Thursday, 16 November 2017

Five Fun Champagne Cocktails

Christmas is a fun time when you can pull out all the stops when it comes to food and drink. Instead of drinking champagne neat, why not consider some of these luxurious cocktails. Won’t your guests be surprised?


One of the most popular champagne cocktails is simply to add orange juice and a dash of triple sec or Grand Marnier. Perfect for breakfast or brunch on Christmas morning or any lazy Sunday morning for that matter.


Fans of Ab Fab will know the Stoli-Bolli well, which is basically vodka added to champagne to give it that extra punch. One ounce of vodka is all you need and it looks absolutely fabulous garnished with a strawberry.


This one is ideal for Christmas due to the festive colour from the cranberry juice. Mix the juice with Cointreau and champagne for that special Christmas cocktail. You can make this to preference but generally aim for equal parts champagne and cranberry juice (3 ounces) with ½ ounce of Cointreau.

Classic Cocktail

Soak a sugar cube in angostura bitters. Fill a glass with champagne and add the sugar cube. An oldie but still definitely a goodie. This recipe has been around since the 1800s.

Lavender Champagne

The great thing about this recipe is that the sugar water keeps for about one month. Dissolve ½ cup sugar in an equal amount of boiling water. Add a teaspoon dried lavender, stir, then let cool. Strain the lavender and then keep in fridge. When ready to serve, add 1½ teaspoons syrup to about 6 ounces of champagne.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

All I Want For Christmas...

The Christmas orders have started to come in – both the corporate and the regular gift orders and it is such a fun time for us. And busy – did we mention busy. Here are some other meanings that we connect with this colourful time of year.

C is for Chocolate

And we have lots of it. From hot chocolate hampers to delicious hampers filled with just chocolate, you can definitely cater for all those sweet tooths in your life with our extensive array of chocolate gifts. One of the best things is that we also offer lots of new products around Christmas time to add some variety to your gift giving. So, keep checking back regularly for more ideas.

H is for Hampers

But we don’t just have chocolate hampers. We have wine hampers, cooking hampers, lolly hampers, coffee hampers and more. The variety of our gifts is what makes browsing our gifts so fun. Beer hampers, scotch hampers, port hampers, non-alcoholic hampers – the most challenging thing is deciding on which hamper to buy.

R is for Rosé

Such a lovely drop to consume before and after Christmas. It’s not white, and it’s not red! Rosé is pink in tone, and is great for barbecues and get-togethers. Many of our gift hampers such as our Gourmet Picnic Hamper features a bottle of Rosé and it is ideal for a summertime drop. Especially when it arrives with so many other goodies as well!

I is for Italian food

I love Australia’s multiculturism and the fact that we can enjoy such a variety of food wherever we go. I personally love Italian food and am so glad we have such beautiful gifts in store to represent its culinary influences on our great country. Check out our Italian Homemade Pasta Hamper, Pizza Perfection Hamper and Homemade Pizza Gift Hamper.

S is for Special

This is how our gifts make people feel when they arrive. All of our hampers feature so many wonderful treats that it is hard to contain the glee when they are opened. This is our favourite part of the job – seeing and hearing the reactions when our hampers grace the doorsteps of those all over Australia. We can’t help but feel a bit like the jolly old man himself.

T is for Tea

Christmas is a time for a meetups and what better way to spend it than over a cup of tea. We even have an Afternoon Tea Hamper to honour the early British traditions of afternoon and morning tea. Whether you want to chat with friends and family, there is no better time of year to catch up with those near and dear.

M is for Merry

A merry holiday is guaranteed with many of our champagne, wine and beer hampers. It doesn’t matter whether you are into international beers or cider, or a bottle of red wine or white wine, the choice is yours. Many of our beer and wine gifts also come with a selection of delicious snacks and treat which will ensure they are a guaranteed winner.

A is for Any Time

Online shopping means you can shop any time of the day or night. You can order your Christmas gifts at your convenience, and they can be delivered as close to the 25th December as possible to ensure they arrive on time. There are no last-minute shopping sprees – you can be as organised as you need to be and find time to relax and hang out with your loved ones.

