Christmas gift guide: food & drink
For fine foodies, greedy gobblers, gin-drinkers and sugar-heads alike, this is the ultimate 2021 food and drink gift guide. The turkey isn't the only thing that'll be stuffed this Christmas...
Ho, Ho, Hic!
James Bond-types, cocktail fiends and purists will all love the iconic Mermaid Gin’s sibling and fellow IWSC-Gold award-winning Mermaid Salt Vodka. Made by the Isle of Wight Distillery, it’s shot through with a pinch of locally sourced sea salt and makes a brilliant classic dirty martini. Chin, chin.
THE REAL DEAL
Award-winning charcuterie through the letterbox. Are you in or are you in? We’re talking Sloe & Garlic Wild Venison Salami, Wild Venison Chorizo, Pink Peppercorn & Cider Salami, Hartgrove Coppa and Dorset Bresaola – all free range British, and all traditionally smoked, cured and air dried by Dorset’s The Real Cure. Oh, and they’re gluten free too.
Naughty (but nice!)
Ready for a bit of fancy drink description? Here goes! The scent of freshly stoked embers rises up from this non-alcoholic Amber Digestif, with notes of toffee followed by smoke and spice. Just the thing to gently warm the soul – and it’s brewed, fermented and infused in Cornwall by High Point Drinks. How was that?! One for the drivers, the parents, and anyone who wants a clear head.
Mint Aero chocolate brownies, Nutella blondies, Jammie Dodger Muffins and mouth-watering nine inch cookies! Have we got you drooling yet? Send someone a decadent slice of the Cotswolds with a delivery from the award-winning Worcs-based Cotswold Larder.
Is it brie you’re looking for?
Take it cheesy this Christmas with one of the Cambridge Cheese Company’s brie-lliant gift selections. Will you choose the French fromage box with saucisson, cornichons and sour cherry jam, or the British collection with Hebridean blue, Cheddar Gorge cheese straws, and pickled pears? Decisions, decisions.
Here’s a gift with a difference: all you have to do is gather some friends (up to 8 people in total) and agree to treat yourselves. Then head to the countryside to enjoy a luxurious, chauffeur-driven weekend in the Wine Garden of England. Five of Kent’s most beautiful wineries, delicious English wines, home-grown produce sampled at award-winning restaurants… oh, and 4 & 5-star accommodation. Life’s tough, eh?
From £1859 per person
It might be an acquired taste, but if you know a fan of this savoury South African snack they’ll be delighted. Produced in Bedfordshire, this artisanal small batch Biltong is entirely made from prime cuts of Silverside Red Tractor British beef. The hamper includes three bags in your choice of Original, Garlic, BBQ, Peri Peri, Chilli or Droewors — and they even throw in some candy canes and chocolates. Hey, it is Christmas.
Show some spirit
Every bottle of the Silverstone Distillery’s Smoked Wild Apple Vodka, Oak Rested Gin, and Military Spirit Gin is carefully distilled and bottled on site in Northants. The sleek bottles make gorgeous standalone gifts but, if you’re really out to impress, opt for the Founder’s Club Membership to get your loved one their name on the distillery wall (plus loads of other brilliant benefits including pre-release booze for life. Where do we sign?).
Sweet enough to eat
We’re loving these cute, personalised festive jumper biscuits from The Kitsch Hen, all handmade in Rutland using local organic ingredients. There’s a whole festive collection to choose from and they’re perfect to put under the Christmas tree or send to a loved one (or gobble yourself).
Take it sloe
For the ultimate festive spirit, you can’t beat a traditional English sloe gin. At the Wessex Distillery in Surrey, sloe berries are sourced from the English countryside and distilled in small batches in their craft copper still (called Toby, naturally) before being patiently nurtured for six months to create this gorgeous red drink. It’s smooth and pleasantly sweet, with subtle hints of almond. Ooh la la.
This Pinney’s of Orford Suffolk Hamper is packed full of delicious goodies from some of our fave Suffolk producers, including Pinney’s own smoked salmon and mackerel fillets, Stokes Sauces and Fen Farm Dairy’s creamy Baron Bigod. The ultimate crowd-pleaser hamper.
The Aldwick Estate in Redhill north Somerset has been in the same family for five generations, and they’ve been making award-winning wine – 4.59 hectares of vines and six varieties of grape – since 2008. Might as well try the lot with a mixed case, eh? All vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
Is there anything more delightful than toasting a marshmallow on a cold winter night? Well, yes. The Naked Marshmallow Company Chocolate Lovers Gift Set courtesy of Wiltshire boutique Iris and Olive not only includes tasty vanilla bean and chocolate orange marshmallows, but also has a chocolate orange caramel dipping sauce to dunk your gooey treats into. Oh, and a marshmallow toaster! The future really is now.
