Foods

Need a gift for your festive host? You’ll find one here


When it comes to Christmas food, for us it’s all about those little extras that you wouldn’t normally buy, cook or serve up.

From the party food canapes and countless bottles of prosecco, to the pigs in blankets, copious amounts of smoked salmon and, of course, the sprouts (fried, not boiled), to the neverending puddings, cakes and desserts. And then there’s the cheese, which no doubt is picked at until we’re full to burst.

For the host, it often means endless trips to the supermarket, overbuying crisps and running out of space to store it all. While everyone else in the family can only look on at the Christmas food, under strict orders not to dare to touch it until the big day.

So if you’re going to someone else’s for Christmas and are looking for the perfect food gift for them, want something different to wrap up and place under the tree, or maybe want to treat yourself – we all deserve it after the year we’ve had – these are the perfect gifts for the occasion that we’ve had the hard job of testing and tasting.

How we tested

The list is made up of some of our all-time favourite products, such as our go-to rosé or favourite luxury chocolates. Others, meanwhile, are seasonal treats from producers and chefs we know and love. We’ve put products through their paces in the kitchen, from reading books to testing kit, peeking behind advent calendar doors and sipping coffee from handmade mugs.  We were looking for great taste, well-designed products (and business models), good value and things we’d genuinely like to receive (and eat).

The best gifts for foodies for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Tommy Oldstead Made In Oldstead provisions hamper: £160, Madeinoldstead.co.uk
  • Best advent calendar – Flying Goose sriracha advent calendar: 12 days of sriracha: £39.99, Souschef.co.uk
  • Best mug – Richard Pommery orange coffee mug: £40, Richardpomeroyporcelain.com
  • Best food-themed stationery – Papier x Skye McAlpine ‘Food for Friends’ recipe journal: £24.99, Papier.com
  • Best OTT gift – Dolce & Gabbana mandorle di Sicilia panettone: £43.95, Thepanettonestore.co.uk
  • Best boring buy – Nomess teatowel, pack of two, blue sprinkles: £16, Nunido.co.uk
  • Best coffee – Turtle Cup jump start coffee: £8, Turtlecup.co.uk
  • Best print – Hand and Palm What’s For Breakfast art print A4: £20, Handandpalm.co.uk
  • Best new book – ‘The Female Chef: 39 women redefining the British food scene’ by Clare Finney and Liz Searbrook, published by Hoxton Mini Press: £28, Foyles.co.uk
  • Best snacking box – Serious Pig serious snacking box: £24, Seriouspig.london
  • Best for the cheese board – Fine Cheese Co toast for cheese: dates, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds: £3.95, Finecheese.co.uk
  • Best stocking-filler chocolates – Rococo salted caramel seagull eggs, 200g: £11.95, Selfridges.com
  • Best gift set – ‘A-Z of Pasta’ cookbook and ingredients set: £42.99, Souschef.co.uk
  • Best tree decoration – Daylesford Leoube rose wine bottle Christmas tree decoration: £12, Daylesford.com
  • Best chocolate hamper – Coco Chocolatier salted caramel hamper: £75, Cocochocolatier.com
  • Best burger kit – Parson’s Nose burger kit, for two: £17.50, Parsonsnose.co.uk
  • Best new cookbook – ‘Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love’ cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad and Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, published by Ebury Press: £15.82, Wordery.com
  • Best mulled wine – Harvey Nichols mulled wine, 75cl: £16.50, Harveynichols.com
  • Best easy to cook food – Jarvis Pickle pies, box of 12: £54, Jarvispickle.com
  • Best food writing book – ‘Chewing the Fat’ by Jay Rayner, published by Guardian Faber publishing: £5.94, Whsmith.co.uk
  • Best for Christmas Day bubbles – Nyetimber blanc de blancs 2014 sparkling wine gift box, 75cl: £43, Nyetimber.com
  • Best biscuit stocking filler – Drinks Biscuits mature cheddar, chilli and almond, 110g: £4.95, Fodabox.com
  • Best hot sauces – Bao sauces burnt chilli and tiger dressing, 220ml each: £13.25, Baolondon.com
  • Best mince pies – Melrose & Morgan mince pies, box of six: £8, Melroseandmorgan.com
  • Best rose wine – Whispering Angel rosé wine: £18.99, Waitrosecellar.com
  • Best cheese gift – The Cheese Society, pass the cheese parcel: £65, Thecheesesociety.co.uk
  • Best kitchen kit/equipment – Smeg 30cm wok: £139, Smeguk.com
  • Best little extra – Helen Brownings’ organic pigs in blankets bundle: £20, Helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk

