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Chow-worthy Mail-Order / On-Line Food

"Home Cooking" doesn't quite seem like the right board. On the other hand, I am not sure where else to post this...

Because a reliable hound friend of mine could stop talking about it, I recently sent out some Jeni's ice cream as a gift that was exceedingly well received. (see, http://jenisicecreams.com/

)

This dovetailed with the experience of buying some fantastic lavendar cheese "thimbles" from Shy Brothers at a local farm store and noticing that you can order this from their website: http://www.shybrothersfarm.com/

And finally, wondering what types of chow-worthy ready-to-go high-protein food/meals I might be able to send to a relative recovering from surgery...

All this has led me to wonder what else is out there for mail-order or on-line food buying. There could be a whole world of deliciousness that I haven't thought of tapping in to. Could I get Michoacan carnitas delivered to my door? Mangosteens? The best prosciutto you could ever imagine?

What companies or products are your go-to's for gift food for foodie friends or a treat for yourself?

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  1. igourmet for amazing cheese
    markethall for unusual condiments and olive oils
    tallgrass for grass fed beef
    hancock lobster for their lobster pot pies
    nueskes for bacon

    4 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Anything from Hancock Lobster is great and always a very well received gift

      1. re: pikawicca

        OK, I'll bite (so to speak). What, for e.g., makes the Nueskes bacon extra noteworthy?

        1. re: chilibaby

          It's extremely consistent, for one thing. Nueske places strict constraints on their pork suppliers as to breed of pig and what they are fed. Also, their bacon is smokier than most, something my husband and I appreciate. We joined the Bacon of the Month Club earlier this year, and so far we haven't had any that surpasses Nueske's.

          1. re: chilibaby

            Nueskes is so smoky that it can be overpowering if you don't expect it. The first time I had it, a friend who was a houseguest brought it with him. It literally stunk up the microwave for weeks. I think some of their varieties also have a lot of sugar, because they cook long after the bacon is removed from the pan (since I no longer put it in the microwave) and you need to be really careful to take it off at the point you think it is ALMOST done.

            I don't get it personally, but our friends go crazy over Nueskes. Maybe I need to try another variety or two, but to me, there are other premium bacons out there that are just better tasting. I do know our friends really like very strong smoky flavor, even in BBQ that they buy or attempt to cook at our house. DH and I think their taste for smoke is too much -- probably because they are Yankees and don't know any better :) We live in Texas now and can tell subtle differences after a few years of exposure.

        2. Zingerman's, out of Ann Arbor, is an amazing deli that has excellent mail-order and online food, everything from cakes to cheeses.

          3 Replies
          1. re: katecm

            Just be careful when you order. They REALLY gouge you on the shipping. I've stopped doing business with them.

            1. re: jmckee

              And IMHO Zingerman's is overpriced to begin with. Most of what they sell, I can get for less locally.

              1. re: chicgail

                There's an Olive Oil there I love; and I've found it cheaper at Williams Sonoma, for cryin' out loud.

          2. Allen Brothers for Prime, dry aged, or Kobe steaks.

            www.allenbrothers.com

            1. I will second Allen Brothers for red meat.

              La Quercia for Prosciutto Americano and pancetta.
              Little Flower Candy Co. for sea salt caramels.
              Bariani for extra virgin olive oil.
              Stanislaus for all things tomato and for pizza sauce.
              Ezzo Sausage Company for pepperoni.

              2 Replies
              1. re: CDouglas

                Chocolates by Mueller in Philadelphia, which has some of the best homemade chocolates anywhere (except they aren't shipping chocolate right at the moment, because it's too hot.)

                British Food Superstore when I have a wine gum hankering and a lot of cash.

                1. re: CDouglas

                  I picked up some La Quercia at our local Whole Foods (haven't seen it again since). It was delicious! Those sea salt caramels sounds pretty awesome.

                  1. Early's and/or Broadbent for Southern-style dry-cured hams and bacon, as well as those cloth packages of smoked bulk sausage. Loveless Hams'n'Jams has some of this, too. All of these outfits offer a range of other Southern-type goodies, and they all do both online and mail-order, and will send a printed catalog upon request. My favorite so far is Broadbent, out of Kentucky. They're consistently lower-priced than the other two, and their slab bacon was the best we've ever tasted.

                      1. This thread on what chow do you ship to yourself is also full of great suggestions:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/351726

                        1. Clifty for Tennessee country hams and other pork products, Niman Ranch for city hams and much more.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mpalmer6c

                            Niman Ranch's bacon disappoints me a little - it's dry-cured, which is good, but I find the smoke too subtle for someone addicted to the Southern stuff.

                            Clifty Farms and Harper's are okay for mass-market country hams - I buy their slices when I'm in Nashville. I just like to patronize the (relatively) little guys, especially when the prices are right.

                          2. www.gustiamo.com has fantastic artisinal Italian food. Since all the food is from small producers, it tends to be quite expensive. The quality is always really high though.

                            1. Grimaud Farms for ducks and duck fat
                              http://www.grimaud.com/index.htm

                              Hometown Favorites has tons of items I have a hard time finding anymore, such as Coco Wheats and Maltex.
                              http://www.hometownfavorites.com/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: azhotdish

                                They sell Grimaud Farms duck at Costco (in No CAL at least).

                              2. the cheese thimbles look adorable! how firm is the cheese inside?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                  slightly soft. I bought some of these in Westport MA, the town where they are made. I was not impressed with the taste- tried several different varieties and thought they were unremarkable.

                                  1. re: emilief

                                    Sorry to hear that. I picked up the lavendar ones at Verrill Farms in Concord. Friends and I thought they were great. Consistency is medium soft. Mild flavor. I'm no cheese expert so couldn't comment on whether they are unique enough to mail order. But they were tasty and I would pick them up again if I ran across them.

                                    1. re: chilibaby

                                      I looked on their website - the cost of sending them in dry ice, etc. makes it way too expensive. $7.50 for 17 cheese buttons, and then the shipping is $15 extra!

                                      But they do look very cute.

                                2. Bass Pecans
                                  www.basspecans.com
                                  The most amazing pecans you'll get anywhere. The plain are wonderful for snacking and in baked goods but there are also exceptional flavored pecans available. My favorite is the honey pecans but I also love the sweet heat, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and key lime. They also sell great jelly. The Mayhaw and Blueberry really stands out. I am lucky to live less than 2 hours from one of their stores, but for those of you who aren't they're worth checking out.

                                  1. I haven't tried it (in fact ,I just found it based on buzz on the SF board) but people keep talking about:

                                    http://www.levillage.com/

                                    1. I have order hubs peanuts online and also mac nut pies from the Big Island. Both were well received and tasted great!

                                      1. I've ordered a few things off of www.foodoro.com and they have all been absolutely amazing. it is a bit pricey but a great way to spoil my wife and myself when we have been good.

                                        i would order casefuls of these shortbread cookies if i could (picture from the website attached). they are delicately rich and i love to eat them slowly to really savor the taste of the cacao.

                                         
                                        1. Apricotking.com for big, moist morsels of dried fruit, including Bartlett pears, white peaches, nectarines, and cherries.

                                          1. don's specialty meats in louisiana for boudin, andouille, tasso
                                            http://www.donsspecialtymeats.com/

                                            1. Cougar Gold cheese, made by students at Washington State University. We get plenty of excellent cheddar, such as Balderson's, here in Toronto (including 4-year old) but CougarGold, I mustadmit, has a unique,nutty taste.