Christmas drinks and nibbles and Foody gifts guide

Food is an obvious gift idea for a lot of people at Christmas, it’s probably the default option, in a lot of cases, giving people the chance to get something they are sure someone’s going to enjoy (often chocolate, mm chocolate!)

Another foody aspect of Christmas is nibbles and beverages – The moment Christmas rolls around it’s suddenly necessary to have lots of extra nibbles, boxes of chocolates and all number of naughty things around the house. Sometimes it’s for entertaining, sometimes ‘just because it’s Christmas’. It’s nice, though, to have some ideas about what’s good to grab on a shopping trip, and some different gift ideas for those who’re foodily inclined (yes, I made up my own word).

This post is mostly press samples, but to clarify between those and what I’ve bought  myself, anything that’s a press sample is marked with a *.

Crisps are the ultimate snack food for me – I do like sweet things but I am obsessed with crisps, they’re just… crisps! Kettle Chips* are the ultimate crisps and make a perfect snack for entertaining (as long as you can bring yourself to share). I have been sent this bag of ‘Salsa & Mesquite’ Kettle Chips as they’re a limited edition flavour that’s been brought back to fit in with Christmas. This flavour has been away for 7 years but was, originally, one of the first flavours back in 1988 which is rather an impressive history. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of them as I knew that the flavour was made up of tomatoes, chillies, peppers and the aroma of barbecues. Now that I’ve tasted them I can, totally, understand why people wanted these back, the taste is utterly addictive – They remind me, a bit, of the chilli flavour of Kettle chips I used to love, but with the added richness and smokiness they’re amazing. For £2.19 these aren’t cheap but they’re well worth it for a special treat, maybe to share with the family or if you have friends over and you want to entertain.
Propercorn is one of mine and Azii’s favourite snacks; namely the ‘Sweet & Salty’ flavour. We found these last year (I think) and we’ve had them as a special treat whenever we’ve had the chance. They have found a fantastic balance between sweet and salty, delicious. These bags are, really, best for just one person so you might need a few if you have guests over, or maybe you can save them for a family, Christmas, film night – It’s the perfect snack for almost anything you’re doing (honestly).
I was offered the chance to try some Lindeman’s wine, in order to use it in this guide, but sadly there was a problem in delivery. The wine smelled really good, though, and its price ticket of around £8 makes it an affordable option whilst not being the absolute cheapest that you can get. Wine is always a good gift idea if you know someone enjoys a quiet drink of an evening or for when they have friends around. It’s also great for if you’re entertaining so it fits nicely in to both categories in this post. I don’t drink a lot but used to enjoy a good rose from time to time.
If you want to have something in for those that don’t drink alcohol, either for entertaining or on Christmas day, then Appletiser’s newest flavour ‘Apple & Pomegranate’* is well worth considering. It has a lot more to it than I expected; it’s got a really  beautiful, slightly tart flavour that is really special and would be good for during celebrations. I was sent three of the small bottles of this and they’re all gone, already, I was going to save one for Christmas day but after the first few sips I was addicted and they only lasted a few days. It’s refreshing, but the pomegranate also makes it rather festive tasting – I want more of this, I just wish our local Tesco or Waitrose was closer as they’re the supermarkets that stock it!
If you’re looking for an alcoholic drink that would be a bit different, and very different, as a gift then the Raisthorpe Manor ‘Raspberry Gin’ or the ‘Damson Port’ would be really worth considering. I was sent a 5cl bottle of each, to try out, and for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol very much… well wow! The Damson port is my favourite but I think it’s entirely down to personal taste (When I mentioned it to a friend it was the Gin she was most excited about).

The Raspberry Gin* (which is really good, even if the port came out on top for me) is made from a family recipe and uses locally sourced raspberries, which makes Raisthorpe Manor’s offering a really impressive one – It starts at £3.50 for the 5cl bottle.

The Damson Port* is the first of its kind in the uk and, also, won 3 gold stars at the 2014 great taste awards so you don’t have to just take my word for it when I say it’s good. It, also, starts at £3.50 for a little 5cl bottle.

When you think of food as a gift for Christmas one of the first things you’re likely to think of is chocolate and when you think of chocolate gifts it’d be hard not to think of Hotel Chocolat. I’ve got something a bit different to show you, though, as when you normally think of the store there’s probably a specific sort of item you imagine whereas jam isn’t normally something that jumps to mind.

The White Chocolate Raspberry Jam* is definitely a bit special. I wasn’t sure what to expect, when they sent it, what sort of balance there’d be between the fruit and the chocolate but, actually it’s perfect – It’s still got a hint of the sharpness that you’d expect from raspberry but with that additional sweetness, and a little creaminess from the white chocolate. In terms of a Christmas gift this’d be a really nice thing to give to someone who enjoys food; it’s different and it’s not something you can just pick up in the supermarket. It’s £5 so would be great as part of a hamper, as a main gift or even as a stocking filler.

If you saw my Stocking Filler gift guide you’ll already recognise the above chocolate bar – The customisable chocolate bars from Yucoco* are something really special so I wanted to include it in my food guide as well as my stocking fillers.

 

As I said in my stocking filler post The bars are £4-£4.50 and you can add 5 toppings which average at between 40p and 90p so the cost of your bar can vary – Postage starts at £2.45 and there’s various options available. There are SO many toppings I can’t even begin to tell you but there’s a combination for absolutely anyone that you could think of – The toppings go under the categories ‘Fruity’, ‘Nutty & Spice’, ‘All Things Nice’, ‘Just For Fun’ and ‘Drizzle. For me to go in to more detail than that could leave me here all day, honestly, there’s So much.On my bar, above, I got salted caramel (which was my first choice, I love salted caramel), home made cookie crumbs, a santa, glittery holly leaves and a white chocolate drizzle. As you can see the bar looks totally crazy but it tasted amazing! The salted caramel was still soft and gooey, the cookie crumbs were really tasty and the other chocolate elements added to the over all flavour – It, was, GOOD! I definitely want to get a Yucoco bar again, one day, and I can imagine you could really put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas if you got them one of these. Though, don’t forget, if you don’t feel confident enough to get them their perfect toppings, you could always get them a gift voucher, instead, and let them go to town with their topping, choosing crazy times.

This post contains press samples – please see my disclaimer here

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