Listen, I know it’s not even quite December, but is anyone else freaking out about the fact they haven’t even thought about, let alone started, any Christmas shopping yet? And if your calendar looks anything like mine, it’s going to be a right struggle to find any spare time to visit the shops, what with school stuff, work deadlines and all the festive social gatherings. So I’m going to help you out a little here, with a few suggestions of some last minute festive food gifts you can buy for your friends and family. Because let’s face it, everyone LOVES food, especially at Christmas!
OK so let’s kick this off with a little present to ourselves, because this Christmas shopping malarkey well and truly takes it out of you and we’ll need something to help get us through it. And we can’t think of anything better than a food based advent calendar.
These days you can pretty much get anything in an advent calendar. Of course there are the usual chocolate ones, but I’ve also seen cheese, gin, wine, beer, and even pork scratching ones! But never have I ever seen one that contains jam… well, up until now that is. The jam legend that is Bonne Maman have only gone and made their own miniature jam advent calendar and I am all kinds of excited about it. 23 doors filled with a mini pot (you know, those cute ones you get at posh B&Bs and boutique hotels) of different flavoured jam (who even know there were 23 different flavours of jam!) – plus the exciting big Christmas Eve door. Door 24 is always the most exciting isn’t it, and I won’t ruin the surprise for you, so you’ll have to get the calendar yourself and wait to see what’s waiting for you behind it.
I’ve cheated a little and opened door one so that I can show you what you get, but the rest I’m leaving as a surprise and I can’t wait to get pimping my toast up of a morning throughout the whole of December. My breakfast game just grew mega strong!
My kids can have their chocolate advent calendars, I am 100% ALL about the jam this year and the best bit is that because neither of them like jam, I get to keep it all to myself. Result!
If you fancy getting yourself in on the jam action, you can buy the Bonne Maman advent calendar from their website for £23.99 (plus £8.50 p&p)
Stocking Filler Nibbles
When it comes to stockings, I always like to keep an element of surprise, just to keep the kids guessing. In the past I’ve put things in there like pants, bath bombs, stretchy poo toys (if it’s poo or fart related I know I’m onto a winner!), stickers and always, always, ALWAYS gold chocolate coins. One thing we’ve never done is the whole traditional nuts and satsuma thing though, because really truly who wants that? Well I say that, having seen the packet that’s just landed on my desk I think I might change my mind about putting nuts in the stockings.
As part of their Finest range of Christmas goodies, Tesco have put together this beyond amazing mix of Fairtrade Chocolate Caramelised Cashews with Cranberries. Yuh huh, snacking just got real! Liberation Foods who supply the nuts for this festive mix are the only farmer-owned nut company in the UK. All of their products are certified as Fairtrade and they only use environmentally friendly farming methods. So not only are you giving a gift of delicious tasty snacks to someone, but you are also helping to provide more of an income to farmers in countries such as Costa Rica and India. And on top of that the packaging is recyclable, I mean how much more ethical can we get here!?!
What I love about this packet is that the nuts and cranberries are massive. There are no piddly little pieces in there, these are nibbles that mean business. And it’s a lovely mix of bitter dark chocolate with the intense sweetness of the cranberries and the white chocolate on the caramelised cashews, which might I add are addictively moreish. So I’m kinda thinking that for the first time ever, I’d actually quite like to put my own stocking out this year, as these are way too good to waste on the kids!
If you can’t wait until Christmas, then these make the perfect evening snack alongside a glass of mulled wine when you’re settling down to watch a Christmas film, or to provide sustenance when you’re drowning in wrapping paper trying to get all the presents wrapped up in time. Or how about creating your own Christmas food hamper as a present for someone, filled with lots of delicious tasty treats. There are so many ways you can give these as a gift, and the best news is at £4 a packet (or £6 for two until the 1st December!), they’re not going to break your budget either. So, quick what are you waiting for! Tesco Finest Fairtrade Chocolate Caramelised Cashews with Cranberries are available to buy either from Tesco online or in store.
The Proper Foodie
This one is for the person in your life who is a proper full on foodie, who loves to cook and appreciates high quality ingredients. Olive oil is like liquid gold among chefs and finding one that is up to the job is no mean feat. This Taggiasca Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Nudo is well and truly up for the job. It is made from 100% Italian Taggiasche olives grown on Nudo’s very own olive grove in Liguria, Italy and you only have to look at the packaging to know you’re buying something pretty spesh.
The oil is presented in a gorgeously designed decorative tin, with an easy lift and pull lid at the top to pour the oil from. But what we love most about this olive oil is the fact that you can choose to adopt one of the olive trees from Nudo’s grove. Not only does this add an extra special element to the gift, but when you adopt one of their trees it gives you an exclusive discount on their olive oils. So whereas a 500ml tin would usually cost you £20, as an adoptive parent you can buy it for the reduced rate of £16.
I think this would make a perfect stocking filler gift or perhaps combined with some other foodie delicacies as a main present, especially if you include the olive tree adoption with is as well. A really unique gift that is also sustainably and ethically produced. We LOVE!
Gifts To Get The Party Started
Hands up who loves a cocktail? Ummmm everyone right!?! But let’s be honest, who can actually be bothered to faff about making them? I mean firstly you’ve got to make sure you’ve got all the right ingredients in, then you’ve got to get all the measurements right, and don’t even get me started on the amount of washing up it makes.
Just imagine if there was some kind of pre-mixed cocktail, that looked proper classy (none of this supermarket cocktail in a tin thing), so classy that you could give it as a Christmas gift to your boss, or your mother in law, or to have scattered about at your New Year’s Eve party to make the place look all posh…
Well there only blinkin’ is!
