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Jan 2, 2013 12:25 PM

Suggestions for fine food gifts from CA - Not wine, or sour dough bread

Must be able to withstand mailing to PA. TIA.

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  1. I often give jars of jam/marmalade from either Frog Hollow or Blue Chair. If the person is a coffee drinker, I give locally roasted beans like Blue Bottle, Sightglass, Four Barrels or Verve.

    Sometimes for sweets I might get something at Tout Sweet on the third floor of Macy's, but I find their products a bit overpriced. Nice packaging and unique because of Yigit Pura's connection, but not a value item.

    For chocolates, I think Rechiutti or Pocco Dolce are nice local brands.

    9 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Yes, Rancho Gordo Beans is a good idea too!

        1. re: singleguychef

          Another vote for Rancho Gordo. It's surprising how much better they are than other beans. Their posole is also great.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I'll add that I cooked the Christmas Lima Beans with just a ham hock and an onion last week and my boyfriend's otherwise VERY picky children loved them!!!

            Knowing I have a huge stock of RG beans in my pantry, I asked them, "so I can cook more beans instead of serving frozen corn?" and they all assented. "They don't taste like the beans we get out of a can, huh?"


      2. re: singleguychef

        Can you get Verve beans outside of Santa Cruz?

        1. re: JonDough

          Yes, they sell Verve Coffee at Frog Hollow Cafe/Bakery in the Ferry Building.

            1. re: foodeye

              Update: Frog Hollow is now serving Alta Organic. I have tried the "Frog Hollow Blend" beans and like it a lot.

              I don't like their web-site though:

          1. re: singleguychef

            +1 Poco Dolce.

            I've also appreciated gifts of Californian olive oil and almonds.

          2. Rancho Gordo beans are very popular with my east coast family members, as are meyer lemons this time of year (which hold up just fine if you send via priority or other two-day mail). If you are in the East Bay, the candied peel and nut brittles from Ici are also great gifts.

            4 Replies
            1. re: BAnders

              There's a federal agricultural quarantine that covers most of the Bay Area, shipping fruit or any other fresh plant material out of the quarantine zone is illegal.


              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Useful map--thanks! good for being clear on sources.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Just to clarify: the quarantine does not apply to items that are "purchased at a retail sales location with a sales receipt." So you can't take lemons you picked from someone's backyard, but you can take lemons you bought at, for example, Berkeley Bowl. A farmers' market would presumably also qualify as a "retail location" (the receipt requirement is only for when you're required to show proof of where you purchased it if questioned by the lemon police, but if you want to be safe, you can ask the farmers' market vendor for a receipt).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Oh yeah, good point. I forget that people sell Meyers.

              2. As a California native, currently living in the Midwest, I would want avocados, lemons, and oranges.

                1. I've given olive oil and vinegar from CA, with very positive response. McEvoy, or some small local producer for the oil.