Best holiday gift baskets

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‘Tis the season…for holiday gift baskets. Everyone loves to get one, but when you’re on the giving end, which companies offer you the best bang for your buck?

Read more: Online Shopping Guide: How to get the best price possible

Who has the best gift basket in America?

The December 2015 issue of Consumer Reports took a look at some of America’s favorite gift baskets, which all ranged in price from $127 to $145.

The Golden State Fruit Grand Abundance Wine and Fruit Gift Basket

Cost: $140 to $145

Three to four pears and two to three oranges
Five squares of chocolate -or- four chocolate-covered salted caramels
Eight ounces of sharp Italian cheese
One bottle of wine (either white or red)
Four triangles of baklava -or- crackers, salted ­cashews or rosemary almonds

The magazine noted the oranges were ‘tender, juicy and sweet,’ though some pears were overripe. Chocolate, crackers and nuts were deemed ‘flavorful’ and the caramels ‘buttery.’ On the question of wine, the magazine recommended the 2013 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

Harry & David Deluxe Favorites

Cost: $127 to $130

Eight pears
Six truffles, two ounces of milk-chocolate mini-mints and six ounces of chocolate-covered cherries
Four ounces of cheddar
One bottle of wine (either white or red)
Five ounces of raspberry galettes, 10 ounces of Moose Munch and 10 ounces of pepper-onion relish

The magazine noted ‘the pears ripened to a quality that Harry & David is known for.’ But the rest of the basket was hit-or-miss. ‘The Moose Munch and cookies were good, the relish delightfully spicy and the cheese sharp and flavorful,’ Consumer Reports writes. However, the cherries ‘tasted more cherry than chocolate.’ The wine, meanwhile, was not a hit. A 2012 Harry & David Vineyards Merlot was called ‘tasty but unbalanced,’ while a 2013 Harry & David Vineyards Chardonnay ordered in a separate basked was ‘short on fruit.’

GiftTree – The Premium Selection

Cost: $148

One to three plums, grapes, two to three peaches and four bananas -or- two to three pears, three to four apples and a pineapple
One ounce of almond bark and two ounces of caramel crisp
Eight ounces of cheddar
Two bottles (red and/or white)
Four ounces of crackers, four caramels, five ounces of biscotti and three ounces of wafer cookies

Consumer Reports was not thrilled with this basket. ‘The fruit was just okay,’ the magazine writes, ‘One [basked] included items (such as Pepperidge Farm cookies) easily found in grocery stores.’ Among the bright spots were the almond bark and cheese, both deemed ‘delicious.’ Don’t miss the 2013 Dreaming Tree Chardonnay Central Coast wine.

Wine Country Eastpoint Cellars Wine and Fruit Collection

Cost: $128

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Three apples, three pears and five oranges
One ounce of chocolate caramels
Six garlic-and-herb cheese wedges
Two bottles (one red, one white)
One and a half ounces of fruit and nuts, one ounce of hard candy, three ounces of brownie cookies, one ounce of shortbread and three ounces of wafers

Another not-exactly-glowing review: ‘The caramels had little flavor, and the cheese tasted processed and slightly sour. Some cookies and crackers were stale.’ Among the suggested wines was a 2013 Eastpoint California Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2013 Eastpoint Central Coast Chardonnay.

Read more: 10 great gag gifts under $10 (including a clip-in man bun)

For more money-saving holiday advice, see our Deals section.



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