Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Shopping with Ten Thousand Villages

Unless you are one of the super organised, chances are you, like me, are trying to get organised for Christmas! I still can’t believe that we’re already in December and the official countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun, but it has!

I’m always on the lookout for something different for presents and so I was delighted when I was asked if I would review some food products from Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organisation and is the oldest and largest Fair Trade organization in North America. The website is packed full of beautiful artisan gifts, home d├ęcor, jewellery, stationery and of course my favourite - food products. But it’s not only an online store, Ten Thousand Villages Canada has many shops across the country. What really makes it stand out however, is the fact that the mission behind Ten Thousand Villages is “to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair-trading relationships”.

The products I was sent included a bottle of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Palestine, a bag of Za’tar spice mix and a beautiful square serving plate which could be used for multiple purposes. Both the Olive Oil and the Za’tar came from a company called Zatoun which is a volunteer-run organisation that provides marketing aid to olive farmers in Palestine.

Photographs courtesy of Ten Thousand Villages

I thought it was only right to taste the products at their best and therefore most basic so I simply poured some of the vibrant yellow oil onto the plate and sprinkled over some Za’tar. I then simply dipped some fresh bread into it for a delicious Middle Eastern inspired treat! The olive oil was fruity and very full flavoured. This Cold Pressed oil is definitely of exceptional quality and for that reason is best used for drizzling and finishing dishes with because if you cook with it the heat alters the flavour of the oil and you destroy the wonderful taste (use a basic olive oil for cooking with!). Za’tar is a blend of sesame seeds, thyme, sumac and sea salt and was also really lovely. I’ve bought Za’tar before and used it several times but this version was a little different as the prevailing flavour was the thyme so it was very fragrant but incredibly delicious. I can’t wait to try it with some chicken or lamb or even in soup or on a Middle Eastern inspired pizza! There are lots of options for the beautifully fragrant spice but the combination of the Za’tar and the olive oil is wonderful and would definitely make a great gift.

As well as the wonderful food products I also received a beautiful Christmas card which was by far one of the nicest cards I have seen in a long time. Unbelievably it was handmade by artisans in India who are deaf, blind or physically disabled….. It was truly amazing.

The gifts I received from Ten Thousand Villages were really wonderful and I love them! I would absolutely recommend them to anyone looking for something a bit different as a gift for someone special or even as a treat to yourself!

For more information on Ten Thousand Villages you can visit their website here, and remember you still have time to order someone special something extra special and support fair trade at the same time! 

*All opinions expressed for the purpose of this review are my own and have not been influenced by anyone else.

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