Buying a unique gift for a special occasion can be daunting, and if you are like me, you are tired of giving the same old gift card. When I received the invitation to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary party, I thought, “What can I give as a gift that will make a lasting impression with a personal and thoughtful touch for such a momentous occasion?”
Longtime residents of Warren, my sister-in-law Karen and brother-in-law Terry worked and raised their family in Macomb County. They have since retired and moved “up north” where they have limited access to many of the things we can easily find down state. During a visit last year, I brought them a jar of beets that were produced by Safie Specialty Food Company located in Chesterfield Township. Remembering that Terry raved about how they were the best he had ever tasted, gave me the idea to create a gift basket of some of the things I know they love that are made right here in Macomb County.
I started with an attractive and functional basket that I found at Meijer. While there, I grabbed a jar of the beets that inspired my idea. I then made a few stops around Macomb County at some of my favorite locally-produced retailers. First on the list: Just Delicious Scones (28750 Utica Road in Roseville). If you haven’t tried Jen’s scones, you’re missing out. They go perfect with your morning coffee and melt in your mouth. The variety six-pack I selected was heart shaped, perfect for the happy couple.
The next stops were at two local favorites in Mount Clemens: Champagne Chocolates (54 Cherry Street) and The Peanut Peddler (58 Cherry Street). I added to the basket a bag of sweet and crunchy toffee and a variety of handmade chocolates. Conveniently located at Champagne Chocolates is a stand that offers flavored popcorn from The Popped Kernel locally made in Shelby Township. They offer several flavors from savory to sweet. I picked up a bag of their delicious caramel pecans popcorn. While at the Peanut Peddler, I selected from a large variety of nuts and picked two different kinds of peanuts. One Cajun flavored and the other BBQ. This added the right kind of kick to spice up the basket.
My last stop was at Pasta e Pasta (48712 Gratiot in Chesterfield Township). They offer fresh, authentic and homemade Italian foods. I completed the basket with a jar of their creamy blush marinara sauce and homemade spaghetti noodles. In addition to the food treats, I added a few scratch off lottery tickets for good luck and a few decorative silk flowers for a finishing touch! It only took a few stops, and I had fun creating the basket while supporting some of our great local food companies.
Karen and Terry’s celebration was beautiful and filled with family and friends. I’m happy to say they loved their gift! Here’s to many more years of love and happiness!!
Joann Priester is a senior secretary for the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Department. Priester celebrates working for Macomb County for 30 years this coming April 30!