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favorite mail order specialty food???

  • d

I am looking for any suggestions for mail order specialty food items to be sent to other "foodies" as Christmas gifts. I have checked out William Sonoma & the giant caramel apple looks promising, has anyone tried it???

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  1. I send to myself from Harry and David a box of the best artichokes and avocados I have ever had. Each one is perfect. I also use them for amazing fruit to send to relatives back East. Also www.berries.com/csi has the hughest chocolate covered strawberries I have ever seen.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ginger Wolf

      Does Harry & David have a website?

      1. re: dotrat

        Yes, see below.

        I've ordered corporate gifts from them before and they are VERY efficient. The next year, you receive a list of who you ordered for the previous year, which makes it very easy to manage. You can do it all online too via the "My GiftList" feature. Highly recommended. They also have brick and mortar stores...go to http://www.harryanddavid.com/cgi-bin/....

        Link: http://www.harrydavid.com

    2. pork guanciale

      1. Well, if you want to send a gift to me I humbly request a package of good bagels from H&H and/or sable, some pork guanciale, a subscription to the Bacon of the Month Club at Grateful Palette, good tea, Dean & Deluca House Blend coffee, proper French macaroons from Fauchon- pistachio and chocolate, a box of champagne truffles from Teuscher, a bottle of real balsamico, a whole serrano ham with the stand, interesting wine, pate de fruit- black currant, a tub of duck confit from D'Artagnan, or an elk roast.

        Finally, let me know in advance so I can purchase a supply of Actimel (now available in the US) to get it all down.

        Let me know if you need any more suggestions.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JudiAU

          What, no truffles?

          1. re: dotrat

            I didn't want to be greedy.

        2. I like the Our Lady of Mississippi for their candies. A little pricy but worth the money. http://www.monasterycandy.com/ I also like The Abbey of Gethsemani for their two types of bouron fudge even though the bourbon in the fudge can be a bit strong for some. https://shop.tool.net/gethsemani/kitc...

          1. I get loads of emails from them, but have never ordered anything.... even though some deals look good. Was wondering if anyone has tried them?

            4 Replies
            1. re: TastyJon

              years ago Cook's rated them and I've never considered since.

              1. re: TastyJon

                Save your money and invest it in a few quality hunks of beef. This isn't it.

                Their burgers are the worst excuse for school lunch mystery meat I have ever had.

                Most of the stuff you can get better quality in your average supermarket.

                1. re: ironmom

                  You are being too kind. It is just gristle scraps and low grade garbage. It used to be very good but those days are long gone.

                  1. re: ironmom

                    Pay attention everyone, Mom knows best. Go to Lobel's for good, expensive, prime beef.

                    Link: http://www.lobels.com

                2. I bought 16 8oz pkgs of Twila's English Toffee from www.cooksnook.com for my friends and clients. No shipping cost when you buy that much. It's in so few stores that no one will have tried it before, and amazing but true, it is better than See's--very dark high quality chocolate and very thin caramel. And cheaper as well.

                  1. I just bought a few things from K u K Hofzuckerbackerei Demel's in vienna, online.
                    they're at www.demel.at with an English page. Also, modjeskas at www.bauerscandy.com

                    And this should move over to general topics as well I guess.(I never go there, though)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jerome

                      Muth's modjeskas are better than Bauers.

                    2. chefshop.com is the best!!! i order from there all the time.

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: dolores

                          yummm. Can you tell me what cakes you have ordered from Eilenburger? The apricot and the orange/pineapple cakes look really good!

                          1. re: artlee

                            artlee, I'm one of those strange people who likes fruitcakes. I've gotten their 'World Famous Fruitcake' (I've also gotten Claxton's fruitcake) and enjoyed every bite.

                            1. re: dolores

                              As a kid I hated fruit cake. Now I like it. I have bookmarked Eilenburger and will try something in the future and will be glad to report on it. Right now, there are so many sweets in the house that it would be rediculous to add to the mix. Thanks for sharing.

                      1. Bacon of the Month Club

                        They have so much more than bacon...this site is great!!!

                        1. http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/index.asp

                          This group of Trappist monks in Kentucky puts out delicious cheeses. The fruitcake is also excellent. We don't order the fudge so I don't know about it but the fruitcake is great and I'm mad about the cheeses.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: fern

                            fern, does this cheese smell like stinky feet? I had some fantastic cheese at my mom's last year, made by trappist monks and neither of us remembers who made it. I'd love to get some more...

                            1. re: diablo

                              Well, my step-kids think so. ;) Give it a go, even if it isn't the same one I don't think you'll be disappointed. If it is the same one, yahoo!

                              We get the mild, aged and smoked. They have a newer one, pesto I think, but we haven't had that.

                              Hope you like it!

                              1. re: fern

                                Thank you! The prices are very good. I will order some for myself as a present. Happy Holidays :)

                                1. re: fern

                                  fern, I ordered the sampler pack of cheeses from the Kentucky monks. I can not thank you enough. I am so happy right now. The pesto cheese is very good, but much softer than the others. My DH loves the smoky. I love the mild and aged. We will probably place the same order you do next time. Thank you again. Excellent stuff :)

                                  1. re: diablo

                                    Well, I am delighted! It is good, isn't it?

