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A Basket of Holiday Cheer -- Part 1 of 4

Crafting custom gift baskets from local island hot spots

December 1, 2016
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Everyone loves a good gift basket. As we pass by Thanksgiving, the holiday season is quickly upon us, and you may be thinking of what to get good friends, family members and co-workers. With such a wonderful amount of shops and eateries dotting the isle of Fort Myers Beach, why not stop into a few of them to pack up a very special gift basket? Throughout the next several weeks, we'll touch on different themes for your basket.

This week's theme:?Sweet Treats.

Most of us have some kind of a sweet tooth. If it's not candy, it's chocolate. If it's not chocolate, it's something more refined, such as a crisp bottle of wine. Pack up some delicious island trinkets to create the perfect Sweet Treat package this holiday season.

Article Photos

Paradise Wines offers a great selection of locally produced fruit wines.

A bottle of liquid gold

Wine is a pretty general, rather generic gift. However it's certainly a great one perfect for virtually any holiday or celebration. A bottle of wine or two makes a fantastic addition to any gift basket, but jazz it up some more by heading down to Paradise Tropical Wines for a decadent bottle of goodness that is made from virtually any other fruit other than the grape.

Located at 159 Old San Carlos Blvd., some popular blends include guava, mango, key lime, blackberry, blueberry and cherry, but shop owner Eric Malasky says the top seller is his Hurricane Class 5 Sangria, "a blend of pineapple, watermelon, key lime, mango and passionfruit. We don't use grapes in any of our wine,"?he said.

And perfect for the holiday season, Paradise Tropical Wine's very own cranberry Festi-Berry blend is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, available as a either a wine or a champagne.

Other fab items in the shop include made-in-Florida hot sauces, and one-of-a-kind, hand-engraved glass vases and wine bottles, crafted by Eric, himself, decorated with wrapped hemp and seashells from the Fort Myers Beach shoreline.

Stop into the shop anytime, or shop online at, find the shop on Facebook or call 239-233-8025.

Chocolate:?A taste of heaven

Perfectly complement the flavor of Floridian wine with a box of chocolate or other sweet concoction from Kilwin's. This old-fashioned confectionary shop at 50 Old San Carlos Blvd., is sure to have something that'll catch your fancy.

Sweets are hand-crafted daily, right in front of your eyes. An immense offering of chocolates, fudge and fresh homemade waffle cones and ice cream will catch your attention, or if that doesn't do it, the hand-dipped caramel apples or chocolate-dipped pretzels, Twinkies, Oreos or marshmallows will do the trick.

All of these items are available for packaging at the Times Square location, and would make the perfect addition to your Sweet Treats gift basket.

Something tasty for the eyes

"Sweet Treats" don't necessarily mean something that's tasty to the palate, but often your eyes. Pick up something glitzy and glamorous from The Island Jewel, 7205 Estero Blvd., setting that packed gift basket ablaze with envy.

Perhaps a set of beautiful hand-crafted tanzanite earrings would pair well with your other basketed gifts, or the shop's latest addition: interchangeable coin necklaces featuring a gorgeous selection of elegant jeweled trinkets and gemstones (pictured above).

Inventory changes frequently, however the quality is always top-notch, with a variety of precious and semi-precious stones and hand-crafted jewelry and watches. Call 239-463-0500 or stop into the shop anytime.



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