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It’s not hard to find great gourmet shops online. It’s not even that hard to find great cheese. But, when it comes to buying a thoughtful and tasty gift for that special someone, things can get more complicated. Finding a varied, bountiful selection from a reputable purveyor is so important.
After delicious taste-testing, we ranked the Harry & David Ultimate Wine Pairing Collection as one of our top picks for its variety of meat, cheese, snacks, and wine as well as the high quality of every single item included. If you're looking for a budget pick, the Hickory Farms Thank You Treats Box is a more basic option that still makes a thoughtful and delicious gift for anyone who enjoys summer sausage, cheese, and crackers.
We scoured cheese and meat baskets available online to find the best selections to give to the food lover in your life. Then, we sent them all to be taste-tested by our editors and experts and evaluated on presentation, variety, size, freshness, and overall value. Tons of different meats and cheeses were eaten—from prosciutto and salami to Gouda and Brie—to make sure the picks on this list are truly the best.
Here are the best meat and cheese gift baskets according to our research and home testing.
Harry & David Ultimate Wine Pairing Collection
This decadent spread features some of the same delicacies as the other Harry & David box on our list (including options from Sartori, Creminelli, and Rogue), but this is more of a party in a box, including items like fig spread, dark chocolate-covered almonds, mixed nuts, dried fruit, plus award-winning Harry & David wines—the 2019 Chardonnay, 2019 Pinot Noir, and the Harry & David Ross Lane Red blend.
We sent this gift basket to our associate editorial director for testing, and she was more than impressed with the variety and quality of every item included. She particularly liked that the bread stays fresh in its packaging for weeks. This means that you don't have to enjoy everything right away, which is a major plus when sending a gift basket to someone with a busy schedule. You can feel confident sending this basket and knowing it won't go to waste.
While it's definitely a splurge, it's one that can be justified. It would make a great gift for a small office, a lovely housewarming treat, or a host/hostess gift. There is a little something for everyone included. Salty, sweet, wine, meat, cheese—it covers all the bases and more.
Includes: Dry salami con vino, salami, merlot cheese, Cheddar Gruyère cheese, Oregonzola blue cheese, sourdough baguette, cherry and ancho chili chutney, green olive spread, fig spread, artisan chips, olive oil and sea salt crackers, dark chocolate-covered almonds, chocolate cake, mixed nuts, dark chocolate sea salt caramels, milk-chocolate covered blueberries, chocolate truffles, dried fruit mix, chardonnay, pinot noir, Ross Lane Red blend
"If you really want to treat someone to something impressive, this is the perfect basket. Both the variety and quality are fantastic, and you could either feed a sizable gathering or treat one person for an entire week (or more). Plus, the wines are the perfect pairings." — Mary Kate Hoban, Associate Editorial Director
Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Charcuterie Collection
For a taste of the South, try this collection by award-winning sustainable producer Sweet Grass Dairy. In Southern Georgia, where Sweet Grass Dairy is based, grass grows essentially year-round. They take advantage of this by letting their cows graze on fresh pasture every day through a system called rotational grazing, resulting in flavorful cheese that’s won numerous awards.
Our tester was impressed with the indulgent packaging of this basket and the variety of cheeses included. Unpacking revealed multiple ice packs and everything secured inside an insulated cooler bag for freshness. She raved about the quality of the pimento cheese with its not-too-creamy texture and spicy kick from the added piquillo peppers. Just make sure to pull the block cheeses out ahead of time to allow the flavors to open up. The included Thomasville Tomme, a semi-soft aged raw cow’s milk cheese, developed a buttery texture and earthy cheddar-type flavor after coming to room temperature. The Asher Blue similarly became softer and more pungent. The tester noted it went especially well with the jam included stacked on a flatbread cracker.
This box at Williams-Sonoma features some of the company's greatest hits, including the scrumptious pimento cheese, plus some spectacular southern accouterments: Spotted Trotter Black Pepper Sorghum Salami, Blackberry Patch Peach Bourbon Cardamom Preserves, and Roots & Branches Hand-Crafted Artisan Crackers. Whether you’re shopping for someone with southern roots or just are looking for spectacular cheese, this collection is worth your time.
