Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I'm sure you'll get more up to date suggestions, but I posed a similar question a couple of years ago. Here are the answers: http://food52.com/hotline...
I only use Zingerman's http://www.zingermans.com... Their stuff is really good, reasonably priced, and they ship their stuff very well. You can avoid any high shipping costs by buying from their flat rate shipping tab. I've never been disappointed. I send Zingerman's for funerals, weddings, thinking-of-you's; basically for whatever. And I love to "research buy" from them.
I agree with LLStone. I send Zingerman's bread to friends and ever since my son left Ann Arbor for SF he gets the corned beef sandwich kit for his birthday.
Ruthy is a recipe tester for Food52.
I've used Omaha Steaks a few times and got great service & products-but I'll warn you, getting off their email list list has proved difficult!
Christina is the Vice President of Commerce Operations for Provisions by Food52.
We'll be offering two fantastic heritage breed meat collections in the Food52 Shop tomorrow. Here's a preview, which you can access as of 12/6 12am ET:
We also have a great Spanish charcuterie collection gift set here: http://shop.food52.com...
Three words- Joe's Stone Crabs! Trust me, whoever gets them will go wild!
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
Olympic Provisions has fantastic salami, and offers different sampler options. http://olympicprovisions...
Luxardo maraschino cherries to put in a Manhattan. A teensy luxury worth every penny. Zingerman's has them. And have you looked at the excellent smoked salmon and other smoked fish things made by Ducktrap River in Maine? http://www.ducktrap.com...
Tasterie has great mail-order boxes, with options for various allergies and dietary restrictions.VeganCuts and ConsciousBox are also great options.
Shatila.com makes lovely boxes of bakhlava and packages them nicely, and is quite affordable.
Harry and David pears are incredible - my grandmother sent them every year
I also have sent many gifts from Zingerman's, but for artisan Italian products that are unique, though expensive, nobody beats Gustiamo.com
BBQ! Pig of the Month BBQ sends incredible ribs, pulled pork and fun packages -- everyone I've ever sent one to has fallen in finger lickin love!
Speaking of pork...Benton's bacon from Madisonville,TN is to die for. It will become a family tradition.
Gary West Meats has some amazing jerky - makes a great gift for men who are hard to buy for. My dad LOVED the jerky of the month club. www.garywest.com
I've given and received bacon and ham from nueskes.com in Wisconsin.
They have mostly applewood smoked bacon and hams (the bacon is still my fave) and in the last couple of years have started making cherrywood smoked bacon. Oh my!
The shipping adds quite a bit to the cost, but most if not all of their products have to ship with refrigerated packs. Outstanding products.
If the person is a foodie, the demi glacé concentrates from More Than Gourmet are a wonderful gift. They also have a vegetable concentrate in addition to beef/veal, chicken, etc.
Niman Ranch for meat gifts. Have also received good gifts from Omaha Steaks.
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