Do not adjust your sets – Sharpham’s Showcase Hamper really is under £100, for all this delicious Devon-made booty, including the lovely wicker basket, award-winning wines, handmade cheese and crispy local crackers and chutneys with which to scoff ’em. Buy one. No, buy three! (we’ll text you our address).
Like a fine wine
The bottle shop and wine bar Wee Vinoteca in Herts REALLY knows its stuff when it comes to vino — just head to one of its fab tasting nights or courses if you want proof! For gifts, we love the Wine Subscription. Sommelier Duncan handpicks wines based on the recipient’s taste and sends them off with tasting cards, food pairing suggestions, and producer’s notes. Sure to impress those with a nose for the good stuff.
£75 for two months
Fiiiive go-old gins!
Why settle for one bottle of gin when you could have five? The logic checks out. Gift the gin-fiend in your life these mini gin bottles from the Bond Street Distillery in Hinckley, and feel smug for Christmas gifting success. (Our fave flavour is the Raspberry Gin).
One for your one true foodie love – this deluxe hamper from Cornish foragers Bello is full of enticing and intriguing treats. Seaweed vinegar, pine oil, sea buckthorn fudge… you won’t find this stuff in Aldi! The products are all picked and produced by Chris and his team of commercial foragers.
Rum’s the word
Rum’s made in the Caribbean, right? In this case, wrong! Rockfall Rum is made in Buckinghamshire – and this moreish spiced rum is an ideal addition to someone’s drinks cabinet, bringing a bit of flair to long winter nights in front of the fire.
A right royal treat
There’s nothing like a hamper filled with goodies at Christmas, and Bakers & Larners of Holt has really upped its luxury hamper game this season. There are gluten-free and vegan options, as well as local Norfolk luxuries, but our beady eye is set firmly on The Regal, stuffed to the brim with Champagne, gin, wine, savoury nibbles and sweet treats. That should last until, er, New Year at least.
We three gins
A festive selection of G&H Spirits multi award-winning Initial Gin range, based in Steyning, Sussex with matching mixers (and the cutest woolly hats) comes with a reusable mini jute gift bag.
Gin up, buddy
This single-shot sipping gin by The Henley Distillery is made in traditional copper alembic stills in an 18th century Oxfordshire barn. It’s gently treated, retaining the botanical flavours and essential oils, before being hand-poured into bottles — essentially, it’s really rather swanky. Make someone’s Christmas very merry with the classic, Oriental spiced, or rhubarb and orange flavours.
Treat loved ones to a tasty treat from Tiptree this Christmas – the famed Essex fruit-farm company beloved for its mouth-watering jams and botanical gins. We’re rather fond of its festive Bus Tin gift set, which includes Tiptree English Breakfast Tea Bags, All Butter Shortbread Biscuits and six miniature Tiptree Preserves. Hop aboard!
Make even the dullest chopping task raise a smile. Berkshire-based Hugo’s Workshop creates quality oak boards that can be personalised with your kids’ handwriting, special dates, or fun sayings. A brilliant gift for the foodie who has everything.
Inspired by the Cotswolds countryside, this delicious artisan gin was launched by friends David and James after the pandemic put a stop to their global travels. It’s made in small batches on a family farm near Cheltenham and has a zingy, lemony-citrus base, with juniper and verbena notes. Oh, and at 40% ABV it’s the perfect way to get a party started! We like it sloshed over ice with tonic and a wedge of lime.
What’s better than receiving a hamper jam-packed with delicious goodies? We love this one from The Farm Stratford in Warks (who are Muddy award winners too, don’tcha know?). It’s stacked with treats: obligatory Prosecco, everything you need for a blow-your-socks-off cheeseboard, local honey, chocolate, macaroons, and heaps more. We’ll take two.
Treat the foodie in your life to this delicious box of culinary delights courtesy of Wiltshire-based charcuterie company Truffle & Thyme. The hamper includes everything you need for a cosy night in, including artisan cheese, tasty ham, juicy olives and mini chutneys, along with all the crispbreads and biscuits you could need…
Sparkle and shine
One for the connoisseurs, this newly-released RB45 Blanc de Blancs from Hampshire’s Exton Park vineyard blends 45 reserve wines from the estate’s impressive 10 year library. Fine bubbles, fresh, well-balanced and full of flavour, it’s a brilliant example of next-gen English sparkling wines, and worthy of anyone’s festive table.
Don’t Worry, Bee Happy
We’re buzzing about this gorgeous hamper from Windsor-based Oakdale Bees. Luxurious, useful, and helps save the bees. Each hamper contains a jar of Oakdale raw honey, a pair of decorative Christmas tree beeswax candles, Beevitalise ‘Restore’ natural polish, a pair of beeswax mini skep candles in a jute bag, RHS approved wild meadow seeds, and nourishing pet paw and nose cream. No sting in this tail!