It doesn’t get any easier, does it? Year after year Christmas shopping is a challenge – either you can’t think of anything or you can’t choose between a dozen great ideas. That’s why food and drink is the best gift of choice. Everyone has a soft spot for something, and Christmas is the perfect time of year to indulge in your favourite treats. And hey, we’ve all got to eat, right? So if you don’t want to keep the receipts this year, check out The Handbook’s (Foodie) Christmas Gift Guide:
What: The Very Best of London
Why: When it comes to the best British ingredients, what do you think of? Scottish salmon, cheese from Somerset, beef from Hereford? How about London? Probably not where you first think of, but there is so much being produced and this Christmas, Social Pantry have rounded up the very best to create their alternative Christmas hamper. It includes Sipsmith’s Damson Vodka – made in Chiswick; Blackwood’s Graceburn cheese from the South East of London; East London’s Union Hand roasted coffee; Mast Brothers’ sea salt chocolate as well as a few treats from Social Pantry such as their rhubarb, date and mint chutney and extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil. That little haul should see you through you week of feasting.
Where: 170A Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 5TG
Villandry Great Portland Street
Great Portland Street (0.3 miles)
What: Christmas Hampers
Why: Christmas is a time for indulgence, a time when you can wake up and eat all day no questions asked. So, if you’re going to do just that you might as well do it properly. Villandry have three hampers this year, The Marylebone, The Great Portland Street and The Fitzrovia and they are full of the likes of Billecart Salmon Champagne, Soli red wine, Charbonnnel and Walker Sea salt caramel truffles, Villandry granola, Ibiza sea salt and mince pies from Villandry. You can also go into Villandry and they can make up smaller hampers of baked goods. We say get both though – it is Christmas after all.
Where: Villandry, Great Portland Street, London
What: For Those With Everything
Why: For those with everything, those who love baking or those who just like eating we have just the ticket, a workshop from the team of Bread Ahead. There is a whole host to choose from including doughnut workshops, New York bagel and pretzel workshops, croissants workshops and how to make Christmas classics like yule logs and mince pies. We would say you could practise for next year’s GBBO but that would be sacrilege.
Where: Bread Ahead Bakery & School, Borough Market, Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE
Caprice Holding's Vouchers
What: The Gift of Food
Why: People can say what they like about gift vouchers (namely, they’re unoriginal or you get them for someone you don’t really know) but we say they can stuff those ideas, because a gift voucher from Caprice Holdings is the thing dreams are made of for anyone who likes eating in London. Choose from the likes of The Ivy, Sexy Fish, 34, Scott’s, Daphne’s and J Sheekey and give someone the best gift – the gift of food.
Rhug Estate Meat Boxes
What: The Finest Turkeys
Why: Christmas – a great time for everyone apart from turkeys. For them, not so much. So, when you’re choosing a turkey you should choose from the best and we say the turkeys from the Rhug Estate are pretty top notch. As well as being able to order organically bred turkeys and geese you can also meat boxes which will have you sorted for the whole of Christmas. The Christmas Weekend Meat Box includes a 6.5kg Rhug Estate Organic Dee Valley bronze turkey, a garnish pack which includes the likes of bacon, sausage meat for stuffing, cocktail sausages, 1.5 kg Aberdeen Angus organic beef roasting joint and a jar of Treddafydd organic farm cranberry sauce. You do have to find the cook yourself though.
Rare Tea Company
What: The Finest Tea
Why: As much as we like to think it’s going to be a time of peace, Christmas can often be pretty stressful. You know what sorts our any situation though? A cup of tea. This Christmas we’re going to be buying tea from the Rare Tea Company, to give as gifts for those who just need to relax from a hectic year. Choose from the ‘Breakfast in Bed gift set, including a glass-blow teapot and Rare Tea’s Speedy Breakfast blend, the ‘Sportea’ Set with its energy-giving post-workout Hario Iced Tea (this one might one for January – unless you are the sort to gym at Christmas), and the Oolong Set, with traditional Chinese teaware including a lidded teapot used since the Ming dynasty, a jug, strainer and tasting cups, as well as three kinds of prized Oolong tea.
Sofitel London St James
Piccadilly Circus (0.3 miles)
What: The Black Friday Deal at Sofitel London St James
Why: This Friday doesn’t just mark a month until Christmas, it’s also Black Friday. It’s a good time to start your Christmas shopping (especially as it’s pay day for many) and one London institute that is getting involved is SOFITEL London St James. The 5* hotel is offering 10% off their gift cards – which means that you can buy someone/yourself a card which goes towards accommodation, food or drink at The Balcon or The Rose Lounge and spa treatment of SoSPA and save yourself money. Sounds like win win to us.
Promotional Code: SO FRIDAY (Available midnight 24/25 November – midnight 25/26 November for the first 50 requests)
Where: Sofitel London St James, Waterloo Place, London
Website: Buy Gift Cards Here
B & H Kitchen
What: Learn to Cook
Why: We all know somebody who couldn’t make a plate of baked beans without burning down the kitchen, let alone a roast dinner. Do the right thing and help them learn to cook, with cookery classes at Bourne & Hollingsworth. With classes on Christmas baking, Food Styling, Cocktails and Canapés and The Perfect Christmas Dinner, they’re sure to learn some useful yuletide skills. Then next year they can be the ones to cook Christmas lunch.
Where: 42 Northampton Road, EC1R 0HU
Cutter & Squidge
What: Christmas Cutter & Squidge Style
Why: Cake might not be one of the first things you think of when you think of Christmas, but when you think of great cake in London chances are Cutter & Squidge are probably up there at the top. So when they decide to celebrate Christmas with the likes of: limited edition gingerbread and mince pie biskies, handmade Christmas biscuits, cranberry and dark chocolate Florentines and a Magical Gingerbread Town Dream cake, you know it’s going to be good. Buy them as stocking fillers or create larger hampers to give as gifts.
Where: 20 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 0SJ
Holborn (0.2 miles)
What: Gin Hampers
Why: This is one for the gin lovers – an artisanal gin hamper. Created by Rosewood London’s Holborn Dining Room, each of the eight gin hampers feature a gin (6 British gins, one Belgian and one American), four bottles of perfectly paired tonic waters and fresh and dried botanicals to give your G & T that je ne sais quoi. We have our eye on the Spring Original Dry gin from Belgium which comes with bottles of 1724 tonic water and slices of dried citrus fruit. Cheers!
Where: Rosewood London, High Holborn, London
Sipsmith Mince Pie Gin
What: Limited Edition Mince Pie Gin
Why: Limited. Edition. Two words that pretty much guarantee a successful Christmas present. Sipsmith have done it once again – their limited edition Mince Pie Gin is available for Christmas 2016 only, presented in a gift box in a 90ml bottle alongside a 50ml bottle of Sipsmith London Dry Gin. So whether your recipient is a gin fan or just partial to a mince pie or two, you can’t go wrong. Want more from Sipsmith? Sign up to The Sipping Society for quarterly or annual deliveries of four experimental flavours, or book in for a tour (and tasting) at their Chiswick distillery.
Where: The Distillery, 83 Cranbrook Road, Chiswick, W4 2LJ