Monthly Archives: May 2014

Graduation Gifts for 2014 High School and College Graduates

 

Graduation season is fast upon us! I can still recall the pride…and sadness I felt watching my daughter graduate from high school last year.  I was so very proud of her and yet, I was awash in memories of her life racing through my mind; I kept wondering “where did 18 years go!?” I imagine many of you have similar experiences, or will, as you prepare for 2014 graduations.  Not only do you have the ceremony to prepare for, perhaps you’re hosting or attending a graduation party?  By now, parents of graduates would have booked a hall or pavilion, created and mailed RSVPs, contracted for food and beverages and purchased decorations.  While Figi’s doesn’t specialize in most of those graduation party necessities, we can help with graduation gifts and food gifts for your celebration.

So, whether your student is receiving a high school diploma, GED, Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree – we’re both honored and excited to help you celebrate your graduate’s accomplishments with special graduation gifts from Figi’s! Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas for the young men and women getting ready to throw their graduation caps in the air this year.

Graduation Memorabilia

Graduation Memorabilia GiftsSpecial memorabilia are a great way to capture a moment in time; a significant milestone – like graduation – can be captured and remembered for years to come. More than simple souvenirs or trinkets, personalized memorabilia serve as treasure keepsakes that spark warm memories and emotions born from the successful completion of the graduate’s great achievement. These are the kinds of keepsakes which last a lifetime!

Personalized Graduation Gifts

Personalized Graduation Gifts | Figi'sA great graduation gift should express your pride in the graduate; both in who they are and in how far they have come to reach this point. You see, it takes great deal of dedication to complete a 4 year degree. Through it all, graduates are often changed by their efforts – shaped by time & toil into someone who is ready to take on life’s new opportunities.

With that in mind, one of our favorite ways to commemorate such a special time is with our personalized wood pen set. Personalized graduation gifts offer a means to tailor your gift to the personality of the graduate, and the pen itself serves as a symbolic reminder to always continue pursuing their education.

Graduation Gift Baskets

Graduation Gift Baskets | Figi'sPerhaps the best gift a graduate can receive is the celebration itself! Whether your graduation party is a grand affair with extended family, friends, gifts & food…or a more intimate gathering of close family and friends, a graduation gift basket filled with delicious snacks, treats, & finger foods is an easy way to get any party started right. Try a hearty snack selection of Wisconsin cheeses & meats, or bring something sweet to share, such as our famous petit fours from Figi’s!

Do you know someone who has or is getting ready to graduate but you’re not sure what to get them? Share with us on Facebook or Google+ and we’ll help you find the perfect gift!

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Cheese Blog Series: Everything’s Better with Cheddar!

Aged Cheddar Cheese from Figi'sWelcome to the first installment of the Figi’s Cheese Blog Series! In this series, you’ll learn about the flavor, versatility and history of different types of cheeses; we’ll also give you cheese pairing options, answer common cheese questions and give a few recipes along the way.  Our series begins with cheddar.

Foodies, and those for whom eating is a more casual affair, agree: cheese makes many dishes more delicious.  Of all cheese options out there, cheddar is arguably the ‘cheese of choice’ for the largest number of people.  It’s easy to see why: cheddar offers flavor variety; from mild to rich and sharp.  Add cheddar cheese to a bland dish, and voilà!  Loads of taste!  Add cheddar cheese to an already flavorful dish, salad or sandwich to enhance other ingredients.

What kinds of cheddar are there?  There are many varieties of cheddar available; here is a breakdown for you:

  • Fresh unpressed (cheese curds): Unripened curds, straight out of the vat, have become very popular – especially in our home state of Wisconsin. We especially like them battered and deep-fried!  Cheese curds are a healthy snack…when not deep-fried 🙂 and they nicely compliment fruit and veggie trays.
  • Mild: This cheddar is soft and mild in flavor as it ripens for a short time; typically for three months.
  • Medium: This cheddar is more firm in texture and tastes a bit like hazelnuts.  It typically ripens for four to nine months.
  • Sharp: This cheddar has a firmer, dryer and more granular texture.  This cheddar ripens for nine months to two years and as its name indicates…tastes ‘sharp.’  Some would say this cheddar is slightly sour or bitter in taste.
  • Extra Sharp: Because this cheddar ripens from two to ten years, it has a strong ‘sharp’ flavor.  The older the cheddar, the more crumbly and more difficult to slice it becomes.