Tommy Oldstead made in Oldstead provisions hamper

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

For a bumper goodie box, this is one of the most exciting you can buy, with an excellent choice of produce that’s all of very high quality. And you wouldn’t expect less from the chef Tommy Banks, who is behind the Michelin-starred restaurants The Black Swan and Roots, in Oldstead and York respectively.

The provisions box would make an impressive gift for your host, or a delicious addition to your own festive setup, and goes an impressively long way.

Our favourite items included the pate which was incredible slathered on the sourdough toast, as well as the famous root vegetable mince pies. Other highlights include the cold-smoked salmon and the cured meats – the bresaola, coppa and Yorkshire chorizo are some of the best we’ve had. There’s plenty of other little goodies, including truffles, pickled cornichons, glazed ham, chutneys, fudge and alcohol to keep you going too. It’s a gorgeously selected box of fantastic food.

Delivery takes place on Wednesday 22 December.

Flying Goose sriracha advent calendar: 12 days of sriracha

Best: Advent calendar

Rating: 9/10

When it comes to advent calendars, there is quite literally something for everyone, from beauty fans to Harry Potter lovers, chocoholics to wine drinkers – and now there’s hot sauce. Sous Chef has partnered with one of the most recognisable hot sauce brands, Thai Flying Goose, to bring fans everywhere a countdown just for them. With 12 days, inside each door is, you guessed it, a hot sauce. Each 200ml bottle is a different flavour, from the original to green chilli and yuzu to tiikka. Our new-found favourite (after the hoisin sauce) is the smokey variation.

The doors are labelled with “Day 1” etc, not dates, so how often and when you decide to open them is entirely up to you and your excitement levels. Your turkey leftovers will certainly thank you for this one. Available from the beginning of November, we expect it will be popular, so make sure to sign up to the “notify me” alert on the Sous Chef website.

Richard Pommery orange coffee mug

Best: Mug

Rating: 8/10

There’s mugs and then there’s mugs, and not all mugs are made equal. These incredibly beautiful ones are handmade in Bruton, Somerset by artist Richard Pomeroy, who lives in the village. Made from porcelain, they’re safe to pop in the dishwasher and microwave. Available in18 colours, we love the orange the best as it instantly brightens our morning – or go for a contrasting pair with a royal blue. There’s also matching, or contrasting if you prefer, milk jugs and teapots too.

Papier x Skye McAlpine ‘Food for Friends’ recipe journal

Best: Food-themed stationery

Rating: 8/10

Loving food is not all about the eating – although of course, it’s key. There’s also the other fun bits; the planning, the passing down recipes and hosting dinner parties. Enter Papier’s collaboration with food writer and chef Skye McAlpine, who has designed this gorgeous collection. Made up of a recipe journal, menu cards and place settings, it really puts the finishing touches to any proud host’s hard work. Based on the cover design of her 2020 cookbook, A Table for Friends, the running theme throughout is the gorgeous Venetian green and pink marbleized design, which pays homage to Skye’s childhood, as she grew up in the city.

Inside the journal is split into sections including breakfast, lunch, dinner and treats, with useful things to fill out like rating, difficulty, prep time and what it goes with. There’s also very useful notes on conversions, as well as places to try. It’s a beautiful keepsake that will help organise any budding chef or keen host. You can also have it personalised too.

