I am an obsessive gift giver -I admit it. I keep lists all year long with ideas for different people. I like to give a gift that is not only something the person will love, but is also a reflection of myself as the giver. When in doubt, I always turn to food gifts because the right gift for the right person will bring lots of joy (and hopefully even sharing!). This year I think there are some really great options that will work for almost anyone!
My first category is stores and online companies that specialize in sending gifts. I think many people balk at sending online food – they worry about the expense – but I think it’s really a matter of perspective. If you are willing to send a $100 plus to send an arrangement of flowers to someone, (which only last for a week before dying and aren’t very useful except to look at), why would you not spend that amount to send a really amazing treat to someone? I would much rather get a bouquet of ice cream than flowers any day!
A new company I cannot recommend highly enough is Goldbely. Goldbely has gathered some of the best food from around the country and has it shipped to your door. That ice cream bouquet I mentioned? It can be from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream! Do you want Maine Lobster? Charleston biscuits? Memphis BBQ? It’s all there and so much more! They even have a place where you can suggest some of your own favorites for them to carry! In addition, they just spent the last week donating 100% of their profits to Hurricane Sandy relief! This is the place to go if you really want to impress. Some of my other online favorites include Gilt Taste, which if full of elegant chocolates, candies, wines and other delights, and New York Mouth, which puts together cool New York themed boxes of yummies. All worth checking out.
There are some stores I really love that are my go to places for food gifts when I’m out and about. All of them have online ordering as well. When I want to send a thank you or sympathy gift box, I first head to Zabars. A fruit basket is nice, but a basket filled with babka, bagels and rugelach really says you care. I find their prices are very reasonable compared to other deli-type places, and the taste is out of this world!. For weddings, I really love to send gift boxes from Penzey’s Spices. They have these great wedding boxes with all the basics for a new couple who likes to spend time in the kitchen. They look and smell fantastic! I’m also crazy about their curry powders – I go through jars of them regularly.
When I am out mall shopping, I always love to hit William Sonoma. They have an extensive food section filled with some of my favorites! Recently they started carrying Momofuku brand products! I can’t even wrap my brain around the fact that I can now make compost cookies at home – I may never leave the house again! I am also obsessed with their turkey brine, which helped me make my holiday turkey breast the worlds best.
Lastly, in this category, is a new favorite – The Filling Station. They are located in Chelsea Market and they have every kind of salt, oil and vinegar you could think of – and many more! I bought a bottle of their butternut squash oil last time I was there and I like to put it on roasted Brussels sprouts. Heaven! There are so many more I want, including a thai flavored salt that smells amazing! It’s on my very long list of things I wish I could have carried home!
A category of food gifts that seems to really be taking off this year is subscription boxes. There seems to be a box for everything: organic, gluten free, sweets, local to an area, etc….You have to be really careful with these subscriptions because there are so many out there, and some are just not as good or reliable as others. I really like Love With Food, which sends a nice box every month with cool yummies. In addition, for each box they donate a meal to a hungry child. Other nice ones include Knoshbox, who sends boxes full of stuff from small batch independent companies, and Gothambox, which sends NYC treats (you know I love that!). I love the idea of giving a gift that someone will continue to get for months and months. It reminds me of my secret gift dream, which is a Harry and David fruit of the month club. I don’t know what it is about the idea of getting boxes of fresh fruit all year long, but I’ve always been obsessed with it!
There are a few places that have such great individual items that they have to go on the list. These are some of my favorite things to mail order even for myself! If you have someone who can’t have sugar, check out The Stained Glass Candy Company. Although they make candies with sugar as well, their sugar free candies are fantastic, come in a ton of flavors and look incredible too! We keep a box here by the computers at all times! For a truly unique food gift, send Fire Cider. It is a tonic made from apple cider vinegar, honey, and hot spices. They claim it helps with inflammation, allergies, indigestion and respiratory aliments. Many studies are now saying that a shot of apple cider vinegar each day is really good for you and this one goes down sweet and then has a lovely invigorating burn – it makes you feel fantastic! Why not give the gift of health?
On the same note, since it’s getting cold outside, how about some fantastic tea? My favorite is Adagio tea – they have a ton of amazing mixes (my favorite is blood orange) and some in a variety of ways – loose, bagged and gift boxes.
Lastly, for the sweet tooth in your life, you just can’t do any better than Vosges, or their sister company Wild Ophelia. It’s just the best chocolate out there, period. Their holiday autumn truffle collection looks amazing! I keep the catalog bookmarked right here by the computer in case anyone is interested (hint, hint, husband!)