French-themed "Basket of Cheer" Suggestions for a School Fundraiser ( $200 max)?
Bon Jour 'Hounds,
So my friend and I have volunteered to donate this year's Francophile basket to our childrens' school's Dinner Dance.
How would you divvy up the purchases with out 200 dollar budget? We were thinking 125 toward the " cheer" and we defintiley need some alcoholic suggestions as neither of us is a drinker...and the other 75 toward......hmmmm? What do you think?
We were thinking a wheel of brie, some marons glaces, perhaps a Peter Mayle book, some Tour Eifel cheese spreaders, Michel Cluziel or Payard chcolates, a g/ c to a French bistro?
I'd be much better at something Italophile, however i am always up to a challenge.
So, mom ami....what would be in your ideal French Basket of Cheer ?
You might want to cross post to the wine board for wine recs. If you don't mind the field trip, a good place to start would be a good wine buyer like Acker Merrill. Ask for recommendations for a 2005 Bordeaux, in particular, since that vintage was so strong, it's hard to go wrong, and these are also usually wines that are nice to drink in the cooler months. Then give them an upper bound for price (something good for under $30 is completely doable).
For the rest of the basket, I'd probably avoid anything that assumed the recipient enjoys time in the kitchen. (A cassole and cassoulet cookbook would be lovely for a cook, but maybe a bit daunting for a non-culinarily inclined francophile.) If you don't think it would be controversial, maybe a canned foie gras terrine would be nice -- include a bottle of Sancerre, in that case -- or just include an alternate jarred pate. A variety of cheeses wrapped with a cheese board and cheese knives would be pretty cool, too. Maybe in addition to your brie, include a tomme de savoie and pont l’eveque. Murray's Cheese Shop has a decent selection: http://www.murrayscheese.com/findchee... . Package that with a baguette, maybe some seasonal anjou pears and quince paste (okay, so maybe more Spanish than French, but who cares? It goes great with French cheeses), beurre d'Echire or a similar regional butter, etc...
Personally, I really disliked Peter Mayle's books, but that's just me. How about one of the Patricia Wells cookbooks? I love the Bistro Cookbook and use it all the time.
Many upscale cookware stores have cute cheese plates with scenes of France on them, a set of those and a cheese server of some sort might be fun. Many stores also sell dishtowels with scenes of France on them as well.
Also, to me, nothing says Frances like a bottle of Champagne.
Look into eaux-de-vie, clear fruit brandies. They come in several flavors -- raspberry is my favorite, but there's also peach, pear, plum. They can be used in mixed drinks, neat as an after-dinner drink, and in desserts and sauces. They can be found in small-ish bottles so as not to eat into your cheer budget too much.