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  • Dec 12, 2018

    A homemade chocolate gift is a simple, tasty approach to giving that takes love and effort from the giver, making the taste all the more appreciable. Chocolate bark is a relatively simple treat to make, but it also allows you to get nice and creative with plenty of different additions that can customize the taste to make it even more personal. Here, we’re going to look at a recipe for cranberry & pistachio chocolate bark. The two additional ingredients complement each other nicely, adding plenty of dimension to the sweetness of the dark chocolate. So, here’s what you need to do. Ingredients 8 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into pieces 1/3 cup of dried cranberries 1/3 cup of shelled pistachios, chopped up What you need A 13 x 9 inch (or similar) baking dish Parchment paper A microwave-safe bowl A sharp knife The step-by-step First, you have to microwave the chocolate. Put the chopped pieces of dark chocolate in the microwave-safe bowl. You want the microwave at about 25% power for 15 seconds. Once the chocolate’s nice and melted down, you stir it. Do this five times or until almost all of the chocolate has melted. Let it cool for about a minute, stirring occasionally to make sure you get a nice, smooth consistency. Lined your baking dish with parchment paper then start pouring the chocolate in. At this point, there should be no sizeable solid chunks in the chocolate. If there is, you may want to microwave it once more. Spread the chocolate out so you have a flat, even surface. Now it’s time to top it off. As the recipe suggests, pistachios and dried cranberries work a treat, but you can customize it even further if you like or use different toppings altogether! Some people like to add coconut flakes (especially good for a festive looking frosting) or a few pinches of coarse sea salt to make it even more flavorful. To help it set, you can either cool it in the fridge for about 20 minutes or you can freeze it for five to ten minutes if you’re in a hurry to serve it or wrap it up. A sharp knife can quickly break it up. You want about fifteen pieces, but don’t worry if they’re not all the same shape of completely even in size. There you have it, a simple, tasty treat that can be customized a thousand different ways to create the taste you like best. Chocolate bark makes for a great festive treat if you’re getting in the seasonal spirit, or a nice little gift once it’s all wrapped up and presented in the right way. Edible gifts are always a safe bet. Who doesn’t like receiving something tasty? If you want the lovingly crafted, handmade tastiness without the effort or you simply want some more ideas, take a look at our store. At Gardenia’s Fire, we have a whole range of chocolate covered strawberries, brownies, and much more to get you inspired.

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  • Oct 25, 2018

    Corporate gifts help your organization to strengthen relationships, create goodwill, enhance your company’s image, and create an emotional connection and positive perception of your brand. Though both are valuable marketing tools, there is a distinction between promotional gifts and corporate gifts which should always be highlighted. Promotional gifts are usually of lower cost and quality and are used in large quantities as giveaways in advertising efforts. On the other hand, corporate gifts are higher value and quality presents which are given with the intention of showing gratitude and strengthening relations. Here are some easy dos and don’ts to follow for corporate gifting that will help to boost business success. - Do find out about company gifting policies. When you are giving a gift to a potential or existing client, finding out the company’s gifting policy should be your initial step. Companies usually tend to have strict rules such as some companies do not allow a gift to be accepted unless there is a witness present or that the value of the gift may not exceed a specific amount. Being aware of and following these rules will help avoid unnecessary problems or awkwardness. - Do give gifts of appreciation and not expectation. There are many rules on the etiquette of giving business gifts. They all unanimously agree that whether you’re giving internal or external gifts, they should be given with sincerity. One of the most popular types of gifts in business are those that show appreciation. Other categories include celebration gifts (milestone achievements or promotions), special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, or birth of a child), and holidays. - Do have your gift professionally wrapped. Great presentation increases the excitement of receiving a gift. Professional gift-wrapping also adds to your message of how much you value your recipient. Don’t be shy to add a personal note in a gift-card too. - Don’t gift promotional items. Remember the distinction between corporate gifting and promotional gifting, you shouldn’t try to mix the two. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to clients. While you might want the advertising from a promotional mug or sweater, consider the tacky aspect of it. Your clients may not want your logo emblazoned on their shelves and may consider it inappropriate or rude. - Don’t go overboard with lavish or intimate gifts. Your heart might be in the right place, but a gift that is excessive or a little too personal can make your recipient feel awkward. Avoid outlandish gifts like jewelry. Try to stick to dried fruit baskets, chocolates and sweets (such as Gardenia’s Fire!), coffee, or wine and accessories if in doubt. - Don’t give a gift during the process of tendering. Even if the gifting policy of your client’s company is liberal, giving a gift while you are in the process of bidding for business can be misconstrued as a bribe. It is easily seen as unethical behavior as it can cause the recipient to feel socially obligated towards you.

