Christmas Food & Drink Guide
Welcome to my Christmas gift guide - I am excited to share with you a range of food & drink plus some other more unusual foodie related products to help you with you Christmas shopping.
Features press samples
If you are just looking for something small to send through the post this year - how about one of these from Shroot.
Greens & Greetings are a card, envelope and plant pot in one, perfect for growing tasty edible micro greens. A neat idea that contains everything the recipient needs to grow their own frilly pea shoots.
Where to buy: Shroot
A small but dedicated team run The Glasshouses Nursery in rural Sussex offering slightly different gifts that includes over 100 different fruiting or flowering plants.
I absolutely love the idea of sending plants through the post to friends and family that you can't be with at Christmas, but how about sending vines and a beautiful bottle of wine to a loved one - the gift that keeps on giving.
Where to buy: Plants4Presents
Of course when it comes to Christmas our house could never be without a selection of chocolates and these are a firm favourite.
Where to buy: Major supermarkets & Online: Guylian Chocolates are available to order online for home delivery from all the major supermarkets, Ocado and a host of specialist online retailers including Moonpig.
Convenience Stores: Perfect for the last-minute dash or for those who don’t want to travel far from their front door, you’ll find a great choice of Guylian Sea Shells, Guylian Sea Horses, Guylian Temptation pouches and Guylian Chocolate Bars at a range of convenience stores including Co-op, Budgens, Londis and Spar.
High Street Stores: Doing some of your Christmas shop at the likes of B&M, Wilkinson, Home Bargains, Superdrug, The Range, Poundland or TKMaxx? Choose from a specially selected range for great value gifts and stocking fillers.
Guylian Praline Sea Shells 250g box RSP £5 or 375g box RSP £7.00
Guylian Belgian Deluxe Assortment 369g RSP £11.00
Guylian Temptations 323g RSP £4.00
Ahmad Tea have been working in collaboration with Kew Gardens to create these beautiful botanical themed tins filled with their range of teas. Wouldn't they make fab gifts either on their own or as part of a hamper.
Majestic Breakfast - A jewel in the British tea crown, this rich and malty blend balances Kenyan and Ceylon teas with second flush Assam leaves for a bold, full bodied brew. Best served with a splash of milk.
Splendid Ceylon - Teas from high elevations give the brew its bright colour and deep flavour, whilst the medium grown teas add a citrussy freshness for a refreshing and lively finish. Serve with a slice of lemon for a classic Ceylon experience.
Garden Afternoon - An elegant and uplifting blend, this delectable brew is the perfect partner for afternoon tea. A blend of Assam, Kenyan and Ceylon teas, with a hint of bergamot, provides an uplifting floral finish.
Elegant Earl Grey - Soothing and exotic, this refined Earl Grey balances teas from Ceylon and India. A touch of bergamot adds an exotic fragrance to lift the tea’s citrussy notes. Served with lemon or a splash of milk, this soothing brew is perfect at any time of the day.
Where to buy: AhmadTea.com shop.kew.org
When it comes to Christmas treats for your pets Lily's Kitchen has some lovely advent calendars and festive treats for dogs and cats.
Royal warrant holder and suppliers of natural proper food for pets to HRH The Prince of Wales, the business was founded by Henrietta Morrision & her Border Terrior Lily.
To kick off the celebrations, treat your four-legged friend to their very own advent calendar. Generously filled with a selection of delicious treats, including Rise and Shines and the famous Bedtime Biscuits, pets and pet parents can countdown to Christmas together.
Come Christmas Day, there is even more excitement in store as owners can build a stocking full to the brim with an array of festive treats that every pet will want to get their paws on! And with the Lily’s Kitchen Three Bird Feast with all the trimmings for woofers, and Turkey and Ham Paté for cats, there is no need for our four-legged friends to miss out on the most coveted meal of the year.
Where to buy: All the festive recipes are available from from www.lilyskitchen.co.uk, Pets at Home, independent pets stores and online retailers.
Dorset producer Black Cow known for their milk vodka and quality cheese, have once again produced a limited number of their Christmas Spirit, literally all the ingredients of Christmas pudding, macerated in Black Cow Vodka - delicious, note: it's also now the proud holder of the IWSC gold label. Last year I was lucky to find a bottle last minute bottle in a local store - don't make the same mistake, order now, once it's gone its gone.
