It’s never too soon to start thinking about what you are getting Mom for Mother’s Day. If you don’t have a Mom to give a gift to, think about honoring a woman (or the women) who have made a difference in your life. It could be your sister, an aunt, your favorite elementary school teacher, your best friend, or even charity that benefits women in some way.
Chocolate is always at the top of my gift giving list. Just last week I put together a goody-bag of six different chocolate bars, a small box of confections and a tin of cocoa for my friend NN’s birthday. She told me the next day that it was the best gift she had ever received, and to please not mention that to her husband. So starting with chocolate, check out what these websites have to offer for inspired, delicious, and meaningful gift giving.
Hotel Chocoloat always has something witty to offer. How about a box of chocolate buttons? They scoured the London antique markets and found actual vintage buttonmolds from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. The chocolates are cast using the original molds—so cute. Especially great for the women in your life who sew or do any kind of needle work. Also available, for the chic amongst us, is the “Goody Bag for Every Season.” A tasteful goody bag contains a raspberry crème mini slab (their slabs are amazing), six truffles, milk chocolate Rocky Road mini slab, caramel canapés, and a milk chocolate dipper for nibbling or stirring in a warm drink. Hotel Chocolat is influenced by its beginnings in the UK. That is evidenced by the most charming rose and violet crèmes. Firm fondant centers are flavored with pure essential oils of violets and roses, covered in dark chocolate and then finished with a delicate flower petal. Very, very English.
Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolates. It is about time you learned about Christopher Elbow Chocolates. And then it is incumbent upon you to share your knowledge with your Mom. A lot of artisan chocolates are merely slight of hand. Slap a pretty decal on a square of fondant and call it a confection seems to be what a lot of second rate confectioners try to get away with. They survive if their chocolates are not tasted side by side against truly fine chocolates. I was able to taste a lot of chocolate at a recent chocolate salon. Mr. Elbow’s confections stood out as one of the best. The Banana Foster confection was amazing. Not too sweet. My favorite is the rosemary caramel. And did I mention they are beautiful, too?
Holy Orders is a very special business. As Jeanne Cole, the Proprietress and Prioress of Holy Orders explains on her “about” page, she spent years climbing the corporate ladder. We know that it was for George Lucas. Yes, that George Lucas. Anyway, she discovered that climbing was exhausting and took time off. Some of this time was spent exploring the world of monasteries. And she discovered during her retreats some wonderful goodies that the monks and nuns make with their own hands. She has collected these unique and special gifts and makes them available to us on her wonderful website.
I first met Jeanne at a holiday gift show when she was just starting out almost four years ago. My dear friend NN purchased one of the prayer rope bracelets for me and I have hardly taken it off since that day. In fact, it is the very special gift that I buy for dear friends. I gave one to my sister when our mother became ill three years ago as a comforting reminder that we would get through that difficult time. My friend E took hers with her when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last fall—the only piece of jewelry she took on the trip. The bracelet is made by a small community of Orthodox nuns in California who have asked that there name and location not be revealed. The mystery only adds to the magic of the bracelet.
And when you visit the Holy Orders site, don’t forget to visit Sister on her red tractor traveling the labyrinth as you listen to a Gregorian Chant. Intrigued? I knew you would be.
Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic provides free complementary alternative medical treatments to low-income women with cancer. Their services include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Western herbs, homeopathy, massage, and therapeutic imagery. The clinic is named after Charlotte Maxwell who died of ovarian cancer in 1988. She strongly believed that the complementary therapies that enhanced her life in her last months should be available to women who would not otherwise have access to them. They have one location in Oakland, CA and one location in San Francisco, CA. Consider sending them a donation in your mother’s name.