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  • Oct 24, 2018

    A cozy feeling in winter, merry people, and something magical in the air. Clear indicators that Christmas is here! This is a time to gather with family and friends, share gifts, have good food, and celebrate happily. The Christmas spirit is known to be one of joy, love, and goodwill all around. Many of the customs, decorations, and images associated with this holiday have developed in interesting and unique ways. Let’s have a look at some fun facts about this endearing holiday! 1. The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman 2. America’s first batch of eggnog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Its name comes from the word “grog”, meaning any drink made with rum. Non-alcoholic eggnog is popular as well. 3. The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed green. The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany in the 19th century, due to a major continuous deforestation. The feather trees became increasingly popular during the early 20th century and finally made their way to the US. 4. The “X” in “Xmas” doesn’t take “Christ” out of “Christmas. Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas, however, some people think that this spelling is not right, because it takes the “Christ” out of Christmas. Don’t worry, no one is taking the “Christ” anywhere. In the Greek alphabet, the letter X (“chi”) is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ or Christos. 5. All letters addressed to Santa in the United States go to Santa Claus, Indiana 6. After the holiday is over, some zoos accept donated Christmas trees as food for their animals. 7. Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver. 8. The tradition of hanging stockings comes from a Dutch legend. A poor man had three daughters for whom he could not afford to provide a dowry. St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down his chimney and gold coins fell out and into the stockings drying by the fireplace. The daughters now had dowries and could be married, avoiding a life on the streets. 9. If you gave all the gifts listed in the Twelve Days of Christmas, it would equal 364 gifts. 10. “Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space. 11. Two weeks before Christmas is the one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. According to data analyzed from Facebook posts and statuses, couples are more likely to end their relationship two weeks before Christmas and two weeks after Valentine’s day, during the spring break. Christmas Day, however, is the least favorite day for breakups. 12. Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion. 13. In 1918 and for the past 40 years, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has sent the city of Boston a giant Christmas tree as a thank you for their support after the 1917 Halifax explosion 14. Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915. 15. Even though most of Santa’s reindeer have male sounding names, (Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen), male reindeer shed their antlers in winter. So the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are more than likely female.

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  • Oct 20, 2018

    It is common practice to see the employees of a workplace being appreciated and acknowledged. Their achievements are recognized, work ethic praised, and even birthdays may be celebrated. It would stand to reason that bosses would also like to be applauded and supported as well. And why not? They are the leaders who manage their companies and along with their employees, work tirelessly for the betterment of the organization. October 16th, National Boss Day is an occasion which was created exactly for the purpose of appreciating your boss. A lady named Patricia Haroski registered National Boss Day with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. She was inspired to do so because she worked for her father at the time, as a secretary. The date she chose was significant and meaningful to her as it was her father’s birthday. Patricia believed that sometimes employees did not understand the dedication and hard work which supervisors put into their jobs or understand the many challenges which they encounter. It was her hope that having such a day to show appreciation for bosses would lead to improved working relations in the offices. So how does one go about celebrating such a day? There can be many ways but one of the most obvious ones would be to give your boss a well thought out gift. Employees can work together to create a gift fund and choose a present. In fact, Gardenia’s Fire offers many selections of sweets that would be the perfect corporate gift for your boss! Choose from our Brownie Collection, Strawberry Collection, or signature Berry Collection. The quality, as well as taste, of our handcrafted gourmet goods is sure to impress your boss and relay your message of truly appreciating him and his hard work. Another unique way to celebrate the day would be to have a small award ceremony. Getting together with your coworkers before the day arrives, you can plan titles and awards to give to your supervisors. These can be light hearted and quirky awards such as Best Dressed, Funniest Boss, or Record for Most Coffee Consumed in a Day. One of the simplest ways to celebrate the day would be to sincerely wish your boss a Happy Boss’s Day as you see them in the hallway and just let them know that their hard work is indeed appreciated. Though a bit on the informal side, even a small gesture such as this can have a great impact on the morale of an individual and it can make their day. However you decide to celebrate, remember to keep it fun and to get the message across that yes boss, we do appreciate and acknowledge you!

