Holiday Gift Guide: Hickory Farms Holiday Markets Grand Opening Ushers in Holiday Season

America’s Most Famous Holiday Food Gift Brand Opens for the Holiday Season, Introduces New Gifts and Celebrates Traditional Favorites

Hickory Farms, America’s most famous holiday food gift brand, announced the official opening of 650 Holiday Market locations in shopping malls across the country for the 2015 holiday Season. 287318LOGO

Inaugural Season for Simply Hickory Farms(TM)
This year, Hickory Farms is introducing Simply Hickory Farms, a line of wholesome sausage, cheeses and condiments made from all-natural, simple ingredients containing no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Simply Hickory Farms Beef Sausage features 100% all-natural North American Beef raised with no hormones or antibiotics and has all the great flavor you would expect from Hickory Farms. Simply Hickory Farms Medium Cheddar and Gouda cheeses are naturally aged, handcrafted and gluten free.287317

Also new this year is their decadent White & Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark made with rich chocolates, pure mint and topped with crushed candy cane pieces, and their collection of Holiday Cookie Gifts made from scratch with only the finest ingredients.

Hickory Farms White & Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Hickory Farms White & Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Hickory Farms  - Simply Hickory Farms  Beef Sausage 2-Pack

Hickory Farms – Simply Hickory Farms Beef Sausage 2-Pack

We are proud of the Traditions and the connections we have built with so many families,” said Mark S. Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer. “As America’s most well-known holiday food gift brand, we are excited to be introducing new and great tasting gifts we know families will enjoy each and every year.”287319

No Kid Hungry® Commitment Continues
Hickory Farms is also a proud supporter of No Kid Hungry®, the leading non-profit group working to end childhood hunger in America. Since 2008, the company has contributed over $4 million to the organization. This holiday season, Hickory Farms will donate $5 to No Kid Hungry for every Hickory Farms Signature Party Planner Gift Box sold. Continue reading

The Laundress Announces the Opening of First U.S. Flagship Store

The Laundress has opened their first U.S. Flagship Store in New York City’s SoHo district at 199 Prince Street. The new expansion allows the decade-old business to engage in direct dialogue with their clients while providing a tangible experience. The space will be a one-stop-shop for The Laundress’ curated selection of eco-friendly products.The Laundress Store Opening Photo 3

The Laundress’ new store serves as a platform to showcase their coveted Detergent, Fabric Care and Home Cleaning Collections, build a deeper, more personalized connection/experience with their customers and share their cleaning discoveries. Upon walking into the store’s picturesque laundry room, one will discover clothing and utility closets thoughtfully filled with must-have collaborative goods as well as new Laundress exclusives such as their customized hanger collection.

Gwen Whiting and Lindsey J. Boyd, Co-founders of The Laundress, created this eco-friendly line of detergent, fabric care, and home cleaning (based on their personal frustrations of caring for their wardrobes) to turn domestic chores into a luxurious experience and thus making them well suited for their role as cleaning innovators, educators and domestic tastemakers.

Educated in Fiber Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design at Cornell University; and with their extensive professional experience at Ralph Lauren and Chanel, they have created a market backed by their unique knowledge and passion for fine fabrics, garment and home care. The Laundress products combine the highest concentration of active, biodegradable ingredients such as enzymes and plant-derived surfactants to be nontoxic and more efficacious. Each formula is custom designed for the specific fabric or surface, combining the most effective ingredients with unique and complex scents.The Laundress Opening Photo 2

Our focus was to make a never-before-seen domestic experience that people would find inviting while transporting them into the science, education, and efficacy of our brand. Visitors can feel confident their solutions are here, and speak directly to our expert team about their most intimate or complex clothing care questions. We want to have a one-on-one dialogue that is absolutely missing from the laundry category – and after engaging with customers over email and phone for more than ten years, we are ecstatic to interact with them on such a personal level. This open forum for customers to ask and for us to educate and demonstrate in real time is a pinnacle part of the brand experience,” says Whiting.

The Laundress store timing is in sync with our aggressive global growth strategy. In addition to retail expansion, we are developing a more cohesive design and brand communication experience, ranging from digital to wholesale and now to brick and mortar. The goal is to give each user a consistent Laundress experience regardless of the channel in which they engage us. We believe the new store fits perfectly into that initiative, as it’s a great opportunity to showcase how we have transformed what was once a mundane domestic chore into a true luxury experience. The opportunities for us are limitless – after all, everyone has dirty laundry, “says Boyd.

The Laundress Flagship will provide a 1:1 interface between customer and brand, playing into the company’s core strength and market differentiation. The “Ask The Laundress” Counter (their version of the Apple Store Genius Bar), is the epicenter for information and serves as an all-inclusive question and demo station for all things laundry and cleaning related. A second area of engagement invites shoppers to indulge in the ultimate sensory experience by allowing them to explore the brand’s seven key fragrances. Planned in-store activities include: washing workshops and pop-up collaborations with fashion brands, authors and New York notables.

The store design and layout was conceptualized by Whiting and Boyd, who have spent the last twelve years dreaming of the perfect showcase for their cleaning discoveries. The 400 square foot retail store has a fresh yet traditional look with all-white display pieces, a functioning laundry room, and dream clothing and utility closets full of storage solutions, innovative supplies and artisan brushes.

In the same way that The Laundress has returned the lost art of laundry care to the laundry room, our store represents a return to the principles of retail: one-on-one interaction, exceptional customer service and an elevated sensory experience. We are excited to merge expertise in solving age-old laundry problems with a new physical brand experience,” adds Whiting and Boyd.

