Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Present ideas for Foodies

Ok, well these are the great presents for me.  Here is a collection of things I've liked receiving over the years, like or would love!  Some of them may spark an idea, some are just boringly practical but also some of the best presents I've received.

An olive wood board.  One of my sisters bought me one for Christmas a few years ago and it's featured heavily in my blog since just like on this mulled grape juice picture above.  It's just lovely as a cheeseboard or just looks lovely as an extra mat for your table.  It's all wiggly and rustic and nice.

Sherry.  So under rated.  I love a really nice sherry whether it's a Pedro Ximenez or Solera with a dessert or a chilled Manzanilla or Fino with tapas, a bottle of decent sherry would always be appreciated.
Hotel Chocolat Kirsch soaked cherries.  Because they are awesome.  I could eat these until they came out of my ears.   Imagine the best black forest gateau except in minature form only better?  Oh yes...
Buy Lion Sabatier Fully-Forged Chef's Knife, 15cm Online at
Some decent knives.  I have some weighty Lion Sabatier for chefs knives and perfectly balanced Victorinox for serrated and paring knives and I use them daily, I mean daily as well.  Probably every knife gets used at least once a day.  Life is too short for a naff knife.  I once made the mistake of buying a cheap serrated knife for cutting bread.  It was fine until the handle and blade snapped apart which could have been pretty dangerous.  Generally, as long as you show a degree of respect, the sharper the knives, the safer they are, less likely to slip or need excessive force (but keep your chefs knives sharp!)
A slow cooker.  These are inexpensive pieces of kit but they are absolutely fantastic.  Great for stews, braises like this slow cooked oxtail and even for steaming and reheating your Christmas Pudding in!  Result!

A temperature probe.  Oh how dull, I know, but this is one of my most top used kitchen gadgets.  I have one in my house and have ordered one more.  One similar to this from Amazon has lasted well so far, probably 3 years (a month in my kitchen appears to be like dog years for temperature probes for me!)  Why do I like it?  Well it's invaluable for cooking poultry, not just to make sure it's safe but to make sure you don't overcook it.  Nothing is worse than dry turkey people.  It's also useful for measuring jam temperatures and sugar work.

A glass rack.  A friend of a friend is a sommelier and he had the most amazing glass rack in his house.  What's great as well as this could sit under kitchen cupboards saving space.  I'm not sure if it would work in my kitchen but I do love the idea.

I am obsessed with cookie cutters and I'm also an ex chemist.  These cookie cutters based on chemistry and alchemy are just so cute.  But as I have a drawer of cookie cutters already, I'm not sure I can justify them.  However, if they were a gift I wouldn't have to feel guilty!

Cheese.  I am a cheese obsessive and I have to admit a love for two of my favourite cheese shops, David North in Rothley Leicestershire and the Teddington Cheese Company in Teddington and Richmond, London.  Both of them have massively knowledgeable people working there and fantastic, well kept cheese.  My favourites are many, I'm a fan of a flinty aged cheddar or a creamy mature Stilton but I do love a good Vignotte or Delice de Bourgogne (all the high fat naughty stuff!)  If there is a cheese obsessive in your house, why not send them the gift of cheese?  Loads of places home deliver nowadays.

Anything home made.  I think some people are a bit sniffy about things like this but I love home made chutneys, jams etc.  My eldest sister makes pickled onions every year and they're awesome, so much better than you can buy.  They must be way more expensive to make than buy but each jar is a little "I love you enough to spend my time on you" and that's so appreciated (by me anyway!)  I once made someone a care package of all different home made foods from seasoning rubs to jams, chutneys and home made fudge.  It was my way of saying "I love you" as my time is so precious, it was far more expensive in time than any gift.
Digital scales.  This might fall into the "boring yet practical" slot but it must be one of my most used presents I've ever had.  Ok, you might have to put a bowl or a pot on them to weigh into but you can get 1g accuracy and also when you're doing a lot of baking you don't have to keep cleaning the weighing bowl as you just move onto the next.  I've had my set for a good 3-4 years and I'd definitely recommend them.

A brewery tour.  It's not just for men, I love real ale.  There are some fantastic ales coming onto the market and I'm a big fan of the hoppier brews, especially those served as the not very trendy (until recently) "sparkling" ales which are a bit fizzier than hand pulled.  I'm a big fan of Meantime IPA but Trumans IPA is probably my favourite.  Not only is it a fantastic brew but also my Grandfather worked as a Trumans salesman for most of his adult life.  Trumans as a brand is not quite the brewing force it once was, there would be something special about taking in a tour.  I like to think my Grandpa is smiling down at it's revival!

I've added links into this post for your convenience, I've not been sponsored for this post, these are only example retailers and suggestions and you are of course welcome to chose your own!

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