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Passover hostess Gift?

  • m

Greetings! I would greatly appreciate some advice on a nice hostess gift for friends who have invited me to my first Seder. My friends are fairly strict, especially on this High Holiday. I usually like to bring food to contribute to dinner, but I will not do so, as there is no way I could be certain the food was Kosher. But I'd like to bring something for them for later.

I do live in a city where there are many excellent kosher businesses, so I could easily purchase something that would be guaranteed kosher. I am also open to non-food items.

Are there any tips about things that might be ok to give? Anything I should avoid? are there any rules about hostess gift etiquette I should know that is specific to Passover? Thanks for your help!

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  1. a few questions:
    - what's your spending limit?
    - will there be children at the Seder?
    - are they close friends?

    perhaps i should have come up with a fourth question in keeping with the Passover theme ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      No definite limit, yes there will be children and they are close friends. I know we could go with nothing and they'd be just fine with it, but I always like to bring something. They like to eat!

    2. What a great posting topic. I too would love an answer to this. If anyone knows: Spending limit: $50, but if there is something special that costs more, please include it.

      Also are there any etiquette related things I should know.

      1. A nice bottle of kosher wine is always nice -

        4 Replies
        1. re: weinstein5

          Weinstein5, do you have a suggestion for a wine that might work? I am very ignorant about kosher wines, are there certain wineries I should look for? And I am assuming they will be labelled as a kosher wine?

          1. re: moh

            here's a helpful link for finding good Pesach wines:

            http://www.kosherwinereport.com/2009/...

            if you look at the label on the bottle, you'll see a "P" next to the kosher K on any wine that's specifically kosher for Passover.

            i asked about the kids because you might want to pick up a little something just for them as well - perhaps some chocolate-covered matzo...or there are Passover-themed games and card sets that teach them about the history and meaning of the holiday. my parents have a neat little box of items to represent each of the plagues, and the kids use them during that portion of the seder to get involved and keep them interested.

            for the adults, wine is always a nice idea, as is a fruit & nut tray (you can get one specifically for Pesach), or a decadent Kosher dessert such as a torte or flourless cake. you might also consider bringing a couple of boxes of hand-made shmura matzo. they're much more expensive than the machine-made stuff, and it would be a thoughtful gesture.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              in that link mentions the winery I just had as in excellent - Dalton - you will not go wrong - this also is a good resource http://www.kosherwine.com/Default.asp?

            2. re: moh

              in case you're still looking for a wine, today's Tasting Table for the NYC area had several suggestions:

              http://tastingtable.com/entry_detail/...

              don't know what the availability is like for any of them in Montreal, but might be worth a look.

          2. When in doubt, flowers are always nice.

            If you want to bring wine, try to find a liquor store that has a good kosher for Passover selection. The wine will not be limited just to the sweet stuff. You should be able to find varieties just like non-kosher wines.

            Assume the dinner will be a meat meal. That means that if the family is strictly kosher, in addition to celebrating Passover, you cannot bring food made with butter, milk or any dairy. Pareve (no milk or meat products in the food) is safe. Ask and/or check the package. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and eggs are all pareve.

            Good luck and enjoy the meal. You'll probably taste some interesting new foods.

            9 Replies
            1. re: amymsmom

              Moh,

              I would refrain from bringing flowers for the sedar...it has nothing to with Passover, but may pose some problems with the observance of holidays in general.

              I'd go with wine.

              1. re: vallevin

                I'm curious - what problems might flowers pose for holiday observance?

                1. re: janeh

                  Simple Question, long answer.

                  Once a holiday (RH, YK, Sukkot, Passover, Shavuous) or Shabbat begins there are issues with placing cut flowers in water. Granted it does not at all seem like "work", but it is related to restrictions connected to cultivation of plants. If you want a more detailed explanation... let me know.

                  I can personally say that I've had very well-intention non-observant guests bring flowers and I've had to demurely leave them on the counter.

                  If the OP can bring or send the flowers over >>before<< the holiday begins on Wednesday evening (7-ish) then it is not an issue.

                  1. re: vallevin

                    Or bring flowers already in a vase, arranged. Or even a live plant.

                    I'd avoid bringing food. Passover just has too many food rules for someone who isn't familiar with them.

                    A set of lovely kitchen linens (pot holders, towels, etc) would be nice. Or a decorative bowl. Something for the house.

                    Traditionally, during Passover families do "celebratory" things, so maybe tickets for the host's family to the local zoo for the family?

                    1. re: vallevin

                      Can I suggest that if it happens again, you put the flowers in a vase without water (if you can manage to get them out of any wrappings). The guest might not notice the lack of water, and it might make them feel better than seeing their gift left on the counter.

                      1. re: queenscook

                        Wow. that never occurred to me. Thanks for the tip.

                        1. re: vallevin

                          I had never heard that, but I love when people bring me flowers. I am always the one to make the big seder, Rosh Hashanah meal, or whatever. I really do not need another serving dish, all food has been planned out, and I do let people bring things, and I love having flowers around. I am not sure where you live, but most florists sell arrangements that you can bring, I just would stay away from the lillies they have out for Easter. I specifically remember one year that I slaved away to make the seder (I am having 27 this year), and no one brought me flowers. I was ready to cry over that. I just feel that it is the one thing that people can do to show that they appreciate what I have done.

