Author Archives: Saul Good

Cooking is not a Spectator Sport

08 Mar

Homemade-bread

 

Cooking is what makes us human. It can help us connect to ourselves, our community and our culture. Yet it feels like cooking has become a spectator sport. Cooking shows continue to draw ratings and we spend our free moments drooling over food photos on instagram. We embrace the idea of cooking yet shy away from the act. We innately understand the deeper value of a home baked loaf of sourdough slathered in locally made jam, yet the making of bread and jam seem more like hobbies than valuable life skills.

 

Best-selling Author Michael Pollan and Oscar winning director Alex Gibney have teamed up to bring us Cooked, a 4-part documentary on Netflix. Cooked champions the idea that cooking at home is a step towards a healthier food system. Over the years we have created a culture of convenience; we have outsourced cooking to free up time. This trade off has not served us well. Michael Pollan has written extensively on this subject in his books The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. In Cooked, rather than tell us what not to eat, he urges us to focus on enjoying the process of preparing food. Cooked asks us to slow down and get our hands dirty.

 

 

sharing-a-meal

 

Fire, water, air and earth — Cooked shows us the surprising ways these elements can transform humble ingredients into nourishing food. Through the magic of big-budget film production, we circle the globe and visit a diverse cast of food advocates, scientists, makers and cooks; each one bringing something special to the table. One stand out character is a Benedictine nun/microbiologist with a passion for artisanal cheese making. It’s makers like her who have taken on the task of preserving and documenting traditional processes.

 

There are a number of reasons for the reluctance to fully embrace the kitchen; cooking takes focus, skill, planning and time. It’s not efficient and we have come to value efficiency. If we want to embrace cooking, we have to approach it from a different angle. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore, instead it can be a creative collaborative event or a solo meditation. Cooking can be entertainment. Cooking can be fun

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

Not convinced to step into the kitchen? That is okay! We don’t all have the time (or desire) to make our own chocolate, pasta or preserves. Fortunately, there are many wonderful artisans, bakeries, and restaurants dedicated producing high-quality food. Saul Good Gift Co. is committed to supporting these small-batch makers by including them in our locally sourced gift baskets. They may not be home cooked, but they are made with the same level of integrity and thoughtfulness. Your support allows these makers to serve their communities as conservators of traditional domestic arts.

 

There are many lessons to be learned from Cooked, but one major takeaway is that food—lovingly made by hand— feeds us in more ways than one.  

 

 

 

About the author

Jasmine

Jasmine is a professional sweet tooth who spends much of her time baking, eating, photographing and writing about treats.

 

She co-founded chocolatecodex.com to share her love of fine chocolate with the world. Follow Jasmine on instagram: @chocolatecodex

Canadian Craft Chocolate is on the rise

02 Dec

We are delighted to share this guest post by chocolate expert Jasmine Lukuku.

 

 

evr

Photo from East Van Roasters

Canadian Craft Chocolate

There is a revolution happening in the chocolate industry, Craft Chocolate is on the rise. The vast majority of commercially available chocolate is manufactured by a handful of large European and American companies. In the past, small chocolate businesses would buy pre-made chocolate from these large companies, melt it, flavour it and repackage it under their own labels.

 

Unfortunately, many of the large companies supplying this pre-made chocolate have well documented histories of exploitation in cacao growing regions such as West Africa and Central America. This is the chocolate industry’s dirty secret.

 

Palette de Bine chocolate

Photo from Palette de Bine chocolate

 

What is a chocolate lover to do? Fortunately, there is a growing community of chocolate makers committed to ethical sourcing of cacao. They are buying beans directly from growers or trusted brokers and making their own chocolate from the bean. Transparency is important to these makers and they are not afraid to share their sources with consumers and other chocolate makers. This is chocolate you can feel good about purchasing for yourself or as a gift.

 

chocolate - evr

Photo from East Van Roasters

 

The first time you try Craft Chocolate, you may be surprised. Cacao Beans can taste drastically different depending on where they are grown, how they are handled after harvesting and how the chocolate maker chooses to roast and process them. Craft Chocolate makers delight in highlighting the unique characteristics of the beans. You can liken this to the terroir of wine. When I host group chocolate tastings, we often go through a variety of bean origins so we can compare characteristics.

 

We are lucky to have some amazing Craft Chocolate makers in our own backyard. Canada is home to some of the industry’s pioneers as well as talented newcomers. If you are looking for a great chocolate gift or want to treat yourself to something special, I recommend the chocolate makers below.