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  • Oct 18, 2018

    In general, one doesn’t usually need a special day to celebrate a particular food item but hey, if it exists, then why not? Especially if the specific food in question is an all-time favorite dessert. Decadent, rich, melt in your mouth chocolatey goodness is the makeup of the classic brownie! That’s right. There is a whole day dedicated to glorifying an already amazing dessert! National Brownie Day is celebrated annually on December 8th, so mark your calendars now. This unofficial holiday is your chance to indulge in all the gooey goodness of brownies and is an opportunity to go into some serious brownie overdose! The very first brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century and quickly gained popularity. The story goes that there was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s. They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch. A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts. How surprising is that? There was no chocolate in the original brownie! The earliest recipes for brownies comparable to those familiar to us today are found published in regional cookbooks and newspapers around the turn of the last century. The 1904 Laconia, NH Home Cookery, the 1904 Chicago, IL Service Club Cook Book, and an April 2, 1905, edition of The Boston Globe are three early examples. It seems to be pretty self-explanatory how one should celebrate this day. Eat as much brownie as you can! In fact, why not make it a real treat by having gourmet brownies? You guessed it, Gardenia’s Fire provides a lineup of gourmet fudge brownies with a variety of taste. You can opt for our classic, walnut, or cranberry flavors. We even offer the best of all three by presenting a variety box which is sure to tantalize your taste buds. You couldn’t find a more befitting way of celebrating National Brownie Day. So go ahead, throw a brownie themed party and take it to the next level by ordering from Gardenia’s Fire!

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  • Oct 05, 2018

    One of the hallmarks of holidays and celebrations is the giving of gifts. A seemingly simple task but once one starts the process of gifting, it can at times be quite overwhelming and even stressful. So many questions whirl about in our minds such as; What to get? How much to spend? How to present it? Should it be store bought or handmade? There is often a lingering doubt in the back of our minds where we are afraid of making a faux pas. An activity as rewarding as gifting should not be this stressful and hard. Here are a few tips on gift giving etiquettes to help you along. Recipient- This is one of the most imperative points to consider when giving a gift. Since they are the ones who will be receiving it, the gift should be catered to what they like, what they may need, their personality and characteristic, as well as their likes and dislikes. Your relationship with the recipient also has an affect on what gift you would get them. Is it a family member, close friend, work colleague, significant other? These are valuable things to keep in mind when choosing a gift. Reciprocity- After receiving a gift, often one of our first thoughts is usually about what we will give to the person in return. However, this is not always necessary. There are many situations where a gift is given without the expectation of receiving one back. This especially applies to occasions where individuals are being celebrated or their accomplishments are being highlighted. Events such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations do not require an exchange of gifts. So it is advised to not burden oneself with the thought of having to get a gift in return. Equality- For occasions where gift exchanges are expected such as certain holidays or gift exchange activities in the workplace, many people feel pressured that the gift must be of equal or greater value than the gift given to them. This thought should be avoided, and it should be kept in mind that it is more about the act than it is about the monetary value. Gifts should be tied to meaning and not to the price tag attached to them. Gratitude- Etiquette experts have stated that after receiving a gift, the appropriate time to express gratitude is within a week of being given the gift. Of course, there is the immediate gratitude we show as we smile and verbally thank the person giving us the gift. But it is seen as more impactful to take the time afterwards to write out a personal thank you note. This small act can have an immense significance and truly make the gift giver happy. So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen! A few quick tips that will help make the task of gift giving less stressful and more enjoyable. Always remember that this is not meant to be something full of anxiety, rather it should be a fun and meaningful experience for all those involved.