Includes: Double-cream cheese, farmhouse cheese, blue cheese, pimento spread, black pepper salami, fruit preserves
"From the beautiful packaging to the ample portions to the signature Southern ingredients, each element of the basket felt indulgent. The flavors of the cheeses married well with the Bourbon Peach Cardamom jam and sorghum salami, and the sourdough flatbreads provided a perfect canvas for tasting them together." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Harry & David Ultimate Cheese and Charcuterie Collection
Looking for a spread that will bring down the house? Look no further. This collection features Ibérico ham, serrano paleta, Creminelli (from Utah’s salami king, Cristiano Creminelli) barolo salami, and Toscano salami, as well as dry Jack cheese from California, merlot BellaVitano and aged Asiago cheese from Sartori, and Rogue Creamery’s Oregonzola Blue (Rogue’s cheese Rogue River Blue was named the best cheese in the world in 2019), plus an acacia cutting board.
For someone who loves cured meat, this is a lovely option. Everything arrives in pristine condition and is well labeled. There’s a bounty of meats in different styles made in various places (even some famed Ibérico ham, the pride and joy of Spain). The packaging is air-tight, meaning that if you don’t open everything right away, it will remain in good condition in your fridge for up to a few weeks. The acacia cutting board doesn’t feel like an heirloom or anything (it’s a little lightweight), but is beautiful and the recipient will likely keep using it.
The only thing our tester didn’t love about this collection was its lack of accompaniments, like mustard or pickles, and the packaging felt a little lackluster. Everything was just kind of thrown into the box, and she had to look back at the website to make sure she had gotten everything. That said, the curation and quality of the products makes this worth it.
Includes: Ibérico ham, serrano paleta, barolo salami, Toscano salami, California-crafted dry Jack cheese, merlot cheese, rosemary and olive oil Asiago cheese, Oregonzola blue cheese, round acacia wood cutting board with handle
"I think this is a great option for cured meat lovers. An accompaniment, like mustard or pickles, would have been a nice touch, but everything included tasted fresh and delicious. The board is a little lightweight for what it is, but it's beautiful and I'll definitely use it again (albeit flipped over so the Harry & David logo isn't the main focus)." — Christine Clark, Product Tester
Lady & Larder XXL Cheese Board
The Lady & Larder cheese shop in Los Angeles features all American-made products and aims to support a 100 percent domestic and sustainable food culture. This means the store finds the best artisans from across the country, who make the tastiest treats to be found.
The XXL Cheese Board is a colorful, bountiful showstopper featuring 5 pounds of cured meat and cheese, all of which are certified organic. There are also orchard-grown nuts and dried fruit, crackers, and condiments to help complete your giftee's charcuterie board.
Sometimes, meat and cheese baskets can feel a little generic. One of the great things about the Lady & Larder XXL Cheese Board is that it really does feel like it was put together by professionals. It comes beautifully packaged, as if assembled by a sort of cheese Santa Claus. Everything is nestled into white shredded paper, with an illustrated map of each item in the box and what it is. On the back of the map, it includes tips on how to style the cheese board, how to portion each cheese, and the important note that all this should be served at room temperature for maximum flavor. Each item is truly handcrafted. Our home tester's only complaints were that the included board is a little flimsy and one of the cheeses that came for testing (Tulip Tree Trillium) arrived overripe and had to be thrown out.
The curation and assortment of this basket is masterful, and the packaging is beautiful and functional. The price is higher than the other options on our list, but if you really want to blow someone away and have the budget for this board, it’s a fantastic choice. Additionally, smaller options are available, including a date night board that serves two people, a small board that serves four to six people, a medium board that serves 10 to 12 people, and a large board that serves 20 to 24 people.
