Christmas time is wonderful, but Christmas shopping can be, er, woeful. And this year, we will do everything in our power to ensure you bypass the Oxford Circus netherworld on a desperate Saturday in December.
We may be biased here at Foodism, but we believe nothing goes down better than the gift of food and drink. It looks good, tastes fabulous, and often makes your Christmas extra jovial.
That said, we've also ensured our Christmas gift guide is packed with plenty of non-edible gifts for the cooking maestro, including nifty kitchen gizmos, cracking cookbooks and even a festive jumper to don when you're carving the bird.
From humungous hampers and scrumptious stocking fillers to Japanese knives and gin from Four Pillars – here's our pick of the best food and drink gifts for Christmas 2023. Just call us Santa...
The best cookbooks to give someone this Christmas
The British Cookbook
By Ben Mervis
British food has long been a source of national embarrassment; however, as writer and food historian Ben Mervis proves in The British Cookbook, this need not be the case. The sumptuous volume is part cookbook, part history. The well-researched love letter to British cooking manages the knotty feat of condensing the history of British cuisine into a five-page introduction. Covering over 550 classic and regional recipes such as soda bread, haggis, trifle, shepherd's pie and more, it’s a refreshing take on the Great British kitchen that will inspire you to cook the food of Blighty.
Published by Phaidon; £32.79; buy it here
By Maria Bradford
Sweet Salone is Maria Bradford's love letter to the recipes of her native land – Sierra Leone, a country with a history, people and place that has forged a truly unique cuisine. Putting to use ingredients such as sesame seeds, tamarind, mango, chilli and pineapple, these recipes are her take on Afro-Fusion fine dining – balancing elevation with the unbridled joy of eating. With recipes like goose-fat oven-baked plantain chips with roasted garlic mayo and sesame and sunflower seed snaps to braised short ribs in peanut and coconut milk, you need no convincing to bag yourself a copy of Sweet Salone this Christmas.
Published by Quadrille; £30; buy it here
The Farm Table
By Julius Roberts
We’re low-key obsessed with Julius Roberts and his seemingly idyllic farm life, so the release of his debut cookbook The Farm Table was definitely on our radar. It’s a bible of seasonal recipes for the unfussy home cook that helps to prove that what grows together goes together. Beautifully photographed and styled, recipes are interleaved with honest tales of life as a first-generation farmer reconnecting with the seasons and nature. From smoked haddock and leek rarebit to steamed apricot sponge, Roberts demonstrates that all you need to feed the soul are a few good things on a plate.
Published by Penguin; £15; buy it here
By Jeremy Chan
Jeremy Chan is easily one of the United Kingdom’s most innovative and creative young chefs. At the age of 36, he’s taken down two Michelin stars and made return appearances on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Accolades aside, he’s doing things that nobody else is, or possibly can. His obsession with technique led him to draw delicious parallels between Japanese and West African cuisines. Recently, he’s brought the same spirit to fast food – his summer collaboration with Shake Shack demonstrates a willingness to come down from fine dining’s ivory tower to find common ground with the average eater’s current account. That’s always something that we can get behind. From street food to haute cuisine, we want a chef who sheds boundaries and looks for the elements that bring us together. Chan’s gastronomical thought processes are on fine display in this cookbook from Phaidon. Do you have a burgeoning culinary talent in your household? Keep them inspired with this.
Published by Phaidon; £44.95; buy it here
A New Way to Bake
By Philip Khoury
Plant-based baking is an often neglected phenomenon reduced to the odd brownie or cookie – but Philip Khoury revolutionises vegan patisserie in his debut cookbook A New Way to Bake. As head pastry chef at Harrods, it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about baking, and he channels this culinary prowess into the book to transform plant-based pastry into something never seen before. But don't just take our word for it – it's been flying off the shelves ever since its release in August. From sachertortes and stollens to madeleines and maamouls, these 80+ recipes prove that vegan baking doesn't have to compromise.
Published by Hardie Grant; £24.99; buy it here
The best hampers to give someone this Christmas
A Very Newt Christmas Hamper
We’d all love to spend Christmas at The Newt, so its Christmas hamper is the next best thing. This showstopper is an epicurean goldmine featuring all the hotel’s Somerset favourites, such as cheddar cheese straws, apple panettone, handmade truffles and cyder marmalade. Plus, it’s conveniently stocked with plenty of estate-made cyder and sensational small-batch apple gin to keep the woodland walks jolly. But be forewarned – a hamper filled with such a starstudded lineup of treats must be guarded with a watchful eye. Left unattended, you might find the contents devoured quicker than you can say roast potato.
The Very Merry Bean Bundle
The Bold Bean Co.
