This might be the best gift guide I’ve put together so far and there’s a part two already in the works. One of my favourite things about this time of year all the luxurious comfort food. There’s something so satisfying about coming in from the cold to be greeted by a mug of hot chocolate with a mountain of marshmallows and cream balancing on top or sitting down to down to watch your favourite Christmas film with a huge bowl of gourmet popcorn. While you might misjudge someones taste in aftershave, you’re guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face with one of these delicious delicacies…
Let’s start with a brilliant stocking filler for the big kid in your family. Holly’s Lollies* is a small UK based company that specialises in handcrafted lollies and confectionery with a twist. Holly uses the finest ingredients and traditional methods to create a whole range of marvellous flavour combinations. What makes her sweets that extra bit special is that they are inspired by your favourite alcoholic drinks. That’s right, she adds a splash of your favourite tipple to create boozy grown-up treats! I was very kindly sent this Giant Strawberry Daiquiri Lollipop which contains real rum and a handful of Prosecco Elderflower Rock Sweets. Each product is packaged beautifully and would make a fun and quirky addition to any hamper or stocking this Christmas. There is also a range of edible cocktail stirrers, rock sweets, humbugs and lollipops inspired by a range of cocktails and liquors such as Peach Bellinis, Passion Fruit Mojitos, Pornstar Martinis, Gin and even Whisky & Cola. Their shop also has a collection of non-alcoholic treats too. I love discovering small business who sell lovely handcrafted goods and Holly’s Lollies has been one of my favourite discoveries of the year.
For a more old-school stocking filler why not pick up a tin of Grether’s Pastilles*? I don’t know about you, but I love the vintage packaging of these blackcurrant sweets. The intricate design is so pretty. As I unwrapped these I was reminded of my nan which was so comforting. She used to always have a tin like this rattling around her handbag. I love products that make me nostalgic for my childhood at this time of year. If you’re looking for a traditional addition to a hamper Grether’s Pastilles are perfect. The original recipe is over 150 years old and its unique formula coats throats with a protective layer, to help soothe sore throats and improve your voice, plus they come in a variety of fruity flavours to ensure there’s a delicious option for everyone.
As I’ve mentioned before, hot chocolate is one of my favourite winter treats. As I grow older (that’s older, not old!) I find that my palette is maturing and I enjoy more rich flavours instead of the sickly sweet artificial ones. I’ve started to appreciate quality coffee, stinky cheese and dark chocolate more now than ever! I was recently sent Hasslacher’s* ‘Solid Bar’ Colombian Drinking Chocolate which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Inside the heavy package is two slabs of delicious 100% Colombian cacao which makes 16 generous servings of gourmet authentic hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is rich and slightly bitter, but you can add your choice of sweetener depending on your personal preference. I was also sent Hasslacher’s Single Estate Organic Panela which is made using only the very best organic sugarcane. The juice is cold pressed and filtered and then once heated to a thick caramel-like consistency, It is then poured into moulds and finally is pulverised for ease of use. perfect for porridge, cocktails, home baking… and hot chocolate.
The hot chocolate smells incredible and is superior in taste to many of the others in my collection (yes, I stock up at this time of year!). Hasslacher’s hot chocolate is made where its South American Criollo and Trinitario beans grow. This provides local employment, improves traceability, creating a more sustainable and robust fair trade mechanism. Hasslacher’s Colombian Drinking Chocolate is available in most large M&S stores as well as Hasslacher’s official website.
Popcorn and Christmas films go hand in hand and thanks to Popcorn Shed*, I am stocked up for the rest of the year! Most of us agree that popcorn is delicious but can be a little monotonous and tasteless at times. Popcorn Shed is on a mission to reinvent the much-loved snack and turn it into an experience, packed with character and topped with chunks of exciting and adventurous flavours all packaged in quirky popcorn ‘shed’ cartons, each with its own unique personality and theme. I was sent so many exciting flavours that I don’t even know where to start. Popcorn Shed has managed to elevate popcorn from a simple snack you nibble on from time to time, to a gourmet treat you make time for. I’d never tried cheesy popcorn before and, to be honest, I’m still not entirely convinced by the concept but the Pop ‘n’ Choc version is heavenly. Each kernel is covered in real Belgium chocolate accompanied by a smooth cocoa-infused caramel base – what’s not to love? A large box (80g) retails for only £3.50 which is incredible value for money considering the quality of the ingredients and it’s overall deliciousness.
If you would like even more foodie gift ideas check out my Christmas section here, where you’ll find reviews of everything from premium festive hampers, Niederegger Marzipan and even a premium spirits subscription.1