The Chocolate Babka from Russ and Daughters in NYC is To. Die. I like to send this to new moms, especially, as they are needing the extra pampering and calories. If you have never tried Babka, please do. There is a reason Jerry and Elaine and George had that big fuss over it.
I still never tire of a box of Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David. They are around a lot more than they used to be, so some would say there are not quite as special, but hot damn. They are the sweetest, juiciest, prettiest (not to mention biggest) pears you will eat all year. I like when they come all by themselves, without any chocolate or nuts or dried fruit to distract.
I also really love the tropical fruit hamper from Manhattan Fruitier. There is nothing like a taste of the tropics in the dead of winter. A very sweet and classy friend of B's sent this to us a few years back and we just stared at it for days it was so beautiful.
A box of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. If you think all dried beans are the same and there's nothing swoon-worthy about them, get thee to the Rancho Gordo website and order some. They make a huge difference in taste and texture, plus they have all sorts of varieties you can't find anywhere else. Nice gift baskets too. Grown in beautiful Napa, California.
For you fellow cheese-ophiles out there (I am flat out suspect of anyone who doesn't love cheese, by the way), send something special from Murray's, or better yet, a fine local shop in your area. Nothing says a party quite like some fancy cheese. And, well, something yummy to drink with it but of course.
What are your favorite food gifts to give and receive? Do tell.