Featuring two jars of irresistibly gigantic queen chickpeas and butter beans, this hamper is a one-way ticket to never buying tinned pulses again. What’s more, it comes with their newly released cookbook with plenty of beanspo, alongside a gigantic bean bauble made by Minnie Mae Stott Studio that’s sculpted on their exact queen butter bean pod and features 24-carat gold lustre. Both your tree and pantry shall be the envy of your peers this Christmas.
The Fortnum's Classic Christmas Hamper
Fortnum & Mason
We’re not going to beat around the bush here: Fortnum & Mason do Christmas hampers like no one else, and to exclude them in a list of the best would be a heinous crime. With a range of 60 to choose from, making the choice could potentially be overwhelming, but we think that the classic Christmas hamper triumphs as the go-to option. Bundling all the yuletide staples – including champagne, cognac butter, Christmas pud, tea and ginger biscuits – into a wicker basket, Fortnums once again proves that the wheel doesn’t need reinventing.
If there’s a season to unleash your inner chef, it’s Christmas, and the Simon Rogan Collection hamper will let your culinary imagination run wild. Packed full of stellar kitchen tools like chef’s tweezers, an apron and the Skeppshult cast-iron spice mill alongside cupboard conquerors like fennel salt, lemon and thyme oil and courgette pickle, you have permission to go full MasterChef this festive season. Plus, it contains a bottle of the Simon Rogan Exton Park rosé sparkling wine to fuel the festive kitchen slog. Chef's privilege, am I right?
Bring the ritual of Dishoom's beloved house masala chai home this Christmas with its chai hamper. It comes with a tin of Dishoom’s signature blend, four chai glasses, a nifty tea strainer and a chintzy floral tea towel. Plus, you can breathe a sigh of relief – your table will be left intact from the piping hot chai thanks to the stylish ceramic and cork-based trivet included in the bundle. This hamper is the perfect gift for a chai lover and provides the tools to host a tea party like no other. Brewtiful.
The best kitchenware to give someone this Christmas
Allday Goods X Bao
Some knives are just, ahem, a cut above the rest, and if you’re searching for a new kitchen addition that both looks sharp and can chop, slice, mince and dice with the best of them, Allday Goods edges out the competition. This limitededition nakiri knife was handcrafted in Sakai, Japan, with an excellent, eclectic handle that celebrates cult restaurant group Bao, whose iconic tote bags and t-shirts have become collector’s items for anyone with a soft spot for Taiwanese milk buns – you don’t want one unless you’ve got buns, hun.
Think the avid home cook in your life has got every piece of possible kitchenware? Think again. The brainchild of Jessie and Nick, two East London locals who used their lockdown to design the perfect cast-iron pan, come up with a business plan and... actually go through with it, Sebright Goods is setting out to revive the British tradition of making quality cast-iron cookware that’s designed to last. These glorious dutch ovens (casserole dishes) are not only capacious, practical and extremely chic, they also come with a lid that doubles as a pan, complete with non-stick finish. Two adorable pans in one that just so happen to be reviving a classic British manufacturing tradition? That’ll put you right on Santa's nice list.
Let’s face it, the winter months can be bruising, and while it’s nice to go on holiday, it’s not exactly your day-to-day. Don’t despair just yet, though, because a great way to bring a bit of that wanderlust vibe into your own household is through design, and this Toast glassware channels the vibrancy of a Saharan souk. The set of six hand-blown, recycled, rounded glasses has been sent directly from the Beldi Country Club in Marrakech, and each bespoke piece has its own imperfections, marks and air bubbles. These babies are so artisanal that you can almost taste it. Yum.
Anyone who knows their way around a kitchen knows that a hand blender is one of the most dynamic appliances in the game, equally adept at emulsifying a salad dressing as it is whipping up a batch of hummus or making smoothies. But not all hand blenders are made equal, and this cherry red number from Smeg promises to make an impression, with a colourway that shouts Christmastime from the rooftops. Santa-approved.
While it doesn't completely fit the tableware brief, donning a decent, comfortable Christmas jumper during the holiday season can make festive cooking that much more enjoyable, especially when it channels the raucously kitsch vibe of the Big Mamma restaurant group. Renowned for the extra, take-noprisoners design of the group’s restaurants including Gloria, Circolo Popolare, and the recently opened Jacuzzi, Big Mamma has put the same effort into its Pasta Baby jumper, which sees Father Christmas languishing on a bed of spaghetti like a giant red meatball. What’s not to love?
The best booze to give someone this Christmas
Olive Leaf Gin
In our experience, most of the ardent martini lovers in our lives believe they have the perfect recipe. Their go-to gin, the specific amount of vermouth and the mixing method have been practised and considered until it’s become a fine art. However, unless they’re using Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, they’re probably mistaken. Born in Victoria, Australia, Four Pillars has quickly made a name for itself as one of the most exciting distilleries to watch. This Olive Leaf Gin came about a er a visit to Australian olive oil makers Cobram Estate and has a rich savoury finish ripe with herbaceous notes. Mix over ice with a touch of dry vermouth and you have the perfect fencesitter between a martini that’s dirty and one with a twist – no olive brine needed.
