Food Stuff

Dec 15, 1999 at 12:00 am


If you want to give edibles as holiday gifts, the most appreciated, theoretically, are goodies you make yourself.

Plan B is to deliver a basket of ready-to-eat items, usually foods people wouldn't splurge on for themselves.

But prepackaged gift baskets can seem a bit impersonal, sort of a one-food-fits-all approach. The only thing the prepackagers have that you don't is shrink-wrap, so there's no reason you can't buy a basket and fill it yourself with your giftee's favorites. If you want help from the pros, the following stores offer their own selections and / or let you customize the contents. If you're really unsure, order a gift certificate.

Jackie Victor of Avalon Bakery suggests that if you're giving one of their famous sourdough breads, you give it right away. They have top-notch jams and cheeses to go with it. For the holidays, they're baking cookies, pies, healthy sweets such as maple almond jewels, and a light, brioche-like stollen, with dried cranberries and cherries, brandy, nutmeg and nuts. The 3-pounder is a wreath, tied with a gold ribbon. Everything is made with organic flour. Victor supplies the baskets for a U-fill operation. Visit 422 W. Willis in Detroit, or call 313-832-0008.

For transplanted Detroiters, a basket from Pure Detroit will have them crying in their Vernor's. The $35 "base basket" of Motor City Edibles contains Alinosi superfine chocolates, including a chocolate Model T; an assortment of Towne Club soda and Vernor's in glass bottles; soft cider from the Traffic Jam; Germack pistachios; Better Made potato chips (this local company survives despite the efforts of Frito-Lay); caramel corn from Detroit Popcorn Co.; peanuts from Rocky Peanut; Red Pelican Mustard; Niki's Greektown salad dressing; and Royal York coffee. Everything is made (or roasted, or popped) within the city limits.

Premium baskets include egg bread from Greektown and cheeses made at Traffic Jam. You can add books, hats and other Detroit-made items up to a pretty pricey nostalgia fest. Visit 1551 Woodward Tuesday-Saturday, or call 313-961-8320.

The cheese island at Royal Oak's Holiday Market puts together made-to-order baskets with fruit, crackers and wine. You can choose an Italian theme, for instance, or go French with Camembert, Brie, Reblochon, Minouette and St. Aubrey. Prices start at $35. Call in your order to 248-541-1414, or sample first at 1203 S. Main St.

Whole Foods Market offers preselected baskets, or you can pick your own natural and organic ingredients with 48 hours' notice. The $70 Champagne Basket, for example, includes the bubbly, Fizzmo, silver candles, butter biscuits, Le Temps clusters and Michigan Mints. Christmas, Michigan, Italian and Hanukkah baskets are also available, only at the Troy store at 2880 W. Maple. Call 248-649-9600. —Jane Slaughter


American Spoon Foods has gift baskets, gourmet preserves and more, all made in Michigan. Visit their Web site or call 888-735-6700. ... Give the gift of ice cream, such as the new Gingerbread Man or seasonal Eggnog & Cream and Peppermint flavors, with Edy's Grand gift certificates. Just $3 for a quart, or $5 for a half-gallon, and they won't melt in your stockings! Visit Edy's on the World Wide Web, or call 888.590-3397.