Food memories are inextricably linked to the excitement and joy of travel itself. So there is perhaps no greater gift to send a loved one than a taste from a special time on the road. And thanks to a slew of online delivery options, you can send food from all corners of the country to friends and family. From New Orleans beignets and Chicago deep dish pizza to the gravlax of New York City, order and ship an edible reminder of past trips for the next birthday, anniversary, or holiday on your calendar. For the cooks in your life, we’ve also included food gift ideas that will add a new sauce or ingredient to their pantry to inspire some new dishes. Shopping for a sweet tooth? We’ve got ideas there, too.
Below, 33 of the best food gifts for Christmas and beyond, no matter what type of foodie your giftee might be.
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date. Additional reporting by Debra Kamin.
Magnolia Bakery’s World Famous Banana Pudding
There are plenty of top-notch bakeries to visit while in New York City, but few are better known than Magnolia Bakery. Their banana pudding is one to beat, and thankfully for any devotees, it can be shipped nationwide—this package comes with six large cups of the classic flavor, so no one in the family has to share.
McLoons Lobster Shack Maine lobster roll
For foodies, the main event of any trip to Maine is biting into the quintessential Maine lobster roll. Served on a fluffy toasted and buttered hot dog bun and packed with fresh lobster chunks, this purist’s delight is hard to match—but easy to source and ship, thanks to this lobster roll kit available on Goldbelly.
Cafe du Monde Bywater Basket
Doughy, deep-fried, and dusted with sugar, there is no breakfast more symbolic of New Orleans than the beignet. A French-inspired square-shaped spin on the doughnut, beignets are best when consumed hot and fresh and washed down with a creamy café au lait. And with a Bywater gift basket from Café Du Monde, the unofficial baron of NOLA beignets, you can send a mix for home baking, plus a heaping can of the Big Easy’s favorite chicory coffee blend.
Any way you slice it, pizza is the ultimate comfort food—and therefore, one of the best food gifts. Whether your loved one prefers it soft, thin, and hand-tossed, à la a NYC slice, or deep-crusted and layered thick with toppings, as they do in Chicago, there’s no doubt that pizza, consumed hot, bubbling, and straight out of the oven, is one of life’s most delicious pleasures. Lou Malnati’s deep dish has been satisfying Windy City appetites for half a century; Roberta’s is still considered one of the most important pizza joints in the Big Apple. And if you’re a fan of Detroit-style, or want to give it the old college try, you can’t go wrong with a pie from Emmy Squared: the Colony is a sweet and spicy mix of jalapeños, honey, and crispy cupped pepperoni. Order a pie to bake from home from any of these spots with just a few clicks.
Support NOLA Restaurants subscription
Restaurants across the nation have been hit hard by the pandemic, but New Orleans had to face another destructive hurricane on top of COVID-related struggles. Show the city some love with a three- or six-month NOLA Restaurants subscription; you’ll get a mix of the city’s most iconic sweet and savory foods once a month, with enough food to feed four inside each box. (The same subscription exists for San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, too.)
Langer’s Deli pastrami
For the person in your life who can’t get enough of brined and seasoned meat, send over some sandwich fillings from either coast. Pastrami, which is corned beef that’s been rubbed down with herbs and spices and then smoked and steamed, has aficionados in both New York and Los Angeles. Angelenos swear by Langer’s, the kosher-style delicatessen in L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood; New Yorkers have been lining up for Katz’s pastrami on rye since 1888.
Flavors of the Market sampler
For the native Seattleite missing home or the traveler who couldn’t get enough of Pike Place Market, this gift box contains a little bit of everything from around the market (sans flying fish). There’s even a cookbook, so they can recreate some of the most beloved dishes at home.
Pat’s King of Steaks Philadelphia cheesesteak
Philadelphia loves few things as much as it loves its cheesesteaks: paper-thin slices of saucy ribeye and melted cheese, served up hot and dripping with mushrooms and onions on a long and toasted roll. But for decades, the City of Brotherly Love has been divided by a fierce rivalry over who prepares the best of these messy, melted sandwiches, with Pat’s King of Steaks, Jim’s Steaks, and Campo’s among the joints staking their claim as the superlative purveyor of Philadelphia’s favorite sandwich. As for us, we’re content ordering up one of each and holding a taste test at home.