S is for Sweet

While we do have many savoury gifts, the popular ones tend to be our sweeter gifts. The lolly and chocolate boxes have been shopper favourites ever since we opened our doors all those years ago. Our gifts are still the quirky alternative to flowers, which makes our shoppers come back time and time again. For that, we are incredibly grateful.

Monday, 6 November 2017

What's New On Our Shelves at Rainbow Designs

It's an exciting time of year - the stores are getting busier, summer is almost here and we get new gifts on our shelves to please the Christmas shoppers. So what's new? Are you ready to be wowed!

For starters we have the Festive Treats Gift Hamper. For $90 including postage, your recipient of choice will get brandy glaze, rosemary lavash, plum pudding, chocolate covered macadamia, three berry jam and handmade cookies. This is one of my favourite gifts, particularly the white choc chip macadamia handmade cookies. Delicious!

Next is the Christmas Cheer Gift Hamper which is indeed full of the Christmas spirit. For $190, including postage you get a bottle of Brut, olive and herb antipasto, berry jam, brandy sauce, cookies, apricots in mango liqueur, panaforte, plum pudding, shortbread, lemon butter and more. Imagine their surprise when they open this delightful gift on Christmas morning.

It's definitely not Christmas without the bubbles. The Christmas Bubbles Gift Hamper costs only $50 including postage and features a bottle of Brut, some chocolates and a plum pudding. For those spending Christmas alone or need some cheering up, this gift will do it. Show them you care with this gift hamper wherever in Australia they may be.

For those looking for some wine and treats, this is it! For $125 including postage your loved ones will receive a bottle of red and a bottle of white, lavash, beetroot relish, chocolates, rum balls, quince paste and plums in port. A stylish and deserving gift if ever there was one!

Which one do you like the most?

Friday, 27 October 2017

I Don't Want To Panic You, But...

...Did you know that Christmas is just 9 Mondays away. That literally gives you 8 weeks between now and then to do your Christmas shopping.

Shh, don't tell anyway but I haven't started either.

If it is your intention to order from Rainbow Gifts (first, let me say what wonderful taste you have), you can order at any time to help with budgeting. We will just make a note of your order and send it out closer to the date.

So you might want to start browsing our range of delicious and delectable gifts and choose the ones you think your uncle, brother, sister and mother may like. And don't forget to order a special little gift for yourself to pop under the tree!

Here are some of our recommendations:

When you cannot decide between chocolate and lollies, the Big Sweet Tooth Gift wins every time. There is no choice. Just a delicious mix of candy to suit all tastes - one whole kilo's worth in fact.

Well, it is summer after all and who doesn't love the taste of ice-cream on a hot day. Learn how to make professional quality ice-cream from the comfort of your own home.

Crystal glasses, bottle of Brut, chocolate - doesn't this gift just scream Christmas. It all comes nicely presented in this gorgeous gift box - perfect for gift giving!

Popcorn Hamper

Set up the popcorn maker just in time for those outdoor movie sessions. With delicious popcorn recipes and an array of flavourings and toppings, this gift is one that everyone will love.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Condensed History of Chocolate

It is no wonder that the Aztecs believed that the cacao beans were a gift from their God of Wisdom. Can you imagine being among the first to discover that the cacao bean could produce a cup of chocolaty goodness? Of course, the Aztecs’ preference was for the unsweetened variety – they initially drank their brew quite bitter, mixed with spices and corn puree of all things. Despite their bitter preference for the tasty chocolate-producing bean, the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans and Olmecs all agreed that it was a crop worth growing and harvesting.

The cacao beans became so sought after in the 1500s that they started being used as currency. This is what you could purchase back in the good ol’ days.
  • 1 cacao bean – 1 avocado/1 tomato/1 tamale
  • 3 cacao beans – 1 turkey egg
  • 30 cacao beans – 1 small rabbit
  • 100 beans - 1 turkey hen/1 hare or forest rabbit
They also considered their chocolate beverages to be quite the aphrodisiac, apparently. It is said that the 16th-century Aztec emperor Montezuma drank three gallons of chocolate a day to increase his libido.