Includes: Dry-cured beer salami, uncured Italian salami, prosciutto Americano, Mt. Tam Triple Crème, goat Gouda, blue cheese, 6-month cheddar, Orcas pear with Bay Spoon preserves, truffle mustard, organic raw walnuts, sea salt blistered almonds, organic roasted pistachios, tart dried cherries, dried apricots, flame raisins, ranch dates, wildflower honey, organic sourdough flatbread bites, red oak board
"The curation was thoughtful, there was a wide array of products, the packaging was beautiful and intentional, and it felt like a treat to open. If I were sending one of the baskets as a gift (and had the budget for it), this is the one I would send." — Christine Clark, Product Tester
iGourmet French Classics Gift Basket
Shopping for someone who dreams of visiting Paris? Gift them a trip by way of cheese with this French Classics Gift Basket. Coming with treats like Camembert, Comte (the most popular cheese in France), saucisson sec, chocolate, Dijon mustard, and more, this spread is certain to satisfy any cheese lover or Francophile.
In our testing, we found the box a little less bountiful than some others (which may be a good thing if you’re planning to gift this to someone who lives alone), but with top-notch curation. If you were to peek inside the picnic basket of a Parisian, this selection is approximately what you’d find. Everything arrived in great shape, albeit in somewhat underwhelming packaging. The only thing you need to make this spread feel completely authentic is a bottle of Champagne or Burgundy.
Includes: Camembert, Comte reserve, French chevre, French fruit paste accompaniment, Gavottes Salted Caramel with Vanilla Butter Cookies, mini toasts, Michel Cluizel chocolate bar, saucisson sec, French Dijon mustard
"It feels authentically French and the products are pretty good quality. I also liked the assortment—you could easily throw everything from this into a picnic basket with a bottle of wine and it would translate perfectly." — Christine Clark, Product Tester
Murray's Cheese All-American Collection
While France, Italy, and Spain tend to dominate the epicurean market when it comes to "fancy" cheeses, you'd be remiss to ignore the bounty of excellent cheese that is made in the U.S. This basket from Murray's Cheese celebrates artisanally crafted goods from coast to coast in this gift box that includes four different styles of cheese, a tray of salami, and a box of olive oil and salt crackers. Our tester delighted in the gift presentation of this basket. It arrived in a cold-pack-lined gift box with cheeses, crackers, and charcuterie nestled in crinkle paper; the gift box is then set into a foam-cushioned outer shipping box for secure transport.
In this box, you get a bar of 1-year aged Vermont cheddar by Grafton; the melt-friendly Murray's St. Marks, modeled after the soft French cheese called Saint-Marcellin; Point Reyes Original Blue, a creamy and tangy cheese reminiscent of Roquefort; and Spring Brook Farm Reading, a raw milk cheese that could pass for a young raclette. The Finocchiona is a twist on a Tuscan traditional salami made by Brooklyn Cured, and the included crackers are from Rustic Bakery in Marin County, California. Our tester found this basket to hold a generous amount of cheese and a great variety for creating a spectacular cheese plate for a party, but it could also be kept in the fridge for a week or longer and enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
Includes: Grafton 1-Year Cheddar Bar, Murray's St. Marks, Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, Spring Brook Farm Reading, sliced Finocchiona, olive oil and sel gris flatbread
"I admittedly have a huge bias towards French cheeses, but this basket made for a very strong showing of American cheesemaking excellence." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
Beehive Cheese Company Coffee Rubbed Cheese & Salami Collection
This thoughtful spread hails from Utah, which isn't always the first place we think of when we think of cheese, but perhaps it should be higher on the list. Beehive Cheese, founded in the early 2000s, makes a range of delightful cheese, including the signature Barely Buzzed. It’s a buttery, cheddar-like cheese aged for seven months and rubbed with espresso powder and lavender for a nutty, rich finish. The salami, Salami Casalingo, is made with coarse-ground heritage pork and organic spices, crafted by Utah’s salami king, Cristiano Creminelli. Also included is a jar of Pepperlane Blood Orange Preserves and Pan Forte Crostini.
Our tester loved the thoughtfully curated products in this basket, each providing a distinct taste of Utah’s agricultural scene. She thought the hot blood orange preserves offered the exact spicy and sweet counterpoint the bitter coffee-rinded cheese and fatty salami needed. She also thought this was a good starter basket for anybody who wants to dive into the cheese and charcuterie world as the portions are ample and the flavor profiles are complex. Everything arrived fresh, though not extravagant in the packaging, and the substitution on the crackers was a disappointment. The promised Pan Forte Crostini would have provided that last aspect of texture and flavor with its dried fruits and seeds that the sourdough bites lacked. Overall, our tester appreciated the variety of tastes offered in this basket and the generous portions.
