Meet the Blogger in Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie Small Business Blogger

AFTER A HALF DOZEN Christmas Seasons as the creative designer behind Hunter Valley Hampers, Kacy has a special feeling for knowing what her buying public wants.  And Christmas 2013 looms as another year of unparalleled success.

And when you consider her Hunter Valley Hampers has sold out completely in 2011 and 2012 on a budget of zero advertising, it's no wonder she must be doing something right.  Artisan Food, Craft Beer and handmade fresh regional produce is a winning formula.
Over coffee, we sat down and asked her secrets to making a delicious gourmet hamper and what makes Hunter Valley Hampers a trusted authority on gift baskets.

"No Pretzels," Kacy laughs, when I ask her the secret to gourmet gift baskets, "Once we stopped putting in bags of pretzels we noticed we got a different clientele."

Keeping it Real for the Peeps

The secret to Hunter Valley Hampers success over the last decade (the business has operated independently since 1988, although only recently moved to 'high end' gourmet in 2009) is offering quality product regardless of the price.

"People are willing to pay for quality product," Kacy explains, showing a jar of tunisian spiced pickle made locally, "and so long as they know you are backing the product up with a meaningful purpose, place and personality; they will pay a premium price."

"We see competitors offering plastic poinsettia flowers and questionable "gourmet" products like john west smoked oysters - these things just don't meet what our clients expect in a regional gourmet hamper," Kacy offered as a reason for the loyal customer base at Hunter Valley Hampers.  "It's really quite embarrassing to turn up at a corporate tower in Sydney and expect the executives to accept a hamper filled with this sort of stuff - I can see why people keep coming back to us.  We keep our hampers understated and let the real food do all the talking."
Fruit Basket Lake Macquarie
Making Brilliant Fruit Baskets guarantees repeat and return clientele

Making meaningful Connections with the Community

Things are looking great this Christmas, but I feel the moment of truth for any Christmas Gift Basket is the minutes after arriving home when the hamper box is sitting by your front door.  You place the box on the kitchen counter and open it to reveal a wicker basket filled with clinking jars, bottles, pouches and pudding - all presentation packed under crisp cellophane and ready for display under the Christmas Tree in time for the big day. 

An authentic artisan hamper for a genuine, homestyle Christmas Day.  Merry Christmas, and Give Yourself the Gift of a Joyous Sharing Christmas with real friends and valued family members.

Lake Macquarie Christmas Fruit Baskets 2013

25th Anniversary Medallion for Hunter Valley Hampers
Hunter Valley Hampers Celebrating 25 Years in Business supplying
Gourmet Hampers, Gift Baskets and Fruit Baskets to Lake Macquarie and Newcastle
Baby Gift Basket including Champagne, Fudge and Ribbons
Sharing the arrival of a newborn is simple and unobtrusive
with a Gift Basket Delivery to a Lake Macquarie Maternity Ward
1300 284 684 to order Christmas Hampers for 2013 delivery
Order online using the secure shopping checkout,
or call Kacy direct at Hunter Valley Hampers on 1300 284 684

Christmas in December

Short term planning leading up to Christmas is all about suitable storage – if you are fortunate enough to source some discount liquor, wine, beer, sparkling wine or soft drinks that is all well and good so long as you are able to store it effectively.  Remember, keeping your drinks in a cool ambient temperature means less energy costs bringing them down to refrigeration temperatures closer to Christmas.  Another novel approach is to buy your drinks at the discount prices and have the store hold them until closer to the day, or even to have them delivered to your home on Christmas Eve.

Pay attention to your kitchen tools and utensils – having your carving knife professionally sharpened is a good idea as blunt knives pose a safety risk.  Take a moment to ensure your frozen birds fit comfortably into your baking dish, and if you need a bigger dish take advantage of disposable aluminium trays – they are great on Christmas Day as you simply fold it in on itself and pop it into the recycling bin.  Chopping boards are also in heavy demand on Christmas Eve and through to the New Year – again, it can be really helpful to buy some vinyl boards of different colours to avoid cross contamination when handling the food.

Macquarie Hills, Mandalong, Argenton, Marks Point, Edgeworth, Marmong Point, Martinsville, Mirrabooka, Morisset Park, Speers Point, Morisset,

The week before Christmas

Finalise your shopping list and make a dedicated trip to the supermarket just to buy non-perishable items.  Getting items like napkins, candles, toothpicks, and plastic cups and plates all sorted well in advance frees your mind to concentrate on the big ticket items like food and presentation.  Spend a morning making your chutneys, relishes, jams, chocolates and fudges so they can be resting and the flavours developing that lovely complexity. 

It is also the time to get a few foodie friends around and put together you gingerbread house, mince pies, shortbread, biscotti, panettone, panforte and whatever other regional delicacies you include in your Christmas Celebration.  Especially in Australia, freeze ahead – one of the best things about most Christmas fare is that it can be made ahead of time and frozen – so on the day you can slowly release the frozen products and they can act as cooling agents around the kitchen.

Three Days Before Christmas

Getting closer to the annual Christmas Feast, you can now visualise exactly how things will unfold on the day and begin to actually place the food being served with your serving dishes, platters and utensils.  Perhaps now is also a good time to polish and clean your treasured heirlooms and family hand me downs.  Sending a Get Well Gift Idea to Lake Macquarie Private Hospital is simple.  If you have a particular favourite, go ahead and call Great Aunt Hazel and ask if she can bring the silver cake lifter over – every bit of authenticity and meaningfulness adds to the occasion.  After, it is Christmas.