It wasn’t until the cacao beans arrived in Europe when the sweetened version of hot chocolate became all the rage. The Spanish added cane sugar and cinnamon although it was mainly consumed by the nobility at the time maintaining a high price tag. Cacao bean meets sugar is a match made in heaven in my humble opinion.

However, when Maria Theresa of Spain wed the French King Louis XVII in 1615 she brought her love of chocolate over to France, and it spread from there. Chocolate became more affordable and everyone could enjoy it.

In 1828, a Dutch chemist by the name of Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the cocoa press which could squeeze out the fatty cocoa butter. His invention left behind a dry paste which could then be used in liquids and other foods.

I guess it was only a matter of time before the chocolate drink became a chocolate bar. It was in 1847 when Joseph Fry made his first chocolate bar. Two years later John Cadbury got into the act. The two men eventually joined forces. The first chocolate bars were still not as sweet as we like them today. When Henry Nestle came on the chocolate scene, he began adding milk to his chocolate concoctions and so many more followed his lead. And, I guess the rest, as they say, is history.

What is your favourite chocolate bar?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Halloween Is In The Air

Halloween is fast gaining popularity in Australia, and each year we see more and more Halloween decorations and costumes creep into the stores and on the shelves. Admittedly I love to look at the houses decorated in their spooky themes, tombstones, witches and all.

Trick-or-treating is become quite the norm in many Australian suburbs and streets, and watching horror movies and bobbing for apples (also called dunking) are fast becoming a holiday tradition. While Halloween has its firm fixtures in Christianity and mythology, trick-or-treating never really took root until the 1930s in the USA. And it took many more years for it to become popular over here. We are familiar with the event due to the American television programs and movies which aired on our little and big screens but up until recently it was always something which we acknowledged was done "over there". But now times they are a-changin'!

If you plan to get into the spirit of the holiday, how do you know which houses to knock on? It is best, of course, to stick to houses which look like they are decorated in celebration of the holiday, have a bowl of lollies left out for you to sample, or at the very least, have an orange (or other coloured) balloon out the front. Sticking to people you know is also a common tactic as Australians, as a rule, still frown on the idea of knocking on stranger's doors to ask for lollies (and quite rightly so!) As it is still quite new in this part of the world, not everyone appreciates getting disturbed in the middle of their favourite tv program either if they aren't expecting it.

Do you think Australians should be celebrating Halloween?

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Slow Sales Before The Christmas Rush

Traditionally, October is a quiet month for Rainbow Designs. There is always a lull in the gift buying department after Father's Day, like everyone is saving their energy for the big Christmas rush. I guess it gives me time to mentally prepare for the seasonal onset of gift buying.

I do love Christmas and the sights and the sounds it brings, but I enjoy owning a gift store even more. Rainbow Designs has been in operation since 2004 - that means that this will be my 14th year selling and sending out gifts of deliciousness all over the country.

I am very grateful for everyone who has placed an order on my little website and for those who have placed orders many times over the years. Even the smallest of comments and likes on the Rainbow Designs' Facebook page always puts a smile on my face.

It is hard to imagine a Christmas without the need to send out lollies and chocolates, but I guess the time will come one day in the future. Perhaps, sooner rather than later! After all, you never know what exciting things lie ahead in the future. :)

I know I have been very fortunate in being able to set up and run a successful business for so long. I have lost count of the number of small businesses I have seen open and close during that time; and these thoughts bring mixed feelings - both happiness and sadness at once. Owning a small business in Australia can be tough, but thankfully I have had the support of my friends and family despite the ups and downs that being a lolly store gift owner brings.

Anyway, enough of that! Let's raise a glass to a wonderful 2017 holiday season and the orders to come. Let's make it a great one!