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December 15, 2009

Top 10 Sites for Mail-Order Delicacies

ChevreToasts.jpgAt this point if you haven't gotten your holiday shopping done and are a sane human being, you probably don't feel like going to the mall to finish up.

I vaguely remember a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about only giving things that are transitory, like delicious food. (He probably didn't say "like delicious food.") At this point your best bet is to pick up the phone or get online and order something wonderful to eat for your ungifted friends and family.

I know you know about Harry & David. I sometimes think if we all just picked up the phone and ordered a box of Comice pears for ourselves, we would eliminate the circular giving and not have to write a thank you note. This list is different.

This Top 10 Tuesday of the best sites for gourmet goodies should give you some new ideas: ...

* Amadeus Vanilla Beans: for the serious cook, gourmet vanilla beans from Uganda, plus all sorts of vanilla extract.

* Avocado of the Month Club: If your friend loves avocados as much as I do, this is the perfect gift.

* Cajun Grocer: Here you can order a turducken (not sure why you'd want to), but also crawfish, gumbo, boudin, sauces and marinades and sweets.

* Great Alaska Seafood: Wild salmon, smoked salmon, king crab legs, shrimp and free shipping. (Of course, this isn't a budget gift.)

* La Tienda: Spanish delicacies including cheeses, Serrano ham, chorizo, saffron, olives and sweets.

* Liberty Ducks: This is one food gift I promise will not be duplicated: large, meaty ducks (the kind preferred by restaurant chefs) from a Sonoma County farmer.

* Mackenzie Limited: A Baltimore company that ships all sorts of gourmet treats, some of them local, including Smith Island cake.

* Spice House: An impressive selection of gift boxes with themes, like the Curry Lover's Gift Box, the Peppercorn Gift Box and the Salad Veggie Lover Box.

* Sweet Maria's: Coffee aficionados should try roasting their own coffee beans, and this place has a huge selection of green coffee beans plus all the info and equipment you need.

* Young Plantations: Pecan lovers will appreciate the variety on this site. You can send anything from premium pecans to pecan pies from this South Carolina company.

For more good suggestions from readers, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Limited Web site)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:36 AM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Great list, EL--you have helped to make the world a more delicious place!

I have to wonder about the Avocado of the Month Club, though. My saddest experience opening a gift box was many years ago when my Great-Aunt who owned avocado trees shipped me a big box of them. They had all turned to mush (beyond guacamole) by the time it reached me across the country. I may have cried.

I can't take credit at all for the list, except for putting it together from everyone's excellent suggestions. As for the avocados, I trust Matt Hudock's judgment and also modern methods of shipping. :-) EL

Do any of these accept EBT Cards or Food Stamps?

Haven't posted in a while. Since I'm dreaming of being stocked up from Penzey's Spice, I'd like to nominate them!

What? No Swiss Colony??? For shame.

Are those Angels on Horseback I see in the photo?

Kerstein noisily (my deaf Bavarian piano tuner name)

For years I have been sending goodies from Harry and Davids and Williams Sonoma, but this year was not thrilled with the selections. Mackenzie Limited looks like they have some great items and I like the fact that they are local. Great list, everyone!

I'm pretty sure the Spice House is owned by Penzey's now. At least the one in Milwaukee is. I was there in October and asked because some of the mixes looked the same.

Boy George, USDA does not currently allow online purchases with EBT cards under the SNAP program, which has replaced the old food stamp program. Moreover, since the purpose of the program is to place food on the recipient's home table, it would defeat the program's purposes to allow EBT/SNAP funds to be used to buy expensive mail-order gifts for third parties.

Captcha: grey Congress

Support your local spice company, McCormick! Not the Spice House or Penzey's.

One of my fave food blogs just posted a link to a site that is like etsy but for foodstuffs

I haven't gotten anything yet but it looks amazing!

When McCormick starts selling high quality spices at a reasonable price, I'll start buying from them.

Suprised you didn't list D'Artagnan - the go-to place for hard to find goodies - like duckfat for fries:
And a real find for the cook - real stock with no preservatives - all made using traditional methods - Bonewerks:
Expensive product but well worth it.

I was skeptical, but I almost can't eat a burger now after having a frozen one from . I'm not a Morton's guy, but this company supplies their beef. The burgers are prime beef so that is the reason for the price, but for a treat well worth it.

"Cajun Grocer: Here you can order a turducken (not sure why you'd want to)"

Why the negativity on the turducken??? They are delish. Now, if we can only grow them that way...

Everything Thai. Excellent wet Thai curries, fresh Thai herbs, 5 kinds of fish sauce, you name it, if it's Thai they have it.

I contributed one of the CG turduckens several years ago for Christmas dinner. I really enjoyed it, but the rest of the family just picked at it. I think it was the whole "unnatural" state that got to them, hahaha!

Anybody who calls a turducken "delish" is only contributing to its negativity. John Madden, who popularized the dish, would never stoop to using cutesy Rachael Ray terms to describe turducken.

I can't get near turducken without thinking of that weirdest of movies "The Island of Dr. Moreau." (The Marlon Brando version.)

stand woodlawn (my paid funeral mourner name)

hmpstd, just for you- "YUMMO"! (I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth just now)...

Joie de Vivre/French Selections ( is also a great source, including for everyday items (mustard, coffee) available in French grocery stores


Thanks for reminding me of that movie. Just had to add it to my Netflix list.

ribbon maxwell- performance artist

How about Cheese of the month, bread of the month and more olive oils than you can shake a branch at.

Seamus, I suggested Zingerman's in the original post. Ever been there? It is an amazing place. I used to take a wad of cash in occasionally, and spend a few hours picking out cheese, sausages and other happy-making controlled substances.

Anything from Zingerman's makes me swoon. It's the only place I will spend $12 for a sandwich without a second thought. I recommend their blueberry buckle, and also any of their gift packages.

Lissa, I just checked out the original post. You are entirely correct, Zingermans is one of the best. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor so Z's was part of my upbringing. I still order their bread just for a taste of home. I haven't tried the BB buckle yet, but I plan on it!!!

Seamus, I went to high school in Plymouth, so I've spent a lot of time in A2. Leigh is right - forget the price, the sandwiches are great! Just order them already.

Dang, now I want to go cheese shopping. That bread is pretty danged good, too. They use long, slow rises, more than most folks use, too, IIRC. The flavour...

Link spam at 8:46 AM! (Another shill for an alleged lender.)

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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