Authentic Boston Food as Christmas Gifts?
This is my first year in Boston and I wanted to send my family on the west coast Boston related gift baskets. I looked into cannolis from Mike's Pastry- they charge 25$ for 10 but then tack on an extra $45 to ship it ($70 for 10 cannolis is a bit ridiculous). Legal Seafoods online ordering is similarly overpriced.
I am looking for something around $20-35 and that is unique to Boston or somehow Boston related. I also want a place that will do all the shipping for me. Any ideas?
Captain Marden's (Wellesley/Newton), website captainmardens.com, says that they ship any of their products cooked and uncooked anywhere in the U.S., and if you check their website the prices aren't bad (shipping is another issue). You could ship them some clam or seafood chowder and/or cooked shrimp cocktail...I think Lobsters would go way over your budget.
Out of curiosity, does Mike's charge the same to ship less delicate goods than cannoli? (I think part of the problem here may be the aforementioned fragility of the shells; you'd have to package strategically to keep them from cracking en route, I should think.) They make killer pistachio and walnut macaroons, which I imagine would ship more readily.
Cranberries and wild blueberries also strike me as two things that are characteristic of the Boston area. Not sure what you can make out of those that would ship well, but that would be one avenue worth exploring. Much "authentic Boston food" would serve well as a doorstop, and I'm having a hard time coming up with something that would be peculiar to Boston (e.g. the Deluxe Town Diner's sweet potato pancakes remind me of Boston, but I'm not sure that's a Boston-specific dish) and would ship well.
I like the idea of tying cranberries in somehow. A couple years back I made sugared cranberries that I packaged up and gave as gifts to my non-New England relatives. they were a huge hit, and their beautiful color spruces up any table. Unfortunately the recipe escapes me at the moment, but perhaps another Hound could provide one, or you could check on the Internets...
Hmm, Boston-specific? In our globalized world, it's not very hard to find things like Maine lobster on the West Coast anymore. "New England specific" might be an easier brief to fulfill. A few thoughts:
Grade B pure maple syrup. This is the good stuff the farmers keep for themselves, selling the inferior, misleadingly named Grade A to everyone else.
Local cheeses. Massachusetts in particular produces some great artisanal cheeses. Formaggio would probably help you choose and ship them for you.
Local wine and beer. I'm not sure how welcome our local wines would be on the West Coast, but there are some worthy whites produced in CT, RI and southeastern MA.
I think that one problem with authentic Boston food is that it needs to be fresh and so doesn't transport well (lobsters - well maybe, fresh oysters and fried or steamed clams - definitely not!). Why not send some Legal's chowder on your own (after reading this thread I'm thinking of doing this myself) - it's justly famous. Sam Adams beers are also often widely and highly regarded in the beer world. I'm also tempted to recommend local cheeses... and even Vt maple syrup.
Porterhouse steak was an invention of the Porter House hotel at Porter Square, perhaps this would be a good gift? Would Ziggy's bread transport well? Probably not. :-)
I agree with other posters that if the item requires freshness it requires expensive packing and shipping costs. I'd buy an inexpensive tin with a cover and fill it with cookies and biscotti from the North End. I'd look for locally produced jams and jellies (cranberry, bluberry, rose hip), and some good maple syrup....a small jar goes a long way. I'd take it all to a UPS or FedEx store or the USPS and ship it yourself.