                                    When we were kids our mom used to serve these cheeses with her potato and onion soup and homemade bread for our Christmas Eve supper. It was a nice tradition.

                                    So glad you and your husband are enjoying them, thank you for reporting back!

                            2. Really interesting thread. Several people on here have mentioned the Monks of Gethsemani in Kentucky. They have fantastic bourbon fudge and the best mail order fruit cake in America. The Washington Post, several years back, actually ordered ten or twelve fruit cakes from around the country and, tasting all of them, agreed that the Monks' cake was the best. Having said this if you order a five pound cake AND SOAK CHEESECLOTH IN A PINT OF GENTLEMAN JACK and then wrap this around the cake for two weeks, covering it with tightly packed aluminum foil, replace it with freshly soaked cheesecloth and more tightly packed foil for another two weeks and then, finally, do this a third time and let it sit for a month (total of two months seasoning) I will argue that this will be almost as good as any home baked Jamaiican dark fruit cake that anyone on this board has every had. Over time I've baked dark fruitcakes from scratch and aged them up to seven years. YES, seven years. I stopped doing this a decade or so ago because I discovered the Monks and found that their cake, properly aged with Gentleman Jack (over time I've tried about every combination of liquor you can think of from mixtures of Cherry Marnier/Grand Marnier to variations of bourbon and rum (dark/light/Myers, etc.). Bottom Line: The Monks' fruitcake aged for two months or more as noted above is almost as good as a home baked from scratch cake aged properly for five years. For what it's worth, we all found out that fruitcake does not really improve after a year or so. Perhaps six months or so. The five year+ cake is just more moist and a bit more "romantic" with history and age entering into its charm. But, for actual taste, six months to a year is really the optimum.

                              Also, Heart of the Dessert pistachios which are the best pistachios on earth, especially the green chili and garlic. http://www.eagleranchpistachios.com/

                              Down the road from them, literally, is the home of "Atomic Hot Pistachio Brittle" which is the Scoville Grand Prize Winner from 2004 and 2005. This is a big deal!! A Big Deal! Scoville awards are annual awards for the best hot pepper flavored food in America and an enormous number of manufacturers/restaurants and home makers annually enter this. This pistachio ranch near the White Sands Proving Ground won the grand prize two years in a row and their brittle is, indeed, incredibly good: http://www.pistachiotreeranch.com/cgi...

                              I believe that Eagle Ranch has better pistachios, especially their green chili and garlic but their competitor, literally adjacent Pistachio Tree Ranch has brittle to die for.

                              Royal Oak peanuts from near Suffolk, VA are the best peanuts I have ever had. www.royalkoakpeanuts.com

                              Hawaiian Vintage chocolate is incredible ( http://www.hawaiianchocolate.com/ ) as are Kitch'n Kook'd potato chips. Call: (808)877-3652 to order over the phone direct from the plant in Maui or this website: http://www.maui-info.com/2mauichips.html which is a dealer. Did I mention Mama Lil's Hungarian Goat Peppers? The best hot peppers I have ever had made by a former Seattle cab driver in his spare time. www.mamalils.com

                              When you really get into this you can order almost anything from anywhere either over the internet or from the store/restaurant/farm/producer. With over night Fed Ex shipping you can get into serious Q, pizza and more-it will lose something with time and transport but it will still be the original. Gumbo from Opelousas or Sweet Potato pie from K-Paul's, ribs from Dreamland or Montreal Steak Seasoning from Schwartz's. Almsot everything is available now. For a price.

                              Did I mention violane nano arborio from Biella?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Joe H

                                Interesting responses to the various posts in this thread and what people focus on...

                                FWIW The Monks' mail order reputation is based on their fruitcake and their bourbon fudge... If you really like their cheese then this is a real plus. But sometime, try their fudge or their fruitcake. Their national reputation is based on both of these. Having ordered fruitcakes from a dozen or more sources off of the web over the past five or six years theirs' is the best. As much as I like their fruitcake or Fern likes their cheese, their reputation is really based on their Kentucky bourbon fudge...

                                1. re: Joe H

                                  Yes, the fruitcake is excellent. We order it, along with the cheese, every year. We don't order the fudge but I have no doubt that it is wonderful, too!

                                  1. re: Joe H

                                    I have never had a fruitcake I liked, but if anyone can do it, these Monks can. I am planning on ordering both the fruitcake and the fudge based on the excellent and reliable reccomendations from this board. Thanks Chowhounders and Happy New Year!

                                2. I like the chocolate sourdough bread from Zingerman's. If you warm it in the oven your house will smell like Heaven, itself, must smell. And bread and chocolate is one of the best combinations of all time (chocolate croissants -- I could eat one every day!).

                                  1. Does anyone know if the french macarons at Bouchon Bakery are still available and what flavors are available this time of the year? Can I get them in a nice box? Would like to give them as part of a birthday gift.