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Favourite gifts to receive (food related)

What are your favourite gifts to receive (or give) around the holidays? Some of mine are cookbooks and homemade truffles.

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  1. My husband likes a particular Jack Daniel's that is very expensive so I usually pick that up for him this time of year. I like to receive wine or champagne but I really like cookbooks also.

    1. My husband complains that I am impossible to buy for even though I have told him for years that if he gets me nothing else but cookbooks for gifts - and I'd be happy with even bad cookbooks - I'd be thrilled.
      Other than cookbooks, I love to receive (and giving) ingredients that I wouldn't necessarily buy for myself - like a $40 bottle of olive oil or Luxardo cherries that run about $20 per jar. I also love receiving unusual or high-end liquors that I maybe haven't discovered or area little pricey.

      1. I really like the little novelty items that Jacques Torres sells. They have chocolate covered cheerios, cornflakes, graham crackers, marshmallows, espresso beans, Macadamia nuts, you name it, they dip it... I also love their brittles and bark.

        1. People could do all their gift shopping for me at grocery stores, and I would be thrilled. Some of the nicest gifts I've ever received are fine salamis, exotic jerky, and other cured meats (my favorites!), fancy cheeses I could never justify buying for myself, mix-and-match 6-packs of microbrewed beers (back when I could drink) and boutique sodas, and regional barbecue sauces, salsas, and jars of pickled veggies that people have brought back for me from trips that I would never find locally.

          1. Speaking as someone in a 10-person office which received about 50 lb of candy and Harry and David's baskets from vendors, I wish more companies would send savory things such as salted mixed nuts.

            Personally, Champagne does the trick. I buy too many cookbooks as it is.

            1 Reply
            1. re: buttertart

              Oh yeah, and See's nuts and chews, please.

            2. bonniebee - I agree but would prefer a truffle of the "fungi" variety. Also, other "food' books
              like Reichl, etc. in addition to cookbooks.

              1. Foods of most kinds, wine, condiments. When one niece was attending UC Santa Barbara she often bring us those packages of Santa Maria pinquito beans with the BBQ flavor pack; I quickly learned to use a third in the beans and rub the rest on a tri-tip! The older niece skipped off to New York and started bringing us cool stuff from Zabar and the like.

                But my favorite food gift ever was always my great-grandma James's fruitcake, which touched off a lifelong love for that widely-scorned confection. I'd love it if both GG and the fruitcake were still around, although she'd be pushing 150 …

                7 Replies
                1. re: Will Owen

                  Finally! A fellow fruitcake lover.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Well, there are enough of us to keep those guys in Texas and the monks up - where? Oregon? - busy. But Grandma didn't like nuts in hers, and did love those weird green and red candied doodads, so I do too. She was also a teetotalling Women's Christian Temperance Union stalwart who nonetheless had someone buy her a bottle of brandy every year so she could give the cakes (which she baked in January) their monthly moistening. My jaws are aching just thinking about it … !

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      My mom wouldn't have put liquor in hers if her life had depended on it. I do, though!

                      1. re: buttertart

                        My fruitcake is delicious, but hardly traditional. It's "light," not in calories, but more a poundcake color and texture, and I use only dried pineapple, cherries, toasted macadamias, and fresh toasted, shredded coconut and dates. Friends even ask for it, and that's a first for fruitcakes! Plus, a goodly amount of spiced rum or brandy just adds to the mystique.

                        1. re: pine time

                          This sounds like a fruit cake that I could get behind! Do you mind sharing the recipe?

                          1. re: Mattkn

                            Sure--the original was from an old Fannie Farmer's cookbook, but I've modified it quite a bit. A note: the original was for 2 of 'em, but I've halved, even including the egg.