Talisker x Parley Wilder Seas
This wouldn’t be a Christmas gift guide without a stellar bottle of malt included in it. But which one to choose? How about a whisky that does its part for the environment, too? Skye distillery Talisker has partnered with the revolutionary ocean conservation company Parley for the Oceans to create Talisker’s very first recycled glass bottle, crafted from biofuel and designed with a ceramic decoration to reduce its packaging carbon emissions by a whopping 77%. It’s also a trailblazer in that it’s the first-ever whisky from the brand to be finished in French Oak XO cognac casks, imparting a complex flavour of smoke, spice and sea, exactly what you'd expect from a distillery perched on the rocky Hebridean coast. It’s what drams are made of.
Heritage gift set
Renais Gin and Domaine Watson
Got a Harry Potter fan who also happens to love a good drink in your life? Scratch both of their itches with this Renais gin and Domaine Watson Heritage gift set. Yes – that Watson. While Emma Watson was finding worldwide fame as everyone’s favourite witch Hermione, her family were quietly producing some of the finest wine in Chablis. Now, her brother Alex has brought his years of experience in the drinks industry to the family business, teaming up with his famous sister to launch Renais gin, made from leftover grape skins from the Domaine Watson winemaking process. This gift set gives you an inside track to both sides of the business – with a bottle of Domaine Watson Chablis and Renais Gin beautifully packaged together in a vibrant gift box.
Expand your loved ones’ liquid horizons and gift them a bottle of Showerings this festive season. Perfect for that friend or family member you’d usually buy a bottle of wine for, opting for Showerings is both a delicious and informative gift. Part of a group of cider producers looking to expand perceptions of what the cider category can be, Showerings just so happens to be the perfect dining companion to Christmas lunch, particularly a slow-roasted maple gammon. An elegantly dry, gently carbonated and deeply cultured cider blended from three vintages, it rivals many high-quality sparkling wines to make the perfect festive drop.
Three-bottle wine gift pack
What’s better than a bottle of wine? Three bottles of wine. All jokes aside, if you want to get a feel for a producer and their vineyards, there’s no better way than a tasting across the many bottles produced at their winery. Beronia is an established and well-respected name in Rioja, and showcases the tempranillo grape at its most voluptuous. Equally adept at standing up to a well-marbled steak as it is to a platter of tapas, you can rest easy that Beronia will see you into 2024 in exceptional Iberian style.
When is it too early to mix up a round of dark 'n' stormys on Christmas morn, I hear you ask? When there’s a bottle of Don Papa aged rum under the tree, the answer is that it's never too soon. Made from some of the best sugar cane in the world grown on the volcanic soils of Mount Kanloan in Sugarlandia (Negros in the Philippines to you and me), it’s used to create black gold molasses that’s distilled in ex-bourbon American oak barrels for a rich, vanilla-punctuated rum. Delicious drunk over ice or in your favourite cocktail, a bottle of Don Papa locks in a rum-believable Christmas.
Ferrari Brut F1 Limited Edition Gift Box
Hit the absolute slam dunk for the F1 fan in your life and grab them this limited edition bottle of Ferrari Trento Brut. The Italian TrentoDOC producer is currently the official sparkling wine of the Formula 1, which sees the bottles sprayed on podiums around the world by the top three drivers of any race (which means Max Verstappen has had his hands on a lot of bottles of Ferrari Trento this year). The team produces a limited edition bottle for each GP, and this one celebrating the British race at Silverstone is sure to delight any hardy F1 fan. BYO race suit.
Art & Decadence Blended Whisky
For the whisky aficionado, nothing says happy Christmas quite like the warm kiss of a carefully crafted dram of malt, and Compass Box delivers on all fronts with its Art & Decadence limited edition blended whisky. Inspired by the late 19th-century Aesthetic and Decadent movements, this bottle channels the age of excess and is an after-dinner dram blended with whisky from Balmenach distillery matured in a combination of madeira, sauternes and marsala casks. Essentially designed for that post-turkey slump, it's best served with a slice of Christmas pud and a naff cracker joke (giant lobster optional).
The Non-Drinking Option
Since the dawn of cocktails in the north of Italy (although bitters were actually invented in Egypt 5,000 years before), bitters have been the bartender's secret weapon for elevating a libation with just a flick of the wrist. Seasn is perfect for anyone looking to swerve the sauce as we head into January, or anyone looking to up the flavour ante without doubling down on drink. Founded by Ben Branson, the owner of Seedlip, choose from Seasn Light, which provides notes of fresh-cut grass, lime and grapefruit peel, or Seasn Dark, with aromatic flavours of kola nut, smoked cherrywood, star anise and cinnamon. 'Tis the Seasn.