Best Festive Foodie Gifts for Far Flung Friends & Family – Well, the Christmas lights are being switched on, and with Christmas this year being so dependent on mail order, I thought it opportune to suggest a few foodie gifts that you might think about ordering now to go direct to the recipient. I’ve already covered chocolate gifts in an earlier column, so this week I’m looking at a few different angles to inspire you.
The Boozy gifts:
For the brandy lover, I would eschew France this year and head to Italy. Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Nero brandy not only comes in a beautiful bottle, but it’s widely available and well priced! A fine, luxury, brandy distilled in the traditional method from Trebbiano grapes, it’s smooth, well-rounded with hints of dried fruit, spices and a hint of honey. Widely available at under £30 a bottle, inc. delivery, from Master of Malt, Waitrose Cellar, Amazon.
If you want to send a very special whisky to someone, then look no further than The Dalmore 12-Year-Old Sherry Cask Select. This Highland Single Malt finished in oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks reveal floral, light and refined notes. It’s a truly decadent whisky, full of sweet fruits and autumnal spice. From The Whisky Shop, in-store and online. at around £70.
Cocktail card anyone? If you just want to send a token present or a gift to cheer someone up, try a ‘Cocchi Negroni In A Box’, a portable version of the world’s most iconic cocktail. The winning trio of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, London Dry Gin and Campari follows the traditional recipe. All they need is ice and orange peel to complete this classic cocktail. 100 ml 20.6% ABV- is available nationwide at The Whisky Exchange, Drinks Supermarket and other selected retailers RRP £8.25 / single RRP £39.95 / pack of 5
The ‘Cheesy’ Ones:
A one-off ‘hamper’ – or perhaps a subscription? You can even ‘cheese’ (sic) in the county! For example, Sharpham will supply their Essential Devon Cheese Board, which has five kinds of cheese, including the Devon classics: Sharpham Ticklemore Goat; Quickes Mature Cheddar and Devon Blue, plus a ‘Grader’s Choice’ from both Sharpham and Quickes. All this for under £30 inc delivery. Or you can include some of their excellent wines – check out the website sharpham.com
If Yorkshire is more to your liking, try Shepherd’s Purse – its wonderful ‘Fettle’ and blue cheeses are delicious. You can also send a ‘Kiss & Squeeze’ of fruitcake and cheese or ‘Love Ewe’ a selection of award-winning sheep milk cheese.
But if you want your gift to ‘go down a bomb’, how about sending a bomb? Only joking, but a Truffle Cheese bomb from The Cheese Merchant would be lovely. It’s exclusive to them and £9.95 + next day delivery when ordered before midday (Monday-Thursday). It sounds fabulous and is packed with real black truffles, not truffle oil.
The ‘Hampery’ Ones:
Where does one start? For a very upmarket gift, I’d visit Kings Fine Food for caviar, champagne, smoked salmon and all other sybaritic delights. The company supplies lots of our top restaurants and hotels, so the quality is assured. You can even send Christmas breakfast! A fabulously decadent hamper with champagne, caviar (and mother of pearl spoons to sup it with), smoked salmon, coffee and marmalade – all presented in a stylish hatbox. £125, for a very special and indulgent start to the festivities.
Another excellent company is Barbury Hill, a brand-new online shop, offering UK nationwide delivery; that brings together the very best of independent food and drink producers, not readily available from the high street. And of course, now, more than ever, we should be supporting small and British, and Barbury Hill’s carefully chosen products are ideal for discerning foodies.
If preserves are more to your liking, then The Cherry Tree will be your answer. They offer free UK delivery on orders over £30 too. You name it, you’ll find it, and there are fun stocking filler/Secret Santa ‘Tube to Go’ stacks of taster jars too in all manner of categories from Curry to Sweet or Savoury. You could even send a ‘Ploughman’s’ lunch! (the chutneys are excellent) cherrytreepreserves.co.uk
For younger family members you could look at Little Cooks a monthly subscription-based recipe kit that’s posted through the letterbox, direct to kids, in a neat 100% recyclable box with compostable packaging. The box is packed with all the natural and healthy dry ingredients of that month’s delicious recipe for kids to bake in the home. Little Cooks Co is a great for parents, grandparents etc. to give to children this Christmas. There is also a giving back element; Every box bought pays for a vulnerable schoolchild in the UK to receive a healthy breakfast through its partnership with the charity Magic Breakfast.
A brining kit from the UK’s only World BBQ Champion makes a unique gift. Jackie Weight runs BBQ Workshop and also produces a fabulous range of rubs for meat and poultry. Her brining recipe’s legendary and you can now buy it in kit form for just £6.99, but while you’re at it you’ll probably want to add her gift pack of four essential BBQ rubs too or perhaps go the whole hog and send a voucher for one of her BBQ workshops – something to look forward to after our winter of discontent!
And talking of something to look forward to, most good restaurants and hotels will be delighted to sell you a voucher to be redeemed in 2021. Our hospitality industry has had such a hard time of late; it’s good to support them, even if you aren’t ‘allowed’ to dine there at the moment with folk from outside your household!
Hopefully, these suggestions have given you some food for thought. I would, though, urge you to check last order dates to ensure Christmas delivery.