Okay, you're thinking of giving a food gift, but you don't want to hand over a box of cheap drug store chocolate or, God forbid, one of those fruitcakes. You can do better than that! And I'm so glad you asked me for advice, because amazing, beautifully packaged food is something I spend a disturbing amount of time thinking about. Seriously, I have a problem. But my obsession can be your new gift list. Check out my picks for some of the best, most impressive food gifts you can give this year.
1. For the meat lover: Creminelli Club membership. Creminelli makes authentic, Italian-style salami by hand using US-raised pork. (I toured Creminelli's facility in Utah last year and now I'm obsessed.) The membership gets you a quarterly shipment of salami and/or cured meats not available in stores, paired with small-batch items like honey, preserves, cheeses, antipasto, all in a beautiful box. Gorgeous and delicious.
2. For the Francophile: Macarons are these incredible, delicate French meringue confections made with almond flour with a jam, buttercream, or chocolate filling. (Not to be confused with coconut cookies called macaroons.) Ladurée in Paris makes the best. Each one is a taste of heaven, and they come in these exquisite boxes. I really cannot describe the ecstasy that sweeps over me whenever someone gifts me with Ladurée. They ship anywhere (646-558-3157). Better than jewelry, IMHO.
3. For the chocoholic: Where to get started? There's the classic, See's Candies. Fran's Chocolates makes sea salt caramels to die for. For the minimalist, I love Mast Brother's perfect craft chocolate bars wrapped in beautiful paper printed in Italy. Liddabit Sweets makes all kinds of lovely candies. Ginger Elizabeth Chocolate's Hat Box is sure to impress.
4. For your drinking buddy: Zagat has a wine club that delivers a case of 15 bottles for $70. Check out Williams Sonoma's Wine Country Gift set. It comes with tasting and pairing notes. I think a bottle of fine spirits makes a perfect gift. Some of my favorites: Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, Caol Ila Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, High West Distillery Rendezvous Rye, Bulleit Rye, The Botanist Gin, Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and for the truly adventurous, Chartreuse.
5. For your spicy friend: Food52 Provisions has loads of great gift ideas, but I think this Flavors of the World Gift Set of spices looks lovely. I love Jojo's handcrafted sriracha, and I've got my eye on this Brooklyn Grange Hot Sauce.
6. For your all-around foodie friend: Check out the gift sets by With Love, From Brooklyn. All of it is great stuff made with love. Check out the Fancy Food board on The Prowl for even more ideas. OMG, so hungry now!
7. For tea lovers: As far as tea quality and gorgeous packaging go, you really cannot do better than Bellocq. I especially like their rooibos-based Hindu Holiday, which smells like a warm, spring morning just after sex. I'm just saying. They also make beautiful tea accessories.
8. For the health nut: 2013 was the year of the Sky Valley Navel Oranges -- I've read that they're amazing sweet perfection. I think we all love having some extra citrus through the winter, and these are something special
Someone stop me or I'll spend the rest of the day giving more suggestions ...
What kinds of food gifts would you like to receive?
Image via Liddabit Sweets