Dolce & Gabbana mandorle di Sicilia panettone

Best: OTT gift

Rating: 8/10

If you’re going to someone else’s for the big day, it’s always great to turn up with your own showstopper. Not a baker? We got you. This beautiful (and huge) panettone will do all the talking. As if the gorgeous tin, featuring an orange and blue Dolce & Gabanna pattern, wasn’t enough, there’s cake to boot. After unwrapping it, the room will be filled with the fragrance of Sicilian almonds, which adorn the top of the panettone. Although this isn’t in line with the traditional Milanese recipe, we’re willing to overlook it. The top gives a pleasing crunch, while the rest is springy and soft, thanks to actual Sicilian bakers, Fiasconaro. It’s massive, so you’ll want to take it to a crowd to share out. Just make sure you leave with that tin, if you can!

Nomess teatowel, pack of two, blue sprinkles

Best: Boring buy

Rating: 9/10

Call us boring (as if), but these are genuinely the best teatowels we’ve ever found – so much so we have a few packs stocked up. They’re not too thin and deemed useless after drying two plates and they don’t crisp up like cheap tea towels do either. Don’t get us wrong, we love a novelty tea towel just as much as the next person around the festive season, but we also need quality for the rest of the year too. And these are as hardworking as they come, from Copenhagen brand Nomess, which is quite literal – they’re not messing around.

Turtle Cup jump start coffee

Best: Coffee

Good coffee is an essential, but you don’t need to go to a coffee shop everyday to get it – this ethical java is some of the best we’ve ever tasted. Made from a blend of beans from Minas Gerais, Brazil and Alto Boqueron, Columbia (which have been fairly traded) and roasted at Tate Coffee (one of the country’s most highly regarded roasters), it has gorgeous notes of sweet tomato, mango, lime, brown sugar and chocolate. It’s one of two coffees from the brand – the other, Wakey Wakey (£8, Turtlecup.co.uk), will get you going in the morning – and we’re so in love with the colour combinations. The whole bag is totally plastic-free and compostable too, including the sticker which is made from vegetable inks, so you can compost it at home, or reuse it as you wish (they work well for plant seedlings). Choose from either whole bean or ground for your caffeine kick, and the coffee aficionado in your life will thank you.

Hand and Palm What’s For Breakfast art print A4

Best: Print

Rating: 8/10

Created during lockdown, graphic designer Luci’s business Hand and Palm which is all about bright, bold and simple prints has flourished. We love the “What’s For Breakfast” print, which features one of our favourite lockdown morning routines: Italian coffee and French toast. Any serious brunchers will also enjoy it framed in their kitchen. You can choose from blue or green writing on an orange background. While you shop, you’ll probably find something else from Hand and Palm for yourself too, from notebooks to fridge magnets, stickers and plenty of other gorgeous prints. We also like that all prints used 100% recycled paper, and the brand’s packaging is free of plastic, using compostable clear protective sleeves and recyclable cardboard.

‘The Female Chef: 39 women redefining the British food scene’ by Clare Finney and Liz Searbrook, published by Hoxton Mini Press

Best: New book

Rating: 9/10

Being a professional chef has long been a man’s world. Women are homecooks, but Michelin starred-chefs? They’re men. Just take a look at the Michelin list, or the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – women are few and far between. But, this is not representative of the incredible chefs around the world who are doing amazing things – and just happen to be women. Food writers Clare Finney and Liz Searbrook’s lockdown project was to showcase these women who are, as the book title says, redefining the British food scene. From Wahaca chain-owner Thomasina Miers, to Andi Oliver and Olia Hercules, these are some of the women pioneering change within their industry. Each woman is celebrated with a double-page spread, talking honestly on their experience and route to where they are now, along with – of course! – one of their favourite recipes. It’s an insightful and important book that champions the incredible talent of British female chefs – and makes the absolute perfect gift for aspiring chefs.

