Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SWEETER THAN SUGAR PLUMS

MY CUP OF CAKE

Perfect for the person in your life who cannot cook but loves to eat. My Cup of Cake combines all the ingredients to make a Belgian chocolate souffle cake into one mug. And the pastry magic all comes together in less than three minutes in the microwave. People seem to really like easy means of procuring cake because this invention was featured on both the Today show and The View. If it's good enough for Whoopi, it's good enough for your Aunt Laurel. Pick it up for $22 at Sweet Divas Chocolates, 400 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg. (727) 379-4567, sweetdivaschocolates.com. You can also buy online at asprinkleand adash.com.

WINE, HIC, TASTING

Why stop at one gift? Throw a holiday party for six of your closest friends at Stirling Tropical Wines in Dunedin. For $60, you get to pick four bottles of Stirling's Florida wines made from berries, citrus and tropical fruits, presented to your friends by the glass. You get cheese and crackers, special seating on the patio and a discount on wine purchases. Plus, the host gets a free bottle to take home, so merry Christmas to you! You can also stop in and do a free regular tasting anytime to find out what you like. There is much to see in downtown Dunedin in case you need to walk it off. Stirling Tropical Wines and Gifts, 461 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-4025, stirlingtropicalwines.com.

WILLIAM DEAN CHOCOLATES

Now you, too, can dine like a Hunger Games champion. Belleair Bluffs chocolatier William Dean Chocolates had a moment in Hollywood's spotlight when some of its beautifully handcrafted chocolates appeared in this year's smash film The Hunger Games, in a scene where Katniss and Peeta are en route to the Capitol for the Games. You can pick up a box of assorted chocolates for $12 (five pieces) to $70 (36 pieces), or splurge on a limited edition wooden gift box of 32 for $85. Be sure to tell the recipient that William Dean has already supplied more than 500 chocolates for the sequel, Catching Fire, due in 2013. 2790 W Bay Drive, Belleair Bluffs. (727) 593-0656, williamdeanchocolates.com.

Cigar City Moat Water

Among the many reasons to love Cigar City Brewing: Their frequent tributes to local figures (José Martí, Tony Jannus) and institutions (WMNF's Tropical Heatwave). The latest is Moat Water, brewed in honor of the Skatepark of Tampa's 20th anniversary. Named for park's iconic muddy ditch, the stout features vanilla and coffee beans aged on the same Canadian maple wood used in SPoT's 20th anniversary skateboards. It even includes actual moat water (ugh ... er, we mean, yum!). As the label states: "Think all you can eat chocolate chip pancakes and bottomless coffee." There should still be bottles left at SPoT's bar and restaurant, the Bricks, 1327 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. (813) 247-1785, thebricksybor.com.

CHOCOLATE FEST MANIA EXPLOSION

You could give out run-of-the-mill chocolate to the candy lover in your life. Or, you could really challenge their palates with a selection of some seriously far-out chocolate bars from Mazzaro's Italian Market. Head down the sweets aisle to feast your eyes on the sheer variety. Gingerbread toffee. Blood-orange caramel. Hickory smoked almond. Peanut butter and banana. Sweet cherry pecan. Ginger crystallized in dark chocolate. And that yuletide staple, beef jerky chocolate. They run about $3 to $8 a piece, so you can go as big or as small as you want with a bundle. Mazzaro's Italian Market, 2909 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg, (727) 321-2400, mazzarosmarket.com.

INSTANT REALLY POSITIVE ENERGY BREATH SPRAY

The scene: You're having a great time at your mother's. She has not mentioned the time in third grade when you wet the bed, the time you didn't get into your dream college, the time you dated the girl with a tattoo of Marvin the Martian. This is so nice! This is so ... Oh, wait. She's bringing up the time you tripped on the bathroom scale and broke your ankle, you loser. Well, you were prepared. You wrapped up a nice vial of Instant Really Positive Energy Breath Spray, made with "real unicorn juice," that "instantly brightens your inner magnetism." Merry Christmas, Mom. Now stop judging. Available for $7 at Urban Outfitters and International Plaza and Bay Street, 2223 N Westshore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 348-0083, urbanoutfitters.com.

     
 
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