"The hot blood orange jam alone was worth the entire box. The cheese was supple and had a complex flavor profile with the coffee and lavender rub. And the salami provided a fatty note against the spicy tang of the jam. Each item was thoughtfully curated to bring out the best in the other ingredients." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Includes: Espresso lavender-rubbed cheese, salami, crostini, blood orange preserves
Mouth Picnic in a Box
This appropriately named gift contains just enough food for several people to enjoy an al fresco snack. The assortment includes small-batch black truffle cheddar cheese and salami as well as two kinds of crackers, fig jam, and olive tapenade to pair with the cheese and meat. Seasoned pistachios and shortbread cookies round out the snack selection.
Our tester raved about the gourmet flavor of the black truffle cheddar (rich and earthy) and rosemary shortbread cookies (sweet, salty, and herby) she received. Although this gift basket contains only one type of meat and cheese, she found most of the selection was thoughtfully curated and upscale thanks to the inclusion of flavors you don’t typically come across in the grocery store.
Lovers of soft cheese may miss their usual Brie or Taleggio, but this box is fun enough that they may not even notice. A Mouth-branded reusable tote bag is included, so you can carry your snacks to your preferred picnic spot in eco-friendly style.
Includes: Black truffle cheddar cheese, black truffle salami, sourdough flatbread crackers, cassava crackers, salt and pepper pistachios, fig jam, olive tapenade, shortbread cookies
"This box contained enough food for me to enjoy fancy cheese and cracker snack plates for several days. The block of truffle cheddar and rosemary shortbread cookies I received were so exceptionally flavored, I'm still dreaming about them." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Saxelby Cheese Beer Lover’s Box
“No one has done more for the burgeoning American cheese industry than Anne Saxelby,” says New York Magazine. Here, she has curated a meat and cheese selection to pair perfectly with just about any beer. The latest iteration of this box includes three kinds of cheese: Gatekeeper, a soft, vegetal cheese by Crown Finish Caves to pair with Hefeweizen and Belgian-style beers; a classic cave-aged cheddar by Jasper Hill that complements ciders and malty porters; Reading Raclette by Spring Brook Farm to go with IPAs and sours. Also included: a salami from the outstanding Charlitos Cocina made with brown ale and olive oil and sea salt crackers.
It's an incredible gift for real beer lovers—while these edibles are great as is, they really shine when paired with the recommended beers, as our tester found. The only drawback to this shipment is that it doesn't look like a gift basket—the packaging is simply the cheese, salami, and crackers tucked into an insulated box with a few cold packs. That being said, it's what's inside the box that counts, so the no-frills presentation is not a dealbreaker when you have cheese and charcuterie this delicious.
Includes: Soft sheep and cow's milk cheese, aged cheddar, Raclette-style cheese, salami made with brown ale, olive oil, and sea salt crackers
"The packaging is no-frills, but any beer aficionado who also loves cheese will really appreciate what's in this box—over a pound of cheese plus top quality salami make for a great gift." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
Hickory Farms Thank You Treats Gift Box
Need a scrumptious cheese and meat spread that won’t break the bank? The Hickory Farms Thank You Treats Box is a budget-friendly option that features summer sausage, plus smoked Gouda cheese and farmhouse cheddar cheese. You'll also get sweet hot mustard, golden-toasted crackers, and dark chocolate sea salt caramels for a complete spread.
We sent this box to our editorial director for testing. She was impressed with the presentation and how everything arrived nestled neatly inside the "cute" gift box. Beyond that, she particularly enjoyed the sweet hot mustard and Gouda cheese. She did note that she wished it came with more crackers, but you can always supplement with your own to continue sampling the meat and cheese.
This is one of your more basic gift baskets, but it's a great option for those who might not be interested in sampling a wide variety of strong cheeses. We'd definitely consider the flavor profile of the items simple, but sometimes that's exactly what you want.