Drink with champagne and a twist of orange or with warmed cloudy apple juice.
Where to buy: www.blackcow.co.uk
Produced just a few minutes from my house in Christchurch, Dorset it is always a pleasure to recommend this brand for your Christmas cocktail cabinet.
Pothecary produce several gins all available from the Pothecary website along with some specially designed cocktail kits for the season.
Sicilian Blend & Cinnamon twist
At this time of year when we are all less likely to want lots of ice, distiller Martin Jennings suggests making a hot G & Tea with his Sicilian Blend. All you need is your teacup some Chamomile Tea and a slice of orange to garnish - its delicious!
Hot G & Tea
200ml Chamomile Tea
25ml Cinnamon Twist Gin
A little sugar to taste
a fresh slice of orange to garnish
Where to buy: www.pothecarygin.co.uk
Not an edible item but when you read that these beautiful wax melts are made from coconut and rapeseed and the Spiced Pumpkin melt is infused with nutmeg, orange, lemon, ginger, clove, caramel, vanilla and tonka you can see why I've included them. They are made in the UK and make great gifts.
Each wax melt has approx 15 hours of diffusion time they come in a soft cotton bag in a black cardboard tube.
No paraffin, no soy, no beeswax.
Coconut and Rapeseed only
Where to buy: www.yuugen.co.uk
If your present list requires something spicy...
Chilli No. 5 offers some really tasty gourmet chilli sauces, four gift set collections; The Dining Collection, Celebration, The BBQ Collection, and The Kitchen Collection.
The Kitchen, Celebration and BBQ Collections each contain five hot sauces, while the Dining Collection includes 10 hot sauces. All of the chilli-licious sauces come in sleek tasting bottles and are packaged in elegant black gift boxes.
Head to their website where you will find prices for the British-made hot sauces start from just £10 per bottle.
Where to buy: Chilli No.5
Dorset Sea Salt has come a long way since it was founded by Jethro in 2017, although it still continues to preserve some of the traditional methods of the sea salt industry. With an amazing range of flavours to choose from one of their award winning gift sets would make a wonderful gift for the chef in your house or a welcome addition to a hamper.
Recently tv chef John Torode made a Margarita using the Beetroot flavour, now that's an idea for your Christmas party!
Where to buy: Dorset Sea Salt - Coop
Mitch Tonks founder of Rockfish restaurants launched his 6th cook book back in the May, it's full of wonderful photographs and accessible recipes and would make a great gift. Click on the link below to buy online or pop into one of the restaurants to collect your copy.
Rockfish tinned seafood is something new on the market and being sourced directly from our fisherman on the South Coast of England it is definitely something we should be supporting.
Harvested and preserved in peak condition our local fish is cooked, marinated and preserved in sauces, & oils for you to enjoy at your convenience.
Where to buy: Cookbook and Tinned Fish
Another local brand - this time produced in Hampshire using the infamous Isle of Wight tomatoes.
Choose from Pure, Lively or Fiesty
Make sure you have these in your store cupboard at Christmas they are perfect as a non-alcoholic drink or mocktail but my personal favourite is in a Bloody Mary.
Where to buy: Turner Hardy & Co Sainsburys -Coop
Advent Calendar alert
If you fancy a Popcorn Shed Advent calendar this Christmas then it's time to get shopping with only 3 weeks before the first window pops, you don't want to miss the boat.
Popcorn Shed have 60 product lines in their range meaning you will be spoilt for choice, but one of my favourites is the letter box popcorn that easily arrives on your relatives doormat even if you can't be with them.
Where to buy: Popcorn Shed Ocado - Waitrose - Harrods - Amazon
If pink gin is your thing, try this one, it is produced in one of favourite holiday spots, Devon.
Salcombe Gin - Rosé Sainte Marie is one of only two 'pink' gins in the world to have been awarded Double Gold at the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition.
Available in 70cl, 5cl and a range of gifts, 41.4% ABV
If you are looking for a non alcoholic gin alternative (no judgement) the brand has developed 'New London Light' worth a look.
