Everything You Need to Make Your Own Gourmet Food Basket

Allison Russo

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Michael Scott said it best in Season 4 of The Office: "Gift baskets are the essence of class and fanciness. They are the ultimate present a person can receive." I have to agree.

When I was growing up, I came home from school one day to find an opulent gift basket on our kitchen counter. Pears wrapped in gold foil caught the light. I marveled at the vast, non perishable (?) cheese selection and the poshest popcorn I’d ever seen.

This holiday season, make someone in your life feel the way I felt about that basket. Yes, you can hit our old friends Harry & David up for this kind of thing, but why not assemble one yourself? The whole thing comes together quickly (Hello, last-minute gifts!) and strikes a nice balance between the thoughtfulness of a homemade gift and ease of a store-bought one. Here's everything you need to assemble a gourmet food basket.

A basket

(Duh!) Start assembling your gourmet gift from the basket up. Choose a durable, sturdy variety that can be used again, whether it's a woven leather basket or a metallic wire option. Also think about how much you want to put in the basket. If you're giving it to a couple or a family, go with a larger model. If you're assembling a gift basket for one, stick with a not-overwhelming single-serving style.

BUY IT: Wide Weave Leather Basket, $178 at Terrain

BUY IT: Mini Gold Wire Basket, $5 at World Market

BUY IT: Woven Basket. $37 at Wayfair

Wine

This time of year, you can never have too much bubbly on hand, whether it’s true Champagne or quality domestic fizz.

BUY IT: Bereche Brut Reserve, $45 at Zachys

BUY IT: Roederer Estate Brut, $25 at Drizly

Coffee and tea

On the flip side, how about some caffeinated components? Choose a bag of coffee from your favorite local roaster, or allow them to try a variety of beans with a coffee subscription service like Atlas Coffee. (You could even throw in a travel mug or some new-wave instant coffee.) Does your giftee prefer tea? We love Alfred’s loose leaf collection—and it gets extra points for its beautiful packaging.

BUY IT: Counter Culture Coffee, 12 ounces, $20 on Amazon

BUY IT: Atlas Coffee Club, $9–$28 per shipment, at Atlas

BUY IT: Alfred Loose Leaf Teas, $12 at Alfred Tea

Fresh fruit

Add color and freshness to your basket with winter fruit. This time of year, opt for pears and any kind of citrus, especially special varieties like sumo or kishu mandarins, pomelos, and pink lemons. Include an assortment of fruit in different shapes, colors, and sizes for maximum visual impact.

BUY IT: Sumo Citrus Mandarins, $40 for a box of 8 at Harry & David

Chocolate

Make your gift even sweeter with some fancy chocolate. Whether in the form of an oversized bar (in design-y packaging) or a jar of Nutella-inspired spread, chocolate is a gift basket staple for a reason and that reason is that everyone loves it.

BUY IT: Fran's Chocolate Gray-Salt Caramels, $12 at Sur La Table

BUY IT: Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata Organic Dairy Free Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread, $5 at Thrive Market

BUY IT: Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel and Dark Chocolate Spread, $8 at Stonewall Kitchen

BUY IT: Milk Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, $25 at Gustiamo

Charcuterie

It's hard to give someone a cheese plate for Christmas, but you can give them everything they need to build their own. We love the paper-wrapped sausages from Olympia Provisions and Murray's Prosciutto di Parma. Also include a few cheeses, and throw in some colorful Portuguese sardine tins for good measure.

BUY IT: Portugese Sardines in Olive Oil, 6 Pack, $18 at Food52

BUY IT: Proscuitto di Parma, $14 for 3 ounces at Murray's Cheese

BUY IT: Two Year Comte, $34 per pound at Murray's Cheese

BUY IT: Vacherin Mont D'Or, $50 at Murray's Cheese

Specialty crackers

Add crunch to your gift basket with some savory, salty crackers—after all, they’re going to need something transport that cheese into their mouths. Try tortas flavored with Seville oranges, or something spicy, like harissa crackers. Salty, onion-y flatbread crackers are another star player.

BUY IT: Ines Rosales Sweet Olive Oil Tortas, $11 on Amazon

BUY IT: NY Shuk Harissa Crackers, $7 at Di Bruno Bros

BUY IT: Rustic Sweet Onion and Creme Fraiche Flatbread, $9 at Murray's Cheese

<h1 class="title">Brightland Olive Oil</h1>

Brightland Olive Oil

Olive oil

Olive oil has that rare gift quality of feeling both special and practical. For holiday purposes, choose one that comes in an eye-catching bottle (no wrapping required). We love the minimalist design of Brightland's extra-virgin olive oil and the beauty of Especially Puglia's canister, which comes with an olive oil cruet.

BUY IT: The Duo Extra Virgin Olive Oils, $74 at Brightland

BUY IT: Especially Puglia Olive Oil Gift Box, $175 at Food52

Jam

Fig jam is a classic (especially with the aforementioned charcuterie components), but Epicurious editors also love Inna's strawberry jam (it won their taste test of the best strawberry jams. Or throw in a jar of gourmet honey, like this lavender-scented option from the Savannah Bee Company.

BUY IT: Stonewall Kitchen Fig Jam, $8 at Stonewall Kitchen

BUY IT: Savannah Bee Lavender Honey, $5 at World Market

Savory accoutrements

Complete the basket with an assortment of savory condiments and spices they can use in their cooking all year round. Tuck in some cardamom pods and za'atar, or fancy versions of pantry staples like soy sauce, whole grain mustard, and flaky salt. To really go above and beyond, include a good-looking salt cellar.

BUY IT: Za'atar, $15 at La Boite

BUY IT: Burlap & Barrel Cardamom $9 at Burlap & Barrel

BUY IT: Hand Harvested Lava Salt, $13 on Amazon

BUY IT: Whole Grain Mustard

BUY IT: Kishibori Shoyu (Pure Artisan Soy Sauce), $17 on Amazon

BUY IT: Chrissy Teigen Salt Cellar, $15 at Target

Originally Appeared on Epicurious