Who would win my great gift awards for food lovers?

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Who would your winner be?

 

Someone asked me earlier this week who I thought did food gifts really well, doing something a bit different.

Well, it’s like my Mastermind specialist subject. And I could have kept them all day, but didn’t. So, these are my definitely the winners in my book, for when you’re looking for something just a little bit different for a special food lover on your list.

Bluebird Tea Co

 

Make your own black tea kit from Bluebird Tea Co

 

I know, I write about these guys a lot, but I love them and what they’re doing, have done since we met on a front lawn of a country house years ago. Their gifting is inventive and imaginative, and their tea is top notch. I think I could find something for everyone from Bluebird, and at every price point. Love them. Buy direct from them, or there’s a large selection on Not On the High Street.

 

Artisan du Chocolat

 

Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Honeycomb

 

I’ve always had their salted caramels on my wish list (and it’s the one thing that’s always got taken notice of, lucky me). I love that you can do proper, grown up, single estate, high percentage cocoa with them, and you can do things like salted caramel honeycomb. So essentially a posh Crunchie. My idea of heaven. Chocolate for every budget and every taste, but always incredibly tasty and beautiful looking.

 

Master of Malt

 

Ginvent 2016 Advent Calendar

 

I love these guys for alcohol gifts with edge and interest. I loved them when they started out with the sample sets, I think they’ve been brilliant at the advent calendars, never mind just the mind blowing collection of whiskies, gins, liqueurs and other spirits. They do tasting sets, which can help educate and develop your palate. Or just have some good evenings in. Great choices.

 

The Snaffling Pig Co

Pig N Mix Christmas Gifting

I love businesses with a passion and a focus, and that’s definitely true here. It’s all about the pig, starting with the pork scratchings. The jars look great, and definitely make a great looking, tasty gift. The Pig Night In also includes their own beer, so definitely one to sit back and enjoy. And it’s not too late to get hold of their advent calendar either. Twenty four days of pork scratching gorgeousness.

 

Craved

 

Craft Gin & Tonic Hamper

 

Brilliant source for beautifully curated gifts from the best artisan producers around. Supporting a small business supporting other small food and drink businesses has to be a good thing, and they have such lovely selections. Again, something for every budget and kind of taste. It can be drink, it can be store cupboard, it can be fresh food.

 

So, five great businesses that I reckon could fulfill many of your food and drink gift options for all kinds of people at all kinds of price points. If you could only nominate five places to shop from great food and drink gifts, where would you pick?

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Great gifts for my gorgeous fellow gin lovers

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A shelf full of Irish gin loveliness

 

There doesn’t seem to be a mention of gin on Facebook without at least one of my friends tagging me in it. Now, I do love my gin, though possibly don’t drink anywhere near as much as my reputation seems to suggest!

But gin lovers are being well catered for this Christmas, even without a bottle of the hard stuff being part of the gift. Here’s some of my favourites:

 

Adore Gin Christmas Card

 

Firstly, you’ll be needing a Christmas card for them. This hits the right note.

 

Making a gin putting in ice sweatshirt

 

If it’s cold outside, you’ll need wrapping up warm.

 

Don't come in if you haven't got gin

 

Want to make sure you only get the right kind of guests? Hang this one on the front door instead of the traditional wreath.

 

Anti Stress Remedy Gin Glass

 

Even the thought of guests stressing you out? You’ll need this anti stress remedy glass to serve your perfect gin and tonic in.

 

Gin and Tonic Tea

 

Too early for gin? Is it ever too early for gin? Anyway, gin and tonic tea with your toast anyone?

 

Gin & Lemon Jam

Talking of toast, how about upgrading your normal jam and switching to a Gin & Lemon jam?

 

Relationship status gin mug

 

And you’ll be needing a mug to serve your tea in, and possibly raise a smile or two.

Pickerings Gin Christmas Baubles

Now you’ll be ready to decorate the tree. Gin filled baubles are definitly my kind of thing. Though no one will notice if you replace it with water on the quiet.

 

Gin & Tonic Flavoured Lip Balm

A quick slick of gin and tonic lip balm and you’ll be ready to take on the day.

 

Gin Bunny Gym Bag

 

Time for a trip to the gin. Oh, sorry, that should say gym. But why give up the habit of a lifetime? But I do love this as a gym bag.

 

Drink more gin personalised apron

Time to cook dinner, so you’ll be needing a good apron. This one has my name all over it. Although it could have yours, as there’s a personalised element to it too.

 

Craft Gin & Tonic Hamper

 

So, maybe it’s time to actually get onto the good stuff. I really love Craved and this Craft Gin & Tonic Cocktail Kit is a winner with me. With London Dry Gin or Old Tom Gin, it comes with built in snacks. It’s a night in in a box.

 

Gin soy wax candle

 

Start the wind down, and get your gin and tonic candle lit. Few deep breaths in, and a gentle sip of that G&T you made earlier.

 

Gin hot water bottle cover

 

Now, fill up your hot water bottle (with water, not gin) and head off to bed, to dream dreams of days and nights ahead filled with good gin.

And if you need to find some other gin based ways to fill your day, then check out Gin School. Great way to spend a few hours.

Cheers!

