Christmas Gift Guide: For Cooks & Foodies (Part 1)

We all know someone who is a whizz in the kitchen and/or loves good food, so this gift guide is for them.  Whether you are looking to buy a few bits to put together in a hamper, a bigger gift, or even something nice for yourself, there's lots here to tempt the taste buds.

We love these gorgeously presented Italian treats from artisanal Italian bakery Arden & Amici.  With delicious festive treats including Classic, Chocolate, and Cranberry & Orange Panettones, Amaretti, Panforte and more, they're the perfect additions to your Christmas table, and with this stunning packaging, they're perfect for gifts and hampers.  To add a touch of Italian glamour and flavour to your Christmas feast, head to Waitrose, Ocado and Tesco to stock up.

Perfect for tea lovers, Twinings Christmas caddies are decorated with scenes of London streets and filled with delicious Christmas teas. Their signature Christmas Tea is a delicious blend of malty black tea combined with warming flavours and orange peel.  While the Spiced Chai Tea is an exotic blend of Black Tea, Rooibos and spice, making it warming and aromatic.  Both perfect for crisp winter days in front of a roaring fire.

The Cuisipro SGT Handheld Mandolin is going to be any cook's new kitchen best friend, tackling everything from everyday slicing to julienne, batons, crinkle and waffle cuts, grating and more.  With different blades offering a choice of  six different thicknesses and all the other functions, this is a seriously handy kitchen tool.  The patented SGT grooved platform makes using the mandolin effortless, while the finger guard holds both small and large pieces securely for safe and efficient use.  With a non-slip handle, a bowl notch to grip the side of the pan, and the ability to create short or long vegetable pieces, there isn't much this bad boy cannot help with.

Finding interesting non-alcoholic drinks is always a challenge, but these delicious beverages from a British maker are interesting and unusual.  The Great Uncle Cornelius Refreshers are made using high quality ingredients.  The Lemon Refresher is a uniquely refreshing drink which combines the natural zing of lemon juice with water and fruit juices; while the Rhubarb Refresher is a light pink pressed rhubarb and apple drink.  The Great Uncle Cornelius Refresher range is available online from James White Drinks.

For more quintessentially British rhubarb, try the gift range from Raisthorpe Manor.  Gifts include rhubarb gin, rhubarb chocolates, apple crunch chocolate, and rhubarb gin jam.

Apothic Dark is a bold new red blend, rich with dark flavours of blueberry and blackberry, and opulent notes of coffee and chocolate. Crafted using a unique blend of dark grape varieties which provide richness, complexity and balance, it is a blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandela and Petit Verdot. Its smooth flavour will pair magnificently with rich foods and dark evenings. Try it with a rich mushroom Bolognese or hearty roasted vegetable lasagne. Widely available.

Treat a baker to this pretty Gold Metal Vintage Cake Display Stand from Melody Maison.  With its filigree, lace style detailing and curled feet, this pretty cake stand will grace any table setting, perfect for afternoon tea or even your Christmas cake.

The award-winning CHOC Chick Starter Kit is the ideal introduction to raw chocolate making and has enough ingredients to make around 30-40 raw chocolates, three bars or over 30 truffles.  The ethically sourced finest, single origin, Nacional Arriba cacao from co-operatives in Ecuador and is dairy-free, gluten-free, and without processed sugars or additives.  The ideal way to introduce someone to the joys of raw chocolate making.

Keeping with a yummy cocoa theme, delicious Amelia Rope Chocolate is made entirely from Colombian couverture.  Creating delicious, ethical, single origin chocolate bars that are dairy-free and vegan, the range includes chocolate bars and flavoured chocolate kernels.  Available from Fortnum & Mason, Wholefoods and independents.

Opie’s pickles have been a staple on our dining tables for over 60 years, and they are the ideal cupboard standby to jazz up your cheeseboard or festive buffet, and an essential for the cocktail tray too.  Widely available, the delicious range includes Pickled Walnuts for the ultimate Ploughman's sandwich, Cocktail Gherkins, Stem Ginger, deliciously sweet Cocktail Cherries and more.

Encona has not bee around as long, but has certainly earned its place in our cupboards.  Ideal for any spice fan, a range of gift products are available this Christmas from leading supermarkets and retailers, such as this Tasty Twosome Dipper duo of their original Hot Pepper Sauce and Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce, along with two chilli-shaped dip bowls.

Botonique is the new botanical soft drink for wine lovers.  It contains no alcohol, and is dry and complex, works well with food, and holds its own next to wine.  Containing Prelixir nutrients, a special blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, alkalising, hydrating, detoxifying, and digestive properties.  Taking its flavours from different herbs, spices, citrus and healthy botanicals like ginseng and milk thistle seed, along with sparkling water and a little pear juice, Botonique has the dryness and sparkle of a dry Prosecco and the acidity of a sauvignon Blanc, so goes well with Asian and Oriental dishes, antipasti or goat's cheese.  Its unique flavour is reminiscent of dry white wine, with hints of gin and vermouth.  Available from Ocado and other leading retailers.

Guylian luxury Belgian chocolates are a Christmas staple in our house, and up and down the land.  Their Guylian Praline Sea Shells come in a 50% bigger box this Christmas, meaning there is even more to share - or to keep to yourself 😉  They are made using only the finest, hand-selected Mediterranean hazelnuts, which are roasted and caramelised to perfection before being blended with premium Belgian chocolate.  The Belgian Classics are available in two different box sizes, while the 528g Deluxe Assortment is a perfect gift.  Guylian chocolates are available from all major supermarkets and selected independent stores nationwide.

Bean and Pod gourmet chocolates are handcrafted and hand-filled, and offer a stunning new range of thrilling tastes and textures.  The collection includes Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites, Chocolate Honeycomb, Toffee Caramels and Caramel Peanut Bites.  All are Vegetarian Society approved and the dark chocolate varieties are dairy-free too.  Delicious.

The jujube fruit is a ancient super food from the far east which is naturally sweet, paleo and vegan.  Often called the red date, it is available from Abakus Foods as dried jujube fruit, jujube crisps, and jujube stuffed with almonds.  Containing no added sugar and being sulphite-free, this all natural treat is perfect for on the go snacking and, being packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, it helps to calm the mind, improve sleep and boost the immune system.  In fact jujube contains 18 of the 24 essential amino acids which we need for recovery and tissue repair, so this sweet treat is good for you too.  Available from Ocado, Grape Tree, Wholefoods, Revital, and good independents.

Coconut oil has retained its super food crown this year and the Organic Virgin Coconut Cooking Butter from TIANA Fair Trade Organics is a guaranteed hit with cooks.  TIANA is a leading supplier of coconut oil in the UK, and now supplies this healthy cooking oil in a new format.  With no coconut taste or aroma, the 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Butter is unrefined, unfermented and non-hydrogenated.  Its is free from cholesterol, trans fats, dairy, nuts and gluten, and ideal for cooking. Available from leading health food stores.

Indigo Herbs Indigo Chocolate Making Kit Gift Set is a pure raw chocolate making gift set which includes everything you need to make pure dark chocolate with goji berries & brazil nuts, including full instructions.  A rich source of magnesium, which helps to relax muscles, strengthen bones and improve circulation, raw cacao chocolate is delicious and healthy.  The kit contains: Cacao Powder, Cacao Butter, Raw Agave Nectar, Pure Raw Vanilla Powder, Goji Berries and Brazil Nuts.

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