What presents of food are most welcomed during the holidays? Anything homemade gets automatic points with chowhounds–surprisingly, even if it’s not that good. The effort put into it and the warmth of the gesture makes up for a lot, and the recipient gets to try something unique. Unusual things that come from a special place (and aren’t available at the local supermarket of the recipient) are especially appreciated, like a special bottle of vanilla extract from Mexico, chocolate from South America, pecans from Georgia, or saffron from Spain. Any food that the giver actually smuggled through customs is looked on with special favor. A bacon-of-the-month-club subscription is appreciated, but make sure the recipient is not a vegetarian.
Almost universally reviled: fruit. Whether in fresh fruit baskets or attractive arrangements of dried fruit, chowhounds put the gift of fruit right up there with coal in the stocking.