Why is some cheddar cheese white and other cheddar cheese yellow?  Some think a cheddar’s color indicates it’s flavor (sharpness).  Color has no bearing on a cheddar’s flavor.  All cheese typically is white or off-white; the orange or yellow coloration found in cheddar is the result of…well, I found a good article on that topic for you here.

Where did cheddar cheese come from?  England – specifically, the Cheddar Gorge!  Sounds ‘made up’ but that’s the truth.  Farmers in Somerset, England began making a distinctive cheese in the 12th century.  Cheddar cheese was stored in the caves of the Cheddar Gorge, as the caves kept the cheese at just the right temperature and moisture level for aging.  Pretty interesting!  I learned that back then, cheddar’s flavor was tainted by an undesirable bacteria that developed because milk could not be refrigerated.

Then, in 1857, a guy named Joseph Harding standardized a process to suppress the growth of this undesirable bacteria.  Mr. Harding’s process became known as “cheddaring.”  In short, cheddaring gets rid of flavor harming bacteria and keeps the desirable bacteria that give cheddar its distinct flavor.    

The ‘Big Cheese’ gets all the cheddarHistory tells us in the year 1170, King Henry II of England purchased 10,240 pounds of cheddar cheese at a farthing (a quarter of a penny) a pound.  King Henry II declared cheddar to be the best cheese in all of Britain.  Henry II’s son, Prince John, reigned from 1199 and 1216; he continued to buy cheddar for royal banquets.  A few hundred years later during the time of King Charles I, parliamentary records show that all cheddar cheese was purchased before it was made, and in fact, was not available outside of the king’s court.  I need to thank en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheddar_cheese for the history lesson above.

Nowadays, you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy cheddar – thankfully! Cheddar cheese is made and distributed around the globe.  Some of the very best is made right here in Wisconsin and can be found at Figi’s!  So enjoy your cheddar cheese – it’s fit for royalty!  Shop all of our excellent cheese gifts here.

How long can I keep cheddar cheese in the refrigerator?  Here’s a short, informative article about storing cheddar cheese to maximize its shelf life here.

Can I Freeze Cheddar Cheese? It depends on the cheese and who you ask. Learn more here.

Suggested Cheddar Pairings:

Wine: Red Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Reisling, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Food: Apples, grapes, cherries, pears, nuts, dark breads, whole grain crackers.

Beer: Ciders & Fruit Beers, Stout, Bock, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter.

I found a really nice resource for pairing cheese with food and beverages at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s website hereSimply select your cheese variety to match up with complimentary wine, spirits and food!

Is it safe to eat moldy cheddar cheese? It depends on a few factors such as block cheese vs. shredded and the size of the cheddar block. Learn more about this from the Mayo Clinic here.

Be sure to check out our Classic Aged Cheddar and our Mix ‘n Match Cheese & Sausage where you can put together your own cheese and sausage tray – including our delicious cheddar. Our 4-way Cheese Horn is a great way to enjoy cheddar with other cheese varieties for a unique, bold taste on sandwiches or crackers.  Finally, if you would like a spreadable Wisconsin cheddar, try Figi’s Signature Kave Kure Cheese or Creamy Country Cheese Spreads and Logs!  Our spreads will be available for purchase again in September.

Mix n Match Cheese and Sausage from Figi'sClassic Aged Cheddar Cheese from Figi's4-way Cheese Horn from Figi's

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed our exposé on cheddar.  Our second installment will look at another popular cheese who’s identity we’ll keep secret until the appointed time.  We’ll throw in a recipe or two as well.  Thanks again for reading Gourmet Market.  Don’t forget – you can stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ pages.

Please use the comments field below to share any cheese pairing or cheese recipes ideas you have; we’d love to read them!

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Figi’s Fresh Flavors for Spring Pt. 2

Welcome back to Gourmet Market’s look at some wonderful spring gifts from Figi’s.  If you missed Fresh Flavors for Spring Part 1, you can read it here.

