How can it be December again already for goodness sake? Every year I swear I am going to be more organised, that all the present shopping will be done and dusted by the end of November and that I will float into Christmas on a cloud of icing sugar. Nope. Never happens. This is where gift guides come in useful – I am very happy browsing through them with a pad and pencil, jotting down ideas for my nearest and dearest and for those who are further afield. So, I thought to myself, why not put together a Foodie Christmas Gift Guide to help you, dear readers, when you are at your wits end? A guide which will point you towards the perfect gift for your passionate cook, your tricky to buy for chum, or simply help you put together a hamper of goodies for friends and family? So I did! Ladies and gentlemen, I present…
A Foodie Christmas Gift Guide 2016
That’s a bit overwhelming isn’t it? But look at all those goodies – which one would you choose for yourself? Let me break it down a bit, I’ll showcase each one in turn and hopefully the person who needs it most will spring into your mind!
Gifts for the Passionate Foodie, the Home Chef, the Person Who Cooks up a Storm
This selection from my foodie Christmas gift guide is designed to bring a grin to the face of that person who loves to cook, who adores a gadget, who is happiest fiddling about in the kitchen – me, basically!
The Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl from OXO Good Grips has a non slip base which is essential for any vigorous whisking. The stainless interior ensures that your cake mix isn’t tainted with retained odours from your frittata and the white plastic exterior is smart and elegant, it costs £16 but is available now on Amazon for £12.71.
If you know someone who likes to match their gadgets to their colour scheme this stand mixer from VonChef could be the answer. Available from Tesco and Amazon on line it comes in 13 colours including Pistachio. Amazon are currently offering a range of 6 colours retailing at £64.99. The mixer comes with a dough hook, a balloon whisk, a silicone beater/scraper and a dust cover. The 5.5l bowl is stainless steel and comes with a splash guard and a silicone lid.
I think the ultimate kitchen gadget has to be the Froothie high speed blender which I have raved about before – it really has changed the way I cook. You can read my review of it here and, because I am an ambassador, I have a Free P&P Offer on any Froothie Blender! Simply add 3436 free ambassador delivery to the comment box when ordering and delivery will be credited back to your card!
Spiralizing is still all the rage and, while I refuse to accept that spiralized courgette will ever take the place of spaghetti, I do think it is delicious in salads, as fritters and as a base for sauces! This spiralizer from OXO good grips is designed to stay firmly on your work surface while you spiralize your vegetables and comes with three different stainless steel blades for spaghetti-like noodles, fettucini-style strands or ribbon cuts. A spiralling ribbon of cucumber perched on the side of your evening G&T is a very lovely thing! The OXO Good Grips spiralizer retails at £40.
I have lots of foodie friends who have yet to venture into home preserving and I think this Home Preserving Starter Kit from Ball is just the thing for them. Included in the kit is a preserving rack, 4 Ball 240ml jam jars with lids and bands, jar grips for handling hot jars and a funnel for ensuring your preserves go into their jars and not all over your work surface! The Home Preserving Starter Kit costs £19.99.
Finally, the gadget which has delighted my 10 year old more than any other – a good set of nutcrackers, just in time for Christmas! Oxo Good Grips sturdy zinc nutcrackers with their non slip handles do exactly what they are supposed to do and the sound of nuts cracking has been echoing around my house ever since they arrived! Buy these nutcrackers for £13.
So, that’s our kitchen gadget lovers sorted – now onto the collectors, the kitchen connoisseurs, the people who just love a beautiful thing!
Foodie Gifts to Treasure
I may have gasped when I saw this beautiful set of holly and ivy teaspoons and pastry forks from Portmeirion – perfect for hot mince pies and a cup of tea on Christmas Eve or for a festive afternoon tea on Boxing Day, I can see these becoming a new Yule tide tradition in our house! Each set comes in its own pretty presentation case and Suttons Seeds are currently offering them at £28. While you’re over there have a good look about as Suttons have some fabulous gift ideas on offer!
I have long been a fan of Cornishware and am drawn to it whenever I see it. This small mixing bowl in their familiar blue and white stripe is a lovely addition to any kitchen. I was very excited to see that Cornishware is now also available in a very festive red and white stripe too! The small mixing bowl retails at £30 and is available in blue and white or red and white stripes as is its larger sister which costs £50. If anyone fancied getting me a personalised red and white striped mug for Christmas they would make my day – just saying!
Homemade Christmas Hampers
I make hampers every Christmas – they are the easiest thing to put together for extended family and who doesn’t like a hamper full of goodies on Christmas Day? No foodie Christmas Gift Guide would be complete without some hamper ideas would it?
All my hampers are vegetarian and they usually contain a homemade Christmas cake, some chocolate, a chutney or two and a beverage as well as something which I think will particularly appeal to each recipient.
Hotel Chocolat are always reliable – their products are delicious to taste and beautifully presented. The Christmas range includes some wonderful creations including a chocolate cookie wreath, truffle tree and this fabulous Yule Log (£20) made with milk chocolate praline, hazelnuts and crisped rice – it serves 14 so I think we may invite a select band of folk to sit by the fire and share it with us. I will not, however, be sharing that box of Toasty Toddies (£10) with anyone but my beloved! I’m saving the boozy chocolates made with Saint Lucian rum, dark cherry brandy, blood orange and port for me and him on Christmas Eve!
Christmas Hampers need to make the recipient gasp out loud – the colours in these glorious relishes from Hawkshead are sure to do that! Couture Christmas Chutney, Cranberry Sauce and Christmas Marmalade cost £6.50 each for 260g and also come in cute petite sizes at £4.95 for 130g. I love these jars to pieces! Do have a rummage through the Hawkshead Christmas pages – I spotted Boxing Day Chutney, Michaelmas Relish and Mulled Damson and Port Jam in there too!