Serious Pig serious snacking box

Best: Snacking box

Rating: 8/10

If your giftee is serious about snacking, stop right here. The brand ‘s tagline is “life’s too short for craps snacks”. We’re inclined to agree – so trust us when we say the brand’s dried pickled gherkins are the ultimate snack you didn’t know you needed. It’s an absolute winner, but it’s not the only incredible snack from the brand – enter the baked cheese pieces. Yes, you heard right… These pieces are every bit as filthy delicious as they sound. Both are in this ultimate snacking selection box, which includes 17 packs of some of Serious Pigs’ best offerings, which also features peanuts, and our other favourite, the fennel flavoured snack salami.

Fine Cheese Co toast for cheese: dates, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds

Best: For the cheese board

Rating: 9/10

If you’re yet to come across these genius biscuits, you can thank us later for seriously upping your cheese board game. Made for gooey bries and piping hot camemberts, these toasted thin slices and packed full of chewy fruits, seeds and other goodies to really make your fromage sing. Without a doubt, they’ll be the first lots of biscuits to be finished, leaving the water biscuits cowering in the shadows. Our favorite is the dates, hazelnut and pumpkin seed box, but if you can’t choose, go for the four pack instead (£14.20, Finecheese.co.uk).

Rococo salted caramel seagull eggs, 200g

Best: Stocking-filler chocolates

Rating: 9.5/10

Rocco does perfection when it comes to chocolate. Case in point, these mini bites of actual heaven, that are worth every bit of the £12 price tag that seems steep until you’ve tried them. Encased in a thin hard speckled sugar shell is a little milk chocolate egg, laced with rich salted caramel ganache – a perfect little luxury that any chocolate monster with excellent taste will be more than thankful to pull out of their stocking. Hint hint.

‘A-Z of Pasta’ cookbook and ingredients set

Best: Gift set

Rating: 8.5/10

Making pasta may feel very lockdown one, but for those of us who couldn’t get 00 flour to make our own pasta at the time, but wanted to try, well, now we can. Sous Chef has put this incredibly nifty set together with everything you need, so you won’t once again fall at the first hurdle when it comes to not being able to get the ingredients. The book, A-Z of Pasta by food writer Rachel Roddy, who has become an authority on all things pasta after moving to Rome in 2005, was published earlier this year, and is full of recipes covering every pasta shape imaginable – some you’ll know and many you won’t. The set also includes the 00 flour, two tins of San Marzarno tomatoes, semolina rimacinata, pasta and gnocchi ridger, pasta cutter and a Sous Chef drawstring bag.

Daylesford Leoube rose wine bottle Christmas tree decoration

Best: Tree decoration

Rating: 9/10

If you need to think slightly more out of the box, and on a smaller scale, this little ode to Daylesford’s own wine brand, Leoube, ticks the boxes for us. It’s chintzy, cute and goes with our mixed bag of decorations for the tree. If you can’t give it without the real thing too, you can also wrap up the brand’s actual bottle (£18.99, Daylesford.com), or with the rose of the moment we’ve featured below, Whispering Angel. Using the method of heavy embroidery known as Zardozi, each decoration takes around 5-6 hours to create and is handmade in India. Available to pre-order now.

Coco Chocolatier salted caramel hamper

Best: Chocolate hamper

Rating: 9.5/10

One of our favourite chocolate brands has just introduced hampers to its offering. We tried the salted caramel hamper, and this selection is absolutely what chocoholics would love to unwrap from under the tree. Complete with seven (yes, seven) boxes of luxurious goodies, including truffles, thins, a chocolate bar and chocolate batons, all in the deliciously moreish sea salt caramel flavour, along with some fudge. New to us were the gold chocolate drops: deliciously sweet little drops that are gold in colour and taste of caramel. And as if that wasn’t enough, you also get an Isle of Skye sea salt caramel box of drinking chocolate – pure delight. It all comes in the brand’s absolutely beautiful packaging too, created as a collaboration with local artists. Warning: you might actually feel guilty for opening it, as it just looks so perfect.

