Iconic New England Foods You Can Ship to a Friend Right Now
The best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.
Discomforting times call for comfort food -- which just happens to be New England’s specialty. From fried whole-belly clams to clam chowder to whoopie pies, our regional specialties are simple but delicious, reflective of our humble beginnings and our love of locally sourced ingredients. And thanks to some modern packing ingenuity, many of these iconic dishes can now be sent all across the country. Time to spread the love.
Made in New Haven, Connecticut
Zuppardi’s is a legend among Connecticut pizza parlors, its pizza has been celebrated in The New York Times and enshrined in the Pizza Hall of Fame (yes, that’s really a thing). Some background: At the turn of the 20th century, many southern Italian immigrants settled in New Haven, creating an audience for thin-crusted, Neapolitan-style pies. Defining characteristics of the pizza include a chewy, charred crust, an oblong shape, and a relative lack of melted cheese (mozzarella, or “mootz,” is considered a topping rather than a central ingredient). PS: It’s actually called “apizza,” a nod to the dialect of Naples.
Cost: $65-$69 for six pizzas
Made in Portland, Maine
It’s a legendary Maine delicacy from a renowned Portland bakery. The whoopie pie is the official state treat of Maine (though not the official state dessert, which is blueberry pie). But its name is really a misnomer -- it's more of a cake cookie, or maybe a cake sandwich: marshmallow or cream icing encased inside two round mounds of chocolate cake. The Two Fat Cats version is a true delicacy owing to their extra rich chocolate cake and the silky marshmallow buttercream contained within.
Cost: $69 for 12 whoopie pies
Made in Charlestown, Rhode Island
The official drink of Rhode Island, coffee milk predates Red Bull by many decades but offers the same punch: a syrup of caffeine and sugar elevating a simple glass of milk into something indulgent. A family-owned business, Dave’s Coffee cold-brews the best Brazilian beans and then caramelizes them with fresh cane sugar to create an especially potent syrup that also goes great over vanilla ice cream.
Made in Essex, Massachusetts
Far-flung compatriots not familiar with whole-belly clams are in for a singular treat. A far cry from chewy, bland fried clam strips, fried whole bellies are tender and juicy and taste like the sea. As to the origin of the fried clam, well, its creation is largely credited to Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman, the owner of a roadside restaurant in Essex, Massachusetts, who claims to have made his first batch in 1916. This Woodman’s kit lets you recreate the magic at home: simply dip the shucked clams in evaporated milk, coat them in Woodman’s gluten-free batter, and then deep-fry them in the fat of your choosing. (Don’t worry, simple step-by-step instructions are included.)
Made in Kennebunkport, Maine
Ah, the lobster roll -- it’s as iconic a New England summer treat as you can get. And the best ones come from the simplest spots: the tiny, seasonal shacks that dot the region’s shoreline, especially in Maine, the epicenter of New England’s lobster industry. Debates rage endlessly as to who slings the best roll, but The Clam Shack, a seasonal spot that literally hangs over the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport, is a regular award winner and it now ships out DIY kits across the country, with enough ingredients to make either four or eight rolls.
Made in Boston, Massachusetts
New Englanders are passionate about styles of clam chowder -- and more than a bit disdainful of the Manhattan variance (tomato broth? Please.) A classic New England chowder consists of a rich, creamy base densely packed with potatoes, clam broth, and freshly shucked clams. A century-old, family-run business located on Boston’s waterfront, James Hook & Co. makes an award-winning version that it’ll ship across the country, frozen, for doorstep arrival the next day.
Cost: $9 per 18 ounces; $30 for half-gallon
Made in Duxbury, Massachusetts
What better time for family and friends to perfect their shucking skills? Island Creek Oysters is New England’s best-known oyster farm, growing the regional delicacy in the cold waters off of the South Shore. In addition to its own farmed lovelies, Island Creek supports other regional oyster farmers with regular specials -- all shipped overnight directly to your door, with food-safe gel packs keeping them at just the right temperature.
Cost: $75 per 50 count, $95 per 100, $185 per 200
Made in Cranston, Rhode Island
Some years back, a fierce debate raged in Rhode Island’s state government: What should we declare our official state drink? Should it be Del’s frozen lemonade, the iconic slushie that’s been giving Rhode Islanders brain freezes since 1948? Or should it be coffee milk, the state’s one-two punch of caffeine and sugar? The coffee milk caucus won out, but Del’s is still beloved by both locals and visitors, and the DIY kit lets folks quickly whip up a batch in their own kitchen and pretend it's summer.
Made in Boston, Massachusetts
If you’re going to indulge in a Boston cream pie, why not source it from the original inventors? Back in 1856, French-Armenian chef M. Sanzian whipped up this gourmet concoction in the kitchen of the brand-new Parker House Restaurant in downtown Boston. Its name is a misnomer, though, because this is a cake, and a decadent one at that: two layers of sponge cake filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate. Each dessert serves 10-12 people, but a smaller crew is forgiven if they make quick work of it.
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