Children aren't only ones who like Easter goodies

April 04, 1993|By Karol Menzie | Karol Menzie,Staff Writer

Memo to: P. Cottontail.

Re: Distribution of Easter goodies.

Dear Mr. C.:

It has come to our attention that distribution of baskets full of chocolate and other goodies is essentially unfair to persons over 12. It is especially unfair to people way over 12, who are often expected to provide said goodies without any recompense, except for the surreptitiously swiped jelly bean, or the windfall of a few last bites of stale candy bar.

In fact, Mr. C., adults need Easter baskets at least as much as young people do. It's been a hard winter. The economy's still stumbling. We need a treat!

We realize you may not have considered the matter in this light, and that time is growing short to round up the ingredients for several million more baskets before next Sunday.

So, in a spirit of cooperation, and to show that we are sincere about ending gridlock at the candy counter, we have identified a number of places you might call on for help, as well as picking out certain goodies that might appeal to the older sweet tooth.

For instance, you might start at a place that specializes in baskets of all kinds, and has plenty of good things on hand for this season -- Basket Cravings in Hamilton. "We do both candy and non-candy baskets," says owner Mary E. Horsely. There's a "pamper" basket with bath and toiletry products from Raintree Country, and a "pig-out" basket with root beer, M&Ms and all sorts of snack foods.

"We try to use products people are familiar with," Ms. Horsely says. "And we do try to stick with all Maryland products -- Jeppi nuts, Fisher's popcorn from Ocean City, Shore Fine Coffee -- Gillette's has a fantastic honey mustard -- and anything from McCormick or Phillips . . ." She walks around the tiny shop, where shelves are crammed with one delight after another. "Moore's homemade candies, made right here in Baltimore. They've been around for a long time." Moore's makes chocolates and other kinds of candies at their factory in Hamilton.

While she's happy to make suggestions, Ms. Horsely enjoys customers who come in and start prowling the shelves, looking for items with special meaning. "We do a lot of business where you come in and select a container, and all the things to go in it."

The container needn't be a basket, she points out: "You could do a basket for a friend and use a mug," she says. "If you have a friend who likes coffee, you could put a couple of coffees in it."

There are also tins and pitchers and coffee mills and plain and painted baskets just waiting to be filled at the shop, which is at 3015 Hamilton Ave., just east of Harford Road.

Ms. Horsely makes up some baskets as well: There's an oak cheese tray with a crystal dip bowl and chips and dips ($30); a bread pan with bread mix and a cookbook ($25) -- "There is positively no end," Ms. Horsely says. She even has baskets for cats and dogs ($18), with a pet place mat and "cookie mix" for cats or dogs you bake yourself.

"We really do have fun," she says, "and the people who come in here have fun."

Janis Talbott at Morton's Fine Wine, Spirits and Gourmet Eats, 10 W. Eager St., is also a fan of non-traditional baskets and items -- a brass champagne bucket, with champagne, crackers, cheese and pate, would make an elegant gift for someone special. One recent afternoon she was waiting for a shipment of fruit and filling a couple of basket orders with such items as Nordia Wild Lingonberry Delight fruit juice from Sweden, Walker's shortbread from Scotland, Morton's own Red Raspberry Preserves and Posh Corn chocolate popcorn.

And "because you have to put in one chocolate bar" -- a Cloud Nine Cookies & Cream bar.

Besides champagne, she suggested a seasonally tinted white zinfandel or rose wine tucked among the treats.

Tracking down treats is a snap at Sutton Place Gourmet: How about a basket of luxury "eggs," suggests spokesman Katherine Newell Smith. There's Beluga caviar -- fish eggs -- from Petrossian ($289 for 4 3/8 ounces), milk chocolate "crispy eggs" from Perugina, chocolate egg "boxes" filled with assorted candies made by Washington chocolatier Adriana Buonocore ($9.99 to $36.99), speckled marshmallow eggs ($3.99 a pound), decorated chocolate eggs by Joseph Schmidt of San Francisco ($6.99 for three large, $13.49 for 12 small) and "egg" truffles ($6.49-$10.99). And there are luxury real eggs -- Virginia Organic Farm Eggs, in beautiful shades of softly mottled brown, $2.99 a dozen for extra large.

If you don't want all eggs, there are also bunnies of all sorts: Godiva bunnies in milk, dark and white chocolate ($6 small, $10 large), Joseph Schmidt bunnies in white and milk chocolate ($16.99 for the 11-ounce size). Foil-wrapped bunnies with ribbons around their necks are $3.49. Don't like bunnies? Godiva offers gold-foil-wrapped chocolate chicks for $2.50 each. There are also Jelly Belly jelly beans in 24 flavors ($5.50 a pound).

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