We're pretty sure it was Aristotle who once said that the "best gifts given are those you can eat". We're 80% sure anyway. Either way, when it comes to gifts, our favourites are most certainly those which are edible, drinkable and, as always, snaffable, or that make said snaffable items a. easier to prepare b. look pretty enough for the 'Gram.
Doesn't matter if it's a hunk of beautifully wrapped, artisan cheese to go with our festive cheese board or a handmade really, really, really beautiful serving dish, if we can eat it or eat off it, we're happy. And because we know we're not alone in this, we've gone ahead and rounded up some of the best places to source some delightfully gift-able foods, crockery, hampers, homeware and drinks for the season of giving.
From Christmas hampers overspilling with goodies, to pillowy panettone, to sticky-as-you-like baklava, there's gifts to suit everyone's wish list at these special spots. Oh, and read our edit of the best advent calendars, whilst you're at it.
11 shops in London to source food and drink gifts
1. Wild by Tart
3-4 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ
The new Eccleston Yard-based restaurant from Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones of Tart London is a whole hubbub of activity; 9,000 square foot of it, to be precise, including a gloriously extravagant and treat-studded interiors shop at the front. It’s a real treasure trove, selling their own range of homeware, starry wine tumblers and silk napkins, all-natural beauty products husky with bergamot and geranium, plus an assortment of trinkets from their favourite designers and artisans. And that’s before you even reach the Tart Greenhouse, where succulents, cacti and palms wait just begging for you to take them home. Gifts galore.
59 Wells Street, Fitzrovia, W1A 3AE
Yotam Ottolenghi introduced us to heaps of ingredients most of us had never heard of before – harissa and za'atar, we're looking at you – and created delicious recipes that, well, used loads of said ingredients. Which means that, sometimes, it's easier to buy his products than it is to make them yourself. It's very convenient indeed that the chef opened a range of delis where you can do just that, from preserves to spice mixes like dukkah. Christmas time sees the shops stock festive produce like Christmas pudding, biscuits and a whole range of hampers.
3. Lina Stores
20 Stable St, Kings Cross, N1C 4DR
With rows of jars stuffed full of sun dried tomatoes, wedges of Parmigiano-Reggiano and bags of biscuits, the new Lina Stores in King’s Cross is our idea of paradise. Go there for a hearty meal of pasta and then do a bit of your Christmas shopping in-store, or at nearby Coal Drops Yard afterwards. Their Soho deli opened in 1944, and they’ve been purveying the finest Italian goods ever since, meaning one thing: panettone. There are tiny ones, big ones, ones studded with chocolate, and ones peppered with dried fruit… You’re gonna have to try them all, right?
4. Fink's Salt & Sweet
70 Mountgrove Road, N5 2LT
This café-restaurant serves a banging brunch, brilliant coffees and small plates in the evening, when you'll find diners gorging themselves on roast aubergine with feta, and harissa-marinated lamb shoulder. Yum. Whilst you may not be able peruse the shelves in person, which are normally packed with oils and vinegars; coffees and teas; and gifts that'll make a sweet stocking filler for even the most serious foodies, as they experienced a flood earlier in the year, show your support on their online store, selling a great range of gifts, hampers and the sort.
59 Wells Street, Fitzrovia, W1A 3AE
So you've been to Ottolenghi, but have you been to Rovi? Because the man is a goddamn genius when it comes to turning his restaurants into spaces where you’re destined to come out with a heavy bag, a lighter wallet and a lot more than a doggy bag in tow. Rovi in Fitzrovia might just be his masterpiece. One of the first things that strikes you eating at Rovi isn’t just the immense quality of the food, but the quality of everything else it’s served on. Which is all part of Yottam’s master plan, you see, because Rovi’s got a neat little alcove in it where you can purchase the typical oeuvre of Ottolenghi preserves and goodies as well as a spate of tableware (plates and glasses included), cookbooks, and even hand-painted napkins.
6. Melrose and Morgan
Oriel Hall, Oriel Place, NW3 1QN
We'd like everything in our kitchen to come in Melrose and Morgan's gorgeous packaging, please and thanks. In fact, we'd like everything in our to kitchen to come from Hampstead deli Melrose and Morgan, period. You'll find everything you need to take your festive feast up a notch, and, of course, Christmas hampers crammed with all that festive dreams are made of.
7. Gail's Bakery
Gail's baked goods need little introduction, but if you ever needed an excuse to get yourself to one of London's best-loved bakeries, it should be a freshly baked loaf of fennel and sultana sourdough that's so big it'll keep you fed throughout Christmas. Other reasons include some of the best mince pies we've come across (and we've tried more than a few), cinnamon stars, iced bauble biscuits, and sour cherry, almond and chocolate drop cookies.
Borough Market, 3 Rochester Walk, SE1 9AF
This Middle Eastern Borough Market mainstay has all the trappings of a great neighbourhood restaurant and, what's more, there are plenty of banging foodie gifts for you to stuff your boots with. Whether you want to treat your parents to saccharine sweet hunks of Turkish delight, hearty spices, sticky, moreish baklawa or treat-stuffed hampers. Essential picks on the Arabica menu include the falafel, hummus, and moutabel, so it's totally worth settling in for a feast post-shop, too; it's hard to go wrong with anything from the joint's mezze selection.
Cardamom Bldg, 31 Shad Thames, Tower Bridge, SE1 2YR
Legare, the Italian restaurant in Tower Bridge from Matt Beardmore and Jay Patel, has an all-new wine shop out the front of the restaurant just waiting to help you invest in some really, really sexy Italian wine and olive oils. They've got a whole host on offer, many which they serve and use in the restaurant, too, coming from Tuscany, Liguria, and Lake Garda. Hungry? Reward yourself for getting yet more great gifts in the bag with a plate of steaming hot fresh pasta. Opt for the tajarin burro e salvia, the orecchiette with fennel sausage and cavolo nero ragù, the stracci with crab, chilli, garlic, saffron and pangrattato, or the agnolotti with Neal's Yard goats curd and tomato consommé.
10. Honey & Spice
52 Warren Street, W1T 5NJ
Just across the road from the much-loved Honey & Co restaurant is Honey & Spice, an intimate little grocery store absolutely bursting with unique and eye-catching gifts, from fresh spices and the spice mixes we make; more difficult to find dry store essentials like best quality freekeh and kadaif pastry; cookies, iced teas, ice cream and jams made by Sarit in their pastry kitchen; bottles of wine chosen by Itamar; handpicked homeware and kitchen essentials, like falafel scoops; and some of their favourite cookbooks as well. And, fun fact, you can pack a selection of whatever you choose into a gift box for you or the food lover in your life. Well worth a visit—even if just so you can snaffle a baklava with a cup of tea when you get home.
19 Ganton Street, W1F 9BN
Ok, so they may not have the most extensive range of gifts on offer, but some of the tote bags and t shirts on sale in Stevie Parle's Pastaio are cool. Like really cool. Especially for pasta lovers and cult-fans of their rich sausage sauce covered knuckly malloreddus. We're down for food merch as Christmas presents and we're pretty sure your food-loving mate might just be, too.