We’ve been eating turkey and testing cheese since September. We’re now quite confident that we’ve found the very best food and drink for Christmas 2018. All of these hampers and products impressed us, either by the quality of the ingredients, the value for money or the simple decadence. Without further ado the best gifts for foodies are…
OMG Matcha Tea
Starting small, I’ve been researching Matcha since I chatted to Willie Harcourt-Cooze about his matcha bar. He is an expert and only buys the highest grade matcha (which is eye wateringly expensive) for his single estate bean to bar chocolate. So, I thought I’d try this product on him. There are so many matcha companies opening up right now, and we in the UK know so little about it that it would be easy for one to flog us tea that’s less than superior quality. Willie liked it, and that’s good enough for me. It also comes with a traditional bamboo whisk for matcha.
The Spice Pioneer Spice Boxes
The Spice Pioneer spice boxes caught our eye as they fit neatly through a letterbox. They have generously sized spices for creating a range of dishes from around the world. A great gift for a cook.
Cartwright and Butler Hamper
Cartwright and Butler have been growing before our very eyes. Last year we reviewed their biscuits and fudge when we’d never heard of them before. This year we were lucky enough to test out a full hamper and it didn’t disappoint. We’ve seen them pop up in many independent shops, such as garden centres and delicatessens, and we’re glad they’re more accessible as the products are delicious. Treat someone you know to a hamper that will introduce them to this incredible brand.
The Biscuiteers – The Snowman and Nutcracker
These are stunning boxes of biscuits based on magical performances and a must for any gathering at Christmas. You won’t want to give these away. They’re expertly iced and come in an enchanting gifting box that is absolutely delightful. If you dare to bite them you’ll find they also taste delicious.
Godminster Cheese After Dinner Port Gift Set
Godminster know a thing or two about cheese and their After Dinner Port Gift Set celebrates this. It’s ideal for those who are not too adventurous with cheese but adore it all the same, as it comes with generously sized truckles and a good glug of high quality port. We love it.
Gin Lane 1751 Victoria Pink Gin
Pink gin is everywhere! Why is this one so different? A few reasons. The bottle is gorgeous, the taste is divine, it’s the perfect present for gin lovers at Christmas. Traditional and classic, this is a bottle you’ll be proud to have on show in your drinks cabinet.
We normally go to a local farm for our turkey. One year we actually raised our own, but then had to buy a Bernard Matthews frozen turkey from the Spar as no one had the guts to eat our pets when they were put on the table. (They didn’t go to waste, we did have a taste of one before passing the others onto family members). The point is, we’ve tasted the absolute best and arguably the worst. This Tesco Norfolk turkey sits somewhere at the top. Very plump but not artificially so, extremely fresh and super delicious. It was also moist, but that may be my secret way of cooking it. I think we’ll be buying our turkey from Tesco from now on.
Tesco Beef Rib Joint
Alongside the turkey we also tested a beef rib joint that was a real show stopper at the kitchen table. Affordably priced this tasted like the highest grade meat and we’ll be buying another for Boxing Day because that’s how much we liked it.
British Herb Kitchen Box
A comforting aroma of lemon verbena filled my kitchen as I opened the British Herb Kitchen Box, and immediately, even though it was the middle of winter, I found myself basking in the freshness of it all. You may think a subscription box for herbs doesn’t have a lot of scope, but this box has taken everything that’s glorious about British herbs and crafted the freshest plants into the most delicious produce. It would be an absolute pleasure to receive this every month, and the lemon verbena is still going strong on my kitchen windowsill!
Joule by Chefsteps
Joule is the smallest at-home consumer sous vide tool on the market, and would make the perfect gift for the foodie in your life. With sous vide cooking once seen only on Masterchef, and as a cookery technique used only in professional kitchens, Joule is ensuring that any keen chef can create perfect results at home, every time. Simply download the Joule app and choose form a wide variety of recipes, before popping the ingredients into a plastic bag in a pot of water, and then let Joule do the rest. It’s ideal for creating those warming winter dishes everyone craves in January/February, but of course is also a whizz at whipping up a whole host of other dishes that are perfect for all seasons – press release attached and sample available upon request.