Parson’s Nose burger kit, for two

Best: Burger kit

Rating: 9/10

If you’re stuck for what to get someone who has it all, edible gifts are the way to go. If they love a Friday night takeaway, treat them to this kit. Coming from Parson’s Nose, a small chain of family-run butchers in south west London, it’s one of the best burgers we’ve had in a long time. And that’s due to the excellent quality of meat which practically falls apart, which has so much flavour, and isn’t overseasoned to make up for a lack of taste. But what really sets any high-end burger apart from the riffraff is the little extras – we’re talking pickled gherkins, chipotle mayo, and the star of the show, crispy onions. Complete with gorgeously smoked chunky strips of pancetta that we turned crispy and melted cheese, it’s a fair stack of a meal, they’ll be thinking about long after it’s gone.

‘Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love’ cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad and Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, published by Ebury Press

Best: New cookbook

Rating: 9/10

Ottolenghi has long been a household name, but this is the first cookbook that we’ve been given an insight into the world of the chef’s very own test kitchen. Born out of 2020, when restaurants were mostly closed, the test kitchen team of self-named misfits brought to life their experimentation and put it all together in book form for us all to enjoy.

The thing about Ottolenghi’s usual fabulous recipes, is that sometimes, there’s an awful lot of ingredients. And no doubt there’s been times where you can’t find some, or maybe you forget a certain spice and find yourself searching for the energy to pop out to the shops again. This book, however, is ideal for any keen cook that also likes the option of substituting a thing or two, and gives you the skills to learn how to use all the odd bits and bobs left in your cupboards and fridge. It’s a methodology made even more useful at the start of the book, which groups recipes by ingredients, so you can quickly find an inspiring recipe by what you’ve got left. We’re going to be cooking up curried cauliflower and cheese filo pie next.

Harvey Nichols mulled wine, 75cl

Best: Mulled wine

Rating: 8/10

This is our favourite mulled wine that we’ve been buying for years. Not only is its taste far smoother than any other mulled wine you’re likely to buy in a supermarket, its sleek white ceramic bottle, with its flip-top lid, looks far more luxurious as a gift. Plus, it’s great to pop long red candles in to burn after you’ve enjoyed the delights of the contents.

Made from wine from the German regions of Zellertal and Pfalz and mixed with traditional festive spices, it’s also vegan-friendly and organic, so great if your giftee has certain dietary requirements. To prepare it, all they need to do is gently let it simmer in a pan, and service with a slice of orange. 

Jarvis Pickle pies, box of 12

Best: Easy to cook food

Rating: 9/10

You absolutely cannot go wrong with these beauties. Handmade in the Scottish borders using quality ingredients, these pies have won 30 British Pie Awards, and a whole host of Good Taste awards too. Of the 16 flavours, we’ve tried most of them, but our go-tos are the pork and blue cheese (which won best meat pie Scotland 2018 and a Good Taste award), the Moroccan lamb and the vegan curry.

If you’re hosting, you can have them on hand over Christmas for those times when you’re not sure what to cook, or just can’t face rustling up anything from scratch in over Twixmas – you can store them in the freezer and then whip them into the oven when you’re ready. Each little wrapper is compostable too. Boxes come in four, eight, 12 and 16, but it’s not just a great gift either, as Jarvis Pickle will donate one pie to FareShare, a charity relieving food poverty, for every four pies by post bought. Prices start from £18, but if you buy 12 or 16, you’ll get free postage. 

‘Chewing the Fat’, by Jay Rayner, published by Guardian Faber publishing

Best: Food writing book

Rating: 7.5/10

The behemoth that needs no introduction has published yet another book. Although it may be small, dinky, even, the title is full of Rayner’s signature wisdom on all things food. The collection of just 40 columns – which the writer himself calls a fatally stocked larder – are all around 600 words long and “delightfully concise”, but quite literally are doused in cooking and food metaphors, and one he also suggests himself should be a book for the entertainment of the downstairs loo. Think of it as a pocket book with comedic tidbits that are perfectly easy to consume in chunks, just like a good snack should be.

