few bottles of GLBC Christmas Ale or Dortmunder Gold or perhaps a tee-shirt or coasters with the Great Lakes logo.
- Ohio sports mug: Remind someone of Cleveland's sports traditions, with a Cleveland Browns, Indians, or Cavaliers mug--or even an Ohio State one. You can fill it with homemade candy or cookies.
- Cleveland candy bars: Malley's Chocolates has their Travis Hafner "Pronk" bar and the Cleveland Indians sell a "Chief Wahoo" bar at local markets to benefit Cleveland Indians charities.
- Buckeyes: Ohio's favorite candy is a peanut butter ball wrapped in chocolate that resembles the fruit of the state tree, the Buckeye. These candies are easy to make or buy them from Harry London Chocolates and other candy stores.
- Regional baked goods: Fill a couple of small holiday tins with cookies from one or two of Cleveland's many ethnic markets.
- Tony Packo's Pickles: Tony Packo's Cafe in Toledo is known for its Hungarian hot dogs and its hot pickles and peppers.
- Little Italy spaghetti sauce: Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood is home to many delicious food stores and restaurants. The area also markets its own spaghetti sauce, which may be found in most local grocery stores.
- Hot Sauce Williams hot sauce: Cleveland's barbecue king sells his patented sauce by the bottle, a delicious reminder of Cleveland's African-American heritage.
- Ohio cookbook: There are several good cookbooks on Ohio cuisine. New this year are the "Mustard Seed Cafe Cookbook" and "A Taste of Ohio History."
Wrap and Finish the Basket
To finish your basket, insert a card (if desired) and wrap the whole thing in colored translucent wrap.
If You Are Shipping Your Basket
If you are shipping your basket, you'll have to take care that the items don't get shattered in transit. Wrap any glass jars or bottles in bubble wrap before you wrap the entire basket in the translucent wrap. It won't look quite as festive, but at least it will arrive in one piece.