CafePod Supercharger Coffee
The CafePod Supercharger coffee is not for the feint hearted. It’s strong and it packs a punch. Ideal for any coffee addict.
Gnaw liquer Hot Chocolate Shots
These alcoholic hot chocolate shots are ideal for a warm tipple on a cold Christmas Day. We will enjoy them on Christmas Eve, as they’re creamy and come in a range of flavours, our favourite being the amaretto. These would make an ideal secret santa gift or stocking filler for an adult.
Grasmere Classic Christmas Essentials
The Grasmere Christmas Essentials box is not like other essentials boxes. Usually, when something labelled as essential it’s no frills, and the very basic ingredients. We were overwhelmed by how generous this box was, with streaky bacon, chipolata sausages, sausage meat for stuffing and even a joint of gammon. It’s the perfect hamper for the cook this Christmas, whether that’s you or someone else. It helps that everything tastes absolutely delicious, and there’s no water when cooking, unlike some streaky bacons. This is the real deal.
Cranstons Eden Luxury Crate
The Cranstons Eden Luxury Crate has a decadent treat for everyone. With the best jam, toffees, truffles and crackers, it is a fully packed hamper that’s sure to feel luxurious at Christmas time. Buy for yourself to ensure you have all the luxuries you need for guests in your pantry, or treat someone special with a gift they can enjoy for long after Christmas.
El Grande Hamper from Willie’s Cacao
I’ll admit it. I work for Willie’s Cacao and with Willie Harcourt-Cooze, it’s my other job as head of marketing and PR. However that’s not why I’m including the El Grande hamper, I’m including it as, even though I work there, I’d still be delighted to receive this for Christmas. Not only does it include the best single estate bean to bar chocolate in a variety of flavours it also includes special products that Willie himself has made on the glorious antique machines in the factory. He used to just make these for family and friends but made a little too much. You can try the award winning hot chocolate, the cocoa nibs, the beautiful hazelnut chocolate spread and you’ll feel great as there are no nasty additives, no excess sugar, no unnatural flavourings, nothing nasty at all. In fact most of the chocolate is made with just a couple of ingredients, cocoa beans and natural raw cane sugar. Even so, each bar tastes different, as like fine wines, there are different flavour notes according to which bean is used, and which specific farm they came from. Willie grows a lot of his own cocoa on his farm in Venezuela, and his passion for creating REAL chocolate is obvious in every nibble. This is chocolate that’s good for you without being stuffed with sweeteners and emulsifiers to make it lower fat. It also has no vanilla hiding the taste of real chocolate.
The Cheese Geek
The Cheese Geek subscription box would make a wonderful gift for a cheese lover, as it comes with a wide array of cheeses to try. Some are a little more elusive, and will be new to anyone’s palette however the tasting notes and the score card ensure you have all the information you need to try. This made for a very interesting cheese board. The only part I wasn’t keen on was the expiry date of the cheese, it was recommended that it be discarded after 7 days. This is quite a short time frame especially for the stronger cheeses, even so, it would make a lovely gift as long as it’s delivered directly to the recipient and opened on receipt.
First 4 Hampers Christmas Eve Box
The Christmas Eve Box from First 4 Hampers is a beautiful family box that gives you everything you need to nibble and drink as you warm by the fire after looking for Santa in the sky and feeding the reindeer. From hot chocolate to biscuits, this will be a welcome addition to any family Christmas and the children will adore it. Tell them the elves brought it!
Emma Bridgewater Gravy Jug
This half pint jug is fabulously festive and sure to bring a touch of class to the dinner table. It’s generous in size without being too overbearing, so perfect for bread sauce and accompaniments. We love it and believe you’ll love bringing it out year after year.