Not only is Priesters Pecans one of your more reasonably priced choices, but their pecans are huge and high quality. You can order a variety of candies, plus plain pecans or sugar-free candies. The frosted pecans are kind of unusual at first, but become highly addictive.
Recchiutti in San Francisco specializes in exotic chocolates. This little shop in the ferry building turns out smooth, rich, and stimulting candy. Unfortunately they don’t ship by single chocolate selection, like my favorite, pink peppercorn and star anise. They are known for their Fleur de Sel and Burnt Caramel — go with something safe.
Widmers in Wisconsin offers a variety of cheeses as well as an aged cheese spread that is so sharp and buttery it has earned the nickname of “cheese sex” by local aficianados.
My friends at Roadfood.com recommend Penzey’s Spices. not only do they have special gift boxes of salts, peppers, ground chiles, and cocoas, but they also have special spice mixes, for example, combos of Milwaulkee spices, Tandoori seasonings and BBQ rubs. “The Kind Heart” mix is a nice idea and a good deal.
Everyone loves Cafe du Monde’s coffee and beignets. The chicory coffee is popular everywhere, but can’t always be purchased far away. Do an ex-Southerner a favor, or turn someone on to something new.
Speaking of New Orlean’s, Tony Chechere’s spice mix goes into every one of my gumbos and even my jambalaya. They have a low-salt version too. But they don;t stop at spices. This is the place to go if you want Nanny’s Pralines or Community Coffee. Their perishables are on hold while they re-vamp the system, but then you can order a whole turducken.
Purdy’s has been the premier chocolate in Vancouver since 1907. They use the finest ingredients, including dairy products delivered fresh daily from farms across Western Canada. Their true claim to fame are the adorable little hedgehogs. The hedgehogs are chocolate and hazelnut, and even better than Nutella!
If you do have to resort to Harry and David’s get a tin of that Moose Munch. People go apeshit for that stuff.