Includes: Signature Beef Summer Sausage, Farmhouse Cheddar, Smoked Gouda Blend, Sweet Hot Mustard, Golden Toasted Crackers, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels
"This is a pretty standard spread, with approachable flavors for those who might be on the pickier side or new to cheese-tasting. I especially enjoyed the Gouda cheese and sweet hot mustard, which were delightful atop one of the crispy crackers." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
If you're looking for a meat and cheese gift basket that will wow, our editor-approved choice is theHarry & David Ultimate Wine Pairing Collection, which features three bottles of wine that pair well with the meat, cheeses, and sweet treats. Our budget-friendly choice is the Hickory Farms Thank You Treats Box, which our editor found to be a perfect option for those looking for more basic cheese and meat selections all wrapped up in a very giftable box.
How We Tested
We sent all of these meat and cheese baskets to our experienced cheese expert, product testers, and editors, who analyzed and tasted the contents, such as Brie, Gouda, blue cheese, Camembert, chevre, salami, prosciutto, Ibérico ham, and much more. Each meat and cheese gift basket was rated on presentation, variety, size, item freshness, and overall value. Our testers then offered additional insights on each meat and cheese gift basket's strengths and weaknesses.
What to Look for in Meat and Cheese Gift Baskets
A Reputable Source
Cheese is a living thing. A producer can send two wheels of the same cheese batch to two different purveyors and, depending on how those wheels are cared for, the cheese may taste very different. That’s why it’s so important to shop in real life with trained cheesemongers or online from cheese shops that you trust. Every recommendation on this list is a business we trust with our cheese.
A Bountiful Selection
Two blocks of cheddar with some crackers don't exactly make a great gift selection. Ideally, the cheese and meat basket that you select will have several types of cheese, several types of meat, and a few types of pairing items. If a collection is more thematic and only has one type of cheese or meat, there should be plenty of that item, and it should go well with everything else.
Everyone has different tastes, and those tastes may evolve depending on the day. When shopping for meat and cheese baskets, we recommend those that offer several types of cured meat, several styles of cheese, and both sweet and savory pairings to go along with them.
While many sliced cheeses come in plastic wrap, this isn’t the ideal outerwear long-term, as plastic tends to drain cheeses of their precious moisture and impart a fridge-like flavor, says Julia Birnbaum, the founder of Philly Cheese School. Instead, Birnbaum suggests butcher paper, wax paper, or one of the many other paper options designed specifically for cheese, which can be found at most kitchenware stores and cheese shops.
What are some common meat and cheese pairings?
Some classic pairings for a board with meat (if it’s cured meat, it’s called charcuterie) and cheese include cornichons, mustard, roasted tomatoes, and other savory snacks. Mousse-style pâtés can be very good with sweeter options, like jam. Generally, the best wine pairings are with sparkling wine or aromatic whites, like dry riesling, chenin blanc, or pinot gris. A light red, like pinot noir or gamay, can be great too.
How long does a meat and cheese gift basket last?
Exactly how long a meat and cheese gift basket will last depends a lot on the styles of cheese and how they’re stored in the fridge. Softer styles may last a week or more, whereas harder cheeses can last several months. Dry-cured meat, like salami, and whole muscle options, like prosciutto or jamon Iberico, can last a while, whereas something like pâté may only have a week.
“Most cheese gifts can sit in your giftee’s fridge for days or even weeks awaiting the perfect moment for them to dive in," said Julia Birnbaum, founder of the Philly Cheese School. "This means that your loved one won’t just think of you when they receive their gift, but they will be sending you love and appreciation every time they cut off a piece.”
Is American cheese as good as European cheese?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that generally European cheeses are made in a more traditional style. Some, like Gruyère, Manchego, or Parmigiano Reggiano, are name-protected, meaning that producers must follow a long set of rules to call their cheese by that name. It’s never a bad idea to include a few favorites from Europe. American cheeses are not name-protected in the same way, and we generally favor different styles. But, there are many American producers (including, but not limited to, Sweet Grass Dairy, Uplands Cheese, Rogue Creamery, and more) making cheese just as good as what’s being made in Europe.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Writer and professional cheese eater Christine Clark teaches cheese and pairing classes throughout the United States and knows how and where to get her cheese fix, no matter where she is. She is a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society, and she teaches virtual cheese classes. She personally tested three gift baskets in this roundup.