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Forget the Fruitcake - Give these Gourmet Gifts to Your Foodie Friends
Few people actually appreciate fruitcake. Yet each Christmas, thousands of them crisscross the country, allegedly sent as “gifts.” Encased in a festive tin, many end up stuffed into the closet along with the holiday decorations, saved for regifting next year.
There’s no need to let this dubious tradition infiltrate your holiday gift list. The advent of modern shipping methods — overnight delivery, cooled packaging — means you can send gourmet foods your recipients will want to devour the moment your present arrives.
It doesn’t really matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza — a bowl of matzo ball soup from New York City’s Barney Greengrass, an Upper West Side legend, adds homey warmth to any celebration. You can even order an extra oversized matzo ball. Barney’s also ships giant sour pickles, real New York City bagels and piles of sliced meats for the full New York deli experience.
At Pike Place Market in Seattle, flying fish spawned an inspiring approach to customer service. You can fly fresh, 100 percent sustainably-raised fish right to your friend’s front door. The fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market send wild Alaskan king salmon — whole or filleted — anywhere in the country overnight. They'll also ship (among many other seafood favorites) crab, shellfish, live oysters, halibut, tuna and sea bass, plus sauces and spices and seafood-related kitchen gadgets. Place an order through their website at www.pikeplacefish.com.
Another Pike Place Market mainstay, Chukar Cherries has gift options ranging from classic chocolate-covered cherries to breakfast jams, chutneys, pickled cherries and spiced cherry grilling sauces. You can peruse their varied selections at their website or shop the entire Pike Place Market online at www.pikeplacemarket.com.
Bostonians discovered the charm of chocolate mice when chocolatier Larry Burdick introduced the whimsical tradition to America following a stint working in a Swiss chocolate shop. Though children love these edible creatures, the L.A. Burdick mice also make a tasteful gift for the adults on your list who have a playful side. You can stick with the classic or opt for the clementine and chocolate ganache-filled snowmen in celebration of the winter season. Both come packed in wooden boxes stamped with a seasonal wax seal and tied with a decorative ribbon. Order online at http://www.burdickchocolate.com.
Some questions just don’t have a definitive answer: the chicken or the egg? Ginger or Mary Ann? The long-standing debate over New York vs. Chicago-style pizza probably won’t ever be resolved. But it goes without saying that your Chicago-bred friends and relatives love the deep-dish pie. Enroll them in Lou Malnati’s Pizza-by-the-Month Club to send supportive affirmation no matter where they reside. Visit Lou’s website for details.
Filet Mignon and lobster tails might otherwise be called the Rolls Royce of surf and turf. You can pamper a special someone on your gift list with this supreme pairing from Boston’s famous Legal Sea Foods. The 60-year-old company also ships their signature chowders and other ocean delicacies. Visit the “fanatics for freshness” at www.legalseafoods.com.
Georgia peaches feature prominently on Southern dessert tables but paired with Vidalia onions, they can also make a strong showing in the main course. Prissy’s of Vidalia captures this essence of Georgia flavor and bottles it as Vidalia onion and peach salsa. You can also order an herby, creamy peach salad dressing from the 25-year-old company, which started in a home kitchen. Other Southern specialties such as pickled watermelon rind, pickled okra and pickled green tomatoes round out the offerings at www.prissys.com.