mother's day 2023

The Best Food Gifts for Mother’s Day

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Making brunch is a go-to move on Mother’s Day — but if you can’t be with her (or if you’re an overachiever), an edible gift is sure to be a hit. Since we’ve written a lot about drinks, specialty ingredients, sweet treats, and other foods over the years, I dug deep into our archives to surface the most special pro-approved and Strategist-beloved items. Below you’ll find picks that last a while, like a splurge-worthy bottle of olive oil; things she can share with friends, like an expertly curated collection of cheese; and deliveries that are meant to be enjoyed on the holiday itself, like a spread of bagels and lox from a favorite New York City shop. There are lots of options in a variety of price points, all of which are sure to please your mom (or any momlike figure in your life).

All the items below should arrive by Sunday, but we’re getting very close, so we’ve noted where you’ll have to choose expedited shipping at checkout (and keep in mind that info is also subject to change quickly). If you want to stay in the last-minute know, sign up for our newsletter and head here for even more Mother’s Day gift ideas.

For the mom who’s fussy about her olive oil

Brightland is on our list of the very best olive oils because it’s made in small batches from cold-pressed single-origin heirloom olives grown in California. It’s delicious, of course, but also particularly pretty. Each glass bottle (the design of which was inspired by Matisse cutouts) is UV-powder-coated to protect the contents and marked with a harvest date. You can choose from Awake, which is better for cooking, or Alive, which is better for finishing applications (or splurge and get her both). You can guarantee an on-time arrival by choosing one of the expedited shipping options at checkout.

For the mom who makes an ace salad dressing

Not all vinegar is created equal — but we love this one from Forum, which comes recommended by recipe developer Andy Baraghani. “There’s some residual sugar, so when you taste it, you’re not getting a sensation so intense that your cheeks tingle,” he says. “It has an almost honeylike quality that makes it very well rounded.”

For the mom who makes an ace salad dressing (and wants something a little more interesting)

If you think she’d enjoy something not so traditional, Acid League’s vinegars, which experts and a couple of Strategist staffers love, are made of exciting and unusual flavor combinations. We’re partial to the Meyer Lemon Honey (a perfect balance of sour and sweet), the Garden Heat (which has a nice vegetal quality), and the Strawberry Rose (just as good drizzled over ice cream as it is whisked into a dressing).

For the mom who drinks coffee

Cometeer delivers coffee straight from great independent roasters across the country. The pods contain a flash-frozen concentrate made from beans (so they never really go bad); then you add cold water and ice or hot water, depending on your preference. If you select the gift box, you can write an email and choose a delivery time for the note to arrive in your recipient’s inbox so they’ll know fresh coffee is on the way.

For the mom who prefers matcha

Ippodo comes highly recommended by tea-drinking experts. If she already loves matcha, consider the Ummon variety, which is earthy and creamy. Or if she’s new to the drink, try Sayaka, which is particularly balanced in its bitterness.

For the mom who prefers tea

Bellocq makes delicious tea blends and packages them in their lovely signature yellow box. This one comes with five varietals — a mix of green, black, and white — along with filter bags. If you want to go one step further, pair it with one of the tea cups or mugs Bellocq sells (there are lots of styles to choose from). The box will arrive in time if you choose expedited shipping at checkout.

For the mom who takes honey in her tea

California-based Blue Ridge makes five different types of honey: sweet and citrusy orange blossom, nutty buckwheat, mild sage, wildflower honey (for fighting allergies), and avocado-blossom (thicker than the others, with a molasses flavor). Smita Satiani, co-founder of Alaya Tea, says all are delicious, so just choose the one you think your mom would like the most. The honey will arrive in time if you choose expedited shipping at checkout.

For the mom who lives on pasta

Sfoglini pasta is 100 percent organic and made in Brooklyn. With a pasta subscription (shipped every three months), the mom in your life gets a monthly box of the brand’s signature pasta as well as a box of one of its seasonal varieties like fennel, ramp, or chile-pepper pasta. Each shipment comes with recipe cards to help inspire delicious meals. Choose expedited shipping at checkout to have your order arrive in time for Mother’s Day.

For the mom who scrapes every bit of peanut butter from the jar

If she loves peanut butter, she’ll probably like Soom, a silky, ultracreamy, chef-approved tahini that Strategist senior editor Jessica McNamara says “you can just hit straight out of the jar.” (Here’s another instance where you might want to gift a different tiny spatula that one Strategist contributor uses to scoop up every last drop of Nutella and tomato paste.)

For the mom who thinks a pinch of salt fixes everything

Her food will never be under-seasoned again with this giant tub of Maldon. (If you think she doesn’t need a whole tub, you can get her a smaller box, too.)

