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Dec 8, 2000 08:58 PM

Fruitcake by mail

  • a

Spare the jokes, please. I happen to like fruitcake; but I can't find any really good fruitcake in stores. Can anyone recommend a good mail-order fruitcake? I prefer dark to light, and like plenty of fruit and nuts. (It doesn't have to arrive by Christmas.)

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  1. Harry & David's fruitcake was top rated
    by Consumer Reports. I've never eaten it
    myself but it looks great in the catalog
    (but then again what doesn't?) and I've
    heard rave reviews from fellow fruitcake

    6 Replies
    1. re: christina z
      Adam Stephanides

      I happen to have a copy of the Harry and David catalog (courtesy of the previous occupant of my apartment), and the fruitcake does look delicious. But is it the "Fruit Cake Confection" or the "Traditional Fruitcake" that you've heard raves about?

      I discovered a very good fruitcake since my last post: from Fannie May. It's dark, moist, and full of fruit, with a tinge of rum. Unfortunately, you apparently can't buy it alone: it comes in a tin with equal quantities of pineapple macadamia cake and pineapple apricot cake. The former is also very good; the latter is not so good, though not bad. I bought mine at one of their retail outlets, but you can order by mail, phone, or internet (www.fanniemaycandies.com).

      (They also make another type of fruitcake, a "cherry pineapple fruitcake," which is apparently only available in their stores. It has light batter, and I haven't tried it.

      1. re: Adam Stephanides
        Leslie Brenner

        I had the dubious honor of writing a piece recently for which I had to test grillions of fruitcakes available on the web. The two that Harry & David offers were intolerable--unless you're a big fan of maraschino cherries and preservatives, I'd stay away. My favorite was Torta di Camillo at balducci.com. Very nutty and dense, in the Italian style. Great sliced very thin. Some of the best fruitcakes in the U.S. are made by Trappist monasteries. The best I found was from Our Lady of Guadeloupe, from chefshop.com (a wonderful site for specialty food items). Another is from Assumption Abbey, available through Williamsonoma.com. I'm not a big fan of the Williams-Sonoma site though (poorly designed, runs slowly, etc.). I also liked Chuck's Ginger Cake at Williams-Sonoma--a cakier version.

        I also recently tasted another of the very dense, nutty Italian style from Bay Area purveyor Emporio Rully--delicious. I believe it is available on-line, but I just did a Google search and wasn't able to turn it up right away. Maybe you'll have better luck.

        Please weigh in with your results. And by all means, avoid Butterfield Farms, which bills itself as the "world's best fruitcake." It's the worst.

        1. re: Leslie Brenner

          Well.... seems I have first hand experience in this lately. As mentioned above "Our Lady of Guadalupe"
          Trappist abbey fruitcake is very good. They make 2 kinds a ginger date nut and a traditional (both soaked in brandy) In fact I am munching on the ginger date nut right now! You can order direct from the abbey (it's in Oregon ) at www.trappistabbey.org.

          The other Abbey that makes a pretty darn good one is the monks at Gethsemani (www.monks.org) since the place is located in Kentucky the soak it in bourbon.

          I don't think you can go wrong with either of these.

          1. re: Leslie Brenner

            Wow! Can't believe you've found this little gem. I only discovered Emporio Rulli in Larkspur three years ago. When I saw the facade for the first time, I had to pinch myself to be sure that I wasn't dreaming I was in Milan. The inside is even better. Best Italian wine selection in Northern Calif.

            Link: http://www.rulli.com/

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Leslie Brenner

              Melanie, thanks for catching my misspelling and providing the link. The specific "fruitcake" I loved is called "Panforte Rulli."

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Melanie, more people than you'd expect are now aware of Emporio Rulli and its web site, because there was a whole article about it in the Atlantic by Korby Kummer last February (including the "pinch me, I must be in Italy" aspect). I want to thank you and Leslie, though, because I had forgotten about it until now...

                Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/200...

        2. Try a Monastery fruitcake from Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, VA. Wonderful stuff! But unfortunately, the fruitcakes are so good that they're sold out for the year 2000. Link below.

          Link: http://www.monasteryfruitcake.org

          1. I tried the Trappist fruitcake from Oregon last year and it was good.

            My personal favorite by far is from Collins Street Bakery in TX. First had it almost 30 years ago and it's still made the same way.


            Check it out. You won't be sorry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JP

              Collins Street Bakery is fine if you like a good amount of candied fruit in your fruitcake (I prefer dried fruit). My great-grandfather sent us one every year when I was growing up. It definitely got eaten, but played serious second fiddle to my mom's homemade :-). OTOH, those red tins have really come in handy over the years; they're still what's used to store Christmas cookies and candy.