Hands up who’s done their Christmas shopping yet? Nope? Me either.
But I’m willing to bet that you’ve already been asked by someone close to you, that dreaded question:
‘What do you want for Christmas?’
Your mind goes blank, you shrug and say ‘I don’t mind’ or ‘I haven’t really thought about it’, because you figure Christmas is too far away. Because, well it is a bit.
Even so, with the last payday for most before Christmas looming, I thought it was about time I got the gift guide for food out and about.
This year I’m doing three guides. One for food, one for booze and one for everything else. Alongside each there’ll be a Pinterest board of suggestions that I’ll update as the month goes on, right the way down to the wire. So if you’re really stuck, you should be able to find something that suits you, or them.
So food lovers, let’s get stuck in.
Experiences – OK, they may seem like the easy option, but for the food lover, they can really show that you’ve listened to them waffle about their favourite thing in the whole world. If you’re local to Manchester, your list is endless. The Vegetarian Society offer a slew of courses, Cheshire Cookery School and Food Sourcery over in Didsbury offer something a little more, er, meaty (and the latter also offers barista skills training if that’s their love). For something a little more spicy, check out Chilli Banana, or our very own Jackie Kearney. If their passion is more carb based, then Bakerie offer bread baking sessions, whereas you can get cakey with Hey Little Cupcake, Heatons Cakes and Slattery’s offer cake related and more chocolatey courses.
If you need something a little more out of town, then head over to Great British Gourmet Experiences. As well as a huge listing of courses across the UK, you can choose from a huge range of wining and dining experiences. Tasty.
Hampers – Christmas (and let’s face it, new year) is a time to indulge, so what better way than with a basket of goodies. If you want the personal touch, then do it yourself. Grab a pretty basket and fill it with food and drink that will make your loved one smile ear to ear. If it’s something more extravagant, or less tailored, then the world is your oyster. Check with places like your local cheese shop – Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury – who offer classics like a Port and Stilton hamper and their own creations that lean on the expertise. If local doesn’t work for you, then companies like Ross & Ross can help, if you can drag yourself away from their curing section with kits so you can make your own bacon or cure your own salmon. Hmm. Bacon.
For those with a sweet tooth – I don’t know where to start! For chocolatey gifts, we’re incredibly lucky in Manchester to have a great selection of chocolates to choose from. In Truffle We Trust have truffles (obviously) chocolates (including a great vegan range) but also are bringing out their gin truffles again this year, and stylish Christmas trees. Cocoa Cabana are always worth a visit (I dare you not to buy for yourself while you’re there) and there’s bar to bean tastiness from Dormouse Chocolates.
Having met them at a Christmas in July event in London, I can also highly recommend Biscuiteers. I mean who doesn’t want a biscuit based nativity scene? Or biscuit stockings? They also offer personalised treats too (but I’d get in sooner rather than later).
For nut butter fiends, Funky Nut have a delicious range of treats, and The Nut Kitchen has a selection of gift sets too, and you should try their Gianduia Spread. Think Nutella’s sexier cousin.
Finally, I had to fit (more) gin in here somewhere, you have gin fudge. Yes, you heard me. Try the Tarquin’s version from Buttermilk, or the Mixology Collection from Fudge Kitchen (who also offer dairy free vegan fudges) if you prefer a little cocktail fun with your sweet treats.
And that, for now, is your lot. I’ll update the Pinterest board as the weeks progress, but if you have any suggestions, just drop me a line and I’ll add them too!