10 Every Occasion Care Packages for the Ultimate Food Lover (Slideshow)

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10 food-filled boxes for those who live to eat

Back to School

For a hungry college student, include a couple of easy snacks that are compatible with busy schedules and late-night study sessions. The student in your life is also probably starting a kitchen for the first time, so a few handy prep tools are a welcome and thoughtful inclusion. College students aren’t known for their deep pockets, so including a gift card to restaurant they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own — or even just a nearby coffee shop — will round out the package. But our top recommendation? A starter collection of spices, which can be very expensive to buy all at once on a student budget.

Pack it up:                  

Berkshire Granola

Chuao Abuela Hot Chocolate

Browne-Halco Stainless-Steel Measuring Cups

Update International Stainless-Steel Measuring Spoons

Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife

Mobile Foodie Survival Kit

Update International Long Handle Wooden Spoons

Get Well Soon

A food-loving friend stricken with a rough cold or the flu might not be all that interested in eating, but this package will bolster them until they’re well enough to get back in the kitchen. Send them some comfort with herbal tea and raw honey for their sore throat, crystallized ginger and artisan crackers to calm their stomachs, and a high-quality soup mix to warm them up.

Pack it up:

Bob’s Red Mill Breakfast & Lunch Pack  

Bee Raw’s Herbals Gone Wild Set

The Ginger People Crystallized Ginger 

Williams-Sonoma Mesh Tea Ball

Bespoke Crackers                            

Thanksgiving

For the favorite holiday of many food lovers, send things that taste like an American fall: dried cranberries, spicy-sweet nut butter, a big jar of mulling spices, crispy gingersnaps, and pie-like pumpkin butter. Your friend — especially if they are spending time outside the U.S. — will definitely be thankful.

Pack it up:

Eden Organic Dried Cranberries 

Big Spoon Roasters Chai Spice Nut Butter 

Williams-Sonoma Mulling Spices 

Chico Chai Tea Loose Leaf Chai

Bunches & Bunches SNAPS Gingersnaps 

American Spoon Pumpkin Butter            

Military Gift

Some of the people most in need and deserving of a care package are the men and women in our military forces . Make one lucky soldier’s day by sending a care package full of gourmet versions of the foods recommended to send to soldiers. You can’t send the troops anything home-cooked due to health concerns, so instead, send high-energy, prepackaged comfort foods from home like energy bars, trail mixes, granola, and jerky. Sending gourmet peanut butter, harvest dried fruit, and American pole-caught tuna fish that they can’t get overseas is a great way to deliver a piece of home. And don't forget, small modern comforts like chewing gum can really make a dramatic difference. For detailed instructions on how to send a care package to a service member, click here.

Pack it up:

American Tuna  

Early Bird Granola                

Field Trip Jerky All-Natural Beef Jerky 

Epic Bar all-natural protein bars 

Squirrel Brand Town & Country Mix     

Peanut Butter & Co. Crunch   Time Peanut Butter 

Ela Family Farms Colorado Harvest Dried Fruit

Wrigley Orbit Gum            

Valentine's Day

Woo your special someone with treats said to have aphrodisiac qualities, like dried figs, high-quality olive oil, and pomegranates (here, in the form of pomegranate molasses). Toss in heart-shaped cookie cutters for the requisite dose of cute. And you couldn’t send a Valentine’s Day package without chocolate — the one we’ve included has love poems printed onto the inside of its wrappers.

Pack it up:

Chocolove Chocolate Bar 

Organic Turkish Figs  

Columela Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Ateco Graduated Heart Cookie Cutters 

Sultan Pomegranate Molasses                      

Wedding

If you can’t make it to a friend’s wedding, and want to stray from the gift registry. Send a hand-packed and personally curated collection of everything the happy couple will need to host their first cocktail party once they’re back from the honeymoon. Start with a slate cheese board and printed linen napkins. Then pile in some saucisson sec, American-produced olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a box of flaky sea salt.

Pack it up:      

Maldon Sea Salt

St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Georgia Olive Farms Olive Oil

Jan’s Farmhouse Crackers

Olympic Provisions Saucisson Sec

Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board

Handmade Linen Napkins From IsaClothing on Etsy        

Just Because

Everyone loves brunch. Pack a faraway friend everything he or she will need to make a homemade pancake breakfast, including the mix (made with organic, traceable wheat), dried blueberries, and rich maple syrup. A bag of Rhode Island-roasted espresso, spreadable goat’s milk caramel, and apricot jam will add decadent flavor to your loved one's future mid-morning.

Pack it up:

Catskill Provisions Organic Pancakes & Waffle Mix

Crown Maple Syrup

Fat Toad Farm Goat’s Milk Caramel

Dave’s Coffee The Blind Pig Espresso

Bob’s Red Mill Dried Blueberries

Sqirl Blenheim Apricot Jam     

Heartbroken

Help a heartbroken friend eat his or her feelings by sending a few tasty things to take their mind off the pain. Excellent chocolate is a must; the one we’ve picked to include was a 2013 SOFI (specialty outstanding food innovation) Finalist. Great tea, coffee roasted in New York, and a funky engraved flask will deliver all forms of liquid comfort. Additions like chewy, complexly flavored caramels will bring the needed sweetness, and an ice cream scoop to help with carton-to-mouth indulgence is a must.

Pack it up:

Olive & Sinclair Chocolate

Browne-Halco Stainless-Steel Ice Cream Scoop

David’s Tea Loose Leaf Tea

Izola Flask

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Big Picture Farms Goat Milk Caramels 

Holiday

Know someone who can’t make it home for the holidays — or can’t make it home yourself? Send some warmth with spicy holiday favorites like thick apple butter, single-origin coffee, and spiced nuts. A jar of nuts soaking in honey will be a rich addition to your friend’s hot cereal or holiday party cheese plate.

Pack it up:

Blackberry Farm Apple Butter

Olomomo Cinnamon Cayenne Almonds

Bonnie’s Jams Nuts and Honey

OXO Nut Cracker

Counter Culture Farmhouse Organic Coffee 

Birthday

If you can’t be there to celebrate a friend’s birthday, pack a party into a box and send it their way. Include treats like a mix of sweet snacks such as hand-rolled, stretched, and cut hard candy with a tiny birthday message inside. Boozy artisan marshmallows and a few fun baking accents like shimmery gold candles  and printed cupcake papers will add pizzazz and fun to your gift.

Pack it up:

Gold Mini Taper Birthday Candles

Sugar Knife’s Boozy Marshmallows

Papabubble Candy "Happy Birthday" Mix

Paper Chevron Cupcake Liners From PaperStrawsParty on Etsy

The Good Batch Brown Butter Salty Shortbread Cookies

Liddabit Sweets Caramel Corn