It’s that time of the year when I share my favourite ideas for fabulous presents, either tried and tested myself or undisguised hints instructions for my loved ones on what they could should must get me!
You’ll see from my description whether it’s a personal recommendation or a personal wish! There are ideas to suit keen cooks, gourmet guzzlers and armchair foodies.
Please note that some of the links to online stores are affiliate links; buying through these will earn Kavey Eats a small commission.
Taste Tripper has a mission – to connect people to London’s best food and drink producers, with a special focus on artisan chocolate, excellent coffee, and craft beer.
The packs allow food and drink lovers – local and out of town alike – to discover the very best places, as curated by founder Jennifer Earle, also the expert behind highly successful Chocolate Ecstasy Tours. Since not everyone is able to (or fancies) attending a group tour, the Taste Tripper packs provide a way to explore Jenn’s finds at your own pace, over the course of nine months (from date of purchase). Each pack contains a set of Explorer cards featuring places to visit and a code that will give you a unique tasting experience once there. A beautiful printed map shares lots more great places to visit, and there are also expert tasting tips, recipes and location fact cards so you can learn more about London as you go. If you fancy a little of everything, you can choose the Explorer packs which provide a mix of chocolate, beer, coffee and tea cards grouped by central, east or south London.
Packs are just £19.50 for one person, or if the gift is for a couple wanting to explore together, a pack for two is £35.
We’ve been huge fans of Master Of Malt for many years, particularly since they launched their Drinks by the Dram offering, allowing aficionados to taste their way through a vast range of whiskies without having to save up for a full bottle of every one. Indeed, I’ve bought Pete (Drinks) many a dram of whisky and bourbon from their online shop for his birthdays and Christmas gifts over the years. These days, they sell much more than whisky, and they offer their own bottlings too via their own That Boutique-y label.
Over the last few years years, we’ve absolutely loved their booze-filled Advent Calendars, and Pete’s tasted and reviewed his way through MoM’s regular whisky calendar 2014, their bourbon calendar 2015 and the epic That Boutique-y Whisky calendar 2016. You can read individual reviews of every single dram in these three calendars here.
These days, their range of calendars is even larger, with a large variety of whisky calendars as well as specialist ones for absinthe, armagnac, bourbon, cognac, gin, mezcal, rum, tequila and vodka.
Last year it was all about the gin with our Kavey Eats Pete Drinks craft gin gift guide so this year, I’m very excited to open the 24 doors in my Master of Malt Gin Advent Calendar 2017, usually £124.95 but currently just £99.96 on Amazon UK (at time of writing). I estimate the retail price of these 24 drams at around £140 so this is actually a really competitive price given the sturdy advent calendar packaging.
Another favourite supplier of ours is Sous Chef, not just because they stock only the very best ingredients, equipment and goodies but also for their innovative and appealing gift sets and hampers.
I’ve been lusting after the Chinese Mooncake Recipe Kit (£15) for ages, I really really want to make these for next year’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
I also really like the Sous Chef recipe book + ingredients kits; each kit includes a highly-respected cookbook and a set of key ingredients to get you started. Choose from Authentic Palestinian (£49.50), Authentic Korean (£37.50), Authentic Chinese (£39.50), Ivan Ramen Book & Kit (£39.50), and many more.
I’m also a fan of Sous Chef specialist ingredients – take a look at the Truffle Pig Gift Set (£43.50), the elegant Escuminac Maple Syrup Trio (£22.50) and the Maverick Flavours Hamper (£49.50, also available in smaller sets), any keen cook’s dream. I’m hankering after both Pistachio Oil (£8.95) and Pistachio Paste (£9.95), Fiasconaro Coffee Cream (£7.50), and the Clementine Mostarda (£7.50).
Ross & Ross specialise in handmade British food gifts, including Homemade Curing Kits for making your own salmon and bacon.
The Original Homemade Bacon Curing Kit (RRP £22, currently £17.08) contains 3 different flavoured curing mixes (original, sweet and smoky), 3 curing bags, a length of muslin, a butchers hook and some plastic gloves. Follow the instructions to transform three half kilo slabs of pork belly (not included) into beautiful bacon, all in the space of 10 days.
Does it work? Yes, absolutely, and I found it a fun introduction to curing at home. Making bacon has been on my mental To Do list for years, but receiving this kit finally made me actually do it. Now I have, I’ll buy the ingredients to make my own mixes (though R&S sell refill pouches if you prefer), and reuse the bags, muslin and hook.
The Salmon Homemade Curing Kit (£22) contains 3 curing salt mixes (gin, smoky and beetroot), 3 curing bags and some plastic gloves and again each packet of curing salt mix. You’ll need to buy the salmon, and the gin.
It’s no secret that I adore Niederegger marzipan, and have done since my first visit to Lübeck, over 30 years ago.
All marzipan is quite definitely not made equal, and Niederegger is one of very few brands making pure marzipanrohmasse (raw marzipan) that is 65% raw almonds and 35% sugar. Other categories of marzipan are measured by how much more sugar is added to that ratio. For example, Lübecker edelmarzipan is labelled 90%, that means 90% of raw marzipan (at the ratios above) is mixed with an additional 10% sugar. That calculates to 58% almonds in total. When you get down to gewöhnliches marzipan (ordinary consumer level), it’s only 50% raw marzipan so the actual almond content is only 32.5% of the total, over two thirds is sugar!!!
Every year, one of my favourite treats is a big box of Niederegger marzipan and I enjoy one (or two) pieces every day.
Niederegger do create beautiful advent calendars but they always seem to be sold out well before the start of advent. But a far better buy, in my opinion, is this Niederegger Supreme Assortment of Mini Loaves, 86 of them to be precise, currently listed at £41.90, which is less than 50 pence per piece.
Kavey Eats has received review samples or invitations to press events for some of the brands featured. Only brands and products we love and genuinely recommend are included in our gift guide.