Holiday Food Basket Gift Guide: 8 Great Mail-Order Edibles Slideshow
December 7, 2012
Since opening its doors in August, 2012 in the heart of Manhattan, Eataly, owned by chef Mario Batali and partners Joe and Lidia Bastianich, has taken a rightful place atop the throne of Italian culinary greatness. The 50,000-square-foot emporium is an ode to everything Italian, with fresh pasta, a bakery, wood-fired pizza, a butcher and fishmonger, a cooking school, six restaurants, and a sprawling rooftop beer garden. There’s also a huge amount of dry goods for sale, including the highest-quality cheese, charcuterie, dried pasta, sauces, olive oils, and just about anything else you can think of that a top-notch Italian grosseria might have in stock.
Through their just-launched online store, you can purchase the best that Eataly has to offer and have it shipped directly to your door (or send it straight to whoever you're gifting). There are smartly arranged gift baskets, or, if you feel like putting together your own basket, pasta (organized by shape, type, and producer), oils and vinegars (by region and type), sauces, meats, sweets, and other items that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere, all neatly organized and complemented with lengthy, descriptive captions to help you make your selections.
Charles Vergo's Rendezvous Barbecue
This is the perfect gift for the BBQ lover in your life. Believe it or not, one of the country’s most famous and well-regarded barbecue spots, Memphis’ Rendezvous, ships racks of ribs, pulled pork shoulder, sauce, seasoning, and combinations thereof anywhere in the continental U.S. Assemble a collection of meat, sauce, and seasoning and send it off for a delicious present. Then, the recipient just has to wrap a rack in aluminum foil, pop it in a 350-degree oven, and in 20 minutes that world-famous smoked meat, making barbecue lovers happy since 1948, will be ready for eating.
Maine Lobster Pot Pie
Warm weather may be long gone for much of the country, but that doesn’t mean that summer-evoking New England seafood needs to go into hibernation for the winter. The folks behind the renowned Maine Lobster Pot Pie have set up an online store selling plenty of favorites from the region, including everything the seafood aficionado in your life will need to make their famous pot pie (complete with ramekins), lobster white truffle pizza, Maine lobster rolls, and pots of steaming mussels. Everything is super-fresh, and ships overnight.
It’s the season of gingerbread men and fruitcake, but that doesn’t mean that all your food-related gifts need to somehow incorporate candy canes, nutmeg, and candied fruit. New Jersey's famous Japanese superstore Mitsuwa Marketplace has added some imported holiday-themed items to their online store, making for some of the most unexpected shippable items out there this holiday season. Along with their mind-blowing assortment of imported Japanese goods of every stripe, there are also simple butter cookies by Kobe Fugetsudo, wafers with layers of cream in flavors like green tea, all types of chocolates and candies, and plenty of other surprising items that you can be assured nobody else in your party would have thought to bring along.
Thomas Keller, the renowned chef behind Napa’s The French Laundry and New York’s Per Se, has released a curated line of gift sets for the holidays. Ranging from the expensive to the very expensive, they’re a faithful extension of what you might expect from Keller’s high-end (and notoriously expensive) restaurants: champagne and caviar, black truffle risotto, and his chocolate tart with port wine. This is one of those super-expsneive gifts that will earn serious points, so make sure you choose the recipient wisely.
The Out of the Box Collective
The Out of the Box Collective isa "farm-to-table" home delivery service based in Los Angeles and specializing in locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients accompanied bymeal plans and recipes. They’ve assembled the best locally produced items that Los Angeles has to offer, and best of all, most of it ships nationwide. We’d recommend the Fitzsu Collection, with cheese, charcuterie, pasta, and all the supplies to serve the best breakfast in bed ever.
Chef Chris Cosentino has made a name for himself producing high-quality charcuterie from his San Francisco shop, and he and his team have put together a wide selection of gift packages for that charcuterie lover in your life. Available through their online store with the option to ship across the country, Cosentino’s artisanal cured meat gift boxes include salami samplers, condiments, and subscriptions to his "Salumi Society."
One word: cheese. Chef Terrance Brennan takes his cheese very seriously, and nearly singlehandedly started the current fondue craze through his New York bistro/institution, Artisanal. Their Holiday Catalog is a treasure trove of the finest artisanally produced cheese from all over the world, arranged in gift boxes thoughtfully arranged for cheese lovers of every level of sophistication, and includes just about every accompaniment you can think of. If you have even a passing interest in cheese (or know someone on your list who does), check it out and try not to drool all over your keyboard.
OpenTable Gift Cards
We understand that finding the perfect food-related gift can be a daunting task, especially when you’re not sure what types of food the person you’re shopping for is into. That’s why we’re big fans of OpenTable’s (surprisingly little-known) gift card program. Find a restaurant included in the increasingly ubiquitous online reservation system, and purchase a gift certificate for it. Just log onto their partner site, Treatful, choose a city and restaurant, add in the dollar amount and payment info, and they’ll take care of the rest.