The founder-run drinks brand Tom Savano has brought out their premium, travel-inspired range of bottled cocktails and they are ticking ALL my boxes.
The range includes:
- Kentucky Winter Old Fashioned (Kentucky bourbon and rye mixed with dark sugar, bitters and orange)
- Single Estate Reposado Margarita (Golden aged tequila mixed with fresh agave, citrus triple sec and lavender)
- English Garden Lychee Martini (English elderflower vodka mixed with lychee)
- Devon Coastal Negroni (Devonshire copper still gin mixed with vintage Italian Vermouth, amaro and orange)
Each bottle contains two servings, and it really is as simple as pulling out the stopper and pouring over ice. And they proper look the business – stylish bottles and with a clever ‘get you in the mood’ write up on the back – it’s the attention to detail that does it for me.
Obviously I taste tested them for you, well someone’s got to do it ;), and I can *hic* vouch that they all *hic* taste as good as they *hic* look. My personal fave is the English Garden Lychee Martini – I’m a sucker for all things lychee – and for a fleeting moment it made me feel all Sex and the City… then I remembered I had to do the school run!
So exclusive are these cocktails that only a limited batch of 200 are being sold and this is limited to a maximum of 4 per customer. They go on sale from the 1st of December for £15 for a 250ml bottle and can be ordered from the Tom Savano website.
Listen, I’d give you one of mine, but I love them way too much to share. Perhaps Santa will get some for you if you’ve been extra good this year 😉
Something A Bit Different
OK so this is probably cheating ever so slightly, but bear with me, because it is definitely food related. DNA kits are all the rage at the moment (Did you see that Ant and Dec programme? Amazing), but they’re not all about digging around in your ancestral past. They can also be used to discover things about our bodily make up that can help us make informed decisions about how we lead our lives and what we stuff our faces with.
VITL DNA nutrition tests look at 46 different traits in your DNA and covers things like skincare, weight management, digestion, energy levels, stress and anxiety, physical performance, immunity, fertility, pregnancy, post natal, hair, intolerances, sleep, and sugar consumption. The kit includes a test tube and swab for you to wipe around the inside of your cheek and then send off to get analysed. The results are then emailed back with in depth detail about each specific area and the actions you can take to help you move forward if there is anything of particular concern
Having taken the test myself I have learnt that I am highly likely to have a slow metabolism, that I am likely to have lower levels of vitamin B6, B9, B12, D and E, and that I’m likely to have a sweet tooth…. well I probably could have told them that one 😉 ! This information has helped explain a few things to me and means I can actively do something about it or at least give me an explanation as to why I may be feeling the way I do.
For a foodie this kind of information is both invaluable and absolutely fascinating. I mean no one really knows whether the food they eat is doing them any good or not, do they? This test, however, is easy to use and the results are easy to understand and it is marked at a price point that’s incredibly good value for money considering the wealth of knowledge you can gain from it.
Plus if you want to grab yourself a Black Friday deal then now is deffo the time to do it, because VITL are offering a staggering 40% discount off of their DNA nutrition tests. That’s £50 off of the usual £119, taking it down to a bargainous £69. And word on the street is they only offer such a good deal at this time of year, so make sure you take full advantage! To grab yourself a bargain head to the VITL website here.
Well That Makes A Refreshing Change
There’s always that one person who you struggle to buy for, and the thing is you can’t always fall back on buying them a bottle of plonk because not everyone drinks alcohol. So how about buying them a non-alcoholic alternative instead?
Eva’s Organics are a small British family run company who grow organic local produce all year round from their fields and orchards in Cumbria. Not only do they supply organic fruit and veg boxes, but they also grow, produce, make and sell their own organic fruit juices. And they are all kinds of tasty!
You can buy three bottles as a gift set, which are packaged up in a rather cute cardboard box with windows to peek at the bottles inside.
The choice of juice flavours include:
- Apple & Rhubarb
- Apple & Raspberry
- Apple, Ginger & Lemon
My personal fave is the Apple & Rhubarb which is a deliciously tart little number, which I also reckon would make for the perfect mulled wine alternative if it was heated up a little and served with a cinnamon stick and wedge of orange.
You can buy three bottles of the same flavour for £7.50 or you can buy 6 packs of mixed three bottle gift sets for £45 from the Eva’s Organics website. I think these would be brill for any festive gatherings or as secret Santa gifts, or perhaps even as gifts to the kids so that they can feel as grown up as the adults when they receive their bottle gift sets too.
Make It Yourself
How could we write a food Christmas gift guide without including a few homemade recipes for all you keen home bakers out there. And although these look proper fancy schmancy when you tie a ribbon around them or attach a nice hand stamped label, they are all so incredibly easy to make and require fairly basic store cupboard ingredients to make them. I’m a big fan of a flapjack and I have 3 recipes to share with you that are all kinds of tasty. So tasty in fact, you’re best off cooking them in bulk so that there are some leftovers for your own snacking needs! I’ve also given you two vegan recipes, because chances are these days you’ll know at least one person who is vegan. And finally my recipe for oat cakes that go great on a cheese board.
Check out the following recipes and get inspired to make your own Christmas food gifts for your friends and family:
Just remember that all of these particular recipes will only be at their best for about a week tops, so these really are last minute Christmas gifts. Or you could instead print out the recipe and package up together with all of the ingredients and bakeware etc. to create a unique gift for anyone you know who loves to bake.
In Need Of Some More Inspiration?
Then go check out our other Christmas gift guides –
*products gifted for review