This December has been, admittedly, different from those of past years. Had it been a normal year, we would probably take this opportunity to show you a fun photo of our team gathered for an ugly Christmas sweater competition, funky New Year Eve glasses, or a table full of tantalizing Diwali sweets. Even though we have no such photo, we took this opportunity to get creative with Highstreet’s holiday parties. To keep the Highstreet global team together, smiling, and to show our appreciation, Highstreet hosted two virtual wine tastings, a pizza-making class, and sweets tasting!
Wine Tasting & Trivia
During the guided wine tastings, Highstreet employees got the chance to try three distinct Baldacci Vineyards wines: a Pinot Noir, a Chardonnay, and a Gewurztraminer. Michael Baldacci, Director of Operations at the Vineyard, opened the event with a brief history of the Napa Valley region as it pertains to winemaking and elaborated on how the Baldacci Family Vineyard itself came to be. Quinn Kraft then took over and as the Director of Hospitality and Membership, proceeded to welcome all of us from Highstreet into a wine-tasting every bit as charming as if we were there in Napa Valley on their patio.
Quinn was quick to share some tricks for our next wine-tasting. For instance, pull your Chardonnay out of the refrigerator about 10-15 minutes before you taste it. Once the bottle starts to sweat, you know you are at the right temperature. “…If it’s too cold, you can’t taste it properly” says Quinn.
Finishing with a lively round of trivia, just to see who paid the closest attention to the presentation, Henry & Sally from Highstreet walked away with a prize courtesy of Baldacci Vineyards.
Check out more about Michael, Quinn, their online tasting events, and the whole Baldacci Vineyards family at their website.
Sweets Tasting & Activities
A special evening curated specifically for our India team, this virtual event highlighted a variety of specialty baked cookies & biscotti, and guided crafts for employees to enjoy with their families & team. We were so happy to see many individuals include their children and bring the Highstreet global community even closer together.
The cookies were provided by Torrey Pines Foods who prioritizes the healthy ingredients in their products, being sure to omit artificial flavors, preservatives, and maida. Check out their collection of cookies, biscotti, and gift baskets here.
The party really got rocking when the team competed in an in-house scavenger hunt. Do you have a teddy bear in your house? How about a tea bag, calendar, or newspaper? With a long list of items to find, Bala was the first to get all the items and show them in order. Sowmya was our master of ceremonies and kept-up the high energy. We were having so much fun we went long but wrapped up with a Christmas carol from Manyata, Sowmya’s daughter. She nailed it and sent us all off with a wonderful sense of the holiday spirit.
Pizza Making Class
Led by Elena Tardanico through CourseHorse.com, this virtual pizza class took care of everything except the cleanup! With all non-perishable ingredients delivered to our door and a gift card to purchase everything else needed, Highstreet chefs-in-training could relax and focus solely on the pizza crafting.
Elena’s secret to amazing pizza is using Garlic Confit—the process of delicately cooking whole garlic cloves in hot olive oil. Start by peeling your garlic, then adding them to a small pot on the stove. Add enough olive oil to cover the cloves then, on low heat, bring to the barest of simmers. “You don’t want to see bubbles on the surface, in fact, you know you’re doing it right if there’s tiny bubbles forming on the garlic cloves themselves without any bubbling throughout the pot.” Once the garlic is soft, you can spread it over your pizza, drizzle the infused oil on your pie, and use leftovers in your other meals.
Elena is planning on adding a doughnut making class as well as pie and candy making classes to her course offerings.
Thank you to all the wonderful experts who made Highstreet’s virtual parties a success! From pizza to candy to wine, we had a great time this holiday season and are grateful for such a closely knit global community of co-workers to enjoy it with. Thank you for all your hard work Highstreet!