Our favourite section is the festively themed “Jingle All The Way” chapter, which helpfully begins with Rayner’s own yuletide commandments, advising us not to compare our Christmas to the seasonal episodes of Mary, Nigella and Jamie’s, which, he reminds us are TV sets with lots of help. Our personal favourite? “Thou shall not serve Christmas pudding… nobody likes it”. Words spoken from our own heart.

Nyetimber blanc de blancs 2014 sparkling wine gift box, 75cl

Best: Christmas Day bubbles

Rating: 9/10

From the west Sussex vineyard this bottle is one of the best English sparklers available. Made from the single vintage, it is the first style ever produced by Nyetimber back in the Nineties, and is still holding strong thirty years later. Made from 100 per cent chardonnay grapes, but here, it’s not what you expect and is far more sophisticated on the pallet . It’s light – both in colour and taste – as well as being slightly floral and fresh, and is miles away from the usual over-oaked styles of the grape that’s so strongly associated with the chardonnay. It’s a perfect Christmas morning bottle that’s not too heavy and will certainly set the day off right, or alternatively crack it open for some canapes at a drinks party. All of Nyetimber’s wines are vegan, too.

Drinks Biscuits mature cheddar, chilli and almond, 110g

Best: Biscuit stocking filler

Rating: 9/10

Another go-to snack of ours is these little buttery, cheesy nutty discs of deliciousness. Take these to a pal’s drinks party and you’ll be an instant hit, or they also make a cracking stocking filler too. Made with St. Andrews Farmhouse mature cheddar from Scotland that gives an excellent depth of flavour, they’re given a tangy and finish with a warming spice from the chilli too. They are designed to be paired with Belgian or craft beers (which we loved them best with), riesling or malbec wine and a peaty whisky. You might even recognise them from Dragon’s Den, where Deborah Meaden wisely invested in the company.

Bao sauces burnt chilli and tiger dressing, 220ml each: £13.25

Best: Hot sauces

Rating: 8/10

Anyone obsessed with cooking food from Vietnamese to Korean and Chinese cuisines will have a mild obsession with sauces. We know their condiment cupboard will be brimming with all wonders from shrimp xxx to mirin and too many types of soy, fish and oyster sauces to boot, but, in our opinion, you can never have too many. The team behind the Taiwanese mini-chain Bao restaurants know this only too well, and have opened an online store full of Bao goodies, from DIY kits to T-shirts and, most importantly, the restaurant’s sauces. Each of the four bottles features labels which are designed by Erchen Chang, co-founder and creative director. We tried the burnt chilli sauce and the tiger dressing too. The first is made with green chilli and ginger, packing a tangy and sour punch that goes on quite literally everything, while the tiger dressing is perfect for dumplings thanks to its mixture of garlic, vinegar, chilli and sesame oil. Each of the bottles is sold separately.

Melrose & Morgan mince pies, box of six

Best: Mince pies

Rating: 8/10

If you’ve been tasked with bringing the mince pies to your Christmas drinks party, these from London-based bakery, Melrose and Morgan, are the only ones to take. Don’t just take our word for it either – they have won a Great Taste award too. The pasty is thick and oh-so buttery, without being crumbly, while the mince is handmade. All in all, they’ll go down a storm, so we’d recommend buying in bulk.

The site also very helpfully says if you’re buying them for Christmas day, don’t order before 1 December, so they’re as fresh as can be. And while you’re there, the bakery also offers up plenty of other great bits, like brandy butter and dark chocolate-covered candied orange slices.

Whispering Angel rosé wine

Best: Rosé wine

Rating: 8/10

Who said rosé was just for summer? When there’s oceans of mulled and red wine around, we’re always keen for a change of pace and open to a glass of of the pink stuff (or two), and we know we’re not the only ones either. This festive season, we’ll be reaching for a bottle of Whispering Angel which you’ll no doubt have seen on your Instagram. Made by Sacha Lichine, who uses groundbreaking winemaking techniques, it’s a beautifully pale and classic looking Côte de Provencial rosé, and thanks to its acidity and delicate notes of grapefruit and apple, will help cut through the heaviness of Christmas eating. But if you want to pair it, it helpfully goes well with smoked salmon.