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Getting the good stuff in for great dads

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Father’s Day is rapidly approaching (19th, if you’ve not got it marked already in your diary), and so it’s time to start thinking about great gifts for great food and drink loving dads. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

 

Pork pie with Dad's name all over it - great gift for a food lover

Here’s a personalised gift for dad, that you should definitely allow him to have to himself. A pork pie of his own, with his name on it. I bet that’ll be a first for him.

 

Mexican Chilli Selection from Sous Chef - great gift for heat loving food lover

I really love Sous Chef, they have such great selections for every kind of food lover, and every level of expertise in the kitchen. This Mexican chilli kit gives them chillies they might not come across in the supermarket, such as cascabel or piquin, and some tasting notes as well. Certainly could take their chilli con carne up a level or two.

 

Flavourly Craft Beer Gift - great gift for a beer loving food lover

If dad is fond of his beer, and is into exploring smaller, niche breweries, then maybe take a look at Flavourly, who are doing a box of 10 beers for £24 with free delivery. The selection does vary, so it’ll be a nice surprise as to what’s in there and he may discover some new favourites.

 

Jose Pizarro Chefs Selection from Craved - great gift for a food lover who's serious about their cooking

I’ve written before about how much I love what Craved are doing, and some of their current gift selections are carrying on that great work. I love this selection, which has been curated by chef José Pizarro, so a perfect gift for a dad who is serious about his cooking. I like that things are a little unusual, but not too niche, and you can see ways you could get several things to work together.

 

Cider XL Man Box - great gift for a food lover who likes it large

Now, this one is definitely a bit more sit back, open and enjoy, with the Cider XL Man Box! As well as cider, then there’s great cured meats from Cotswold Curer, pork scratchings and some chutney. You’ll need to get them some cheese and crackers to go with those. We’ll ignore all the macho posturing copy that goes with this gift (feels a bit old school, very much in Yorkie territory, yawn) and think that it’s just a great collection of good stuff.

 

BBQ Around the World Subscription

Here’s a gift that keeps going for a bit beyond Father’s Day, with a 3 month BBQ around the world subscription from the Spicery. Every month a new box will turn up, covering everything from the flavours of the American deep south, through to the Caribbean and then onto Vietnam. Hopefully the next 3 months will finally give us some sunny days, but at least Dad would have some sunny flavours to hand.

 

Game Changer by Craved

If you want to avoid the naffness of the message behind the Man Box, then I would suggest the Game Changer from Craved would be a great alternative. Greater variety of drink, in that you have a beer, a lager, and the fabulous Gosnell’s mead (I really like this one), still get great cured meats and a chutney, but you don’t have to go looking for the cheese and crackers. It’s a little more expensive than the Man Box, but in my view worth every penny.

So, a few to get you going. Check back soon when I’ll do gifts for dads on kitchen kit and cookware that might make great gifts too.

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What to buy a multi-millionaire client at Christmas

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What to buy a millionaire at Christmas

 

I have a fabulous friend who runs her own business who has a particular Christmas gift dilemma: what to buy a client when they want for nothing.

Hmm, I like a challenge but that’s a tough one. Especially as there are some dull/necessary rules surrounding gifts, bribery and corruption. But food is ok on that list I think.

So I gave it some thought and came up with a couple of suggestions:

1. Send things for sharing in the office

 

Nutcracker iced biscuits from Biscuiteers

They may be multi-millionaires but it doesn’t mean they are super generous to their own people. And even if they are, who can resist something scrummy mid morning? I suggested a tin of biscuits from Biscuiteers, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when a box of these arrives. I love these Nutcracker ones, which are festive but a bit unusual.

 

2. Show you’ve got your finger on the pulse

 

Gintoxicating Kit from Craved

 

I thought it would be good to shop from somewhere different. Of course she could send a hamper from Fortnums, but how much more interesting to send one from somewhere like Crave? Great aesthetic, great products, interesting stories, couldn’t be better. For me, it tells a similar story to what her business helps other businesses to do, and I think it shows that she is looking at things slightly differently. Not to mention it’s a box of deliciousness that will turn up.

And then…

And then I came a cropper. Out of ideas. I mean this is someone who sold a flat in London that made the papers because of how much it went for. They don’t need anything, they possibly don’t want anything.

So, what would you do? Anyone got any ideas? I don’t know many multi-millionaires so my experience here is somewhat limited!

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Craved: curating the good stuff

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Great gift ideas for food lovers from Craved

 

I love it when you find people doing good stuff with great food. Or to be fair, Craved found me and sent me a lovely box of amazing things to show what they’re doing.

And I love what they are doing, which is pulling together great food from great producers and presenting it really well. It truly is curation at its best.

And I love that they are doing things a bit differently, with perhaps a bit of a tongue in cheek attitude. I mean, any time now a Snow Survival Kit is going to be very appealing, and, as those who know me will know, Gintoxicating has my name all over it.

 

Snow Survival Kit from Craved

 

There was nothing in the box which I’d tried before, which is always exciting. PaMa sauerkraut crackers definitely new to me, and make a nice change. Although a slightly acquired taste I think. Whereas Mast Brothers chocolate is a taste I could happily acquire.

We’re saving the Gosnell’s London Mead for Christmas, but love the story behind this. And we’ll probably save the soy glazed walnuts from Carpe Nux to go with it. A similar range makes up the Capital Collection, which is a lovely mix of things for £38.

Great business, really worth a look at. There are some great small producers in here as well, so I definitely see this as a win win kind of business.

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