Nuts and Snacks Gifts: With the weather improving, you’ll see more people dropping by for a visit – both expected and unexpected.  Be ready with some delicious and ready-to-eat snacks from Figi’s!  Our snacks are also perfect for when you just a need a quick handful of something yummy to hold you or the kids over until mealtime. Whatever the reason, nuts and snacks gifts from Figi’s are a favorite you can depend on.  Here are a couple of spring favorites we highly recommend:

SSweet Cravings Snack Tins from Figi'sweet Cravings Snack Tins: With this snack gift, the more you buy, the more you save; which is great, because there are so many great snack varieties to choose from in this gift! Everything from candy corn to bridge mix – it’s all good!  So go ahead – mix and match these fun and flavorful varieties.  Buy some for you and give some away as gifts!

Delicious Dried Fruit from Figi'sDelicious Dried Fruit:  Delicious snack sized varieties of dried kiwi, papaya, pineapple, banana and apricot are a tasty treat anytime! This is another buy more – save more gift from Figi’s; they’re ideal for personal consumption and for gift giving!  Click here to see all Figi’s nuts and snack gifts.

Mother’s Day Gifts: Hmmm…what would mom like for Mother’s Day? We’ve all been there!  The answer generally is found in ‘anything from you sent with love and care’ and Figi’s can help you accomplish that with ease!  Chances are, Figi’s has just the gift mom would love, sent from you. We have a wide variety of special gifts you can’t find anywhere else!  With Mother’s Day just around the corner, get the ‘moms’ in your life a special Mother’s Day gift basket delivered from Figi’s.  We have the perfect gift to share your thanks and appreciation with the ladies that have sacrificed so much for you and your family.  Here are three customer favorites personally selected for you.

Happy Mothers Day Petits Fours from Figi'sMother’s Day Petits Fours: Delicate layers of rich chocolate and yellow cake with luscious apricot, lemon, and chocolate buttercreme fillings, all coated with sweet white creme and chocolate icing.  In a word: yum! Our hand decorated petits fours will spell out your heartfelt “Happy Mother’s Day!” wish sweetly!

Mom's Coffee and Sweets Basket from Figi's Mom’s Coffee and Sweets Gift Basket: A Mother’s Day best-seller, this gift basket is loaded with sweets your mom will love – in the perfect amount for a coffee break; the mug and coffee are included!  The inclosed card and pin capture you sentiments perfectly (see below).  Our entire Mother’s Day gifts collection can be found here.

Mom's Card

ersonalized Sunshine Basket from Figi'sPersonalized Sunshine Gift Basket: Gift baskets make for great gift options because they often contain a mix of food gift choices; plus, many of our gift baskets include a personalized ribbon for an extra touch of class.  Our Sunshine Basket is filled with comforts that will nourish the body and cheer the soul: flower cookies, camomile tea, white clover honey, two fabric sunflowers, a green mug, soups, cheese, crackers and more!  Shop all of our remaining gift baskets here.

In honor of Mother’s Day – Figi’s Staff:

Linda B. with Mom – Figi’s Creative, Linda R. with Grandchildren – Figi’s Data Services, Linda S. with Granddaughter – Figi’s Copywriter and Mary F. with Grandchildren – Figi’s Analyst.

Linda BLinda RLinda S

Mary F

Graduation Gifts Graduation season is also coming up quickly.  Honor your graduate’s milestone with a graduation gift from Figi’s.  Figi’s personalized graduation gifts serve as lasting keepsakes; mementos of the day the your graduate will look back on for years to come.  We also have delicious graduation party food gifts including cakes, cupcakes, desserts, and snacks.  Check off your party list now, and get the celebration started! 

Personalized Graduation Throw from Figi'sPersonalized Graduation Throw:  Nothing says you care like a personalized gift from Figi’s.  One of our favorites is this unique throw; it’s the perfect keepsake your graduate will treasure for years to come! This is a soft 100% cotton throw that’s machine washable.  It measures 46″ x 60″ and is made in the USA.  You can personalize your graduate’s name and school name, up to 3 lines, 24 characters and spaces per line.

Graduates Keepsake Owl from Figi'sGraduate’s Keepsake Owl:  Another unique gift for graduates, this wise old owl is a beautiful glass memento of graduation day. It comes in a white satin fabric wrapped box with golden accents and reads, “Now graduation day has come, that degree belongs to you. Hope success will follow you, in everything you do.”  Shop all Figi’s graduation gifts here

Thanks again for reading Gourmet Market. Don’t forget – you can stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ pages.

Please use the comments field below to share any spring gifting or recipes you have; we’d love to read them!

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