Give them, receive them, eat them, drink them food and spirits are among civilization's first and most-prized gifts (prices listed may not include shipping and handling):
Francis Ford Coppola's tribute to his mother is his line of Mammarella products, including The Chef set ($55). The set, packaged in a galvanized tub, includes quatrefiore and penne pastas, pomodoro-basilico organic pasta sauce, extra virgin organic olive oil from California, and pennino red pepper flakes. Order by Dec. 1 for holiday delivery via the Web site, www.niebaum-coppola.com.
If you or your recipient are particular about your cooking and condiment oils, consider a gift pack from the Olive Farm. The Essential Turkish Pantry ($102) includes two half-liter bottles of Turkish olive oils, four varieties of herb blends, jars of of Ayvalik pink table olives and Turkish pine nuts, and packets of sun-dried tomatoes and porcini mushrooms. Call 1 (888) 380-8018; Web site is www.olivefarm.com.
They're more interesting than your trusty bottle of supermarket soy sauce. Found-er Richard Wong has collected classic family Shanghai recipes for his Chinablue sauces Sesame Soy, Red Pepper Flakes, Tangy Ginger and Sweet Scallion. Shanghai cooking is stew-based, but the sauces are good for dipping, broiling and grilling. Sauces can be found at food specialty outlets; a gift pack of a 100 milliliter bottle of each ($23) is available through www.surlatable.com.
Vermont specialties think maple syrup, cheese, ham come from Dakin Farm in Ferrisburg. You can order medium amber syrup by the gallon ($45.95) if you wish, or in an 8-ounce novelty bottle shaped like a maple leaf ($9.95 each or $38.75 for four). Call 1 (800) 99DAKIN; Web site is www.dakinfarm.com.
For a taste of the south, there are naturally aged Meacham Hams, the ones served at the Kentucky Derby and made from his grandmother's recipes, according to Rodman Meacham, curemaster and company president. Among the choices for 7- to 9-pound hams are The Derby ($68.95), aged five to six months; the Original Meacham Ham ($72.95), cured about 10 months; and the Heirloom ($69.95), aged for about 14 months. Call 1 (800) 552-3190; Web site is www.meacham-hams.com.
For northerly tastes, it's lobster. The Maine Lobster Promotion Council has a Web site, www.mainelobsterpromo.com, that offers recipes and information about handling, cooking and ordering Maine lobster from affiliated companies in the state.
A favorite stop for railroad travelers in New York City is the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. Seafood gifts from the station's oldest eatery include classic smoked salmon, about 3 pounds ($59.95); smoked brook trout, two pairs ($35); and smoked sturgeon, about 2 pounds ($39.95). Check out the choices on www.oysterbarny.com.
The panforte literally, "strong bread" sustained the Crusaders many years ago. Even with less ambition, you or your recipient can enjoy the current version, Antica Drogheria Manganelli Panforte Margherita ($4.95 for a 100-gram cake) from A.G. Ferrari Foods. It's a dense, flat cake filled with honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied citrus and spices. This and the Cantucci Biscotti ($8.95 for 300 grams) come from Siena's Antica Drogheria Manganelli ("old-fashioned apothecary"). Call 1 (877) 878-2783; Web site is www.agferrari.com.
From Corsicana, Tex., come some of the world's most famous fruitcakes. The Collin Street Bakery turns out 4 million pounds of the cakes each year, yet makes each by hand. Ingredients include Texas pecans, honey, pineapple, papayas, white raisins and cherries. The DeLuxe Fruitcake comes in three sizes 1 7/8 pounds ($16.95), 2 7/8 pounds ($24.95) and 4 7/8 pounds ($40.95) and is available by mail order only. Web site is www.collinstreetbakery.com.
Walkers Shortbread offers those thick, substantial cookies in special occasion red plaid tins this season, all under $25. Choose from the Queen Mother Centenary Tin, Castles of Scotland Tin or the Truck Tin, disguised as a toy delivery truck.
Muffin mavens turn to Suzanne's, which this season features All-Time Holiday Favorites ($35.95) a dozen including cranberry orange nut, rum raisin, chocolate cream cheese, chunky apple, pumpkin and sour cream pecan. Call 1 (800) 742-2403; Web site is www.suzannesmuffins.com.
The Fruitful Holiday Basket ($63 for about 9 pounds) from Frieda's is an exotic pick, with cherimoyas, Kiwano, crab apples and tamarillos. The basket includes a copy of "The Purple Kiwi Cookbook" and a stainless steel fruit peeler. Call 1 (800) 241-1771; Web site is www.friedas.com.
Maybe the aromas won't bring the Dodgers back to Brooklyn, but Brooklyn-based Junior's Cheesecake can ship to Los Angeles or most anywhere else. All flavors are $27.95, and except for the 2-pound chocolate mousse cheesecake, are the standard 8-inch, 3-pound cakes. Choices include traditional plain cheesecake, apple crumb, cherry crumb, raspberry swirl, chocolate malted, brownie marble swirl, pumpkin and chocolate swirl. For Thanksgiving, order by Friday; for Chanukah and Christmas, order by Dec. 15. Call 1 (800) 9-JUNIORS; Web site is www.juniorscheesecake.com.
Coffee or tea is the traditional way to wind up rich holiday meals. Choose samplers of either from Peet's Coffee & Tea. A coffee pack ($36.25) includes six half-pound samples of holiday, Major Dickason's and Sierra Dorada blends, plus beans from Guatemala, Kenya and Sumatra.
The tea sampler ($13.95) comes with a steel mesh infuser and tins of English Breakfast and Assam Golden Tip teas. Order via 1 (800) 999-2132; Web site is www.peets. com.
It's Santa's Best Coffee, says Seattle's Best Coffee, and available in a 12-ounce bag at $8.95. Or choose a holiday tin with two packages ($15). Call 1 (800) 962-9659; Web site is www.seabest.com.
The Grey Goose Holiday Martini Gift Set ($27.99) includes a 750 milliliter bottle of Grey Goose Vodka and two martini glasses to stir it up in.