These days, it seems that much of our mail comes in electronically. So when a real, good old-fashioned package arrives in the mail, we always get a little thrill of excitement. It’s even better if the package is full of something delicious—wine or cheese or even chocolate or olive oil.
If you, too, are looking for that indulgent mail-order fix, consider joining a food-of-the-month club (memberships make terrific gifts, too). Depending on the club, your options will vary: You can join for one month or many, or upgrade your membership for different or extra products. You might also get great little bonuses with each package, like tasting notes and recipes. And some clubs even offer discounts on additional orders for members. But before you sign up, take note: Some clubs’ prices include shipping and tax, and some don’t, so be aware as you investigate your options.
Three of our favorite cheese sources offer opportunities to sample the best artisan cheeses through a monthly club. MurraysCheese.com (888-692-4339, ext. 7) will send a monthly selection of three cheeses, starting at $200 for four months. At FormaggioKitchen.com (888-212-3224), you can sign up for three or four cheeses per month (a three-month subscription is $185 and $265, respectively). And at ArtisanalCheese.com (877-797-1200), if you join for 12 months ($660), you get a thirteenth month free.
For wine lovers
Give a membership to one of the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant’s clubs (Fpwm.com; 415-288-0470); a white, red, or mixed wine club membership is $38 per month for two bottles. If you’re a fan of California wines, look to the California Wine Club (CaWineClub.com; 800-777-4443); its “premier club” sends out two bottles of award-winning California wines monthly (prices start at $44.95 for one month). And for a real luxury, check out K. L. Wine Merchant’s Champagne-of-the-month club (KLWines.com; 877-559-4637); a yearly membership costs $69.95 every two months and includes one bottle from an artisanal producer and one from a larger producer.
A club for everyone
If wine and cheese aren’t your thing, there are lots of other food-of-the-month clubs out there. When we searched online, so many interesting clubs came up that we wanted to list a few here. Though we haven’t tried buying from all of these, many are run by stores that we often look to for high-quality ingredients. Some sources also have more than one club, so be sure to check the Web sites.
- Exotic fruits of the month: Melissas.com; (800-588-0151)
- Chocolate of the month: Chocosphere.com; (877-992-4626)
- Bacon of the month: GratefulPalate.com; (888-472-5283)
- Olive oil of the month: Zingermans.com; (888-636-8162)
- Avocado of the month: AvocadooftheMonthClub.com; (866-714-9921)
- Coffee of the month: Igourmet.com; (877-446-8763)