Let's be honest, we're going through an inarguably tough time. From lockdowns and home-schooling to the bumpy, stomach-churning rollercoaster ride of the news cycle, everything's been a little harder this past year (well, except for an all-sweatpants, all the time dress code!). Life's little luxuries have gone by the wayside, and the short days and iffy weather may have you feeling especially "blah" this February. It's the perfect moment to pick your posh: choose a package and pamper yourself (and your loved ones!) with a little bit of extravagance sent straight to your home.
Real Oyster Cult
To be honest, I never thought about getting something like oysters sent to my home. To be really honest, though I enjoy them at restaurants, I never thought about preparing any shellfish at home; it seemed messy, difficult, and I always thought they needed special handling. But then I got a delivery from Real Oyster Cult. Run by a husband and wife team based out of Duxbury, MA, this self-described "business made up of good friends and family who share a love for the mighty oyster" will ship you shellfish not only from their own farm but from oyster beds around the country. Still feeling intimidated? Gift packs and bundles (prices vary) make selection easy; they offer instruction on shucking, and contrary to my own belief that oysters were volatile and would spoil within hours, your under-sea treasures will stay fresh in your fridge for 10 days after they arrive. So have no fear, treat yourself!
Cinco Jotas Iberico Ham
Spain's pride and joy, many say Iberico ham is the finest meat in the world. Originating from a breed of black pigs from the Iberian peninsula with a lineage that goes back thousands of years; to be labeled "Iberico" the ham must be 75% this breed of free-range pig. Cinco Jotas takes it a step further, using only 100% free-range, acorn-fed Ibercios to create their heavenly ham. The proof is in the taste; sweet, nutty with a lovely melty, fatty texture. Sure you can use it on a sandwich or charcuterie board, but it's at its best eaten on its own, using your fingers, alongside a lovely glass of champagne, wine, or sherry. If you really want to spoil yourself get the whole 14-15 pound bone-in ham ($1399) or a boneless shoulder cut ($356.25) and learn to carve paper-thin slices like a pro (In Spain, the skill is actually an art and cortador de jamones, or "ham slicer" is actually a job!) Nowhere to store an entire hog leg? Try the more accessible loin ($95) or a bit of sliced ham ($32.50), which – let's be real – might be the most luxurious since the only thing you need to do is peel back the cover and eat it.
Marky's Caviar Beluga Caviar
Beluga caviar is known as the world's best caviar – but due to the decline of the beluga sturgeon in the wild, it's also been banned in the US for more than a decade. Working with a Florida aquafarm, Marky's Caviar developed a successful production of the fish and now offers sustainable, purebred, and legal huso (as it's known) in America ($830). If that's a little too decadent for you, they also offer an array of other caviar and the fabulous caviar butter ($68.25), a great entry point into the world of luxury fish eggs.
Omaha Steaks Steakhouse Meal
Founded in 1917, Omaha Steaks is the OG of mail-order meat boxes. (They've been shipping steaks since 1952!). This still family-run business knows how to deliver quality meat products – and beyond! Their goal of 'bringing the steakhouse home to you' has never meant more than it did this past pandemic year. Their website is one-stop shopping for everything from steak, chicken and seafood mains, sides, dessert and even wine. Try the King's Court Gift Box ($399.99) or the Custom Steakhouse Surf and Turf ($199.99) or order à la carte and start planning your own upscale steakhouse experience with the added benefit of wearing your finest PJs.
Sitka Salmon Shares
Modeling their business after farm CSA (community supported agriculture); Sitka Salmon Shares (a community-supported fishery!) sells allocations of their harvest even before taking to the sea to avoid overfishing and waste. Shunning factory boats for smaller ones owned by local fishing families ensures higher quality seafood and more humane fishing; owning the entire supply chain means that your wild-Alaskan caught seafood doesn't travel overseas for packing, which cuts days off the process and results in fresher fish to your door – so fresh it's actually sushi-grade. Monthly subscription shares (from $119) that include in-season fish such as tuna, salmon, cod, crab, halibut, etc are encouraged, but if that's more than your household can handle, you can shop their freezer (prices vary), a selection of their more in-demand items in a one-time box. Humanely fished seafood with fairly-compensated fishermen shouldn't be considered a luxury, but having a box of it shipped right to your door without having to leave the house certainly is.
Goldbelly, the company that will deliver local regional favorites around the country (Craving San Fran's Boudin Bakery's Bread Bowl from your home in Boston or Lou Malani's Chicago deep dish, but you're in Denver? No problem!) has taken it a step further by delivering the actual chef to your home – well, thorough a live Zoom cook-a-long. They'll send you everything you need to make the meal, including prep instructions and perhaps even suggestions on (or mixers for) what to drink. Chefs such as Stephanie Izard of Chicago's The Girl and the Goat. Bobbie Lloyd of New York's Magnolia Bakery, and Brian Morris from Nashville's Hattie' B's Hot Chicken have all been part of the roster.
Holy Grail Steak Co's Kurobuta Pork collection
Considered the "wagyu of pork," Kurobuta pork (Japanese for "black hog") comes from the esteemed and pampered Berkshire hogs; one of the oldest breeds from England. Raised humanely under strict standards, with no hormones or antibiotics, the pigs are fed a vegetarian diet resulting in a flavorful tender, and juicy pork with maximum marbling. Check out The Holy Grail Steak Co.'s entire Kurobuta collection; but to really bring that steakhouse "Wow!" factor to your own dining room (or couch), give their Tomahawk Chop ($29 for 14oz) a try.
The Food Crate
Specializing in group-sized meals, The Food Crate curates packages to sate almost any craving. For something really different this winter, try their Atlantic Steampot ($189.75) seafood bonanza which includes crab, shrimp, mussels, sausage potatoes corn– and the steampot itself! or head south with their Bayou Boil Steampot ($175) to get your crawdaddy fix. If seafood's not your thing, they've got crates and pantry items for just about any taste.