 

Sirene Chocolate

sirene chocolate

Photo from Sirene Chocolate

 

Chocolate Maker Taylor Kennedy has been scooping up international awards for his well-crafted bars. His genius Tasting Pairs combine two varietals of single-origin chocolate in one package. You can find Sirene’s cheery and sophisticated bars in several of Saul Good’s Gourmet Gift Baskets.

 

Palette de Bine

Palette de Bine chocolate

Photo from Palette de Bine chocolate

 

This Québec based maker is all about the details. Founder Christine Blais crafts elegant, small-batch chocolate from such diverse origins as Vietnam, Trinidad and Belize. The wood-grain patterned bars are packaged in simple kraft card stock with a letterpress logo. The look is simple, rustic luxury with a dose of Canadiana. They make a perfect chocolate gift!

 

Palette de Bine chocolate

Photo from Palette de Bine chocolate

 

Soma Chocolate Makers

soma chocolate

Photo from Soma Chocolate

 

If you find yourself in Toronto, you need to pay a visit to one of Soma’s chocolate cafes. Cynthia Leung and David Castellan have been making chocolate since 2003; that makes them trailblazers in the craft chocolate community. They are lauded around the world for both their bean-to-bar chocolate and their innovative confections. Their CSB Chama bar won a Silver Medal in the World Finals of the International Chocolate Awards.

 

Organic Fair

organic fair chocolate

Photo from Organic Fair Chocolate

If you love flavoured chocolate bars, look no further than Organic Fair’s impressive selection. The Sakura bar with candied ginger and sundried cherries is a personal favourite. This Cobble Hill, BC based operation makes bars that are the perfect size for snacking. They also offer a vast selection of Fairtrade pantry goods and spices.

 

East Van Roasters

evr - chocolate

Photo from East Van Roasters

 

Vancouver residents can get in on the bean-to-bar chocolate action by visiting East Van Roasters. This chocolate cafe is a social enterprise designed to provide training to women living in the Ranier Hotel. Stop in and see how chocolate is made while sipping on a house-roasted coffee paired with some hand-rolled truffles. East Van Roasters’ bars are available in select Chocolate Gift Baskets from Saul Good.

chocolate gift basket 

About the author: 

Jasmine co-founded ChocolateCodex.com as a way to share her enthusiasm for chocolate. She spends much of her time baking and photographing her creations for theblenderist.com and collaborating on design and branding projects with her partner Chris at pleaserxvp.com. Follow Jasmine on instagram: @chocolatecodex

Jasmine

 

Top 3 tips for corporate gifts

30 Oct

75K_6

christmas gift baskets

It’s easy to give a nice bottle of wine or a fancy box of chocolates, but how do you make your corporate gifts stand out from the rest? 

 

Over the past ten years, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make people feel special. Our team has customized corporate gift programs for some of Canada’s most successful brands. We love getting to know our clients, their value proposition and their culture. It allows us to inject a piece of their DNA into their gift program.

corporate christmas gift basket

One way to enhance that sense of meaningfulness and appreciation is by telling a good story. Not a story like Moby Dick, but rather a story that connects the gift giver, the recipient and the gift.

 

Our gifts tell a good story

Our gifts tell a good story

 

 

Your brand is the narrator of the story you are crafting.  Tasteful customization of your gift program is a superb way to keep your company in the spotlight without overshadowing the recipient. Here are 3 ways to give gifts that tell a good story.

 

office party throwdown

 

1) Put your brand center stage

 

Once we have clarified the needs of your gift program, we can help you customize branded ribbons for your gift boxes. As the gift recipient digs into the sensory delights of their gift, they will be thinking of your brand.

packaging_-_gift_boxes_custom_ribbon_print

 

Our focus is and always will be on ensuring the gift recipient feels super special and genuinely appreciated. But we never loose sight of the fact that your brand belongs at the centre of the memorable gift giving experience.

 

2) Personalized messages go a long way

 

In our previous posts, The Business Value of Thank-you and Investing in Appreciation, we discussed the tangible value of appreciating your clients, employees and colleagues. Research has revealed that a thoughtful thank-you is essential to strengthening your professional relationships. It is important to take the time to personalize your message and be clear about why you appreciate the recipient.

 

corporate gifts vancouver

 

3) Full circle giving is a darn good story

 

The Saul Good Gift Co. was created as a way to make a positive difference through business. We wanted to offer an alternative to the wasteful nature of gifts that are wrapped in excessive packaging and full of less-than-special stuff. Each of our corporate gifts demonstrate the delicious beauty of sustainability, local purchasing and social responsibility. The recycled cardboard gift boxes feature hand drawn maps of local Canadian cities. The products are all locally handmade and the gifts are assembled by a social enterprise.

