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Williams-Sonoma $6.50 cupcake and other food items

Turns out one of Oprah's 2007 favorite things is cupcakes made by Perfect Endings of Napa, Ca. Nine cupcakes $59.
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

They aren't gift wrapped but you could buy a set of four monogrammed cupcake boxes for $29 to put them in.

So is there anything amazing food-wise and worth it price-wise at WS

- the wild smoked salmon collection (15.75 oz. $149)
- Burrata Cheese from Texas (8 oz $32)
- Acetaia Malpighi Tradionale balsamic vinegar (3.38 oz $175)
- Vanilla sugar (6oz $18)
- Frozen heat and serve arancini (rice croquettes ... 1 1/2 lbs $39)
- Martini Olive Puffs (36 - $69 ... that's puff pastry around an olive)
- Fresh Live Maine Lobsters, Set of 2 (1 1/2 lbs each $135)
- Rustic Bread Collection Bay Bread (2 1lb loaves $19)
- Rubicon Bakery Dulce de Leche Cake ($69)
- Ciao Bella Gelato Truffles, Set of 12 ($69)
- Empanadas, Set of 8 (4 oz each $49.95)

Ok, I'm being a little silly by pulling out some of the more, uh, creatively-priced items ... especially since some of those are local to me and I'm aware of the quality and actual prices.

However, some of the stuff in the catalog looks good and seems priced appropriately.

Any recommendations?

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/f...

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  1. rw, what are the things you are interested in that you think aren't the w-s rip-off?

    6 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      I think I've read the Assumption Abbey fruitcake and the pannetone is good. I'm really up in the air about that Buche de Noel by Perfect Endings ... the same joint as the pricy cupcakes. Partly because even though Perfect Endings is local to me, they only bake by special order and mainly special occasion cakes. While that is pricy for a Buche de Noel, for this particular bakery it is not so out of line ... on the other hand it comes frozen. The few Yelp reviews on this bakery haven't had the high opinion of it that Oprah does.

      My taste in food and Oprah's rarely are in sync. I still have a lousy $7 tea bag sitting in the cabinet that was a favorite of hers one year. If she were a Chowhound poster, I'd ignore most of her posts. Her friend Gayle is a different thing. She's serious about food and I've had some good food tips there.

      The Rubicon peppermint marshmallows sound good but I think I can buy them locally. The bakery is just down the street from where I live ... though they only sell wholesale to local markets.

      Tempted by the Moravian Gingersnaps and stollen

      1. re: rworange

        these blogs talk about fruitcakes and one poster says it is cheaper to order directly from the abbey. abbey's site sells it for $28, s&h included. (but a whopping $39 at w-s, plus shipping!!!!)

        http://www.google.com/search?client=s...

        pannettone never sent me over the roof, so i am no help.
        order your own specialty cake buche de noel directly from perfect endings.... why pay a middleman when it is nearby!
        i think i just saw peppermint marshmallows....ah, but where? maybe w-s store in tyson's corner mall. again, buy at local markets.

        w-s is overpriced on most of their food items -- and other things too. i do like the sales, though.

        1. re: rworange

          The pannetone is pretty good, and makes fantastic french toast. That said a good Itialian deli will have the same for half the price. The moravian cookies are really addictive too.

          You have to realize that even though O probably does try many of the WS products she endorses, WS tells her what to recommend. She gets a kickback from this.

          1. re: Hoosierland

            I am fairly confident that companies are clamouring to get their product on Oprah, given the financial rewards that they can reap. And I do not believe for a minute that Oprah "discovers" all of the "favorite things" herself. Sure, she probably comes across some of these things as gifts or who knows how else, but I am sure that the vast majority of the items that show up on her show are found by staffers and I would not be shocked at all if a supplier(whether W-S or some other company) suggested which item(s) in their product line or catalogue to feature. That said, I am curious about your source for the remark that Oprah gets a "kickback" in connection with products she "endorses." It would not surprise me if companies paid for product placement, but that's not per se a kick-back, especially if it's admitted to. There apparently was a "Behind the Scene" show explaining how the products were selected, but I don't generally watch Oprah and did not see the show. It would be interesting if Oprah said the companies do not pay to be on the show and it turns out that they do.

          2. re: rworange

            rworange,

            Was just at the Maryland Christmas Show with the MIL. Bought 1 lb of Moravian Gingersnaps for $11 (not in a tin). W-S charges $24 for 13 oz?!?!? Ridiculous!

            Here's a link to Mrs. Hane's Moravian cookies and a small bit about them...

            http://bostonphoenix.com/archive/food...

            They charge $18 for a 1 lb. tin.

            Just as good as what W-S is selling (I've had them before) if not better!!!

            1. re: Axalady

              For just a second I got confused... W-S is also actually how Winston-Salem is often referred to... which is the home of Old Salem, the place that has the Moravian bakery where all those cookies are made. That being said, if anyone lives near Winston-Salem (NC), you can buy the cookies in bulk much much much cheaper by going to the bakery. That's what we do every year. Guess I am lucky enough to only live an hour an a half away though!

        2. Their frozen croissants are pretty good - my mother has ordered them at Christmas (not much in the way of a decent bakery in her neck of the woods).

          1. totally agree. ordered a chocolate torte once a long time ago.... fran's flourless torte got taken in by the hype. it was small almost tiny for $ 42 never again. its much easier to go local. ws is good for sales on stuff, recently found a couple of pans on sale pretty reasonable also my staub cocotte but rarely get food products from them.

            1. Vanilla sugar is wonderful - but it's so easy to make it yourself that I can't see why anyone would pay that kind of money for it!

              1. We were given a box of their frozen chocolate croissants one year as a gift. They were terrific. You set them out the night before to defrost and rise.

                I don't know what they cost, but we considered them a very nice gift. Rarely find them as good, even here in NYC.

                4 Replies
                1. re: comestible

                  Trader Joe's now offers something that is exactly like this. Since they tend to have items labeled for their chain I wouldn't be surprised these are from the same place.
                  About $4 for 4

                  1. re: MrPhil

                    Wow -- that is great because I love the WS croissants. The only ones I've had that are in the same ballpark are Patisserie Claude's in NYC and some in Paris.

                    This blog states that they are indeed the same croissants. Unfortunately, I greatly prefer plain croissants, but supposedly mini plain are coming soon.

                    http://justinsomnia.org/2007/11/meeti...

                  2. re: comestible

                    Has anyone tried the Hazelnut croissants? How do they compare with the Chocolate. Can the croissants be individually thawed and prepared or do you have to make the whole batch?

                    1. re: elainew

                      I haven't tried the hazelnut, but they look good. Generally, I'm more a fan of the plain, since I don't like the taste of the croissant to be overshadowed by other flavors. I bought some of the TJ chocolate croissants, though, and had one this morning -- very good, imo.

                      You can prepare the croissants individually; however, my croissants have always arrived a bit stuck together. I usually let them sit out for a bit and then slide a knife in between them to separate and wrap each individually in plastic wrap and then place them all in the freezer. In the summer, when the temp inside the house is warmer, the croissants get very puffy during their overnight thaw/rise and they take on a slight fermented/sour quality, which I love.