Food gifts have wide appeal and solve the problem of what to give to those who might be tricky to buy for. Who wouldn’t love getting a box of goodies delivered to the door? Here are some ideas to add sweetness to the holiday for a family member, a coworker, an old friend, or anyone on your list.
m cacao chocolates in an ingenious gift box
Firstly, the chocolates are exquisite, handcrafted, and beautifully decorated. Dark chocolate bonbons are made with cacao from South America and Africa and filled with ganaches flavored with almonds, ginger, and others inspired by French pastry. Chocolate caramels infused with chili heat and truffles are available, too. The second surprise is that the confections arrive in a video box, where a cellphone video can be uploaded onto the screen under the box’s top. Send family greetings, make a movie to welcome a newborn, and create fun presentations. As soon as the box is opened, the video begins to play (included are directions for uploading and a recharge cable). French master pastry chef Delphin Gomes and Michael Nichols, a robotics engineer who turned a career corner to become a chocolatier, started the Amesbury business, which includes a small retail shop. Nichols studied under Gomes at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts when he was director of the pastry program. “This is a way to personalize a gift and maintain connections with each other,” says Nichols ($98). mcacao.com
Lemon desserts from Fabrizia Lemon Baking Company
A Holiday Cheer box will brighten up any wintry day with lemony outsized cookies, blondies, truffles, loaf cake, biscotti, and more — all made with limoncello. The signature style is moist, lemony centers. The truffles are like an irresistible lemon bar; cookies have crunchy edges and soft centers; blondies, with white chocolate chips, and the loaf cake are citrusy and buttery. The baked goods are another venture for Fabrizia Spirits, a Salem, N.H., small-batch limoncello producer founded by Newton brothers Phil and Nick Mastroianni, who first started making the Italian lemon liqueur in the family garage. The bakery is at the site of the Salem limoncello factory. It’s fitting that the company motto is “Live Life Zesty.” Gift box options start at $38 to $100. fabrizialemonbakingcompany.com
Colossal cookies from Levain Bakery
The New York bakery opened its Newbury Street shop earlier this year, introducing Bostonians to its hefty, 6-ounce cookies. Firm and crunchy, these cookies have a thick, dense, slightly gooey center. Choose from chocolate chip walnut, two-chip chocolate chip, dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, or oatmeal raisin. The classics are overloaded with chips. The cookies come in a 4-pack ($29), 8-pack ($49), or 12-pack ($79). For the first time, the bakery offers the 8-pack in a tin that features whimsical holiday vignettes designed by illustrator Libby Vanderploeg. The tin is an additional $15. levainbakery.com
V Smiley Preserves bring back summer.
In the 3 Seasons Box, the award-winning Vermont preserves producer uses ripe local, organic fruits from three corners of summer: strawberries at the start of summer, apples in mid-summer, and plums from the end. The jams are handcrafted in Bristol in small batches with fresh herbs and honey-sweetened and are uniquely floral and fruity rather than sugary sweet. V Smiley first started her jam business a decade ago in Seattle but moved back to her family farm in New Haven, where she was raised. The gift box contains three 2-ounce jars: Strawberry Blackcurrant Rosemary, Dolgo Crabapple Rosehip, and Montmorency Cherry September Plum. These jams go well with cheese ($32). vsmileypreserves.com
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.