Appetite: 3 culinary gifts for mom

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Kusmi = mom kisses!

Last minute Mother's Day gifts needed? Here are a few delectable possibilities:

WINE OF THE MONTH CLUB
There's nothing like having Mom reminded of your thoughtfulness and love all year... no, not a Christmas Vacation disappointment like the Jelly of the Month Club. Something better: wine. This is the "original" (family-owned since 1972) Wine of the Month Club with a slew of gift options from 1 red/1 white per month for four months to one year of reds or whites only. The club averages $29 a month for the Classic Series or upgrade your wine selections to Vintners Series ($39) or Limited Series ($49). With hand-selected wines from literally all over the globe, the biggest plus if Mom doesn't like one of the wines is that they promise to send out another selection, no questions asked. In trying out the club for a short time, I can say the Classic level is not for the wine expert as the red in any given month might be a 2007 Frosted Cake Merlot from Napa or a 2006 Gerard Bertrand Syrah/Mourvedre from France. So upgrade your membership if Mom is a wine snob, or if not, she'll enjoy a broad cross-section of solid wines for every day imbibement, with descriptions, tasting notes and stories behind each region, winery and wine itself. All gift memberships come nicely wrapped so your Mother will feel like it's Mother's Day all over again every month.

CLARINE'S FLORENTINES
First trying local (Berkeley) Clarine's Florentines at the Chocolate Salon, I was impressed... trying them again later, I was hooked. I think your Mom will be, too. This buttery, crispy, golden Almond Brittle on Guittard bittersweet chocolate, is a recipe from Clarine and her Mother, so even the roots of the product have special meaning for Mother's Day. You can buy a bag at shops around town like Bi-Rite or order directly from Clarine's to have it shipped.

KUSMI TEA
A favorite of late has been Kusmi's luxurious teas. Founded in St. Petersburg in 1867, these Russian-style teas have been Paris-based since 1917, so there's an Old World elegance and refinement with modern sensibilities (even Lady Gaga is a big fan, though that may not be as much of a selling point for Mom!) They're offering Mother's Day blends, like Rose Green Tea, though there are crowd-pleasers everywhere, from a lovely Moroccan Spearmint to Sweet Love, a blend of Black China tea, pink pepper, licorice roots, guarana seeds and spices. If Mom's on a health kick, their Detox mate/green tea with lemongrass is particularly popular... and a rich antioxidant.

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