Where to buy: local stockist Haywood Wines Salcombe Gin
Local business Yarty Cordials produce a range of vinegars, and oils that deserve a place on your Christmas table with all those salads, cold meats and cheeses and their cordials are perfect for those moments when you need something refreshing that doesn't involve alcohol.
Where to buy: online at Yarty
On a practical note everyone needs tea towels and they make really cute gifts, my son requested some for his touring van. These are available from Home Landing who really do have just about any type of tea towel you could ever want including some really delightful Christmas inspired designs.
Where to buy: Home Landing
This post is a shout out for a local wine shop that stocks over 700 wines and 100 gins, if you are Christchurch based pop in for a chat with owner Graham who will be able to guide you on special purchases for the festive season or just a really nice bottle for every day.
Where to buy: Bonafide Wines
You had me at the name! I'd like to say this would make a great gift for kids that enjoy baking and something they can make for their furry friends but there is no doubt my labradoodle will be getting some of them during the holiday season and I am old enough to be a grandma and anyway he deserves it.
For all your pet products head to Sniffe & Likkit they have a huge range of products that include:
On the go
Where to buy: Sniffe & Likkit
Everyone needs cheese at Christmas. Based in Cranborne, Dorset you must have heard of Book & Bucket Cheese Company but if for some unknown reason you haven't then you need to go and source yourself a supply for Christmas. With 9 regular sheep's milk cheeses and 7 cow's milk and a number of limited edition cheeses you will be spoilt for choice, all the milk used is sourced locally, collected within 24 hours of being milked and made into cheese the same day.
Whilst I thoroughly recommend you buy some Book and Bucket cheese I must also congratulate them once again for recently winning a GOLD award for Shakespeare (a brie type cheese) at this year's World Cheese Awards.
Try any good farm shop/deli - stockist list on their website, the festive hampers look amazing.
Where to buy: Book & Bucket Cheese Company or my closest Parlourmentary The Westbourne Grocer
GINgle Balls - a genius idea by HMS Spirits, head to the website pronto if you want these hanging on your tree this Christmas.
Ben Maguire founder of HMS Spirits now has 3 gins to his name, although I confess the Flagship, Mary Rose is still my favourite.
Mary Rose gin
I've heard whispers there may be a rum and vodka on the shelves very soon, sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know. Personally I have loved watching this business grow, including the horse box and container conversion videos and of course a big thank you to Ben for the cocktail making videos throughout lockdown that kept us all sane, if not sober.
Where to buy: HMS Spirits
Merchant Gourmet have taken the hard work out of combining grains and flavours in these neat little pouches. With 20% of Brits looking to serve an entirely plant-based Christmas dinner, the latest Merchant Gourmet addition is the perfect alternative for those looking to recreate family favourites such as stuffing balls, winter wellingtons and warming stews. Packed full of seasonal spices and plant-powered protein, the ready-to-eat pouch provides a simple yet nutritious, plant-based solution that delivers on taste.
The limited-edition pouch combines a unique blend of pearl barley and wild rice with chestnuts and cranberries for a hearty texture and comforting seasonal twist. A warming blend of festive herbs and spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme, give the grains a perfect blend of sweet and savoury.
Where to buy: Ocada, Waitrose, Morrisons Sainsbury's
Look out for this brand in particular Opies Fruits with Alcohol range that will make a lovely addition to the Christmas food shop or a tasty gift. I've got plans to have mine with a Jamie Olivers eggless chocolate cake but they would jazz up any dessert.
Opies Pineapple with Luxardo Spiced Rum
Opies Peaches with Courvoisier
Black Cherries with Kirsch
Baby Pears with Amaretto
Red Berries with Pink Gin
Apricots with Dark Rum
No Boxing Day feast would be complete without cold meats, cheeses and pickles, my dad always buys these pickled walnuts and stem ginger, it's a Christmas tradition in our house,
you can find them in the Pickled Vegetable or Home Baking aisle.
Where to buy: Ocado, Morrisons, Waitrose, Tesco, Booths & Nisa
Two other books I would recommend as great presents include firstly, the recipe book created by Hospitality Action a charity that has supported the hospitality industry in the UK for nearly 200 years.
