Here’s my MEGA foodie Christmas gift guide for 2015. I’ve gathered my favourite foodie products, old favourites, new friends and lusted-after items to share with you in the hopes to inspire you or show you something new.
It’s perhaps a bit crazy, but I love Christmas shopping – the bad music, the hustle and bustle, and trying to decide on the perfect present for someone. As long as I have an idea of what I want to buy I can stay relatively calm, but perhaps that’s helped by the fact that I don’t have a lot of presents to buy – only for my kids, nephews and godchildren. My family all do one big secret santa instead of lots of little presents so that’s the only other gift I have to buy. For my little ones, we always get them: something they want/something they need/something to wear & something to read.
But what about that foodie in your life? That baker, that butcher that candlestick maker? Try something from my Mega gift guide…
This collection of Jamie Oliver products are sure to delight any foodie. I’ve made a few recipes from Jamie Oliver’s Everday Super Food cookbook (Amazon, £9.59), including his Popped Beans in Cherry Tomatoes with Poached Eggs on Toast, which are delicious (especially with lashings of Sriracha sauce and balsamic vinegar!), and they’ve been great. I’ve owned one of his heavyweight Jamie Oliver mortar and pestles (Amazon, £14.99) for a while now and it is solid and great quality – perfect for bashing up spices.
The Jamie Oliver Fine and Coarse Grater Set (Amazon, £21.95) is super-sharp and perfect for veggies, hard cheese, or zesting citrus fruits. The snazzy knives in the Jamie Oliver Crinkle Cutting Set (Amazon, £16.25) are great for making crinkle cut chips, but also for making ‘crazy veggies’ which my kids love.
I also have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win £180 of Jamie Oliver Kitchenware. (ends 19 Dec)
A magazine subscription is always a great gift that last all year long. My first choice would definitely be Vegetarian Living magazine and I’m not just saying that because I write a monthly column in it, about reducing food waste! Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but it’s a great mag, stuffed with loads of vegetarian and vegan recipes from some of the word’s top chefs and cooks, as well as insightful articles about ethical living, cooking and gardening, as well as interviews, product reviews and news.
A Vegetarian Living subscription is £39.50 for 12 issues.
My husband and kids gave me this lovely bean necklace from Tiffany’s last year. I love it and wear it almost every day. I’m a coffee addict and I adore edamame beans, butterbeans, kidney beans etc… so it was the perfect present for me. It was designed by Elsa Peretti and is meant to ‘represent the origin of all things’.
The bean pendant is available at Tiffany & Co from £100.
Cole and Mason have loads of lovely products sure to delight any foodie. The Cole and Mason Herb and Spice Mill (Cole and Mason, £24.99) is a manual mill that’s easy to use and looks lovely. The Oil and Vinegar Pourer (Cole and Mason, £19.99) can drizzle or pour and won’t clog. The 8 Jar Spice Carousel (John Lewis, £34.99) is lovely and comes pre-filled with a selection of herbs and spices. Finally, the large wooden Capstan Precision Pepper Mill (Cole and Mason, £29.99) will make you feel like you’re home is a pizzeria. It is an elegant mill and has a lifetime guarantee.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? But there’s chocolate and then there’s single estate dark chocolate from Willie’s Cacao. This is a lovely little selection box lets you taste the difference between five different single estate chocolates. Willie’s Cacao says, “Like fine wines each tastes remarkably different due to its genetics and geography.” I really liked sharing these with friends and all appreciating the different smells and flavours.
Available at Amazon for £9.98 and other retailers.
I’ve had these J by Jasper Conran Copper Measuring Cups (Debenhams, £12) and Measuring Spoons (£8) for a few months now and I love them. They’re functional but also look lovely with the copper finish and shine. Fab stocking fillers. You can see these lovely items in action in my Pumpkin Pie with Chai Pastry recipe in the free Debenhams #foundit Christmas eBook.
This Stellar bamboo chopping board (Harts of Stur, £19.95) has a built in knife sharpener. Genius! The chopping board has non-slip feet and a built-in knife honer. The perfect thing to prepare your sprouts on – and ROAST THEM – never boil. Bleurgh. But roasting makes them delicious.
Chocolate. Classic patisserie. Merged. Seriously, these are amazing. Anyone would be delighted to get these. Hotel Chocolat make great chocolates, and here they’ve excelled themselves with the Patisserie Sleekster (Hotel Chocolat, £22.99). They’ve made 27 chocolates into classic flavours like Brownie, Caramel Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Raspberry Pannacotta, Billionaire’s Shortbread, Strawberry Cheesecake… amazing.
Everyone likes smellies at Christmas, don’t they? I’ve been using Dr Bronners’ products for a few years now and I love the smell (especially the lavender), but also that they have no nasties. These pure, natural castiles soaps are also fairtrade and certified organic. My son is 5 and has very sensitive skin, but he is absolutely fine with Dr Bronners – one of the few products that won’t cause him to break out in eczema. A little goes a long way with these soaps, so they’re quite good value. Healthy Supplies sell Dr Bronner’s soaps from £3.29 for the soap, to £11.49 for the large 946ml bottle.
