Top Ten Food Gifts

December 3, 2008

Thought I’d recommend some of my favorite local spots for food gifting. Sweets and meats included. Nothing like a Larchmont, NY salami in your stocking!

10. Levain Bakery

A fantastic cookie, definitely good enough to gift. The aroma from this basement bakery hits you at the corner of 74th & Amsterdam (head east). I used to frequent a little too often, so relieved my clients moved off this block. But I miss the Chocolate Chip Walnut.

9. Donut Plant

This Lower East Side sugar factory does not have mail-order (yet); however, if your office just forfeited bonuses and could use some holiday cheer, pick up a dozen of these gems. Seasonal flavors include Roasted Chestnut and Peanut Butter-Glazed Cranberry Jelly. So much better than a jelly-of-the-month membership!

8. Brewery Ommegang

A Belgian brewery in Cooperstown, NY, this one ships their Belgian Sampler within NY. I had a chance to tour and taste here this summer and everything is bottled on site. Recommend the Three Philosophers (quadrupel) and the Ommegeddon (made with wild yeast).

7. Moore Brothers Wine

Matt and I love this wine store. They know their producers personally, are extremely helpful, and pack bottles oh so nicely. Most wines hail from France, Italy and Germany, and they ship to 37 states.

6. John and Kira’s Jubilee Chocolates

I first tasted these chocolates at a Slow Food Harvest event in ’03, and have ordered them as gifts ever since. This husband and wife team uses fresh ingredients grown on small family farms. Flavors include schoolyard mint (from a local school garden), lavender honey, and coffee whiskey. Beautiful packaging to boot.

5. Heritage Foods USA

This company promotes “independent family farms, humane production, genetic diversity and traceability.” So if you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas ham, look no further. They sell anything from pork, turkey and bison to hazelnuts and honey. Many of the farms are concentrated in Kansas and the Great Plains.

4. Rick’s Picks

These pickled goods include cucumbers (Kool Gherks), green beans (Mean Beans), beets (Phat Beets) and okra (Smokra), all sporting a fashionably-clean label. Gift ideas include a pregnancy, BBQ, and sampler pack. I enjoyed an out-of-this-world Bloody Mary at The Farm on Adderley, garnished with the spicy mean beans. Also an excellent gift for cocktail connoisseurs.

3. Russ and Daughters

Know a homesick New Yorker? This shop sells smoked and cured fish, caviar, bagels, cream cheese and sweets. Many gift packs to choose from. Would make an amazing New Years Day spread.

2. Murray’s Real Salami

This meat showroom recently opened at Grand Central and carries products from “small, traditionally-minded producers in the United States.” You can find cooked meats, cured meats and pates to serve alongside the cheese from #1…

1. Murray’s Cheese

There’s a reason this shop is #1 on my list. They have a cheese cave, for starters. And quite possibly a different cheese for each day of the year. The website offers gift packs arranged by type of milk, country, or region of the U.S. And a cheese-of-the-month option, great for friends or family who like to entertain.