                          1. re: robinsilver

                            No one is saying not to bring flowers. Some people who are observant won't put flowers in a vase of water on the holiday, so the flowers will just sit on the counter. Flowers are a beautiful gift. Last year I gave a candy dish filled with parve chocolate covered nuts and raisins. Everyone loved the gift, even if they didn't need another serving dish.

                2. Wine is a great idea for the adults.

                  For the kids, bring a bagful of afikoman prizes. Small prizes like a cool deck of cards, a board game, costume jewelry, or matchbox type cars are great gifts. It doesn't have to be one prize per kid, just a nice bagful so that every kid can get a toy.

                  1. How about one of the beautiful new cookbooks that are dedicated to Passover? I have a few and love looking at them for more than just the recipes. Photos are very inspiring too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bubbyrebecka

                      "Aromas of Aleppo", featuring kosher cuisine of the Middle East is both a useful cookbook, as well as a beautiful coffee table book.

                    2. Thanks to all for your great suggestions!

                      I read about some of the traditions, and so I was very excited about the wine suggestion. I really liked the links. But when I went to our local wine monopoly - lo and behold - no kosher wines. Turns out they don't seem to cater to the rather large Jewish community in our neighbourhood. I was shocked, but those invisible barriers are the hardest ones to knock down I guess. I will however keep my eyes peeled the next time I am in NYC for some for those wines for future occasions.

                      I loved the suggestion of the toys for the kids. Conveniently, I noticed a toy shop on my walk that is owned by Orthodox Jews (as I say, there is a large community in this area), and found some really great Passover stickers, books, card games. I also picked up some little cars for the youngest boy. I knew I couldn't resist when i saw a crowd of young boys around the car section, playing with all the cars. I also found an awesome game called "Schmear". It is a memory card game where you have to construct a bagel out of cards you win by picking out pairs. I thought it would be an appropriate game coming from me, a food obsessive. So a mix of holiday themed gifts and non-themed gifts.

                      Then I went to the local kosher grocery store in search of chocolate covered jelly rings. I purchased some grape jelly rings and some chocolate covered marshmallows. The are marked kosher for Passover, so I think it should be ok to bring them. I of course bought some jelly rings for myself, I really love those things. I'm snacking on them now!

                      I really loved the idea of the cookbook, but didn't find anything just right, and so instead, I bought a cute metal napkin holder with a bird as a napkin weight, and some brightly coloured spring paper napkins. I know my friends go to the cottage a lot, and also have a nice outdoor patio, so I think they'll be able to find a use for it.

                      When I came back from my shopping trip, I had a little plastic bag full of baked goods from my favorite local Jewish bakery left on my doorstep by an anonymous friend! Babka, rolls that look like small challah, some yummy puff pastry, some rugelach. It seems that there is such a thing as a Passover fairy. It was a very nice way to end the afternoon outing!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: moh

                        Your gifts sound really thoughtful. I hope you have a great time at the seder!

                      2. Thank you for asking this question. My SO and I will be attending the first night seder at my aunt and cousin's home. My parents have hosted in the past or I've gone to a lagge community seder so I had never thought of this before this invitation came. I didn't even have to wonder; I just had to read and go shopping. I've got a box of parve chocolates for my cousin and her new husband (our home for the night) and a bottle of Bartenura Pinot Grigio for my aunt who is holding the seder itself. Again, thanks for the advice.

                        1. It's probably too late for this year, but Oh! Nuts is a kosher nut and candy outlet that sells Kosher for Passover gift baskets on their website. They do have some store locations in NY too. Good to know for future seder needs.
                          http://www.ohnuts.com

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: citysweettooth

                            Avoid food. Too many restrictions. Flowers in a vase, a plant or some sort of serving dish, such as a cake plate or wine decanter.

                            1. re: joaniesl

                              Everything in Oh Nuts is strictly kosher for Passover. I've bought platters from there in the past and they all come sealed with a Kosher for Passover sticker.

                          2. For next year's searchers for the lovely and thoughtful Passover gift...

                            I got 2 nice gifts from Costco online. I got a thing called the Extravagance Kosher food basket which had all sorts of goodies in it like various crackers, pates, candies, smoked salmon and a very nice cheese tray and knife. I also bought a Jers Kosher chocolate box that had all sorts of chocolates with peanut butter mixes like with caramel and toffee. I had one piece - it was very good. I do not know whether or not they will have these exact items next year, but it is worth having a look at what they offer. I went there looking for bulk saffron and ended up happily stumbling on two very nice and thoughtful gifts.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                              Sal,

                              Just a quick kosher note: I get the impression from what you wrote that some of those items are not kosher for >>Passover<< (crackers and peanut butter). People who do not keep kosher and are bringing gifts into a kosher home need to careful..especially at Passover time. It sounds like a lovely gift for the rest of the year though.