When choosing a gift for a seafood lover, chef or gourmet cook, popular options include lobsters, smoked salmon, sea scallops, shrimp, haddock, oysters, clams, artwork, and collectibles.
Lobsters – Fresh American lobsters are a suitable gift to give during the holidays. American lobsters can be purchased in a variety of sizes, and depending on the region, may be available live, freshly cooked or frozen. When buying whole lobsters, a good guideline is to choose lobsters 1.5 – 2 pounds of lobster per person.
Another possibility is spiny lobster. These are available fresh in Florida and California, or as frozen tails in other areas. Spiny lobsters are easy to cook (by boiling or grilling) which recipient will appreciate.
Smoked Salmon – This is arguably the most popular seafood gift. Smoked salmon comes in a variety of forms, including lox, chilled packages, foil packed products, canned, and in gift boxes. When choosing this gift, read carefully to make sure if the product needs refrigeration or not. One advantage of smoked salmon is that many products do not need refrigeration and can be easily shipped or presented in gift containers.
Sea Scallops – These succulent shellfish are world famous for their delicate flavor. Sea scallops present a challenge as gifts because of their perishable nature. Fortunately, the seafood industry has responded to consumer needs. Currently several suppliers offer high quality sea scallops online which can be shipped as gifts. Sea scallops are usually sold fresh or individually quick frozen, in several sizes.
Jumbo Shrimp – Jumbo shrimp are a wonderful gift. Like scallops, they require cold packaging throughout their delivery. After their arrival, jumbo shrimp are prepared by grilling, frying, or steaming.
Atlantic Haddock – This North Atlantic fish makes a great gift. One of the mildest and most flavorful of all fish, this species is almost always harvested from sustainable fisheries. Haddock is offered fresh, frozen, smoked or canned. This fish makes a great gift for gourmet cooks which hold it in high esteem for its table value.
Oysters – Oysters are a traditional Christmas food in many areas of the USA. They are sometimes given as a gift when coastal travelers visit inland relatives or friends. Although fresh oysters require a cool environment, the added care will be appreciated by everyone once they reach their final destination. For instances where chilling is not practical, there are canned oysters, oyster stew and other non-perishable products.
Littleneck Clams – These clams are another perishable item. These delicious shellfish are grown on the Atlantic Coast in aquaculture facilities. The resulting products are uniform, tender and easy to prepare. Like oysters, these shellfish are often placed on ice and offered as gifts when residents from coastal areas travel to see family or friends that lack access to fresh seafood.
Blue Mussels – These farmed shellfish are always appreciated by chefs and those that relish seafood. Fresh blue mussels are grown sustainably in clear ocean currents, then rushed to market. In addition to fresh mussels, suppliers offer frozen mussels in the shell, or shucked, canned products. Mussels are enjoyed by most cooks because of their versatility and simple preparation.
Artwork – Traditional seafood-related artwork includes paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, carvings and similar works. Seafood has always been a popular subject for artists and the trend continues today. Seafood artwork typically portrays fish, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, and other delicacies. Other works depict environments where fish and shellfish thrive or the men and equipment that harvest the bounty.
Collectibles – Seafood collectibles are extremely popular as gifts. Most are affordable, easy to find and are suitable for a variety of situations. Some collectibles are wearable works of art such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, aprons, and other apparel. Others, such as coffee mugs, coasters, calendars, and other items brighten a home while performing a household function. Other gifts allow the recipient to proclaim their passion for a particular food. These collectibles include stickers, buttons, magnets, and even ties.
Originally published: November 29, 2010.