ISSUE 50  |  Feeling Festivus

Last-Minute Holiday Gift: Shop the Supermarket (and Disguise It)

December 19, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Cheryl Locke

Desperate for a gift? Run to the supermarket. Seriously. Your mission is to buy (and wrap festively!) in under 30 minutes all the items necessary to make an artisanal cheeseboard to give to a lucky gift recipient. With our tips on which aisles to shop and how to wrap your loot with store-bought materials, no one will ever suspect you stopped at the grocery store at the last minute.

Read on for the plan (and the shopping list):

Photography by Cheryl Locke.

Above: Ready to spread cheer.

Here’s what’s inside:

  • Cheese
  • Herbs
  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Honey or jam
  • Nut cracker
  • Wooden cutting board

Other supplies to buy:

  • Cheesecloth
  • Butcher’s string
  • Scissors

Above: Think cheese. Brie, Petit Basque, and Humboldt Fog cheeses.

Step 1: Get three cheeses: a hard cheese, a soft cheese, and a third that’s unexpected. (Our selection above includes cheeses made from cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk). 

Above: Herbs and fruit: an essential component.

Step 2: Head to the produce aisle. Get a bunch of woody herbs (such as rosemary, sage, or thyme) and fruits (such as grapes, pears, or figs) to add flavors and textures to the cheese spread. 

Above: Still life with supermarket.

Step 3: Get nuts. Pecans, almonds, or walnuts are good choices. Bonus points if you get nuts that are still in their shells.

Above: Something to serve the cheese on. 

Step 4: Crackers next. Spring for artisanal, small-batch crackers, for a special occasion.

Above: Don’t forget the condiments.

Step 5: Pick up a jar of special jam or honey to drizzle on top of cheeses.

Above: Presentation counts.

Step 6: Head to the housewares aisle. Get a wooden cutting board, a nut cracker, and supplies to wrap the gift (cheesecloth, scissors, and butcher’s string).

Above: Wrap it up.

Step 7: To wrap the gift, start with the cheese. Stack the cheese neatly in the center of the cheesecloth. Wrap in a furoshiki style, by tying opposite corners. See a step-by-step tutorial on Remodelista here.  

Repeat the process, with another piece of cheesecloth, to wrap the other edible items (reserving a few sprigs of herb to adorn the outside of the packages).

To wrap the cutting board: cut open the brown paper shopping bag, wrap it neatly around the board, and secure with butcher’s twine.

Add a sprig or herbs to decorate each wrapped package.

Above: the eco-friendly wrap–you can reuse the cloth–takes five seconds, and no tape or cutting is required. 

Above: The luxurious spread. We bet you’ll be asked to share it.

For more of our favorite gift ideas, see: