Northern California Mail Order Holiday Gifts
I'm looking for great holiday gifts that we can send to out of town friends and family and would love to get some suggestions of Northern California products that can be orderred on the internet and shipped throughout the country.
In the past we've done things like McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil, Cowgirl Creamery Cheese, Frog Hollow conserves, and wine from Porthos.
What are your favorites?
Kozlowski Farms does gorgeous gift baskets. They ship nationwide, and you can customize your gift baskets with Kozlowski Farms products and other local products that their store carries. Orders can be done on the internet or over the phone, but it also makes a nice day trip, as the farm is located right in the heart of the Russian River Valley.....good wine tasting and you can sample all of Kozlowski's products at the farm.
Da Vero olive oils, wines, jams and other food products
C J Olson cherries, dried fruit, other food products
Andy's Orchard stone fruit, dried fruit, jams, etc.
Fra'Mani Salumi -- wonderful stuff!!
Robert Lambert artisan food products -- chocolate sauces, jams, preserved fruits, fruitcakes
Point Reyes Cheese -- blue cheese, preserved vegetables, relishes, dips
Willie Bird Turkeys and smoked poultry
As we're getting to the heart of the season, I thought I would bump this to see if anyone else has any other great ideas.
Full Belly farm, which has a stand in Palo Alto has wonderful things that I send to my family each year-- well, or sent, but may not be the case in the future, since I just found out the USPS just got rid of surface mail for overseas, but I digress. . .--anyway, this stand has:
-Brilliantly hued sun-dried tomatoes. This is an absolute hit with my mom every year. She soaks them in water, uses the broth for many things, and uses the tomatoes for pasta, for eggs, etc.
-Freshly ground cornmeal that makes truly amazing corn bread. When I make corn bread with this, I don't add any regular flour, b/c it tastes so fresh. They often have the brownish kind, which is kindof a novelty. If you get the grainier kind, though, you do want to soak the batter for a while.
-Nuts-- almonds, regular and black walnuts. The black walnuts are really good.
-my favorite is their almond butter, which I've bought like half a dozen jars of, I'm almost embarrassed to admit. If you think TJ or WF almond butter is good, then you've got to try this kind-- I personally prefer the crunchy kind. You will never go back to regular almond butter, b/c this is like having an almond butter epiphany. I keep a jar of it at work as well as at home. It goes really well with pink lady apples.
I don't know where else Full Belly sells stuff, but the PA farmer's market (the one on Saturday behind the downtown post office) will only be in session for 1 or 2 more weeks.
While we're on the subject of farmer's markets, the Sunday market on California Ave. (also in PA) seemed to have a lot of gift-basket-conducive stands. You might try there, too.
I've sent a couple of people the Peet's "Coffee Tour" and it was well received. It's sort of a six month "Coffee of the month" club with Peet's sending a pound of a different blend each month in the grind (or not) of the recipient's choice.
Another great option is Bi-Rite market gift baskets. I received a basket a few years ago as a gift, and I have now sent baskets to all corners of the country. They fill the basket with tasty treats made by many local or California companies.
If this is the one that has a stand at some of the farmer's markets and at Sigona's, I sometimes get a slice to go. It's very dense, so I eat about 1/2 a slice and I'm sated, but it's really good. They have different flavors-- I think I like the generic (?) one with the raisins. The cranberry orange one was a bit too sweet for my taste, but still quite good. I haven't had the poppy or chocolate versions.
For the chocoholic on your list, I recommend Woodhouse Chocolate located in St. Helena. Their chocolates are exquisite, and the flavor combos are innovative w/o overpowering the actual chocolate. I customized my own 12-piece box at their shop and liked every one of them! My favorites were the bananas foster, quatre epices, pistachio, brown butter ganache, and gianduja. I have never done mail order from them, but other hounds have mentioned having good experiences.
re: Carb Lover
Well, what do you know...Mr. Carb Lover surprised me w/ a 24-piece box of chocolates from Woodhouse shipped to our house yesterday. He bought a standard assortment box, and it arrived in perfect condition. He requested that it be sent out on 12/17 thinking it would take about 3 days to get here, but it was waiting on our doorstep on 12/18.
I just checked their website, and it looks like it's too late to order for Christmas delivery. But it will work for belated gifts or future occasions in the new year.
I sampled the passionfruit w/ white chocolate tonight, and wow, it was amazing! The flavor is soft and subtle at first, then the essence of passionfruit just comes bursting out, and then it finishes very clean. Perfectly complemented by the snappy white chocolate. I've never had a fruit-flavored chocolate w/ so much character and life. Very impressive start...looking forward to working my way through the box.
1367 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574
If your family members (or yourself for that matter! *gryn*) enjoy coffee, one of my very favourite local (Sonoma county) roasters, Ecco Caffe, started a new "espresso club" (I just read about it in today's Gourmet Magazine email newsletter thingy...exciting that Ecco is getting the national exposure)...certified organic and fair trade coffee delivered to your door. They have 6 month memberships ("regular" and "deluxe") and 12 month memberships (again, a "regular" and a "deluxe" plan).
Here's a bit of a description from the website: "As an Ecco Experimental Espresso Club member, you'll have the opportunity to experience both experimental blends (collaborative efforts and solo) and single origin espressos created from the world's most exemplary coffees."
Linky to Club on their website: http://www.eccocaffe.com/catalog/inde...
Another great local chocolate maker is La Dolce V (in Sebastopol). I've munched their chocolates many times, and find them divine. Very high quality. It's too late to order for this xmas, but not too late for New Years or other "after xmas day" gifts. Website: http://www.ladolcev.com/
La Dolce V
110 N Main St, Sebastopol, CA
I would second June Taylor's Jams--and especially her Christmas cake, which is the best fruitcake I've ever had. Also Frog Hollow's conserves, which are fantastic, and their fresh Warren pears, which you can mail-order. I've ordered from them before and always gotten a lot of compliments for their amazing organic fruit. Right now they've also got their 2008 organic olive oil, from their own trees (they do the crushing at McEvoy). Peet's coffee does very good mail order,too, and is especially nice for anyone who used to live in the Bay Area, and might still miss it. Otherwise, there's Blue Bottle for the coffee snobs