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Share A Gourmet Food Basket With Your Lover

A gourmet food basket is an excellent gift for the man or woman who 'has everything'. Most gourmet foods available in the delicatessens and supermarket 'delis' of western countries are derived from European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Each culture has its own range of gourmet or highly prized foodstuffs, and as a result of large-scale migration, it's now possible for most people to have the opportunity of trying delicacies from around the globe. But in this article, we'll focus primarily on European foods.

Gourmet gift baskets usually contain savory (or salty) foods, although you can also buy gift baskets containing your favorite sweets. Often these are primarily what we call 'junk food'. Savory gourmet foods are a fabulous way to totally indulge the senses, primarily the senses of taste, texture and smell. They include foods like

Cheese
There are all kinds of wonderful cheeses available on your supermarket shelves. Some of the most popular are
- Emmentaler (from Switzerland)
- Jarlsberg (from Norway)
- Gouda (from The Netherlands)
- Edam (from The Netherlands)
- Parmesan (from Italy)
- Romano (from Italy)

Olives
Most of the Mediterranean countries grow olives and pickle them in a variety of marinades. Greek olives differ from Italian olives because of the ingredients used in their dressings.

Pickled & Marinated Vegetables
Each country has its own specific recipes and methods of pickling vegetables, most of which are delectable. Sun dried tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, marinated eggplant, artichoke hearts and marinated mushrooms are just a few of the items available in this category.

Most gourmet foodstuffs have a high salt component. They are astringent or tangy, as most marinades include vinegars and oils. They stimulate the savory areas of our taste buds.

Dried Breads
Again, every country has its wheat-based gourmet products, from crisp breads to papadams. They provide an excellent base on which to add a combination of ingredients, much like a standard savory biscuit or cracker.

Smoked Seafood
You can include a variety of seafood products in a gourmet treat. Pickled herrings, smoked oysters, smoked mussels or clams all blend well with other savory gourmet products.

Pates And Meats
Pates are used as spreads on dried biscuits while meats such as salami, ham and prosciutto blend well with cheese, olives and pickled vegetables.

Wine
Because wine is usually a savory taste and blends well with gourmet foods items, it is often included in gourmet gift baskets. Again, there are thousands of types of wines from different countries and the individual regions within them. Wines differ as a result of the type of grape used, the soil in which the grapes grow, the climate of the region, the harvesting and preserving procedures, plus the overall winemaking process. The result is the incredible range of wines available to most of us living in western countries.

Gourmet gift baskets are a gift for the senses, a gift to be shared between two people who enjoy food. Or they can be an opportunity to expand culinary horizons for people who haven't paid a lot of attention to food in the past, or are content with fast foods or standard 'meat and two veg' meals. Either way you're in for a treat when you share a gourmet gift basket. An evening spent indulging the senses in this way will certainly create a highly romantic mood.

If you haven't explored the gourmet food world before, it's an excellent experience to share with your partner. You may change your eating habits forever and bring more pleasure into your life. Or you may decide it's not for you but you had a great time experimenting. Here's a story about some friends of ours who did exactly that.

When Terry met Alicia they were both university students. Alicia came from a Mediterranean family where olives, salamis and all sorts of interesting foods were part of the family's diet. Terry came from an Anglo-Saxon family that ate very traditional foods. Dinner was generally meat, potatoes and a vegetable such as frozen beans or peas, with apple pie for dessert. By Alicia's standards, the range of foods he consumed was extremely narrow.

When the relationship became serious, they moved in together and began to share the weekly food shopping. Alicia introduced Terry to a wider range of vegetables, including broccoli, zucchini and other squashes. He was surprised to find he enjoyed trying these new foods, and they soon began experimenting with the massive array of raw vegetables used in salads.

Along with shopping at the supermarket, Alicia had always visited the local delicatessen for her treats. When Terry accompanied her, he reluctantly tried olives for the first time. Again he became a fan, devouring green olives, black olives and pimento stuffed olives, with every kind of dressing. Terry and Alicia also had fun experimenting with cheeses, trying at least one new cheese every week. They rated the cheese on a scale of 1 to 10, then decided which to include as a regular part of their diet.

In Alicia's family wine was served with meals so they began experimenting with different wines as well. Terry was strictly a beer drinker until he developed a taste for wine. Sharing a gourmet snack with wine became one of the many pleasurable experiences they shared. And Terry was forever grateful to Alicia for introducing him to this new world of sensual delights.

Are there gastronomic worlds out there you've yet to explore? Take a trip to that ethnic grocery or restaurant today and discover what you're missing.

About the Author

Marguerite Bonneville is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) whose passion is publishing information online. She is a contributing writer for http://www.romantic-gift-ideas-online.com, a resource site dedicated to helping visitors find the perfect romantic gift.

Marguerite Bonneville