Shop local Christmas gift guide: Food and drink
Stumped by what to buy the foodie in your life? Luckily Herts & Beds has a cornucopia of locally produced gastronomic delights to scoff and quaff. Here's our pick!
The peeps from fab bottle shop and bar, Wee Vinoteca in Hitchin REALLY know their stuff when it comes to wine. As well as a wide selection available in store, they run tasting nights and courses for those who want to buff up. We love the idea of their Wine Subscription as a gift. Sommelier Duncan handpicks the wines based on the recipient’s taste and they come with tasting cards, food pairing suggestions and producer’s notes – sure to impress those with a nose for the good stuff!
£75 for two months
It might be an acquired taste but if you know a fan of this savoury South African snack they’ll be delighted with a hamper of the stuff. This artisanal small batch Biltong is produced in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, from prime cuts of Silverside Red Tractor British beef. The hamper includes three bags in your choice of Original, Garlic, BBQ, Peri Peri, Chilli or Droewors in 100g or 250g sizes, complete with candy canes and chocolates.
£20 for a hamper
Spice things up
St Albans-born Bunkum Rum is bringing rum into the modern age with punchy flavours combined with the highest quality. Try the Spiced Rum for Christmas, which has been twice distilled in small batch copper pots, and has notes of chocolate, vanilla, pear and honey, with a super smooth finish. Naughty but nice! Plus if you’re a St Albans local – they’ll deliver it for free.
A choc a day…
This gorgeous advent calendar from Potten End chocolatier, Yvette’s, is a proper treat for the chocoholic in your life. Each window reveals a handcrafted mouthful of deliciousness from the award-winning salted caramel to festive xmas spiced tea and orange with Ruby port plums. Plus it’s been designed by local illustrator, Livi Gosling. Whether they’ll be able to resist having more than one a day is the question… Missed Advent? No problem, pick up a selection box containing 9-36 choccies from £14.
It’s a gin thing
Award-winning distillery, Puddingstone, near Tring, is a great go-to for gin connoisseurs this Christmas, not least because of its stylishly packaged Campfire gin gift sets (it tastes pretty good, too!) We recommend trying Campfire Old Tom for Christmas with its notes of spicy cinnamon and cardamom with malted barley and chamomile sweetness.
Now this is our kind of gift. Sign a cheese-loving friend up for a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription with The Bedford Cheese Company, and they’ll receive 4 or 5 cuts of handpicked local and from around the UK (that you won’t find on Tesco’s deli counter) artisan cheeses, delivered to their door each month… then wait for your invitation to the cheese and wine party!
From £23/month for 12 months
Know someone who can’t get out of bed in the morning without their trusty caffeine hit? Introduce them to these blends by Royston-based roastery (ooh that’s a mouthful!), Hot Numbers. You can even choose your grind – from wholebean to french press (if you know your stuff!). Buy online or pop into the urban loft-style roastery café in Shepreth, where you can grab an Americano and a spot of brunch or even a sourdough pizza while you shop!
£25 for 3x250g bags
If you’re after a gift for someone who appreciates the finer things in life, check out the offering from Tring-based truffle merchants, The Truffle Company. You’ll find everything from truffle infused honey and salt to pestos, sauces and even carpaccio. For a really special present, push the boat out with the Black Truffle Collection, which includes truffle oil, tagliatelle, tapanade, minced truffle and truffle dust.
Some like it hot
Calling all chilli addicts! Andrew and Janine, founders of Zim’s Tribe hot sauces, oils and relishes are based in Berkhamsted, but their renowned recipes hail from Nigeria, where Andrew grew up. There are also some Spanish influences from Janine’s heritage, too. If you know someone who likes it spicy, treat them to a saucy treat and they’ll definitely keep coming back for more.
£8 for 2 pack of any relish
On the hop
Need a last minute gift that will be a sure crowdpleaser? With the mixed cases of locally brewed beer and ales from Tring Brewery, you’ll be on to a winner. Choose cases of three 500ml from £9.30 or opt for one of the cases of 12, which include pale ales, dark beers, and traditional and new brews. If in doubt go for the Award Winners featuring the signature brews, Side Pocket, Death or Glory and Pale Four.