Edible gift baskets are thought to be a dying art form. Popular back in the 1970s, it was the gift people sent to their bosses and in-laws for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. Throw a bunch of fruit in a basket, maybe a bottle of wine, box of crackers, some weird smelling cheeses and meats, seal it up with a plaid bow and voila—another check on the gift giving list. As lame as they were, at the very least they were a presentation of effort and the contents held some flavorful mystery for the receiver. But times have changed, and fortunately, so have gift baskets. From carved fruit flowers and gourmet nuts to a whole bunch of assorted beer, today’s edible gift baskets are limited only by the imagination. Sure, you can still get the smelly cheese and meat one if you want, but check out these top five places in LA for edible gift baskets first, whether it’s for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift, or just a simple “thank you.”

Store hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed on Sundays

Irresistible, slow roasted, caramelized pecans drizzled with white, dark or milk chocolate and an option for cinnamon is the specialty at Antonia’s Nuts. Whether in a gift basket or party platter, send little pieces of heaven with these delicious gems. Stop in the store for samples and to check out Antonia’s other confections like chocolate almond bark, chocolate covered pretzels or caramel-filled chocolate lollipops. Call to request a catalog or to find out when Antonia’s nut truck will be giving out free samples in your area.

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Store hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

(credit: harryanddavid.com)

Harry and David are two guys that know goodies. From fruits and nuts to cookies and moose munch, amazing gift baskets and towers start at just $30. Customers can custom build their arrangements with an assortment of fresh baked goods like cheese cake, Baklava, cookies, brownies and chocolate covered treats, or go traditional with an array of fruits, cheese and crackers. Regardless of choice, the desserts are scrumptious, the fruits are luscious and everything is guaranteed to be fresh. Build a basket online from the comfort of home or stop in one of Harry and David’s many locations. After seeing all that they have to offer, you’ll consider sending one to yourself, too.

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Store hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

You’ve seen the commercials but with more than a dozen stores in Los Angeles, see these quirky arrangements in person. Whether it is pineapple daisies or chocolate covered melon balls, the sales people will help design a “bouquet” to satisfy whatever fruit fix you crave. Gift boxes of chocolate covered bananas, strawberries and apples start at just $25. Assorted flower fruit arrangements start at $35. Whether it’s a cozy fruit bouquet for two or a fruit feast for a room full of people, Edible Arrangements is the way to go.

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Related: Best dessert trucks in Los Angeles.  

Hours: Sun-Thurs: 9 a.m  – 10 p.m.; Fri 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sat 6:30 p.m. – midnight

Those who know someone with a serious sweet tooth should check out Munchies. Known as L.A.’s number one candy shop and distributor, Munchies has the largest variety of jelly beans, bubble gums, sours, suckers, chocolate koppers, truffles and more. If you need an arrangement, stop in before 6 p.m. for a personal shopping assistant to go around the store to help select the perfect items for your gift basket. The starting price is $50. Initially, it seems impossible to choose fifty bucks worth of candy, but once you walk in the door you’ll be lucky if that’s all you spend.

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Store hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sundays: Closed

(credit: fancifullgiftbaskets.com)

If you like the idea of giving a gift basket but aren’t keen on the conventionality of it, Fancifull Gift Baskets can help. Filled with real food and unusual finds, Fancifull Gift Baskets has a basket for everyone on your list. From an assorted beer basket with all the trimmings to a vegetarian’s delight to a caffeine fiend’s dream come true. Fancifull Gift Baskets has also incorporated the slow food movement into its artisan baskets by using all natural and organic products. Also find gourmet chocolates, pecan meltaways, cookies, and of course wine, crackers and some weird smelling cheeses and meats for your plan B.

Related: Best chocolate in Los Angeles. 

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Kristine G. Bottone is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/la-bartender-in-los-angeles/kristine-g-bottone