Gourmet Gifts: Seafood, Chocolates and Cheesecake, Oh, My!

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The world of food is filled with luxurious products to entice the most blasé gourmet. Especially during the holidays, you can find chocolates, coffees, gift baskets, prepared meals and exquisite cuts of meats.

T here are both specialty items and clubs for people on your shopping list. Without leaving the comfort of your living room, holiday shopping can be accomplished in a breeze. The beauty of these gifts is that they are delivered right to the door for you so that you can send gifts to relatives across the country as easily as punching a few buttons or have them delivered to your door for your own enjoyment.

Chocolate is a favorite gift for holidays. Today’s chocolatiers no longer stick to the rules. Many prefer to think outside the box and create chocolates with unusual flavor combinations. One such combination is a truffle of Reishi mushrooms and Italian hazelnuts by Vosges Haut-Chocolat, not at all your traditional bourbon and cookie crumb truffle. Even the traditional caramel has been updated with a sprinkling of sea salt for a sharp flavor contrast on Fran’s Chocolates.

Some companies have gone with vegan chocolates. EHChocolatier has created strong flavor combinations that eliminate the need for butter. One such flavor is passion fruit; another is matcha. Their bonbons and truffles are wildly decorated and make a beautiful gift.

Gourmet coffee providers are abundant, and sometimes, it is difficult to decide what to select. There are many different roasts, different blends, whole bean or ground and decaf or not. Some are made especially for the French press or an espresso machine. Know your recipient and whether they are willing to experiment before sending a gift of coffee they may not like at all.

The Bean Box has a wide selection of coffees that may be purchased as a one-off or on a plan basis based on your recipient’s tastes. Their selection of decaf coffees is much wider than most. The rare Indonesian Kopi Luwak coffee from Volcanica can run you $400 per pound, or they have an ample selection of other coffees to choose from.

Gift baskets run the gamut of fruit, wine, nuts, popcorn and desserts. Harry and David specializes in fruits; pears, oranges and apples are among the fruits they ship, but oh, there’s so much more. Their Cheesecake Factory Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake is worth dying for—well, almost!

Other premium gift baskets are worth investigating. Wine Country Gift Baskets Classic Gift Basket, for its beautiful combination of sweet and savory, had me at smoked Gouda spread and lemon cakes. Williams Sonoma’s Lady & Larder Medium Cheese Board is a stunning charcuterie board with a combination of cheeses and artisanal meats, nuts, dried fruit, crackers and condiments.
Premium beef and pork meats make excellent gifts for parents who may be on limited incomes and not otherwise able to afford choice cuts of meat. Some even offer fish, shellfish and vegan options. Try Omaha Steaks for mouth-watering meats, pork and seafood assortments. They have added side dishes and desserts for a complete meal experience. Porter Road is another highly rated meat delivery service highlighting Tennessee and Kentucky grass-fed beef. Their subscriptions offer premium steaks, ground beef, sausages and prime pork cuts and bacon. You select your box, its frequency and then have the option of adding in items such as different sausages.

Gold Belly is unique in that they collaborate with known chefs to bring you meals from their restaurants in addition to a wide selection of meat. You actually get favorite restaurant meals delivered to be heated up and served, for example, meatballs al Forno from Mozza by Nancy Silverman and cakes by Duff Goldman.

Seafood is another healthy gift option. Companies that ship seafood are committed to catching, freezing and shipping seafood in days to help their products retain all of the freshness of freshly caught seafood. Sizzlefish’s The Perfect Holiday Gift for Two contains four portions of fish and two each of scallops and Gulf shrimp. Devotees of the service can order their own box with 14 or 28 portions per box. Alaskan Salmon Company offers a subscription service with Coho and sockeye salmon, black cod and halibut. For small sizes, try Sea to Table. Their boxes are smaller and suitable for smaller households but no less enticing with Alaskan salmon, Maine lobster, Dover sole and Gulf shrimp.

Whatever you choose, know that you are giving a beautiful, tasty gift to someone you cherish. If you send a subscription service gift, they are sure to be looking forward to receiving it each month. If it is a one-off, they may even be tempted to try the service themselves. In either case, you can be sure it’s not something that gets stuffed in the closet and forgotten.

Sources: foodandwine.com, insider.com, harryanddavid.com, gourmetgiftbaskets.com, beanbox.com and thespruceeats.com.