More than 50 chefs provided their favourite home cooked recipes during the lockdown of 2020. The recipes are genuinely the food created in their homes during the pandemic when the restaurants were closed, nothing fussy or too difficult to replicate. There is something for everyone with a real mix of cuisines, ingredients and techniques.
When I first received my copy I admired the photography but was slightly confused by the fact some recipes had illustrations instead. It turns out that this was the affect of Covid when lockdown prevented the photographer travelling. I'm glad they left it this way it reminds you how difficult a time it was.
The last few pages of the book lists the contributors and some background information about them some I knew and some it was interesting to find out more, the back cover depicts portraits of the chefs.
All royalties from the book will be donated to Hospitality Action another reason to purchase.
Where to buy: Hospitality Action
Book two is the The Noodle Cook Book created by local entrepreneur Damien Lee who sadly passed away in January 2021. When Damien was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma he realised he needed to eat better but still craved his favourite snack - instant noodles.
So, Damien launched Mr Lee's Noodles (@mrleespurefoods), bringing healthy and sustainable instant noodles in a pot without the 'nasties' to the public.
The book starts with the basics - types of noodles, their description when to use and taste and texture. There are over 100 recipes each can be created in 30 minutes or less so the ideal book for busy households you just need to stock up on essentials.
Where to buy: The book can be purchased from major bookstores for £15.99 but if you order via the website use code COOK30 for 30% discount.
Antioxidant Alkaline Jug
Have you thought about using a filter water jug?
I have recently been gifted this model that unlike most water filters doesn't leave the water acidic the Biocera Jug changes the water into water which is alkaline and has good structure.
It also gives the water antioxidant effects through the release of molecular hydrogen. That's the science but for me I can definitely confirm improved flavour of the water when drinking direct from the jug and when used in making tea and coffee.
Where to buy: Water for Health
Chocolate Treats Workshop
This present idea features an experience - Festive Chocolate Treats workshop on the 9th December at Forest Lodge Hotel with talented pastry chef/chocolatier Maja Palmer.
The afternoon includes tasting, crafting your own creations and feasting on some seasonal goodies whilst your chocolates set.
Where to buy: New Forest Collection
If Pinot Grigio is up there with your favourite wines try this one available from Amazon
Novantaceppi -£12.00 -Novantaceppi Primitivo Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGT) Puglia is one of the most popular wine brands in Europe.
If you are buying for someone that is setting up home this Christmas how about some beautiful Peugeot ceramic cookware? I particularly like the Appolia range featured above, it has high edges to keep all those juices from bubbling over, wide handles for easy grip and comes in off white, red slate grey and my personal favourite this beautiful blue.
Where to buy: www.peugeot-saveurs.com
I'm a baby when it comes to spice but always catch up with these guys at food festivals and markets and purchase for my brother and a good friend both who have stronger constitutions than me. They make great little gifts and all their products can be bought online.
Where to buy: www. grimreaperfoods.com
Whilst I appreciate these don't in any way fall into the food and drink category it's really important that we all try and make changes to our plastic waste where ever possible.
This clever scheme from Raindrop Clean uses reusable bottles, cleaning capsules and warm water, meaning once you have invested in these bottles all you need to buy is the plastic free capsules. Think of all the plastic you will save from landfill!
Made in the UK
Micro Plastic Free
At £29.99 for the starter kit it would make a great present for someone starting their plastic free journey. Food for thought?
I always think of baking when vanilla is mentioned but family owned and operated Nielsen-Massey Vanillas have sent a me a couple of wonderful sounding cocktails (Very Vanilla Eggnog, Apple Pie Martini) which I fully intend to be making during the Christmas period.
Click the link for Nielsen Massey cocktail recipes.
More beautiful without
If you are looking for a non-alcoholic drink for the festive season Devon based Sea Arch is the perfect choice. Their gift packs are the perfect size to see if you can be converted, it comes with a 25cl bottle of Sea Arch Coastal Juniper, plus one each of the Sea & T and Rose Sea & T ready to drink cans, pre mixed with tonic for the perfect serve.
For every gift pack sold before the end of Dry January the company will be donating £1 to The Seahorse Trust another great reason to buy, Gift packs only available from the website.
Items featured in this gift guide are press samples, which have been sent on a gifted basis.