There aren't many physical gifts these days that give me as much joy as having a memorable experience. Here are some experiences that have been informative, fun and delicious. If you're racking your brain for holiday gifts (especially for the person that has everything), perhaps you'll consider giving an experience...one that you and your gift recipient can enjoy together.
My sister and I have talked on and off for years about taking a trip to France since we were in high school. Since our high school and college French language skills are rusty, we decided to take French Lessons so we can converse and understand the language better when we go.
Penelope Lespinasse is our teacher and she's a gem. Each week we dive into French conversation, repeating words and phrases, while learning pronunciation and nuances of this language. She's encouraging, patient and has a wonderful sense of humor peppering the lessons with interesting tidbits about French culture.
Penelope even put together a fun and unique birthday celebration gift for me to give Susan—we made crepes, played bingo in French and had loads of laughs. A truly memorable experience for our 65th birthday.
Carolina Martin, owner of The Bom Parties hosts truffle making parties online. You sign up and receive in the mail everything you need to make truffles which are then taught to you over Zoom.
The truffle making kit is terrific and includes confetti making the experience a party when you open the box! Carolina has done this for countless private parties, corporate team building, (for some of the biggest companies on the globe), children's birthdays, and more. The operative word here is fun and easy. Any one can do this and she takes the mystery out of making these delectable candies. I was even able to dust some of my truffles with Pat's Granola!
Ann LoParo, owner of Annies Signature Sweets, is a pastry chef who has taught hundreds of classes, both in person and virtually to students from across the globe. She is a patient teacher, answering questions during class and provides expert instruction during the sessions. I've been her student and was able to make (finally) cinnamon rolls and macarons.
Ann offers a variety of baking classes and will also arrange private events. These classes make terrific gifts.
Check out my blog post from my first class Cinnamon Rolls Was Just the Beginning
A group of foodie friends and I had a memorable experience of visiting the 400 acre Chef's Garden Vegetable Farm in Huron, OH in late August. THIS was a memorable experience. My friends and I were treated to a personal tour of the farm (on a wagon), listened to one of the farm experts describe their regenerative farming methods and had a cooking demonstration from one of our friends who is also a customer of the farm. Food grown on this farm is unique and is grown without chemicals. The vegetables are treated with kid gloves as they end up in some of the worlds best restaurants and handled by top chefs.
The highlight of this trip was getting to purchase some of these vegetables, meeting the iconic Farmer Lee Jones and having him autograph copies of The Chef's Garden book, one for my sister, one for me.
As the holidays approach, consider gifting from a local business. Many offer unique and interesting experiences.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Mister Brisket www.misterbrisket.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share
The Corner at The Van Aken District The Corner at The Van Aken District
Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
Hear Pat's story on Food Founders Podcast.
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