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FRESH and Festive: Last-Minute Holiday Treats

Your shopping is done, your Christmas and New Year’s menus are planned – but what about treats for last-minute drop-in guests, or to keep crowds happy and well-fed during the long days of family togetherness ahead?

Check out some of these new arrivals and seasonal offerings, to add a fresh and unexpected twist to your holiday cheer:

KuchenMeister cakes: In several flavors, including Jamaican rum, amaretto chocolate, and tiramisu, these European-style cakes are delicious as an afternoon or late-night break, served with coffee, espresso or even a dessert wine or port. They’re also nicely packaged, so you can take one along as a hostess gift. “Kuchenmeister” means “cake master” in German, and these cakes are favorite traditions throughout Germany and other European countries.

Cheese-stuffed dates, figs and more:  These rich delicacies, brought from Europe by European Imports Ltd., make a good addition to an appetizer spread or an excellent late-night snack. Mild, creamy cheese is stuffed inside apricots, figs or dates, and then the whole thing is marinated in rapeseed oil. The result is a silky, sweet-salty bite of fruit and cheese, best sliced into small pieces and served with flatbread, crackers, crusty bread and perhaps some cured meat like prosciutto. Find these in pretty glass jars near our dip and olive bar. (Place a jar in a basket with some fancy crackers, and you’ve got a last-minute gift for the gourmand on your list, too.)

Hans Freitag cookies: Didn’t get as many Christmas cookies baked as you planned? Round out your platters with these European favorites. Also from Germany, this family-run company produces assortments of fancy cookies – crisp wafers, delicate butter cookies, many chocolate-dipped – that look pretty on a platter and taste great with coffee, milk or hot chocolate.