I’ve been using this Akamuti Organic Shea Butter (Akamuti, £6.95) as a moisturiser for probably 10 years now! I always cleanse my face with olive oil and then moisturise with this shea butter. It’s so thick and rich, as well as completely natural and free of any additives. I’d love to find a spare pot in my stocking as I hate to be without it. It instantly makes dry skin feel soft and it soaks in quickly. Some shea butters can be processed or have a strange texture, but this is the one that I swear by. You only need the teeniest amount (and need to melt it slightly with your hands in the winter), so a pot lasts ages and is great value. My bathroom cabinet is pretty much all edible products so since shea butter is edible, this also fits into a foodie gift guide!
Check these out! Colourful mushrooms that you can grow at home. My kids have really loved growing these mushrooms. All you have to do is slice the front, then spritz them with water from the enclosed spray bottle a few times twice a day. A week later they start to grow, and grow, and grow. Seriously, right before our eyes, we could see them get bigger on the seventh day. The kids squealed with delight every time they saw them a little bit bigger. They’ve loved taking care of their mushrooms, saying ‘Grow, my little mushrooms’ each time they’ve sprayed them.
Tomorrow we harvest them and I’ll report back on how they taste. You can grow your own with a Pret a Pousser Mushroom growing kit from £14.90. They will regrow a few times and are certified organic and you can choose from blue, pink or yellow.
With all the cooking and clearing up at Christmas, it’s nice to have pretty new tea towels, isn’t it? These vibrant ones from Premier Housewares’s Ella range are a great festive green colour, with sunny print. Buy the Premier Housewares Ella Tea Towels at Amazon for £10.17
A hamper is such a great gift. The Greys Fine Foods Spanish Hamper (Greys Fine Foods £50), has loads of Spanish fare including wine, crackers and extra virgin olive oil, all in a lovely wooden box. It has ham, so veggies may like to try their selections of Spanish wines, cava and sherry instead!
This 20 piece Christmas selection box from Godiva (Godiva, £27.25) is filled with white, milk and dark Belgian chocolates, including fruity dark chocolate and raspberry, and a rich milk chocolate ‘Vanuatu’ ganache. These are lovely luxurious chocolates and would be very welcome under my tree!
This little book would make a nice stocking filler. Oh Come All Ye Tasteful – The Foodie’s Guide to a Millionaire’s Christmas Feast (Amazon, £.6.99) is rammed full of ideas for the most decadent Christmas dinner. The book mixes interesting facts and stories with recipes of extreme decadence (The Myrrhtini mixes gin an myrrh, while Scrambled Eggs Roulette involves white truffles and the world’s hottest chilli!).
Steenbergs make fantastic organic cooking ingredients, spices and teas. The Steenbergs Organic Bakers Treat Box (£7.50) would be very welcome in my stocking. It has mastic, mahlab, tonka beans and lebkuchen spice mix – all ingredients that are tough to track down so encourage you to get creative in the kitchen! The Christmas Hot Chocolate set (£ 13.50) has a box of delicately spiced hot cocoa mix and a branded mug in a jute bag.
Growing up, I always got a toothbrush in my stocking, and I’ve carried that tradition on with my own kids. I was given a Nano-b Charcoal and Gold toothbrush earlier this year, and it’s great. Brushing with gold makes you feel like you have a million dollar smile, but actually works amazingly well. They merge the antibacterial properties of gold and silver with the natural teeth whitening properties of bamboo charcoal. You can buy Nano-b toothbrushes for £7.99, which is more than typical toothbrushes, but I can attest that these last ages and are a great natural way to whiten teeth.
Permier Housewares’ Housekeeping Tin (Amazon, £22.47) makes mundane cleaning tasks more cheerful. I love products that make boring tasks better, like a jolly tea towel or a nice brush (am I weird??), and this completely fits the bill. It’s not only nice-looking, but also a practical way to hide away cleaning products. It’s made of a strong metal and has a removable insert.
Heston Blumenthal has a great range of cooking tools. This Heston for Salter Professional Whisk (Amazon, £11.70) is very sturdy and has a large balloon so you can get more air into your ingredients quicker.
This Ken Hom Bamboo Steamer (Ken Hom, £11.99) is a really popular steamer and is perfect for keeping in the flavour when steaming vegetables.
We always have Christmas cake. My mum has made it every year as long as I can remember and these days she feeds it for weeks with a pleasantly shocking amount of booze. She made one for my wedding cake, a huge one, and my poor soon-to-be-brother-in-law carried it from Belfast to London on planes, trains and automobiles. And those cakes ain’t light. I owe him. Squires Kitchen have this lovely Easy Christmas Cake Decorating Kit that has all you need to make it pretty, including marzipan, sugar paste and edible glue. (Squires Kitchen, £8.99). They also have this sweet tin of little festive cookie cutters. My kids have enjoyed making and decorating little gingerbread cookies. (Squires Kitchen, £8.99)
What do you hope Santa brings you this year? Tell me in the comments what foodie products you’re wishing for.
Disclosure: I was sent some of these products to review for my Mega Foodie Gift Guide and others I bought myself. I’ve only shared products that I like and all opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links. Prices correct at time of writing.