For the mom who already has Maldon

For a different finishing salt, try this smoked version recommended by Strategist contributor Hannah Howard. She adds it to savory dishes like roasted potatoes and to sweets like chocolate-chip cookies. “The flakes have the perfect light-as-air texture that lends a somehow never-too-salty finish to pretty much any food,” she says.

For the mom who likes a sweet breakfast

This swirly, braided loaf is considered one of the best in New York City (and is beloved by more than one Strategist staffer). Pro tip: If she can’t eat it all right away, she can slice and freeze pieces to heat up later.

For the mom who likes a savory breakfast

Because she’s convinced New York City tap water yields superior bagels, and therefore won’t eat them from anywhere else. Shipping is free, and you can select it to arrive the day before the holiday.

For the mom who likes a simple breakfast

Getting a delivery of baked goods is definitely special, but if she tends to like things simpler (or if you want to do most of the cooking yourself), this sampler of jams comes with three unexpected flavors: rosemary grapefruit, chili pepper, and lemon saffron. A set of sweet varieties is also available. Just make sure to choose expedited shipping at checkout.

For the mom who likes dessert more than breakfast

Pecan pie is great, but have you ever tried pecan pie laced with bittersweet chocolate? Brooklyn’s pie lords, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, have reinvented the classic, making it less one-dimensional and not so sickeningly sweet.

For the mom who likes cake more than pie

Strategist senior writer Lauren Ro loves regional treats and says that this cake would make a great gift for any occasion or just for everyday eating (you can freeze it for up to six months). “It’s definitely very sweet, as it’s basically just cake and caramel, but it’s packaged beautifully, thaws and presents well, and feels festive,” Ro says.

For the mom who likes ice cream more than cake

Butterscotch budino with caramel-rosemary swirl, Amarena cherry with amaretti, and salted peanut butter with crunchy peanuts are just a few of the mouthwatering flavors offered in this gift set of gelato from iconic Los Angeles restaurateur Nancy Silverton. Mom will get nine varieties in four-ounce jars so she can sample them all at once or savor them over time.

For the mom who enjoys a cocktail

For an unexpected addition to her bar cart, this cocktail set comes with simple syrup, salt, and sugar, all infused with the sweet-smelling lavender that the Los Poblanos farm in New Mexico is famous for. There’s also a hammered copper jigger made by Sertodo Copper. All she’ll need is the booze. Choose expedited shipping at checkout for your order to arrive in time for Mother’s Day.

For the mom who enjoys a mocktail

Ghia recently rereleased its nonalcoholic apéritif with an even more concentrated flavor and some new extracts. Beloved by Strategist staffer Dominique Pariso and former staffer Stephanie Downes, the bitter-leaning bottle is a fantastic base for a refreshing mocktail. “Even though there’s no alcohol, it still feels like a special cocktail,” says Downes. She likes to make a spritz by adding sparkling water, a big rock of ice, and an orange twist. And if you want to go all out, the brand is offering a Mother’s Day bundle that includes a set of two handmade glasses designed by Sophie Lou Jacobsen. Choose expedited shipping at checkout for the new bottle to arrive in time or buy the still much-endorsed older bottle on Amazon.

For the mom with a wine collection

From $65
Photo: retailer

This sommelier-approved subscription ships a monthly selection of natural wines that she most likely won’t have tried before. Subscriptions start at $85 for three bottles per delivery, and she can always take over paying for it if she loves it and you don’t want to foot the bill for an entire year.

For the mom who can’t have wine without cheese

Murray’s knows how to curate a cheese board, and this one made especially for Mother’s Day is sure to be a treat. It has six different kinds, adding up to two and a half pounds total (that will feed five to seven, but of course she can keep it all to herself if she likes). And it should go without saying that the whole thing would pair quite nicely with a glass or two of wine.

For the mom who watches Food Network

If she watches Food Network, chances are she’s an Ina Garten fan and will be thrilled to receive this pack of frozen cookie-dough balls from Barefoot Contessa. It includes a dozen each of chocolate chunk, chocolate white-chocolate chunk, and oatmeal raisin. All she has to do is preheat the oven, place them on a sheet pan, and pretend she’s in the Hamptons.

For the mom who hosts splashy affairs

If she likes the finer things in life (and you have the budget), she’ll love this trio of caviars from Pearl Street. It comes with 12-gram tins each of Keluga, Ossetra, and Siberian Select. She can enjoy them right away with all the accompaniments they send, too (chives, chips, crème fraîche, and a tiny mother-of-pearl spoon), or save the tins for a few weeks to break out on a special occasion.

For the mom who hosts splashy affairs (but you’re on a tighter budget)

If she doesn’t have a taste for caviar, or if you’re trying to keep your gift more affordable, consider this pretty package of Jamón Ibérico. It’s still super special — a real treat set out on a board with cheese and olives — just a bit more approachable. Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng calls it “the hammiest jamón I’ve ever had.” Choose expedited shipping at checkout to ensure your gift arrives on time.

