Here are 13 excellent food and drink gifts for Christmas in the UK


Chances are that by the time you’ve read this, you’ve already seen a dozen holiday gift guides. Or maybe you were one of the diminished crowd in London who finished their holiday shopping on Black Friday. Still, for most people, there’s always at least that one remaining gift to pick up. One that’s sure to please involves food and/or wine. Around the UK, hampers—a basket full of goodies that highlight a shop’s top products—are a perennial favorite. And this year, there are notable new options, including one from the fashionable Toklas Bakery, whose founders, Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, are also founders of the Frieze art festival.

Around the UK, hampers—a basket full of goodies that highlight a shop’s top products—are a perennial favorite(Freepik)

Also in the mix: engaging bottled cocktails from the groovy subterranean bar Discount Suit Co. The basket includes offerings such as Negronis inspired by the beloved Christmas candy Terry’s Chocolate Orange. And for anyone whose pantry shelves and drink carts are already stocked full, there’s a new year’s worth of classes from the acclaimed Bread Ahead bakery. One of its updated offerings this year is a New York City baking class that teaches students how to make classics like braided challah and cheesecake. It’s the closest you can get to the city without heading to the airport.

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Without further ado: 13 of the best food and drink gifts for the holiday season available in the UK.

A Newt Christmas Hamper

Send a Christmas hamper with a slew of products crafted at the Newt, the property that won the best boutique hotel trophy at the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotel awards in September. This includes showpiece items from its massive estate, including an easy-drinking homemade hard apple cider, Christmas cake, West Country cheeseboard and small-batch apple gin. Prices start at £40 ($51)

Toklas Bakery Premium Hamper

​​The stylish Toklas Bakery has been around for two years, serving sweet and savory pastries to people in the vicinity of the Strand. Its first Christmas hamper features an array of house specialties such as pastry chef Janine Edward’s chewy ginger cookies, fruit-studded stollen and honey and olive oil granola. There are also jars of marmalade, made with citrus from the Valencia, Spain-based farm of Vicente Todolí, former director of the Tate Modern. £150; a more modest version goes for £60

Koffiracha Hot Sauce

Catalyst is one of the city’s premier coffee roasters, with carefully sourced beans that are roasted in London and served to customers at a corner shop on Gray’s Inn Road in Holborn. What makes the purveyor stand out further in the city’s great coffee scene is their Koffiracha hot sauce, a thick, dusky orange condiment made with Scotch bonnet chiles, garlic, vinegar and a generous helping of ground coffee. The peppery sauce has bright new packaging; it will make you forget all about the sriracha it pays homage to. £9

Rare Tea Co.’s Women in Tea Gift Set

Since 2004, Henrietta Lovell, known to fans as the Rare Tea Lady, has sourced notable teas from around the world. This year, Lovell highlights four blends from women-led businesses. One reason is because most of the approximately 13 million people who work in the tea industry are female. This selection includes Lost Malawi English breakfast from southern Africa, which has the flavor of burnt sugar, and subtly fruity Indian cloud from the Himalayan foothills. £50

Bread Ahead’s New York Baking Workshop

The Bread Ahead bakery is almost as well known for its classes as it is for the doughnuts that cause around-the-block lines at Borough Market. This year, the company has expanded its roster of classes to include a hybrid pizza-tiramisu course, as well as one specializing in hand-rolled pasta and foccacia. Most importantly for fans of Big Apple classics, the New York baking workshop has been updated to include lessons on the crafting of braided challah, potato knishes and good old cheesecake. £190 for a daylong class

Peninsula London Festive Tea

The Peninsula was one of this year’s buzziest new hotel openings, with costs to build it totaling more than £1 billion. Short of booking a room, one of the best ways to experience the five-star hospitality is to take the opulent afternoon tea in the new lobby. The festive offering includes a glass of sparkling wine and savory sandwiches such as duck confit and berry. The dessert includes chestnut and clementine mont blanc, as well as a rich chocolate mousse. £120 per person

Pophams Home Cheese Knife Set

During the pandemic, Pophams, the North London bakery that made marmite-filled pastries a reality, introduced a line of housewares including ceramics, glassware and linens, most made by London artisans. This year, it opened its first bricks-and-mortar home store. Among the new offerings is one geared toward cheese fans: a set of three knives, made from hammered, forged steel. The handsome implements are perfect for cutting through an array of soft and semisoft fromage from triple crème to reblochon and goat cheese rounds. £45

St. John Wine Tasting Apparel

The pioneering restaurant St. John, known for its nose-to-tail menu, is also praised for its wide-ranging, all-French wine list and its accessible house line of vintages. Now it has introduced adorable apparel dedicated to the art of tasting it: soft tees and sweatshirts emblazoned with a squiggly illustration done by co-founder Fergus Henderson. £28 for T-shirt and £38 for sweatshirt

Pomello Bottles

This new aperitif is created using pomelos from California, alongside Swedish elderflower for a sweet cocktail base. Pomello is the brainchild of Malin Spano, who worked in hospitality brands in London like the luxe Birley clubs and spent summers making elderflower cordial with her mother in Sweden. It can be served on its own with soda or tonic; for a festive spritz, mix with a liberal amount of rose Champagne and add a wintery herb sprig. £36

Fifty One Degrees North by Gusbourne

This newly released sparkling wine is a showcase for the best of British bubbly. It’s called Fifty One Degrees North for the latitude of its vineyards in the English counties of Kent and West Sussex, and it’s served in elite restaurants such as Ynyshir in Wales and at the Four Seasons Hampshire. You can send a bottle to a loved one (or yourself!) to ring in the new year in style. £195

Umbrella Project’s Christmas Cocktail Gift Box

These Christmas cocktails are from the team behind the buzzy Shoreditch bar Discount Suit Co. and come in festive flavors including Chocolate Orange Negroni reminiscent of the famed Christmas candy and a Gingerbread Irish Whiskey Old Fashioned. The gift box comes with two bottles, and each contains enough for three to four servings. £28

These Delicious Things

This lovely volume from Jane Hodson, Lucas Hollweg and the social media star Clerkenwell Boy (from Pavilion Books/Harper Collins) has contributions from dozens of food stars. Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi: check, check, check. Among the recipes, there’s Stanley Tucci’s potato croquettes, chef Anita Cheung’s Cantonese healing chicken soup and writer Felicity Spector’s rhubarb cobbler with custard. An added bonus: 100% of the proceeds go to Magic Breakfast, which supports children living in food poverty. £25

Slow Food, Fast Cars

Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana topped the World’s 50 Best list in 2016 and 2018. In his new book, published by Phaidon, he and his wife (and business partner) Lara Gilmore chronicle life in and around their high-style guest house, Casa Maria Luigia in Emilia-Romagna, home to Parmigiano-Reggiano and Ferrari. The recipes are mostly simple—skillet-roasted peaches and white chocolate as well as sage muffins—but primarily the book is great armchair traveling. £40

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