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  • Oct 03, 2018

    Brownie and cookies. Two delectable desserts on their own which can be combined to make one super dessert. When thinking of a brownie cookie, there are a few possibilities which come to mind. Is it a brownie batter slightly adjusted so that it can be baked as a cookie? Or are we talking about a cookie batter which has been tweaked to be made as a brownie? In this case, we’re going to choose to take the best of both worlds and bring them together. Brookies! That’s right, one layer of brownie topped with a layer of cookies so you have a two in one dessert that is sure to be a hit at parties, potlucks, or any get together which you may have. We begin with the cookie batter as that will be the bottom layer: 1 cup butter ½ cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 ½ cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 cups semisweet chocolate In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the sugar mixture. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. For the brownie layer: 1 cup butter 2 cups white sugar ½ cup cocoa powder 1 tsp. vanilla extract 4 eggs 1 ½ cups flour ½ tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. salt First, melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Next, add one ingredient at a time, in the order listed above and mix well after each ingredient. Once the batter is ready, pour it over the cookie batter which has already been prepared. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 25 to 30 minutes.

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  • Oct 02, 2018

    In a corporate setting, one of the crucial keys to success of a company is the boss and their relationship with the employees. This should be built upon trust and understanding in order to increase the productivity and cohesiveness of any workplace. While the boss’ top priority is likely to have hardworking employees who fulfill his vision for the company, it is a safe bet that he would also like to have more than superficial relationships with the people he works with every day. Several elements constitute a healthy boss and employee relationship and these points need to understood by both parties in order to be fully effective. 1. Communication- This is a two-way road that needs to be equally accessible to both parties. The workplace environment should be such that the employees feel comfortable enough to approach their boss with ideas, suggestions, and concerns. Sometimes it can be intimidating for employees to state something which might be in contradiction to something the boss has said. However, when done in a respectable and polite manner, this can be advantageous to the company and help it progress. Likewise, employees should remain open to constructive feedback as that is done in their interest and to help them be better employees. 2. Mentoring- When a boss becomes an employee’s mentor, it helps both the employee as well as the company. Offering advice and career training would ensure that in the future the employees are adhering to the same vision and company culture which is present in the company. Employees should not hesitate to initiate career-path discussions with their boss so that they may find out how they need to improve in order to reach their goals. 3. Recognition- Who doesn’t like to be appreciated, right? Managers need to keep their employees happy and motivated by acknowledging their hard work and accomplishments. This provides intrinsic motivation to the employees to put their best foot forward for the company and have positive performances going forward as well. 4. Teamwork- There should be a commitment from both parties to engage in teamwork where the roles of each individual are clearly defined. The expectation from the employee is that they will follow instructions, give input when needed, and meet or exceed performance criteria which has been set forth for them. It is expected that the boss will provide the employee with the resources and training needed to perform the job effectively, take on the leadership role, and help his employees meet company goals. If either side of the boss and employee relationship does not hold up their end of the teamwork requirements, then productivity suffers and teamwork cannot be established. 5. Work life balance- Oftentimes, the workplace can demand long working hours and have high expectations from its employees. In this case, bosses can try to offer flexible scheduling which works for both the company as well as the employee. Having on site perks such as a gym or free meal from the cafeteria can also help workers achieve a balance. Employees shouldn’t hesitate to communicate to their boss when they need a schedule change, or time off, as long as they are willing to be compromise and make up the time elsewhere. Life happens to everyone and surprises can catch anyone off guard, the workplace should not be a daunting place that adds stress, rather there should be a balance between work and life.

