No more generic cookbooks, juicers or branded mugs. These are the gifts that the home cook in your life will really want this Christmas.
1. The Experience:
£150 from E5 Bakehouse
Even keen bread-makers can be a little wary of sourdough, so it pays to have a pro show you the ropes. And east London’s E5 Bakehouse is full of pros ready to do just that. Their regular Saturday classes cover how to make and ‘feed’ a sourdough starter, as well as kneading and shaping techniques. At the end of a day of baking, everyone comes away with a country loaf, ciabatta buns, seeded rye and bagels, as well as their own starter – the gift that keeps on giving.
2. The Kitchen Gadget:
£74 from Borough Kitchen
Borough Kitchen does a strong line in cookware so beautiful you’d be just as happy displaying it as using it. And this slick pasta maker is a case in point. With a vintage vibe, it comes in several colours, including black and powder pink. As for how it works, it can be adjusted to 10 different thicknesses to make perfect pasta every time, whether it’s lasagne, linguine or something else entirely.
3. The Trendy Tipple:
£30 from Farmdrop
Gin’s been a trendy tipple for some time now, and with a growing number of artisan producers on the scene, there’s no excuse for sticking to the same old big brands. Kew Organic Gin is made using 42 botanicals, including seasonal plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, which give it a unique flavour. Plus it looks beautiful too, with a chic, minimalist bottle in a floral gift box inspired by drawings from the archives at Kew.
4. The Cookbook:
£40.50 from Bloomsbury
This hefty volume by chef and food writer, Anissa Helou, is a celebration of food from across the Islamic world. Naturally, there are plenty of Middle Eastern dishes in there (the Iranian jewelled rice is a winner), but you can also find fabulous food from countries as diverse as Senegal and Indonesia. With more than 300 recipes to try, it’s the ideal present for anyone who loves to cook for a crowd. And if you’re still stuck, here are six more books every food lover should read.
5. The gift that gives back:
From £39, from Nudo Adopt
This may sound like a very worthy present, and it is, because you’ll be supporting independent Italian farmers. But there are plenty of perks for the gift-receiver too. The adoptive parent of a tree in a sustainable olive grove will be sent three 500ml tins of extra virgin olive oil, produced using olives from their own patch of the grove. Plus, for Christmas, Nudo Adopt has collaborated with Yorkshire artist, Michelle Freemantle, to create handmade, limited edition oil drizzlers, which can be added on to gift adoptions.
6. The Textiles:
£10 tea towels, £35 napkin set, £30 canvas shopping bags, from Lottie Day
Norfolk-based illustrator, Lottie Day, has a beautiful range of screen-printed textiles, from napkins to tea towels to shopping bags, all sporting her original illustrations. Pick from Spring Veg napkins (perfect for those friends who love hosting dinner parties) to Allotment Turnip tea towels to Lemon-inspired canvas bags. A great way to support small, independent makers, and beautiful too!
7. The Hamper:
From £69, from Farmdrop
Nothing says Christmas like a hamper, and this classic wicker number contains everything your favourite foodie might want, from artisan British salami to award-winning Cheddar, Stilton and Baron Bigod cheese. Other highlights include a plum and port chutney, iced biscuits and a bottle of bubbly to help wash everything down.
8. The Tableware:
From £14, from Jode Pankhurst
From stoneware dishes and bowls to porcelain vases, Jode Pankhurst makes and decorates unique homeware by hand in her Dalston studio in East London. For the design-loving foodie friends in your life, this is a gift they’ll cherish.
9. The Ultimate Kitchen Companion:
From £160, blenheimforge.co.uk
When knife making moved from the traditional hammer and furnace to robots and factories, virtually all romance was lost in the process. But there are a handful of craftsmen taking things back to its pre-industrial ways. One of them is Peckham-based Blenheim forge, whose beautiful hand-forged knives have many a tatted chef go weak at the knees.