What exactly is gourmet and why is it considered to be the perfect gift? Gourmet is simply extraordinary food, wine or coffee prepared and packaged in an extraordinary way. You can give gourmet gifts separately or you can bundle them together in a gourmet gift basket.
The great thing about gourmet food is that different countries have different tastes. Take the Philippines for example – a duck embryo delicacy called ‘balut’ is considered gourmet for Filipinos but not for Australians. Similarly, Ethiopian coffee called the ‘yirgacheffee’ is popular around the horn of Africa, but relatively unknown in the Western world.
Preparation is very important when it comes to gourmet. In fact, despite the differences of taste in cultures around the world, they all have one culinary feature in common – all of their gourmet food requires careful preparation.
Even simple food can be prepared in such a way that it also qualifies as gourmet. A good example is gherkins. Making a jar of gherkins involves letting cucumbers age in a salty bath and then sweetening them to perfection. Many small businesses are making a fortune selling their own line of gourmet gherkins by this simple method.
Because of their exotic location and the elaborate process involved in cooking them, gourmet food is usually a lot more expensive than regular food. But once you start drinking beautifully rich Guatemala Antigua coffee for the price of $20.00 per 450g bag, it’s hard to go back to regular brewed coffee!
Gourmet items are always well presented. The food, wine or coffee can be placed in decorative jars, in gift baskets or served as a dish. On festive holidays, such as Christmas, gourmet food can be presented with special decorations – you can so easily create a gourmet Christmas hamper or a gourmet Easter gift basket.
In most cases, gourmet food is not found in big chain supermarkets. It is usually sold in specialty food stores or in gourmet stores online. Some gourmet foods are so rare that they are only available from their place of origin making them all the more expensive.
Gourmet foods are often unique and very hard to find. Have you heard of Hawaiian white honey? It is only available in local stores in Hawaii and only recently has it become available online through Amazon.com. There is also a rare cacao bean the size of a football that was recently discovered in Ecuador – don’t expect to see these on Amazon.com anytime soon!
7. Perception is Everything
Sometimes what makes something gourmet is how it is perceived. This is especially true with tourists. For instance, take weaver ants – in Thailand they are considered staple food, but for cash laden tourists they are a delicacy. Many tourists spend $10 for a single pack of Queen Weaver Ants.
Gourmet items are delicious, unique, weird and simply outrageous but as gifts they are hard to beat because they are expensive and difficult to obtain. So the next time you are struggling to find a gift for your friends or relatives, think gourmet!