ACME Smoked Fish Brooklyn Bling collection
New York City’s ever-popular ACME Smoked Fish company has launched a new online store, where you can send fan favorites like smoked salmon and herring all over the country. We’re partial to the Brooklyn Bling set, which features all the hits: five types of smoked salmon, including a pastrami and BBQ style; herring in wine and herring in cream sauce; and smoked whitefish salad.
Gifts for the sweet tooth
Seattle Chocolate Toffee Sea Salt Truffle bar
Seattle Chocolate makes delicious, rich chocolate bars in tons of mouthwatering flavors. This dark chocolate truffle bar is filled with crunchy toffee bits and sea salt, and wrapped in a drawing of an orca whale created by Seattle illustrator Frida Clements. Order a handful of bars to distribute as stocking stuffers (and at least one extra to keep for yourself).
Courtesy Milk Bar
Milk Bar treats
Christina Tosi’s wildly delightful bakery chain, Milk Bar, has been fulfilling our sweet fantasies since 2008. If you’re looking for the ideal sugar-soaked confection to send to someone far away, this New York standby, known for its Milk Bar Pie, classic birthday cake, and irresistibly soft cookies, is a solid choice. (The rich cake truffles make an excellent stocking stuffer, too.)
Jeni’s top sellers ice cream collection
Good news: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream scoop shops have been expanding, with locations in a dozen states and Washington, D.C. If you don’t live close to one, though, you can sate your sweet tooth with this five-pack of pints, featuring its best sellers—Brown Butter Almond Brittle and Brambleberry Crisp included.
Burgess Sugarhouse Grade A Maple Syrup
Craving some real-deal Vermont maple syrup? Or have a friend or relative pining for the good stuff? There’s an easy way to help them out of that sticky situation. Goldbelly ships pure Vermont maple syrup from Burgess Sugarhouse nationwide, so pancake lovers don’t have to settle for supermarket brands.
Sugar Hill Creamery ice cream best sellers
For the dessert fiends, Harlem’s famous creamery has just begun shipping nationwide. Favorites like Harlem Sweeties and Chairperson of the Board are available, but your gift recipient may most appreciate a set of four of the best-sellers.
Tartuflanghe Mustard with Honey and White Truffle
A high quality mustard makes all the difference, and this one is even more unique thanks to its honey and white truffle infusion. Bring it as a hostess gift, or drop it into a stocking of a ‘team savory’ loved one.
Rizzoli Anchovy Fillets in Spicy Sauce
An easy stocking stuffer and perfect gift for tinned fish aficionados: These chic little anchovy tins, swimming in a secret spicy sauce made by a family-run business from Parma, Italy.
Balkan Bites homemade burek
For anyone yearning for their favorite Balkan dishes, Balkan Bites makes homemade burek—the flaky, stuffed phyllo pie found in the Balkans, Middle East, and Western Asia. This business hand-stretches the dough and makes their burek according to beloved family recipes. Choose from mushroom and goat cheese, beef and onion, spinach and cheese, and more, and have them shipped frozen to your friend missing their favorite treats.
Gourmet gift baskets and sets
Harry & David classic Christmas gift basket
It doesn’t get more prototypically Christmas than gourmet gift baskets from Harry & David. Send this to the family members or friends you wish you were celebrating with and they’ll think of you all weekend as they nosh on the brand’s famous pears, Moose Munch, milk and dark chocolate peppermint bark, Christmas tree-shaped almonds, and more goodies.
Williams Sonoma Fortnum & Mason Superb Hamper
For the Brit missing home this Christmas, Williams Sonoma’s F&M collaboration is here to fill the gap. The iconic hamper comes filled with raspberry preserves, Sir Nigel’s marmalade, two types of teas, Piccadilly Stem ginger biscuits, shortbread fingers, Salisbury honey, and Champagne truffles.
Women in Food gift box
If your goal is to support women-owned businesses this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with this Women in Food gift set, filled with sweet and savory items from AAPI female-founded food brands like Omsom and Deux.