 

We’d love to facilitate a gift program that tells the story of your brand. If you would like to get started, you can download our 2015 gift guide and apply for your corporate account. We look forward to following up with you! 

75K_6

Investing in Appreciation

17 Jun

Appreciation in business and corporate gifts

Appreciation is an art that creates tangible value for your business. It is an investment that strengthens team performance and continually enhances your professional relationships. Meaningful gratitude can be as simple as an announcement at a meeting or a thoughtfully written card. In the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” co-author Paul White cites that 88% of employees leave their company, not for money, but for feeling unvalued. Here’s a few tips for how to appreciate your staff, teammates and key accounts:

3 Tips for Meaningful Appreciation & Corporate Gifts:

1) Make it Specific & Personal

An extraordinary corporate gift is more than an obligatory gesture. It is an opportunity to nurture meaningful and memorable connections. Make the gift experience all about the recipient and get specific about why you are recognizing them. If you are appreciating your hard working team, it is great to focus on what they specifically did and how this created value for you.

Example:

Joe – Thank you for the excellent design work that you did on our latest project. Your creativity and attention to detail helped me build rapport with our clients.

2) Be Public When Appreciating Your Team

Appreciation is best done publicly and criticism is best done privately. A lot can shift when you set time aside and make appreciation a priority for your business. It encourages this behaviour, so that your team is more likely to echo gratitude amongst themselves. It can help dissolve office politics and prevent turnover of employees.

thumb_company-culture.jpg

3) Always Include a Memorable Greeting Card

Personalize the message by using the recipients name and by using “I” statements. This creates a sense of direct personal connection. You can further personalize your message by referencing a shared experience or a specific attribute of the recipient.

Example:

Corporate Gifts Vancouver

The art of corporate group gifts

14 Nov

Office Party Throwdown

Over the years, we have carefully cultivated an assortment of corporate gift baskets that are tried tested and extremely delicious.

The art of group gift experiences

One of the first questions we ask our clients is if their corporate gifts are being given to groups or individuals. Why? Because gifts for groups must be easy to share.

 

The main reason you want a gift designed for sharing is that you want to avoid the awkward scenario of “Who wants the tapenade? Who wants the little jam?” That kind of conversation is not a team building experience. It can be literally divisive.

 office gifts

The ideal gift experience for a group involves a bunch of people gathered around, enjoying their treats and talking about how great it’s been to work with you over this last year. When you share amazing gourmet gift baskets amongst a team, there is a collective moment of happiness where everyone feels special and appreciated.

 

Easy to share gifts create the framework for a well planned corporate gift program. It is our pleasure to offer gifts that are thoughtfully designed with handmade, heartfelt delights. We specialize in making your gift recipients feel good and we love to make you look good too.

Our Top 3 Corporate Gifts for Groups

The Fancy-Full

fancy-full

The Department Party

department-party

The Office Party Throwdown

office-party-throwdown

welcome to our new site

Saul Good welcomes you to our new website

07 Nov

gift baskets vancouver

It is my pleasure to officially welcome you to our new website. It means a lot that you are here to celebrate this important new chapter in the Saul Good story! 

Whether you bought 1 gift or 1000 gifts, you are part of this story!

This new website is designed to make it easier for you to find the gift that you are looking for. It is also designed to make it easier to connect with the delightful local stories that are connected to each gift. Our new online experience reflects our expansion through collaboration with social enterprise and local artisans.

One of our most important collaborations is with Starworks – a local Vancouver social enterprise employing adults with developmental disabilities. With over 10 years of experience in the packaging and logistics business, Starworks is the perfect fit for our business and community goals.

starworks social enterprise

They assemble our gifts, fulfill your orders and deliver excellence to each and every gift recipient. It has been incredible working with them over the years and we look forward to expanding our capacity to create more work opportunities for these fine folks! We are also excited to continue building our relationships with Tradeworks, East Van Roasters, and BC Woodworks.

relationships

In addition to teaming up with Starworks, we continue to be amazed by what our artisans are capable of. It is incredible to see them grow in their own unique ways. Year after year, we are pleasantly surprised by the masterful creations that emerge. We are excited for you to try our artisans’ fresh and creative new holiday creations!

artisan gifts vancouver

As momentum builds, we are proud that our gifts can function as an incubator for local artisans and we are also grateful that local artisans fill our gifts with unique, handmade and heartfelt goodness. They are the key ingredients to the story of our Vancouver gift baskets.

 Thank you for joining us on our mission to radiate happiness – one gift at a time!