Think about defrosting the large items – it can take a few days to fully defrost a large turkey.  Fill up your salt and pepper shakers and sugar bowls so they don’t run low and distract you on Christmas Eve.  If you have the room, you can set the table and iron the tablecloth, and arrange the candles in holders and lay out any decorations.  Now is also a good time to move the centrepiece into position and finalise the site of the display decorations.  Everyone enjoys a fruit basket recovering in a Lake Macquarie Ward Hospital.  Be mindful of where the sun moves throughout the day so you can arrange seating and display decorations out of the full glare of the sun but not in the best shady spots where guests may be inclined to linger in the cool air.

Just Before Christmas

Now you should be thinking of your last minute fresh produce, seafood and flowers.  Be careful as prices might fluctuate wildly between those sellers panicked that they may be overstocked and those who are selling out and wanting premium prices.  With clean hands make your stuffings and cover and refrigerate in bowls.  Likewise, Christmas sauces and desserts are best finalised now, if you have the luxury of a second fridge, it should now be filling up with items.  Be careful to place the items into the fridge in the order you will be removing them- ie last in first out.  Christmas Hampers and Fruit Baskets delivered to suburbs in Lake Macquarie.  This makes provision for less spills and minimises the chances of dropping or ruining a completed dish with contamination from another dish. 

Cameron Park, Cams Wharf, Cardiff Heights, Cardiff South, Cardiff,   Carey Bay, Catherine Hill Bay, Caves Beach, Charlestown, Coal Point, Cooranbong, Croudace Bay, Valentine, Warners Bay

Christmas Day

On the big day you should be all ready to go with a memorable Christmas Day since you have made the time and effort to put in some planning beforehand.  Remember to allow for those who will not be present at the table by sending them a Christmas Hamper filled with some unique, hard to find regional fare just like handmade so they too can share in your Christmas spirit.  Christmas is a time for people dropping in unexpectedly, so having on hand a ready supply of extra items and fresh produce is always convenient and gives a positive impression that you have indeed prepared for and indeed expected their arrival.  Merry Christmas from the team behind Hunter Valley Hampers and best wishes for a joyous sharing time with your family and friends.

Send a Fruit Basket for Delivery

 Send a Fruit Basket for Delivery across Lake Macquarie for all life events and occasions, from get well to new parents or new baby. CALL 1300 284 684 to ORDER TODAY!

Charity Hampers are a great fundraiser at Christmas
From the elegantly spare industrial motto of the limes and one lemon fruit basket to the joy of sharing a charity hamper with some hardworking fundraising staff, a fruit baskets speaks of gratitude and just honest thanks.
Fresh Cut fruit baskets image with tropical fruits
There's no denying the impact of fresh cut fruit


Read Jenny's Testimonial here

Jenny is a busy mum of two, a wife, a business owner, goes to yoga as often as time permits, and walks around the block regularly.  Now suddenly there's talk of a tumor and she's spending her first night in hospital since Joshua' birth seven years ago.

Sending a Fruit Basket across Lake Macquarie, from Belmont South to Speers Point to Charlestown, is effortless when you choose Newcastle Fruit Baskets.

Getting delivery right is the most important thing with Fruit Basket and Fruit Hampers.  If it's not same day, you are at a disadvantage, although with correct packaging, overnight delivery is advisable.

The second most important thing with fruit baskets for delivery is the amount of fruit and it's blemish free quality.  If in doubt about who will deliver the actual gift basket if it made by an affiliate group, ask and get a feedback number.

Not for everyone; Industrial Fruit Basketry
Also, when you get your thanks call of appreciation, be shrewd enough to ask your recipient about a specific component of the fruit hamper - whether it be the piece of cheese or bottle of wine - and don't be surprised if the item isn't there.

Here's a list of our popular delivery destinations across Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie Private Hospital, Gateshead,
Maitland Private Hospital, Greenhills,
Hillsborough Industrial Estate
Warners Bay Business Precinct
Toronto CBD
Fennel Bay, Blackalls Park, Teralba, Belmont Hospital,
Kitsch:  Some Fruit Baskets are a bit Over the Top

When you want to send a Fruit Hamper or Fruit Basket, there are three things you need to keep in mind. 

Making sure you are getting value for money, getting a generous fruit arrangement, and being able to rely on an experienced designer to create you fruit hamper.  Importantly, it is not about the sheer convenience of using a local florist - there is a distinct difference between a florists' effort and the generous market fresh of a true fruit hamper specialist.

1.  Getting Value for Money
Fruit Hampers Info offers a simple pricing schedule of $59 small, $79 large and $99 Grande.  Most times you will be satisfdied with a small, as it is generous enough for a couple of people to have a few serves fo fruit over the week.

For a bigger impact, go Grande and share the benefits of larger fruits, more diversity and seasonal gems as they are available.  Be aware that a florists' idea of a fruit basket - and the small size of counted fruit pieces - like eight pieces of fruit in an arrangement for $80.
Fruit Hampers call 1300 284 684
2. Generous Fruit Arrangement
Fruit Hampers are all about sharing the freshest seasonal fruit in a way that shows generosity, abundance and a genuine feeling of giving - all of this is dependent on an approach where plenty of fruit is included.  You want the basket overflowing with fruit, and brimming with whatever is in peak season.

People appreciate a good serving of fruit and notice that the time and effort is equal to the occasion.

3.  Experienced Designers Make a Difference.
Knowing how to put together the right fruit basket makes a real difference when you are aiming to make a lasting impression.