As a food journalist and resident foodie in my social circle, I tend to get gifts that have to do with food or drink. I can assure you I've gotten far more awful fruit cakes and oversized chocolate baskets than you.
Having received a vast assortment of gifts from Mars bars to a gummi Venus de Milo, I know what is good and not so good to get for your favorite foodie.
FTW*: Allen Brothers Steaks These steaks are the best I've ever had sent to me. I thought maybe I felt this way because I'd finished off half a bottle of red cooking my steaks, but many of the top restaurants in the country use their meats, so the cheese does not stand alone. And they do gift packs! Imagine my surprise and glee at receiving a set of USDA Prime burgers, along with gourmet condiments. Party time!
Fail: Omaha Steaks Seriously? This is a classic Michael Scott (from the Office) gift that would most likely be accompanied by a card reading: "Eat my meat? That's what she said!" It's pretty much the most uncreative way to send steaks. I've been guilty of sending them myself, because it's convenient, but trust me, there are better alternatives out there. Unless you intend to send them along with some instructions to build the Lady Gaga steak dress, nix this idea.
FTW: Macallan's 18 Year Sherry Oak Scotch I'm not much of a scotch drinker, but from time to time I enjoy the smoky smooth spirit. I received the Macallan Sherry Oak as a gift recently and I was almost scared to open it because of its impressive size and pretty purple wrapping. After the first sip I was totally smitten. I know alcohol is meant to be shared, but this is the kind of stuff I want to guard with a snarl.
Fail: Jose Cuervo I am neither a frat boy with a popped Lacoste polo, nor am I on spring break in Cancun. Enough said.
FTW: Edwards Smoked Virginia Ham It doesn't get much more traditional than Virginia Ham. Back in the 1600s, the first Jamestown settlers were the ones salt-curing and smoking their ham, now the good people of the Edwards family do it for us. Although, in current day, there are far more flavors, they are still aged and glazed. It's a pretty awesome way to make your gift-recipient feel like it's actually the holidays.
Fail: Cold cut platter In the words of the great Tony Soprano, Sr.: "You know what they say: Revenge is like serving cold cuts." I'm still not sure what that meant, but all I know is, unless you are trying to make me feel antagonized, please don't send me a plate of hormone and chemical-ridden meat.
FTW: Cooking Class at De Gustibus Cooking School At first glance, I wasn't sure I'd want to participate in a two-hour cooking class. I mean I can think of other things to do with two hours -- like watch the Britney episode of Glee twice -- but I went and I was thoroughly impressed. The best part of the class is that you get to sit and watch world-class chefs show you how to make their food and then you get to taste it. Not only does that let you decide which recipes you want to use, and which you don't care much for, but it feels like you are just hanging out with the chef in his kitchen and get a nibble of whatever he is about to send out. Also, there is plentiful wine and champagne to keep you happily eating, listening, and (sometimes) learning.
Fail: The Joy of Cooking, or any other gigantic cook book Perhaps you have some sort of vast expanse of a sprawling kitchen, but I'm a 20-something living in Manhattan. My kitchen isn't even big enough to host a fight between Snooki and J-Woww. (Although I dream of one day having a kitchen big enough for that). Hundreds and hundreds of pages of recipes are good in theory, but frankly I have this awesome thing called the internet, where I can type in my dish of choice and figure out how to make it.
(*FTW = for the win, for those of you who have been living under the internet rock.)