Food Gifts from Afar for the House-Bound Traveler

Travel the world through tastebuds this holiday season!

We are all craving a sensory experience as 2020 comes to a close. Something that helps us feel alive and joyful in the midst of lockdowns and virtual ... well, everything.

Consumables are perfect gifts this year. Food and drink, especially good food and drink, not only encourage us to slow down and savor a moment, but also give us a sensory experience through our tastebuds, our noses, and our eyes. It has been a house-bound year, and “virtual” travel isn’t cutting it. I’m all for a sensory experience that can remind my family or friends that the freedom to travel will return soon, and for now we can still taste some of the world's best foods without breaking lockdown.

This Christmas, our family is turning our eyes (and stomachs) to these fabulous gourmet gifts that transport us around the world through our tastebuds. An added bonus is that all of the below recommendations can be shipped to us, or directly to our gift recipients. Such a convenient way to give a unique sensory gift for the holidays.

This Christmas, our family is turning our eyes (and stomachs) to these fabulous gourmet gifts that transport us around the world through our tastebuds.

We’ll all get back on the road (and in the air) someday soon, but for now, let’s gobble up all the fine foods the globe has to offer, delivered right to our doorsteps!

Luxury Chocolates from France

What does the best chocolate in the world taste like? Make this holiday season one to remember with authentic French chocolate gifts from Chef Pascal Caffet, World Champion Chocolatier. This holiday season, zChocolat is offering DOUBLE the chocolate on all orders!!!! (So grab a gift for yourself too!)

Raspberry ganache, passion fruit caramel in milk chocolate, Provencal lavender, Italian hazelnut praline, violet-infused dark chocolate, Madagascar vanilla-bourbon ganache …. Oh my! These perfectly-uniform, melt-in-your-mouth delights are a gift from the gourmet gods. You can even go all out and have your chocolates coated in 24-Karat gold (….an idea I’ve never understood, but hey, to each his own!). I am thrilled to have discovered they even have a vegan collection!

Valencia almonds sourced from Spain, hazelnuts from Piedmont, Italy, fruits picked in the Provence countryside, vanilla from Madagascar, coffee beans from Kenya, and cocoa ethically sourced from West Africa and Venezuela … this truly is a world tour in a chocolate box.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Our adopted son’s maternal grandfather, whom we loved dearly, used to trek to British Columbia, year after year, to fish the beautiful waters. To hear him talk about his experiences, and watch his eyes light up as he remembered fondly, we couldn’t help but be tempted to go ourselves! Alas, we have yet to go, but in the meantime I discovered that it is possible to enjoy fresh, wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest, anywhere in the country, through Vital Choice. Considered the perfect food source by some, wild salmon is nutritionally superior to farmed salmon, and is free of antibiotics, pesticides, and GMO feeds. And the taste … oh my, the taste.

Vital Choice is a family-owned business in Bellingham, Washington. They have been ethically fishing the Alaskan and Northwest waters for years, bringing excellent taste and nutrition to their customers. But salmon isn’t all they do -- you can choose from tuna, whitefish, prawns, scallops, and other wild gifts from the sea. Give a monthly seafood gift box, or choose from their array of one-time holiday gifts!

The Finest in Florida Citrus

Hale Groves opened their first roadside fruit stand back in 1947, and now ship their fresh citrus boxes to their fans all over the country. The gifting of citrus fruits at Christmas is a tradition started in Europe in the 19th century, when citrus shipped from places like Valencia, Spain and Ivrea, Italy were an indulgent splurge for families of modest means. Children all over the continent would squeal in excitement to find an orange in their stockings. (Simpler times, eh?)

The treat may seem a bit lost on our modern minds, but nothing can beat that taste and texture of fresh-picked fruit versus what you grab at from the grocery store bins. There’s just no comparison. So for those of us who love a true sensory experience, a gift like farm-fresh citrus in the dead of winter sounds divine!

Rich Italian Coffee

A month in the French Alps last year ruined my tastebuds for American-style coffee. We were just an hour from the Italian border, and let me tell you, the French and Italians are serious about coffee. “Un cafe, s’il vous plait” I would request, along with the kids’ beignets at our local patisserie a few mornings a week. (A little travel tip: patisseries are a great way to experience local foods in France without breaking the bank! On average I’d spend only 10-12 Euro on a lovely family breakfast of 2 beignets per child, and a croissant and espresso each for me and my hubby.) I’d be handed an adorable little paper cup with one shot of espresso -- pure, black, creamy, foamy gold.

Whether you prefer rich espresso or a sweet, milky American-style coffee, starting with a high quality roasted bean is paramount. Illy Caffe was founded in Trieste, Italy in 1933 by Francesco Illy. To this day the company is still run by the Illy family, who creates an outstanding, velvety blend made up of nine types of pure Arabica.

All of Europe enjoys Illy, and you and your family can too! Illy has a beautiful selection of one-time gift bundles (get 25% off with code CYBER) as well as coffee subscriptions. Whether you prefer K-cup pods, fresh ground, whole bean, moka coffee, or espresso capsules, you can join Illy’s subscription service