Growing up with vegetarians, a hearty turkey dinner was never the focus of our Thanksgiving celebrations. There was family, food and loads of laughs but no elaborate spread nor visitors from out of town. I anticipated the holiday more for its day-off perks than the all-day cooking and eating affair it entailed.
But after six years of celebrating amongst nostalgic expats in Paris, I have gradually become more invested in making the holiday a special moment with friends. Beginning in September/October, plans are hatched, edible contributions are assigned to an enthusiastic group and recipe-scouring (mostly for dessert) takes precedence over other tasks. And while there is invariably a substitution to be made - a chicken instead of turkey due to oven capacity, for one - it's the French custom of l'apéro I enjoy most about each year's festivities.
Similar to the cocktail hour in the States, this is the moment at the end of the day when savory nibbles are served alongside seemingly free-flowing glasses of wine, beer, pastis or fruit juice for the rare teetotaler. During the work week, this 'hour' might spill over into an entire evening of drunken merriment, but usually serves to free us from our worries and ready our bellies for a good meal.
Earlier in the year I introduced you to Maggie Battista, the Francophile and food lover behind the online magazine and market Eat Boutique. Since 2007, Maggie has been working with local food artisans across the United States to craft themed and seasonal gift boxes for sale on the site. I'm a repeat customer, willingly lured by both mission and product, and was thrilled to learn she would be offering an apéro box well-suited for Thanksgiving. Of her inspiration, Maggie says "this is made for the Francophile in all of us who embraces the pause in the day".
I wish I could get my hands on one of these boxes myself but instead you have a chance to make these treats part of your Thanksgiving spread!
Treat Bake Shop Spiced Pecans
Lark Scourtins (French-style sweet and savory olive wafers)
Boat Street Pickled Figs
and Fox Hollow Mustard, Greenpoint Honey and After Balsamic Vinegar to dress any apéro plate
Best part? All of these are produced by boutique food makers, in line with Maggie's vision: "we eat boutique which means we eat small, local and independent".
To enter the giveway:
-You must have a U.S. mailing address! (hint: great for expats looking to surprise someone from home)
- Leave a comment below with your favorite Thanksgiving foods and/or memories
- Follow Eat Boutique on Facebook and tell me you did in your original comment.
- Bonus entry: follow Lost In Cheeseland on Facebook and tell me you did in a separate comment
WINNER UPDATE: Congratulations Julia! We'll be in touch shortly for your mailing address. Thanks for playing everyone!
Head to the website to check out the rest of the Eat Boutique selection and follow along on Twitter for updates!