                            Light Fruit Cake

                            1/4 lb butter, softened

                            1 c sugar

                            1/2 Tbl vanilla (I use more)

                            3 1/2 eggs, separated & at room temp

                            1 1/3 c flour

                            1/2 tsp salt

                            1 tsp baking powder

                            1/2 c milk, divided use

                            1 c seedless white raisins (we don't like these, so I delete 'em)

                            1 c nuts (recipe says pecans, but I use toasted macadamias)

                            1/2 c candied cherries

                            1/2 c candied pineapple

                            1 c dates (recipe says stuffed with nuts & rolled in sugar--I usually don't bother)

                            Oven to 325. Butter, lightly flour 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cream butter, add sugar slowly until light. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beat well. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and stir them and 1/4 c of the milk into the flour. Add remaining 1/4 c of milk, beat well. If using, stir in raisins and whatever nuts you're using. Beat egg whites separately until stiff but not dry. Stir 1/3 of whites into batter, folding in remaining whites gently. Spoon a layer of batter into pan, arrange rows of candied fruit on top, covering with remaining batter. Coconut isn't in the recipe, but I add a goodly 1 c at this point. (I usually coat the fruits with a bit of flour so that they don't sink to the bottom.) Bake about 1 hour. Cool for 5 min on rack, then remove from pan. Add booze, if desired.

                          2. re: pine time

                            I am not a big fan of fruitcake but there is a bakery in Corsicana, TX that makes fruitcake and pecan cakes...they looked the same to me...which are quite tasty. My favorite being the pineapple and pecans. I wouldn't mind getting one of those fruitcakes.

                            Other food related gifts I like to receive; wine, Equator coffee, fine olive oils, homemade yeast breads, See's candy, Marcona almonds, chocolate covered espresso beans. I'm sure there are more.

                            A friend just brought me a Marie Callendar's Lemon Cheesecake...I can't get them in Houston....so good! I offered him my first born.

                            A friend just

                  2. Home made chocolate chip cookies.

                    1. I like to give folks food items and I would like them to give me whisky.

                      1. a gift certificate to a good kitchenware or restaurant supply store so i can get what i *really* want...or one for Amazon or B&N, because then i can indulge my cookbook addiction.

                        as far as actual gifts go, wine, champagne, or a nice aged port or blended scotch works for me.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          +1 for gift cards for Amazon...not at all a cop-out, but lets me buy what I really want, when I really want it. The other option is a gift card from Penzey's and their yummy spice selections.

                        2. A good friend and neighbor makes a fantastic peach preserve and an even better pate. Nothing compares to home made.

                          1. My sister lives in AZ and has sent me great olive oil for two years now, from Queen Creek Olive Mill. Yummmm. My favorite are the Meyer lemon, and white truffle. She sent along a bottle of pomegranate white balsamic, too. I've been there a couple of times, and they also have great mail order.

                            1. Receive: cheese, chocolate and charcuterie
                              Give: since I often send food to friends/family abroad, it'll often be something distinctly Canadian/North American. I have managed to get an entire family of Danes addicted to pancakes (from a boxed mix) and maple syrup, and have to refill this order a few times a year. They also heart refried beans. :)

                              1. Calissons from Provence. They are expensive, hard to find (unless you buy online, but DH is a last minute shopper), and something I won't buy for myself.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Isolda

                                  My favourite perfume has 'calisson' listed as a topnote, and I've always wondered what the real thing tasted like. Almondy, kind of anise?

                                2. In the Northwest, a traditional modest gift is Cougar Gold cheese. It's made by the Ag Dept. at Washington State U -- they've been doing it since the 1940's. It's 30oz. and comes in a can, so it's shelf-stable until you need that much cheese.

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar_G...

                                  1. I absolutely love dark chocolate covered jelly grahams, and I was very happy to receive a dozen of them this Christmas.
                                    DH gave me several nice food history books, and I also got a set of decorative pie crust cutters and a Hammond's hand-made candy cane in my stocking.

                                    1. Any food that someone has made. Please don't give me commercial products.

                                      1. I'm not a sweets person, so I'd rather not get too many cookies, chocolates, etc. I will make an exception for marrons glacés, though.

                                        I also don't have a lot of shelf space, so unless it's spectacular, no cookbooks please (I'll get them at the library).

                                        I love getting obscure or fancy ingredients: various salts, spices, oils, vinegars, condiments, etc. I'm a big fan of quality cooking tools, too -- I got knives one time, some sturdy and beautiful cutting boards, ramekins, nice serving platters.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: piccola

                                          Forgot about marrons glacés - now THERE'S a food gift I'd be thrilled to get!!!

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Mainly because they're such a pain to make! :)