Fruit Baskets


Giving a fruit basket as a present rather than more fattening biscuits, chocolates and sweets, or a basket of flowers, is a dicey proposition in Manila. I have yet to see a commercially made or sold fruit or food basket that is either stunning or impressive. Part of the problem is the relatively weak choice of fruit, whether tropical or temperate. The other part of the problem is an apparent lack of attention to aesthetics and quality. Instead, a low price, even more than the concept of value, seems to be the primary driving force. Whenever I want to send a fruit basket, I end up making one myself rather than buying it ready made…

When we lived in Indonesia, there was a period at the end of the Muslim fasting month when huge food baskets were sent to corporate clients or professional acquaintances. fruit2The first year I was in charge of this traditional gift giving effort, I realized that the USD200-300 that we used to spend per basket supposedly bought us the best you could get and yet they weren’t up to snuff, in my opinion. The second year I had to manage the gift giving process, I decided to do it myself… while I spent the same as a commercially sold basket, our baskets were the talk of the banking community… packed to the gills with unusual and delicious delicacies with a cookies, chocolates, sweets, premium teas, etc. theme (no alcohol allowed). The third year I made fruit baskets (imagine wrapping 50 baskets weighing 20 kilos each and arranging delivery?!). Another year was premium foods such as salmon, caviar, etc. Yet another year had nuts, dried fruits, etc. At any rate, I think I have made more gift baskets than most folks and you know you have hit the bullseye when the driver of the client’s CEO is seen bringing your basket to be loaded in the bosses car while dozens of other baskets are left behind in the office for recycling…

So when I wanted to send a couple of fruit baskets a few weeks ago I decided to quickly hit the SM supermarket, load up on fruit and craft a gift basket that was fruit3practical, attractive yet reasonably priced. It turned out okay, but not great. It was, however, much nicer than anything you could buy for the same amount. Presentation is at least 30% of the score and the right packaging materials is critical. In this case, the basket was to be placed in a meeting room for immediate consumption, so wrapping it was impratical. Instead, I had to rely on a reasonable choice of fruit and biscotti that were home baked, and a feeling of real bounty. Also, add some milflores leaves which don’t wilt too quickly and you have a decent looking spread… In other cases, masses of seasonally appropriate fruits such as mangoes, chicos, satsumas, etc. (second photo) also makes an interesting basket…


4 Responses

  1. MM,

    You should see the fruit and gift baskets here in Korea. The arrangement is stunning and the quality (of the fruit and the food items are superb). Of course the prices are heart-attack inducing (esp. when you convert it to pesos). But almost every fruit basket I see here (even in the supermarkets) are fit to be a CEO’s gift. The fruits are the freshest and the best-looking.

    Would you believe they’ve got Spam gift baskets here? And it is considered a more presentable gift to your boss than a fruit basket? I’ll take some pictures next Chuseok day (Thanksgiving) and send it to you.


  2. At xmas, my father buys 50 boxes of fruits from Sta. Cruz market, and sends them (no arrangement, no style, not even a ribbon) to people. Sigh.

  3. i’d do it myself as well, MM. there’s more joy and pleasure on something you’ve made yourself, it may be time consuming, but you end up spending less.

    i just wish we had more tropical fruits here in the supermarkets.

  4. I love fruits so much I would be happy to receive them in any packaging, even in just a plastic bag. But of course, presentation always makes you feel special.



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