If you are stuck for gift ideas this Christmas and have someone to buy for that appreciates good food and drink or maybe is a dab hand in the kitchen then, this guide could be for you.
My suggestions normally come from local suppliers that I have come to know well over the years but a few not so local have snuck in, just because I love them.
Dorset Sea Salt
Staring with Dorset Sea Salt Co with nine flavours in the range you are spoilt for choice. A great purchase for someone who loves to cook- including the growing number of people making use of cooking outside on the bbq. Celebrity Chef John Torodes is quoted as saying it’s “the finest salt in the land.” If you head to the website you can see how to make a great Margarita using this product.
Summerdown Mint has been growing, harvesting and distilling Black Mitcham peppermint for almost 30 years. I have yet to visit the 100 acre peppermint farm in Hampshire that produces home fragrances, body & bath products, chocolates, teas & oils. A visit is definitely on my list for 2023, but in the meantime I recommend you have a read about them online and perhaps purchase a box of their delicious chocolates to share at Christmas.
I was previously gifted these Yarty products but happily recommend the Hampshire based company again. The “B” Black Garlic Vinegar recently won the best in class for Vinegars and Oils and the company won Best Small Producer in the Quality Food Awards 2022.
Without a doubt they are quality products so, if you do the cold meat and pickles thing on Boxing Day then these vinegars make the perfect addition to the accompanying salads or if you are making up a hamper for a family member include one of these.
One of my closest food producers, ‘Barbara’s Kitchen’ based in Southbourne now has eight
delicious Chilli Jams in the range. Barbara grows all the chillis included in her products from seed, including the Dorset Naga which is one of the hottest in the world. These award winning jams can be found mostly in small independents and local farm shops (a full list of stockist can be found on their website). Please note Cranberry and Chilli Jam perfect for the big day.
Feisty, Lively or Pure that’s your choice with Turner Hardy & Co a range of tomato juice squeezed from hand picked Isle of Wight tomatoes. Pour yourself a non alcoholic drink or mix the perfect Bloody Mary. Purchase from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Coop.
Although not particularly local to me this is one of the oldest private family-owned companies in the country. They have been in business since 1880 and strive to use British produce in their products. I always buy the Stem Ginger & Pickled Walnuts at Christmas for my Dad but I personally love to have the fruit in alcohol in my cupboard it makes for a quick and easy dessert during the festive period. Their products are available in all the major supermarkets.
Black Cow Vodka has created the perfect addition to your Christmas Bar and it goes by the name of Christmas Spirit. Obviously they are still making their Black Cow Vodka but I thought this might be something new.
Try this cocktail on Christmas morning
Pour and inch of Christmas Spirit Vodka into a coupe
Top with Champagne
Use a peeler around the orange to cut a long strip of orange
Twist the peel over the glass, releasing some of the zest in the cocktail, then place on the edge of the glass to garnish.
Top recommendation for your cheese board anything by these guys is bound to be a hit.
Based in Cranborne The Book and Bucket Cheese Company produce a delicious range of award winning cheeses all made with Dorset milk. Purchase their products from local farm shops, deli’s or cheese shops. Or support them and other local artisans by attending one of these markets.
Indoor Craft Market – Friday Evening 2nd December – The Crown Inn, Blandford
Poundbury Christmas Market Saturday 4th December – Crown Square Poundbury
Christmas Market- Sunday 4th December –Forres Sandle Manor School
Shaftesbury Chamber Christmas Market – Sunday 18th December
Ground is a gorgeous little coffee shop in Ringwood that had me hooked on my first visit with a freshly roasted lamb sandwich and a delicious coffee from Bad Hand Coffee Roasters.
I love the fact that this newly opened cafe supports local businesses too, so much so, that they have created a lovely gift box that includes a Ground gift voucher, local honey, coffee, candle and a reusable cup made from coffee beans. (yes, you read correctly).
34a Christchurch Road, Ringwood.
Burn & Bloom (candle)
In addition to their traditional dairy chocolate, Dorset based Chococo have created a vegan friendly chocolate made with gluten free oat powder, no dairy, and no soya, yet it still has a rich, creamy taste that is a wonderful milk chocolate alternative. Head to one of their chocolate houses to view (and smell) the whole range or check out the website for some exclusive offers.
What more could you want than award winning New Forest Shortbread already bagged and ready to gift?
These gift packs can be purchased online or at one of the following Christmas events.
Winchester Christmas Market from 4th to 22nd December
Beaulieu Christmas Fair 9th 10th & 11th December
Stuff & Nonsense Fair on 4th December.
With more and more people choosing dairy free chocolate it’s no wonder Booja Booja are doing so well with their melt in your mouth chocolate truffles and range of ice creams.
Most of our local health food stores stock their products along with most branches of Waitrose.
Pothecary Gin is produced five minutes from my front door so it had to be included in my gift guide. Owner Martin Jennings distills each of the botanicals separately and then blends them together before dilution, yielding high quality aromas and flavours.
The range includes some very different gins, my personal favourite is the Sicilian Blend ‘Cinnamon Twist’ served hot with Camomile tea it’s the perfect warming treat for winter.
The distinctive blue label of the ‘original’ is fresh and floral and the gin of choice for another member of the family and everyone loves the Trinity Blend.
If you are local to Christchurch and a gin lover take a look at the website and consider a Smugglers Tour throughout the town. Learn about the smuggling history whilst sipping a unique Pothecary Gin mix at each venue.
Another great vegan chocolate although not locally made ‘Happiness In Plants’ a brand that has ethically & sustainably sourced ingredients and recyclable & compostable packaging, great for our planet. After a bit of googling I found out that the brand was founded by the great great grandson of John Cadbury so great chocolate making background.
I have just realised that I haven’t recommended any wines this year so no pictures but check out these websites and buy a bottle of English Wine this Christmas.
Brook Hill Vineyards
Christchurch based The Artful Baker has been on my radar as a fantastic local business for a number of years and I love the opportunity to promote them. Not that they need my little input, you may have seen them pitching on Channel 4’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ a few weeks ago, although they didn’t win the exposure didn’t do them any harm in the order department. Their products can be ordered directly from their website but also can be found locally at most farm shops, & delis. Try Renoufs Pantry, the Gourmet Grocer (Fordingbridge,Highcliffe) Westbourne Grocer, Pamphill Dairy to name but a few.
The Real Cure have produced the perfect gift for friends and family that you might not be able to see during the festive period. Send them the Great Taste charcuterie letterbox, it includes a selection of award winning ready to serve meats all they will need to do is add their choice of accompaniments.
Wild Venison Pepperoni
Wild Venison Chorizo
Dorset Blue Vinny & Fig Salami
Fennel & White Pepper Salami
Order you boxes via their website.
Mon Desserts have created baking subscription kits – one way to guarantee some sweet treats in your house on a regular basis. Or maybe a unique gift for a keen baker.
I can’t wait to see how my kits turn out I’m making an Orange Polenta Cake and some mini chocolate panettone. Watch this space!
I hope you get some inspiration from this post but even if you can’t buy right now head to their social media and give them a follow if you don’t already it would make my day.
Have a wonderful Christmas and remember to shop local if you can.