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  • Sep 20, 2018
    Upgrade Your Brownie

    Brownies. Gooey, chocolaty, melt in your mouth brownies! What’s not to love about such a decadent dessert? Sounds mouthwatering enough on its own but certainly there’s always room for improvement. Whether you make them from scratch at home or out of a box, a minor tweak can take it to a whole other level of dessert deliciousness. Here are a few suggestions: Nuts-This option adds both texture and more taste to your brownie. Chop up some nuts with a knife or in a food processor and add them to the batter before putting it into the oven. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and cashews are all excellent options. Depending on your preference of how nutty you want your brownies to be, add anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup of the chopped nuts. We personally followed this upgrade to present to you Gardenia’s Gourmet Brownies Walnut! Add chocolate chips-Extra chocolate never hurt anyone! But don’t just stop at original chocolate chips. With so many flavors available in the market now, the possibilities are endless. You could add 1 cup of dark, semi-sweet, milk, white chocolate, cinnamon, mint or even peanut butter chips. Top with chocolate chips-Now instead of putting the chips in the batter, try putting them on after brownie has baked. As soon as you have taken the brownie out of the oven, sprinkle a thin layer of your choice of chips on top and wait for them to melt, it should only take a minute or two. You will then be able to spread them out with a butter knife and will have created an instant frosting for your brownie. Cookie pieces-This is another great way to add both texture and flavor to your brownie. There are as many options as there are cookies in your supermarket! Break or chop your favorite cookie into small pieces and add 1 cup of them into the mixture before baking. Try adding whole cookies to your brownies as well. Pour half of the batter, put a layer of cookies and then top with the rest of the batter. Cheesecake flavor-Bringing together two desserts, cheesecake and brownie, into one! Soften 1 package of cream cheese in your microwave for about 30 seconds and mix it with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour it on top of your brownie mix. Create a pattern of the cream cheese throughout the brownie mix either by swirling a knife or fork through it. Favorite candy bar-There really isn’t such a thing as too sweet, is there? Chop up 1 large candy bar into 1-centimeter sized pieces and add them to your brownie mix before baking. Some yummy choices would be peppermint patties, Twix, M&Ms, or Almond Joy, Basically, any of your favorite chocolate candy bars would be delicious! Peanut butter-The timeless combination of chocolate and peanut butter! Simply melt ½ cup of peanut butter in you microwave. Add it on top of the batter right before placing it in the oven and use a butter knife of fork to draw patterns. Mix and match-If more than one of the options above sounds good to you then why not go ahead and try them both? There are endless possibilities and one never knows what delicious treat could be created just by trying! Of course, it is still possible that some people prefer the classic and simple brownie, there is something to be said about chocolate on its own as well. Our Gardenia’s Brownie Classic is a favorite If you like pure, hand-made, gourmet fudge brownies presented in their native state.

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  • Sep 17, 2018
    Happy National White Chocolate Day

    Happy National White Chocolate Day! This smooth, creamy, and delicious dessert tends to create controversy in the chocolate world. To begin with, the history of it is quite ambiguous. Some claim it was produced in New Hampshire just after World War I, after an American saw it in Europe. Nestlé launched a white chocolate bar in Europe in the 1930s. According to Nestlé, white chocolate was originally created as a way to use excess cocoa butter. The company does not specify who created it or why and that is believed to be a part of history that has been lost along the line somewhere. Furthermore, it doesn’t look, taste, or smell like traditional chocolate so can it even be classified as chocolate? Despite it being introduced to the world in 1930, it was technically not classified as chocolate until 2004. White chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, one of the main ingredients in traditional chocolate. In 2004 the FDA finally relaxed its definition of “chocolate” and accepted white chocolate into the family. According to the regulations, true white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk solids, 3.5% milk fat, and less than 63% sugar. White chocolate happens to be a part of the process of creating our signature Gardenia’s Berries. The artisan confectioners at Gardenias Fire create gourmet chocolate fudge brownies which are dipped in white chocolate and then each treat is decorated by hand with our crunchy pearls. Sounds like a delicious way to celebrate white chocolate! Even if you don’t accept it as chocolate and prefer the more traditional milk chocolate treats then let us tempt you with our gourmet brownies and chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate lovers would agree that it’s not necessary to have a reason to enjoy chocolate and it can be celebrated at any given time!

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