Blackberry Farm Breakfast Collection
For the traveler who can’t stop raving about their stay at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm, bring a piece of the magic to their kitchen with this breakfast set. They can plan a post-holiday brunch for six complete with Blackberry Farm coffee, griddle cake mix, biscuit mix, apple butter, honey, Appalachian maple syrup, Allan Benton’s bacon, and of course, blackberry jam.
The Perfect Bite by Fishwife
Know someone who got really into the tinned fish craze this year? Refresh their stockpile with this gift set from Fishwife; not only will they get two tins of the good stuff, it also comes with black sesame seeds, Lady & Larder crackers, and Brightland vinegar.
La Cocina gift box
Based in San Francisco’s Mission District, La Cocina helps low income food entrepreneurs—particularly women from communities of color and immigrant communities—get their businesses off the ground. Help support their mission and try a handful of delicious treats with this gift box, which brings together award-winning chocolate, festive holiday cookies, and more sweet and savory snacks.
Chai Bundle: Troublemakers Puzzle + One Stripe Chai Co. Gulab City
Consider this the ultimate winter activity bundle: Your giftee will enjoy staying cozy indoors, working on a puzzle and sipping on chai tea (even better, the puzzle itself depicts a group of women enjoying tea time together).
Eat 2 Explore World box
This family cooking kit blends a cultural lesson with a cooking exercise, while also providing harder-to-find ingredients and sauces that define the meal. The subscription service allows you to explore a country, a continent, or the world, and each box comes with three recipe cards, ingredients, essential sauces, a shopping list, an activity sheet, and a collectible, like a cooking tool or flag pin.
Zach & Zoë Sweet Bee Farm Honey Sampler
Fancy honey is a luxury—gift this set, made by Summer and Kam Johnson, a husband-and-wife team based out of New Jersey, to the friend who is always brewing up a cup of tea.
Talea Beer Co. Beer Making Kit
If your giftee is 1) a fan of sours and 2) in need of a winter project, send them this beer making kit from Talea Beer Co., a female-founded brewery based in Brooklyn. They can cook up their own fruity (but not overpoweringly sweet) ale, full of peach, strawberry, and pink guava flavors.
Brightland Mini Artist Series
Spruce up a home chef’s everyday essentials with this Brightland olive oil set. They’ll get four 3.4-ounce bottles of chili pepper-, garlic-, lemon-, and basil-infused oils, each in a beautifully-designed packaging they’ll be happy to display on their countertops.
Murray’s Cheese Holiday Feast gift box
Ideal for the friend who loves to host a good party—and set up a cheese board spread—this gift box from New York City’s Murray’s Cheese will make their next gathering a cinch. It’s loaded with three kinds of cheese, meats, preserves, crackers, and olives.
Atlas Coffee Club subscription
Tour the world via its coffee thanks to Atlas Coffee Club, which curates single-origin coffees from more than 50 countries, including Ethiopia and Colombia, and sends you a package every month that includes a new coffee, tasting notes, and brewing recommendations.
Cabi Original Trio
Launched this year by two female Japanese American founders who “wanted to share the beauty and ease of Japanese home cooking,” Cabi’s trio of sauces makes a great gift for anyone looking to shake up their cooking routine. From left to right, there’s a sweet yuzu vinegar, umami dashi soy sauce, and zesty sansho peppercorn miso sauce.
Momofuku Chili Crunch Hot Honey Variety pack
Give their favorite hot sauce a run for its money: Momofuku’s chili crunch adds a zing to all kinds of meals—eat it with eggs, sandwiches, meat, fish, whatever strikes your fancy. This set comes with four flavors of the popular spicy-crunchy chili oil: original, extra spicy, black truffle, and hot honey. Gift them all to one lucky foodie or divvy them up among the heat seekers in your life.
Omsom The Best Seller Set
If you’ve somehow missed Omsom’s uber-popular sauce sets, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Inside the fun, eye-popping packaging are sauces to help make Korean-, Japanese, Vietnamese- and Thai-inspired dishes. Slip these into the stockings of family members looking to zhuzh up their weeknight dinner routine.