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What is your most memorable mail order food gift ?

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With the plethora of mail order books like Zingermans, Figis, Swiss Colony etc. I was just wondering what food gift (dessert) did you receive that just knocked your socks off and totally blitzed you? And was is the packaging or the taste that blew you away or both?

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  1. Other than the Maison du Chocolate two-pound gift box which I received earlier this year -- which was very expensive, was air-shipped from Paris, and is not likely to be replicated anytime soon -- the best food-gift I've ever received or sent is Enstrom's toffee. This is truly the ne-plus-ultra of Almond Toffee. A Christmas tradition in many of the Western states (it's in Colorado), and once you have it you will want it every year.

    My grandma couldn't even make toffee this good.

    Link: http://www.enstrom.com/enstrom/shop

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mrs. Smith

      I second Enstrom's. I’ve never see anyone do anything other than collapse in ecstasy upon tasting it.

      1. re: Pantagruel

        Just came across this thread and your post. Made me laugh.Isn't that the truth about Enstroms! Sent it to a friend of mine this year for xmas and she called me saying she just couldn't stop eating it and it was all gone within 24hrs. I told her the same thing happened to me when I got my box. Good thing I sent her the big box...I think.

      2. re: Mrs. Smith

        I couldn't stand not having tried the toffee and just ordered a 2lb box to show up at my future in laws' where I will be for Christmas. I'm looking forward to trying it!

        1. re: Celeste

          I hope it was as good as you'd hoped. Let us know!

          1. re: Mrs. Smith

            I also ordered boxes after reading your post....really tasty and very appreciated !!! It made me a very popular gifter...Many Thanks for the link!!!

      3. Anna's cookies from San Francisco. Buttery melt-in-your-mouth goodness, either plain or coated in chocolate. Arrived in a plain red box which was empty hours later.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Chowderhead

          Note that Anna's Cookies is taking (what I consider) an extraordinarily long time to ship. I ordered a box last Wed. and it still hasn't shipped yet ("probably this week" was the answer as to when it will).

        2. Harry and David's pears. The most amazing, juicy pears I have every eaten in my life. We eat them for dessert.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Tamar G

            Really? I just got some today as a gift at work. I must try one.

            1. re: Chowderhead

              Really. In my family it would not be Christmas without Harry and David's pears. One of my all-time favorite things to eat.

              1. re: GretchenS

                I love Harry and David's pears as well -- perfect in every way.

                1. re: AndieCat

                  I agree--they are wonderful. But if you're willing to go with 'almost perfect' you can save money on Harry and David pears. I wouldn't send them as a gift but I do buy them for my family. Taste is same as the perfect ones.

          2. The Cook's Illustrated website has an article (link below) on their top ten mail order food gifts/items. My own favorite (not on the CI list) might just be the beautiful wooden box filed with chocolate mice from LA Burdick. (http://www.burdickchocolate.com


            Link: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/artic...

            2 Replies
            1. re: David Kahn

              Are these mice as yummy as they are cute? They are so reasonably priced too. Too bad it's too late for stocking stuffers!

              1. re: shrimpbird

                the mice are rather yummy.

            2. I have some friends who are homesteaders and they raise 90% of their own food. They sent me some home-cured bacon and about 10lbs of freshly rendered lard. An absolute delightful gift. The lard adds a wonderful flavor to foods. Mcuh fresher and lighter than shortening or grocery store lard.

              The bacon was from hogs they raised and butchered on their farm. The hogs are rasied free range and rasied for flavor and not mass.

              1. I gave (but also got to participate in the eating of) the Bacon of the Month Club from the Grateful Palate one year. The look of joy on the recipient's face when he learned what he was getting was terrific! Most of the bacon was too, although some was saltier than we liked. It also went on for more than a year because they don't ship during hot months. We really enjoyed it but having said that, felt no need to do it again. (Unlike the Harry and David's pears which are an annual requirement.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: GretchenS

                  To save money on shipping (but not freezer space) you can also send them all at once. I did this and my husband loved to show people his bacon supply.

                  Good service, wonderful catalog and packaging, and fun t-shirts.

                2. A trio of packages of smoked salmon from Zabars.

                  1. Two come to mind:

                    Olive oil from http://www.davero.com -- three kinds -- California EVO, Tuscan EVO and California EVO in which the olives were crushed along with Meyer lemons.

                    Nueske's bacon and ham package from http://www.nueskes.com -- absolutely the best bacon I've ever tasted! We particularly like the pepper coated thick sliced bacon.

                    1. We received a Wine Country Gift Basket in the office yesterday. Very impressive--guesses at value ranged from $150--200. Looked it up in their catalog--sells for $75! Teas, crackers, caviar, cheeses, cookies, candies, tapenade, salami, chocolate, cheese spreader in a gorgeous pressed tin and wood planter/basket. I tried to sneak it out before my staff saw it but it's huge and they caught me. So we're going to take turns selecting our favorite goodies. I've got dibs on the basket and caviar.

                      Link: http://www.winecountrygiftbaskets.com

                      1. Butter croissants from Williams-Sonoma - OMG they are utterly divine. They're a staple in my freezer now.

                        1. My daughter gave me an entire leg of Jamon de Serrano a few years back. Porky heaven!