Really great subscription/gift food that's either Canada-based, or delivers to Canada?
November 25, 2011 6:26 AM   Subscribe

For Christmas this year I would love to give my family food-of-the-month type gifts from places like Murrays and Zingermans, but those places don't deliver to Canada, where most of my family members live. Can you recommend really great subscription/gift food that's either Canada-based, or delivers to Canada?

My family tends to like savoury more than sweet, they have moderately sophisticated tastes, and they're practical. By practical, I mean they would rather get a really great cheese in boring packaging, as opposed to something that's gorgeously presented and a famous name, but which tastes just okay or is over-priced because of its brand.

They're food people -- they love cheese, spices, unusual fruits and vegetables, good quality meat and seafood, unusual local specialties, savoury pies, pickles, interesting bread: stuff like that. They're probably less interested in chocolate or candy, jams and jellies, sweet baked goods, tea, coffee, wine, beer or other alcohol.

I would love any recommendations you can think of. Thanks :-)
posted by Susan PG to Shopping (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Could you do it yourself? Periodically buy some interesting things, package them up and send them out to them yourself? You'd be able to customize it based each of their tastes.
posted by gwenlister at 6:33 AM on November 25, 2011

Canada has really tough food import laws. All milk products are right out, so putting together your own packages which would actually arrive is very difficult.
posted by scruss at 6:54 AM on November 25, 2011

Which province are your family located in? I found a great wine and cheese club out of St. Catherine's in Ontario that specializes in wines and cheeses from all over the province. I don't know if they ship to other provinces or not, though.
posted by LN at 7:15 AM on November 25, 2011

Harry and David's site says "most gifts can be shipped to Canada." You might want to check them out.
posted by Mad_Carew at 7:37 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

As others have said, this really depends on which province you're located in (or at least, which province the recipients of your gifts are in). Most "food of the month" or "alcohol of the month" clubs are greatly impacted by provincial import laws.

Having said that, most major cities have some sort of produce box program that you could look into. It sounds like this would meet your needs, but you'd have to set it up individually for each household, you can't just bulk-order 5 "produce of the month" packages for people.
posted by asnider at 7:38 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

seconding Harry and David - they do great stuff, and they deliver in Canada
posted by Flood at 8:12 AM on November 25, 2011

I came to suggest asnider's idea, CSA programs can be offered year 'round, or just for the summer season, and are fantastic. There are often organic meat equivalents for most major cities. They'll get more bang for the buck because shipping costs are way better (there's usually a weekly pickup point). You could get fresh, in season local organic produce on a weekly basis from may-sept for what H&D charges for 12 six-packs of fruit.
posted by furtive at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2011

Sorry, link to CSA.
posted by furtive at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the help so far! My family's split between Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

I'm not sure CSA would work -- my family members don't live in major cities, plus CSAs feel like a significant lifestyle commitment. I don't think I'd feel comfortable having that much influence on what everybody eats all year :-)

Cheese! I think I want cheese! Neil's Yard Dairy is the kind of thing I'm looking for, but it looks like they don't deliver outside the UK. I wonder if there is a Canadian equivalent, or any European cheesemonger that ships to Canada?
posted by Susan PG at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2011

Best answer: Here's a Canadian Cheese of the Month club that looks delicious, although it's pretty pricey -- $87/month. That includes shipping, though.
posted by kate blank at 1:00 PM on November 25, 2011

Best answer: We are in Canada and have ordered on special occasions from I was worried at first that our order would get held up indefinitely at customs, but that has not been the case any of the times we have ordered. I'd recommend them without hesitation if you'd like to send your Canadian relatives some delicious French cheese. The cheese has always arrived without delay and in excellent condition. I'm not saying it's cheap, but it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be (keep in mind we are used to paying relatively high prices for food compared to what you'd pay in the US).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:01 PM on November 25, 2011

For anyone wanting to know the name of the place I refer to cryptically in my post above, it is:

Winery to Home. They do red and white wines from Ontario (all small lots, not what you'd find in LCBO), and artisanal cheeses from all over Ontario (that you'd only find in farmer's markets.) They do a month-club deal, and also act as a dealer for some of the smaller Ontario wineries.

Bonehead and I did a cycle trip to the Niagara Peninsula last year and sampled a number of wines at different wineries. Among the ones I strongly recommend:

Pondview (best undiscovered whites in the peninsula)
Coyote Run (OMG, amazing reds!)
posted by LN at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2011

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