Another equally smart thing I did this year was to get involved with Menu for Hope 3.
A Menu for Hope is a global fundraising campaign by food bloggers the world over to raise money for worthy, food-related charities. It was started by the lovely Pim, of the blog Chez Pim. This year, all proceeds will be going to the UN World Food Programme. This is the third year in a row it's been held; last year, food bloggers raised $17,000 to help UNICEF. What happens is this: food bloggers offer excellent foodie prizes, and readers buy raffle tickets to use for bidding on whichever prize(s) they want. Bidding starts today, December 11th, and goes until the 22nd. A wise person once said, "Bid early, and bid often". That person, since they are wise, is worth listening to.
The amazing Jasmine at Confessions of a Cardamom Addict is running the Canadian portion of this event; I'd like to thank her for taking on such a big task and for her help in squeezing my entry in. I encourage you to go check out the Canadian roundup at her website (available in both official languages!), especially since some of the prizes are tailored to Canadians or North Americans:
English version: http://cardamomaddict.blogspot
French version: http://cardamomaddict.blogspot
I'm offering a selection of fine products representing my home province. I was tempted to keep these for myself or give them as gifts; they're all really nice quality products. I got them all on a visit to my local farmers' market, which is the place to be every Saturday morning. Come and join me as I give you a virtual tour!
First off, let's stop at one of the many seasoning booths. Oh, yum! Their sample dips are so good. Here's some salmon seasoning, complete with a booklet of recipes for using said seasoning. It would be sublime with a simple piece of Atlantic salmon (it's better than Pacific salmon!).
Moving on, we encounter another sublime idea for your salmon (or your slices of cucumber, for that matter) nestled in a warm, cozy corner of the market. It's smoked sea salt, harvested locally from the ocean surrounding my pretty little peninsula province.
If you have salt, you gotta have sugar to balance it out, and if your salt is fancy, your sugar had better be fancy too. And this booth smells really good. Everything here is made with lavender; that's why! Lavender-infused sugar fits the bill nicely. It's a delicate and aromatic addition to a batch of sugar cookies, or whatever you're baking that needs that subtle kick.
If you can't wait for your cookies to finish baking, try some excellent homemade biscotti to tide you over. It's nearly overshadowed by the towering display of jellies and seasonings next to it, but by the time I get there there are only a handful of biscotti left in each flavour. A dear friend of mine buys it faithfully every Saturday morning, and she is particularly fond of the chocolate hazelnut. I'm a devotee of cranberry, myself, so I've included both. You can be the judge! Also, if you're really busy with holiday baking, the chap selling this said that it freezes beautifully too.
It wouldn't make sense not to include some of the superb tea sold every week at the farmer's market, since it's one of my favourite places to visit. They always have a bunch of carafes of different flavours of tea to sample. I'm going to pick up my favourite, the wild blueberry. It's faint, but you can smell its sweet aroma, even though it's encased in a small bag.
I hope you enjoyed "visiting" the farmers' market with me. If you really want to experience this adventure, though, bid on my package and you could be the lucky person getting this taste of some of Nova Scotia's best in the mail. Do it as a Christmas present... for yourself.
If you want a piece of the (delicious) action, and I'm pretty sure you do, the prize code for my delectable array of goodies is CA17.
Here's what you should do...
1. Go to the donation page at ( http://www.firstgiving.com
2. Each US$10 donation will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like by entering the prize code in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your contribution. E.G: A US$50 donation may be two tickets for UW99 and three tick ets for CA20.*
3. Some companies will match personal charitable donations made by staff. If your company has such a program, pl ease remember to mark the appropriate box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address. We need this so we can contact you in cas e you win a prize. If you do not do this, we will be unable to contact you. Please be assured that we will not share your email address with anyone.
5. Raffle results will be announced on 15 January on Chez Pim. Draws will be conducted electronically, thanks to Derrick at Obsession with Food for creating the computer application used to magically select names.
* N.B: Canadian tax laws prohibit charitable donation receipts to be issued by registered Canadian charities for raffle or lottery tickets. The UNWFP is a U.S.-based charity; should any donation receipts issued, you will need to seek professional advice regarding applying them to your Canadian income tax return.
For a round-up of Canadian donors, available in both English and French (some pretty cool prizes are being offered to Canadians or North Americans ONLY; take advantage!): http://cardamomaddict.blogspot
For a list of donors the world over, visit Chez Pim's round-up at: http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2006/12/menu_for_hope_i
To make donations and enter raffles, visit First Giving: http://www.firstgiving.com
In case you've forgotten, CA17 is my prize code. Doooo ittt.
Thanks in advance for your support, and good luck with your bidding!