You can do this, only better (and for much less)!

by Lindsay Sauve on December 17, 2008 · 0 comments

I was on my Mac dashboard using the dictionary widget to look up the word foodie (def: a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet). A message on my Epicurious widget caught my eye:

“Shopping for a foodie friend? Epicurious has found 16 gorgeous gourmet goodies for everyone on your list  ——– and they’re all under $100.”

I’m not usually a fan of food gift baskets, unless they’re filled with wine. But I couldn’t resist seeing what Epicurious had to offer. (If you are unfamiliar with Epicurious, it is one of the best recipe sites ever.) The site featured a slide show of 16 gift basket of varying contents. Some were undeniably gorgeous and delicious looking, especially the Spices and Herbs tins from TSP Spices, the only one that was somewhat reasonably priced at $42. (Mom, Dad…hint.)

The Microbrew Beer Bucket was my favorite, but I almost blew a keg when I saw the price. $70 for six bottles of beer and some snacks? I challenged myself to make a Beer Bucket for less than half that price.

I love sampling microbrews and am a sucker for markets that let you buy a six pack sampler (Woodstock Wine and Deli and Otto’s Sausage Kitchen in my neighborhood.) This is not the cheapest way to buy beer, but a great way to get to know some great beers without investing in a whole six pack of one variety. Last time I was at Woodstock Wine and Deli, they charged around $1.60 to $2.00 a bottle, with 10% off if you buy six. They had some great snacks there, but you could spend way less on gifty snacks at your local grocery bulk section or Trader Joe’s.

In my DIY Beer Bucket, I substituted salami and crackers for jerky. (To me, jerky is road trip food not beer food.) You could use any kind of snack that goes well with beer. The nice thing about DIY gift baskets is the opportunity to personalize according to the giftee’s taste. Here’s what I came up with:

  • One small aluminum bucket from local hardware store – $8.00
  • Six 12 oz bottles of microbrew beer, averaging around $1.80 each with 10% off – $9.72
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels, I like Trader Joe’s brand – $2.99
  • 1/4 pound salted nuts. Peppered cashews or Tamari almonds from the bulk section – $2.50
  • Dry salami. Trader Joe’s salami is GREAT, and amazing with beer. – $4.29
  • Crackers. Milton’s Brand come in a long box that would fit nicely in a bucket. – $3.99

Total – $31.49, less than half of the $70 Gourmet Gift Baskets charges for their Beer Bucket. You could knock even more off the cost by using home made snacks and goodies. Plus, you can make your bucket more personal, use beer from local brewers and support your local vendors. Epicurious might want to stick to publishing great recipes.

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