The Laundress recently celebrated a decade in business and is available in 38 countries and over 1,500 fine retailers/boutiques worldwide including J. Crew, Barneys, Net-a-Porter, Bloomingdales, Lane Crawford, Conran Shop-Tokyo, Istetan and online at

The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay to Host Inaugural “Nothing Ordinary” Food & Wine Festival

Eight Chefs from Eight Countries will present a Three-Day Culinary Extravaganza, Showcasing Exceptional Creativity, Drama and Entertainment for Discerning Diners and Guests.

The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay will host the “Nothing Ordinary” Food & Wine Festival, an exceptional epicurean showcase to be held from December 10 to 13, 2015. The premier gourmet event will feature experts from world-famous wineries and distilleries, as well as eight globally renowned professional chefs, including The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Executive Chef Xavier Salomon, only the second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef). The chefs will converge in Sanya to create an exquisite contemporary dining extravaganza, delivering a perfect fusion of culinary craftsmanship, creative concepts, drama, and entertainment, to forge truly unique and unforgettable memories for discerning diners and guests.

Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay (Hainan). Pristine beaches, rainforests and the clear South China Sea.

Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay (Hainan, China). Pristine beaches, rainforests and the clear South China Sea.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Executive Chef Xavier Salomon, and only the second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef).

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Executive Chef Xavier Salomon, and only the second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef).

The “Nothing Ordinary” Food & Wine Festival is set to bring an extraordinary experience, while adhering to the essence of a traditional food and wine festival. The event encompasses master events that should not be missed: Sand Castle Wine Tasting, Guest Chefs in Command, Sweet Meets Sweet – Champagne Pairing with Dessert Samplings, Tropical Paradise Picnic, Master Class Brews & BBQ, Be A Chef – Local Fresh Market Tour with Guest Chefs and Nothing Ordinary Grand Dinner Tasting.

In addition to indulging your taste buds, the event will be infused with an emotional touch – to leave guests with lasting memories. The hotel will first create a sand castle for the wine tasting component, to be located alongside the pristine shores of Yalong Bay facing the grandeur of the South China Sea. Dressed in tailor-made classic and local fusion costumes, experts from world class wineries and top sommeliers will showcase their superb wine tasting skills. They will also share their comprehensive understanding of wine tasting through intimate interactions with guests.

Lagoon room deck

Lagoon room deck

Long corridor in the lobby

Long corridor in the lobby

Luxury Villas in Sanya - The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay

Luxury Villas in Sanya – The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay

In the evening, each guest chef will take the helm at one of the hotel’s restaurants and inspire guests with innovative menus amidst luxurious and refined settings. Other highlights, which are unique to the hotel’s tropical paradise, include Be a Kung Fu Master – Taichi in Tang Style, Sweet Meets Sweet – Champagne Pairing with Dessert Samplings under the starry night, and a Tropical Paradise Picnic on this ever-romantic island. Continue reading

Jim Murray Awards 2016 “World Whisky of the Year” to Canada’s Crown Royal

This Marks The First Time A Canadian Whisky Has Won The Top Prize In The Whiskey Bible.

Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2016 has awarded the coveted title of “World Whisky of the Year” to one of the world’s most remote distilleries, Diageo’s Gimli Distillery, for its special Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. The new 2016 (13th annual) edition of Murray’s book debuts November 24, 2015, for distribution in North America, contains detailed taste notes for around 4,600 whiskies, including more than 1,000 new labels, all marked for nose, taste, finish, and balance; and is available from booksellers worldwide for US$19.95. Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible has sold more than 500,000 copies in the English language.

The Gimli Distillery sits on the shores of Lake Winnipeg in central Canada. This marks the first time a Canadian Whisky has won the top prize in the Whiskey BibleCrown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was first released in the U.S. in early 2015. The variant showcases the distinctly Canadian rye whiskey featured in the traditional Crown Royal Deluxe Blend that consumers have grown to love throughout the last 75-plus years. Northern Harvest Rye (90 proof, 45% ABV) is the brand’s first ever blended, 90% rye whisky and embodies a smooth and spicy flavor profile that can be mixed into traditional rye cocktails or enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has awarded the coveted title of “World Whisky of the Year”by Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2016.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has awarded the coveted title of “World Whisky of the Year”by Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2016.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye showcases the rye whisky that has been such an integral component of the Crown Royal Deluxe blend since 1939. This is a testament to the unbelievable blending and distilling that’s been taking place in Gimli for over 75 years,” said Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Crown Royal. “We are thrilled that Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has been named World Whisky of the Year!”

The recognition comes on the heels of the launch of Crown Royal’s new campaign titled “The One Made for a King.” The creative, which will run across TV, print, out of home, digital and social, was developed to share the 75-year-old brand’s royal origin story and liquid credentials with consumers. (To view the TV spots, please visit the Crown Royal YouTube channel.)

In addition to being named 2016 World Whisky of the Year, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye received a double gold medal at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is part of Crown Royal’s vast portfolio of variants for whisky lovers to enjoy, including Crown Royal Regal Apple, the #1 innovation launch across U.S. Spirits over the past 12 month period, according to Nielsen and NABCA (Source: Nielsen xAOC 52 weeks through 10/10/15, NABCA 52wk ending 9/30/15), and Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, a double gold recipient and winner of “Best Canadian Whisky” in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2016

Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2016

In 2014 the whisky world was shaken when the award unexpectedly went to a Japanese single malt. Whisky authority Jim Murray, who tasted more than 1,000 new whiskies before making his 2015 announcement, said, “Last year people were shocked when I gave Yamazaki the award—until they tasted it. Then they saw it was not the affront to Scotch they first thought and something truly extraordinary. This year, doubtless there will be many more eyebrows raised because rarely is Canada mentioned when it come to the world’s top whiskies. But, again, I have no doubt people finding the bottling I tasted will be blown away with this whisky’s uncompromising and unique beauty. It certainly puts the rye into Canadian rye. Continue reading