13. Prime rib
> Estimated price per pound: $16.37
> Estimated price per package: $79.95 for 1 prime rib roast
People tend to save prime rib for special occasions, such as the holidays. It’s not cheap, and it has an unmistakable rich beef flavor. It’s also not common — less than 2% of all beef in the country is classified as prime. The general rule is that one rib bone will feed two people, so if you host eight people, you probably need a four-rib roast.
12. Peppermint bark
> Estimated price per pound: $22.38
> Estimated price per package: $23.16 for 1 package
This chocolate confection, which generally appears once a year, around Christmas, is many people’s favorite. What’s not to like? It’s basically chocolate and candy canes fused together in sheet form. You can find it made with custom-blended Guittard chocolate and triple-distilled oil of peppermint or with added flakes of sea salt. The dessert is sold in different quantities. Small tins are usually about 11 oz., contain six pieces, and cost around $20.
11. Prosciutto di San Daniele
> Estimated price per pound: $22.48
> Estimated price per package: $22.99 each
This dry-cured, uncooked ham, usually thin-sliced, is a delicious appetizer during holiday parties. Lesser known than the popular prosciutto di Parma, it is also sweeter and slightly less salty. The way it’s made has not changed for centuries — using only meat from pigs bred in one of ten regions of north-central Italy, sea salt, and fresh air. The microclimate of San Daniele, in Italy’s Friuli region, is ideal for curing the ham because of its salty sea breezes and low humidity. The ham contains no additives, no preservatives, and very little fat.
10. Assorted Christmas cookies
> Estimated price per pound: $24.40
> Estimated price per package: $20 for 1 tin
Now is the time for cookies galore.The tradition of cookies around the holidays goes back centuries when people celebrated the changing of the seasons from fall to winter. Festivities centered around food, celebrating a time of plenty before the privations of winter. Even when the Christmas holiday replaced many solstice rituals, some old food traditions continued and a bounty of desserts was added to the table. Today, cookies are often shared and used as gifts, too.
9. Yule log
> Estimated price per pound: $24.72
> Estimated price per package: $39.99 for 1 cake
A chocolate bûche de Noël, French for “yule log,” is a popular Christmas dessert consisting of rolled, filled sponge cake frosted with chocolate buttercream. Bakers in Paris made the cake popular in the 19th century. The tradition of the real Yule Log (as opposed to the pastry) pre-dates medieval times when people in Scandinavia and northern Europe used it to welcome the winter solstice. They burned a log to cleanse the air of whatever bad happened during the year. The ashes were treasured because they were believed to have medicinal benefits and protect against evil.