Sunday, December 12, 2010

Whole Foods for the Holidays

This past Wednesday, the Whole Foods Market on River Street in Cambridge invited a group of local bloggers to come check out and sample their affordable holiday entertaining ideas!

I don’t think most people associated the word “affordable” with “Whole Foods”, but if you look for their specials and deals you really don’t have to spend a fortune on their high quality food!  I think we all learned new ideas and money saving tips for entertaining that night.

p.s. I only had my point & shoot camera which looks so grainy to me now compared to my DSLR! 

There were 4 “stations” if you will: Cheese (!!!), wine/beer, appetizers, and dessert.

When I walked in, there was a brief description given of the cheeses, and I believe I spent the majority of my time hovering at that table ;)


But first…

Hors d'oeuvres:


Chicken satay…I really liked this!  The dipping sauce was sweet but had a nice kick to it.IMG_1375


Behind the mushrooms were Swedish Meatballs which were delicious


After a quick check on the WF’s website, it looks like all of these items are $10/dozen.  These would be great to have if you were strapped for time and wanted to have some bites for your friends a little more substantial than just cheese and dips.

I think the money saving key here is to present the food as it was that night…cut into smaller bite size pieces.  1 whole arancini or meatball may be a bit much to stuff in your mouth all at once, and maybe you don’t want a whole piece of chicken on a skewer…esp if you might be tempted to double dip (!!).  This way the food will last longer and your guests can sample more items.


There were a few wines to sample, as well as prosecco and beer!

Did you know you can get a respectable bottle of wine at Whole Foods for only $3!?!!  I didn’t!

These are made by Three Wishes, and for $3/bottle you really can’t go wrong to have some extra bottles on hand for parties or last minute hostess gifts that won’t break the bank…heck give away 2 at a time!


The beer we tried was one that made an appearance at my House Thanksgiving (picture from my old post, not from Whole Foods).  

For just over $10, this 22 oz. bottle would also make a great gift for your favorite beer lover.


My favorite drink of the evening, though, was a new Spanish wine that was only going to be available at this Whole Foods Market out of all the Cambridge/Boston area! 

(picture source)

It was a red wine with a bright flavor.  I got a nice fruit taste as soon as it hit my mouth.  I’m still a newbie when it comes to reds, so if you’re like me….and  can get a hold of this wine, try it.

It wasn't even released for sale at the store that night!  I DID go back Saturday though and purchase a couple bottles.  One I brought to a friends party and they all loved it as well!  This was also reasonably priced at $13. 

CHEESE…my favorite!’


Oh cheese, glorious cheese!  What would a party be without you!  So many delicious cheeses to try and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the table was dominated by goat cheese!

Like this..

a panko crusted goat cheese ball of deliciousness.  A bit greasy, but that didn’t stop me.

This is their affordable cheese tray!  (crackers and almonds added after I believe)


Basically for way less than you’d think, you can get a tray of various different high quality cheese all cut up and ready to be plated and served! 

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my $10 on great cheese, than mediocre cheese with a few “extras” on the platter. 

This tray had Havarti, Brie, Danish Blue, cheddar, and cheese similar to an aged gouda.

My favorite, by far, was the gouda-esqe cheese.  It’s called Grana Padamo and was described to us as a cross between a gouda and a parmesan.  Amazing.


The cheddar on the platter was also special because it was TM Cheddar…as in “Team Member”.  The employees got to go up to Vermont to make cheese one day and now it’s sold in the store!

The other offerings on the cheese table involved items you can make from Goat Cheese…yes please!


Above, are 3 different spreads all made with a log of goat cheese and:

  • olives
  • oven dried tomatoes
  • peppadew peppers -  these are a pickled pepper with a sweet but also slightly spicy taste.  I had never had them before and now I am HOOKED!  I even bought the peppers and cheese to make for a party this weekend!

Here we have goat cheese logs rolled in either candied walnuts, or marcona almonds.    IMG_1386

I basically had cheese for dinner that night and that is totally fine with me.


A variety of mini pastries!  Even with a knife to cut them so we could try multiple items.

I had half of a refreshing sweet lemon tart :)


I wouldn’t mind coming to a party with this on hand… IMG_1389

These cupcakes were the Whole Foods “Two Bite” cupcakes that you can get in packs of 12.  They were taken out of the package, rolled in sprinkles and plated to look like a beautiful holiday spread…IMG_1390

I had a chocolate one and called it a night.   Cheese is filling :)

Now I believe Whole Foods new exactly what they were doing luring food bloggers into their store…I saw almost all the attendees with grocery baskets after leaving the event ;)

Thank you Whole Foods!


  1. It was great to see you at the event. I'm hooked on the peppadew now too. And that wine!

  2. I was JUST telling my roommate about all of the goat cheese concoctions we got to try last week. So good. Hope we can actually meet sometime soon!

  3. wonderful to see you at this event! lovely recap. i didnt realize the three wishes were only $3!

  4. What a cool event. Their cheeses are really out of this world. Goat cheese crusted with anything- I am IN! I ordered their mini desserts for Josh's birthday party last year- definitely NOT cheap, but very delicious

  5. Looks like a fun event! Yay for Whole Foods, affordable wine, delicious cheese, and cupcakes :).

  6. I think that the tip on cutting up some of the meatballs and arancini is a great idea for both the wallet and the waistline!

  7. The cheese selection definitely would have been my favorite too. Yum. And wine for $3!?! Who knew.

  8. you just cannot go wrong with whole foods, right?? those cheese balls with the panko---wow!!!

  9. It was great to see you. I loved that beer so much! It just tastes like the holiday season!