A bottle of something makes its way into most of my hampers – this year it will be Conker Spirit. This delectable dry gin is distilled in Dorset in a small independent distillery very close to where I live and sail. It is a classic gin with a ‘dry Macedonian juniper heart’, given character by the addition of Dorset elderberries, samphire and by handpicked New Forest gorse flowers. I’ve loved it since I tried it on my weekend in Dorset with fellow bloggers and it is definitely going into this year’s hampers!
If you don’t want to make up a hamper yourself and want it all done for you have a look at Keelham Farm Shop which has a fabulous selection of taste box gifts all supporting local producers and farmers in Yorkshire (county of my birth!). There’s sure to be something to suit even your most difficult to buy for relative with the Yorkshire Tea Experience (£25), the Yorkshire Beer Experience (£22), Ginger Lover’s Taste Box (£25) and lots more! I’m planning a rejuvenating Cosy Night In with this box at £32.50 (I passed the large bag of marshmallows which are also included on to friends).
Foodie Stocking Fillers
Our Christmas Eve is spent together in front of the fire with a film, some magazines, a glass or two of wine and the Snuggle Sack. I first wrote about our Snuggle Sack tradition back in 2011 – little did I realise that we would still be doing it now that some of our children have grown and flown. It is still the most important bit of Christmas for all of us. I fill a sack with nibbles, with chocolate, with something snuggly (slippers, blankets or new pyjamas), a DVD and some books and we gather together and close the doors to the world outside – everything stops.
Elizabeth Shaw have been a Christmas tradition for me since I was a little girl – I always bought my Granny a box and they always made her smile – so they will definitely be in the sack and the mint crisp chocolates are vegan which is a bonus!
Ombar are new to me, made with raw cacao, certified organic and using all natural ingredients and 100% vegan they are sure to be a huge hit with my lot. Which would you choose – Raspberry and Coconut or Blueberry and Açai? Check out the other flavours – Cranberry and Mandarin sounds very Christmassy to me!
Butterkist’s Choc Mallow and Salted Caramel are both suitable for vegetarians and won’t last long in front of a DVD while my savoury fans and my vegan will be happy with Salted Popcorn and with the very exciting mixed Sweet and Salted Popcorn!
I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen making supper on Christmas Eve, so I buy something prepared and easy for the Snuggle Sack – usually colourful pasta for a Christmassy feel with a tomato sauce. This year I am very tempted to top it with Heck’s Vegan Society Approved Green Balls made with quinoa, spinach, kale and ginger, yum! I’m hoping Heck will expand their vegan range soon because I’ve been impressed with their veggie sausages and burgers.
In the Nood’s Make Your Own Energy Balls make for a lovely vegan/veggie foodie stocking filler – choose from Orange & Cacao Energy Ball Mix, Crunchy Cacao Chip and Hired Muscle Protein Ball Mix. Each pack costs £4.99 – everything you need is in the bag or you can customise them a bit if you are more adventurous! I know a small boy who would love these in his stocking on Christmas morning and would be in the kitchen in a flash!
Sticking with healthy home cooking – Sweetpea Pantry have a fabulous selection of delicious mixes for pizza dough, pancakes and biscuits sure to encourage children to be super bakers! Made with whole grains, gluten free and suitable for veggies with no refined sugars to clutter them up. Basic mixes cost £4.99 or you could indulge them with a Christmas Giggles Gift Pack which comes with cutters included! This would be a lovely way to keep little hands busy and happy over the holidays!
We all have people who make us scratch our heads, the people who are tricky to buy for – I usually turn to the bookshop and buy something that I have enjoyed and want to share. I particularly enjoyed The World of the Happy Pear which is packed full of easy to make, satisfying and delicious recipes. I reviewed a Happy Pear Recipe Box from Riverford earlier this year and went on to meet Stephen and David Flynn at a launch event in London. They really are as full of beans as they seem to be on YouTube and there is a warmth about them which is totally infectious – I love what they are doing for vegetarian food!
In contrast, I have long been a fan of Sarah Raven both for her gardening and her cooking. Her latest book Good, Good Food – Recipes to Help You Look, Feel and Live Well, draws on her background as a doctor to pull together a collection of recipes celebrating healthy eating and cooking with seasonal fruit and vegetables. The book is not vegetarian but a very large percentage of the recipes are and it is one I keep coming back to – always a good sign!
Cocktail fans are sure to like these two bar prints from Coconut Grass – a small home design company specialising in fun designs for the home. The Cocktail Bar Emporium Print costs £14 and the Classic Cocktails Print retails at £10 or you could treat your cocktail lover with some Cocktail Recipe Coasters or some Pina Colada flavoured Lip Balm!
If you know someone who has been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaign to stamp out the huge amount of waste which is a direct result of our addiction to take away coffee (someone like me, for example) – why not give them a reusable ecofee cup? Made with organic bamboo fibre it is biodegradable when you do finally finish with it after reusing t over and over again. They also come in terrific designs – do go and have a look, I really like the William Morris designs!
And that concludes this year’s Foodie Christmas Gift Guide here on Thinly Spread – I hope you have seen something to make your own special food lover happy this holiday! Did you see something up there which you really, really fancy? Why not leave this page open on your loved one’s laptop or iPad as a little hint or Pin it for Later?!
Disclosure: I was sent products to review for my Foodie Christmas Gift Guide. Some of the links within this post are affiliate links which means you pay no more to buy your products but I earn a few pennies to help keep the wolf from the door, thank you!