For the mom who needs to clean out her spice cabinet

Even if she’s an avid cook, chances are her spice cabinet could use a refresh. No set will get the job done better than this collection of ethically sourced spices. Trust us: They taste better than anything she’d buy at the grocery store. If you really want to go all out, consider adding a spice grinder to go along with.

For the mom who loves to snack

Grown in California, Rancho Meladuco’s Medjool dates have a reputation as some of the best you can find — way better than in any clamshell package she’d snag from the grocery store. Sweet and plump, they’re perfect for adding to salads, setting out on a cheese board, or snacking straight from the box.

For the mom who can take the heat

If she’s a hot-sauce-on-everything kind of person, you can’t go wrong with Zab’s, which is beloved by multiple Strategist staffers (and an expert cook, too). Both are vinegar-based, but the St. Augustine has a slightly sweeter heat. Choose expedited shipping at checkout to make sure your order arrives in time for Mother’s Day.

For the mom who always keeps cookies in the cabinet

Shatila Bakery is a Detroit-area institution known for its sweet and gorgeous baklava. This stunner of a gift box is full of assorted varieties like pistachio-and-cashew burmas, orange-scented basma, and crispy ballourie made with shredded filo.

For the mom who prefers shortbread

Laurie Ellen is a baker (formerly of San Francisco’s famed Tartine) who turns out seasonal packs of shortbread cookies that she sells online. She sources ingredients from some of our favorite companies — including Burlap & Barrel, Heilala Vanilla, and Murray’s Cheese (all of which make an appearance on this list). This two-pack includes Ellen’s chocolate-orange and jasmine-green-tea varieties.

For the mom who loves to bake

Laurie Ellen isn’t the only pro baker who turns to Heilala for her vanilla. Not only does the company work closely with farmers in Tonga to ensure sustainable growing and fair labor practices, the vanilla simply tastes better than the extract you find at the grocery store. The paste comes close to a real vanilla bean as you can get without all of the work (or the steep price) and it’s studded with flecks that will make anything Mom bakes stand out.

For the mom who never turns down a seafood tower

While we haven’t found one of those to send her (yet), these made-in-Maine lobster rolls would surely have her salivating.

For the mom who can’t get enough chocolate

San Francisco–based Dandelion Chocolate makes some of the most elegant sweets around. This gorgeously wrapped box of not-too-sweet toffee is sure to please her sweet tooth. The bottom layer is darkly caramelized and covered in 70 percent chocolate, toasted cacao nibs, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

For the mom who can’t decide between chocolate and fruit

Go all out with this showstopping chocolate basket — yes, an actual edible basket — filled with bite-size truffles, buttery caramels, and chocolate fruits from California. Your order will arrive in time if you choose expedited shipping at checkout.

For the mom who’s looking to liven up her pantry with something sour

Chef and writer Lauren Joseph uses this preserved lemon paste (essentially whole preserved lemons that have been blended to a smooth consistency) whisked into yogurt dips, on top of meats, in cakes, and in cocktails. Talk about versatile.

For the mom who likes a weeknight shortcut

This gift set from Brooklyn Delhi comes with tomato achaar made with tamarind, sesame oil, and chile; garlic achaar, made with roasted garlic, lemon, oil, and a mix of Indian spices; and mango chutney, a sweet spread of mango, golden raisins, ginger, and garam masala. Each one is a great base to start dinner.

For the mom with a still-life-worthy fruit bowl

Receiving a giant box of specialty citrus is truly a joy. Pearson Ranch (a family-run citrus farm in Porterville, California, in the San Joaquin Valley) sells boxes of Meyer lemons, limes, limequats, kumquats, Ojai Pixies, blood oranges, mandarins, yuzu, and more. The fruit is top-notch — juicy and plump with a mix of ripenesses, so she doesn’t have to use it all at once. Shipping times vary depending on where you live, so pay attention at checkout.

For the mom who has a collection of shucking knives

For its monthly subscriptions boxes, Real Oyster Cult, run by a family of oyster farmers, curates peak-season oysters from farms around the country. Each shipment is a surprise of 20, 40, or 60 ready-to-eat oysters.

For the mom who likes her fish in anchovy form

The latest release from Fishwife is this three-pack of plump, rich anchovies in olive oil. They’re sourced from the Cantabrian Sea of Spain, which is known for producing the world’s highest-quality anchovies. These aren’t the kind of fish you want to dissolve into a pasta sauce; eat them whole on bread with a smear of butter. Choose expedited shipping at checkout to ensure an on-time arrival.

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The Best Food Gifts for Mother’s Day