The Cheese Society, pass the cheese parcel

Best: Cheese gift

Rating: 9/10

A cheese board is never boring, in our eyes. But the team at The Cheese Society have come up with this party game idea that makes you work (only slightly) for your fromage. Coming in a large pre-wrapped parcel in festive green, red and well, plain brown parcel paper, under each layer is all you need to make your cheeseboard. There’s eight decent-sized cheese pieces – our favourites included the delicate gorgonzola dolce, a rich and creamy goat’s cheese, buche de chevre, along with a surprising number we don’t usually reach for, an aged red Leicester called vintage red fox. The last two parcels contain the added extras– Welbeck Bakehouse sourdough crispbreads and a Hawkshead Relish Company apple, date and damson chutney that’s tangy and sweet.

If you thought the fun ended there, think again. You even get a suggested cheese party playlist, think “I’ve Gouda Get Through This” by Daniel Bedingfield. It also helpfully shows you how to cut the cheese – and we’ve realised we’ve been cutting brie wrong the whole time. Hey, every day’s a school day. Christmas delivery runs through until Wednesday 22 December 2021 (including the weekend).

Smeg 30cm wok

Best: Kitchen kit/equipment

Rating: 8/10

Best known for its Fifties-look fridges and toasters, Smeg has recently branched out into other kitchen equipment with its recognisable retro look, including frying pans, casserole pots and woks, which is all designed and made in Italy.

This one is huge, making it perfect for famillies, or just greedy/organised people who cook for the week. It’s perfect for our latest obsession of cooking a mountain of vegetable fried rice that we inevitably slosh over the edge of our much smaller wok, that’s now dwarfed in comparison.

Smeg’s is hefty, with very high sides and a long, well balanced stainless steel handle that has slight indented grooves along the sides for added grip, making it quite easy and comfortable to handle, even when there’s a lot inside. The base is nice and wide, and although we tested it on our gas cooker, it’s designed to be used on induction, electric or ceramic cookers too. During our testing, food cooked evenly and quickly, while food didn’t stick to the bottom. It’s also super easy to clean.

Helen Brownings’ organic pigs in blankets bundle

Best: Little extra

Rating: 9/10

We all know the pièce de résistance of any meat-eater’s Christmas dinner is pigs in blankets. Solely reserved for this day, these little sausages wrapped in bacon are just pure decadence deemed too extravagant for any other time of the year.

We’re sure we’ve not had better than those from Helen Browning’s organic family farm in Swindon. It’s famed for its high welfare pork, plus all the meat produced there is certified 100 per cent organic by the Soil Association. While the rest of the farm uses methods that actively regenerate the soil.

For the ultimate pigs in blankets fan (read: everyone), this little DIY kit means you can lovingly craft your little piggy too. It consists of two packs of organic mini sausages, two packs of organic unsmoked streaky bacon to wrap them in (which should make about 26), and a jar of organic cranberry sauce with orange and Christmas spices to dip them in or glaze them with. They’re delicious, sweet and oh so festive. If you’re a smaller crowd at Christmas, you could use half on your dinner and the other half as a great little canape. Yum.

The verdict: Gifts for foodies

Tommy Olstead’s provisions hamper is smack it out of the park good. You’ll want to eat it all, waste none and it’s cleverly thought out so there’s no filler products you’re not that interested it. It’s a wonderful gift for your festive host, or a seriously good treat to yourself.

For hot sauce fans, the Sous Chef Flying Goose advent calendar is a no brainer, while the little Rococo seagull eggs are any chocoholic’s ultimate stocking filler.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on wine and other alcoholic drinks, try the links below:

For more festive present ideas, head over to our Christmas gifts section

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button