Christmas food special: All the luxury in the world

Seasonal self-indulgence has never been simpler. International extravagances now available by post range from French stuffed prunes to gold, frankincense and myrrh truffles. Georgia Lacey selects the best of mail-order gastronomy. Photographs by Xavier Young

Plump and sticky, these ink-black prunes, from Agen in the south of France, are filled to the brim with vanilla prune cream. A tin costs pounds 8.15 (plus p&p) from Le Pont de la Tour Food Shop, 36 Shad Thames,

London SE1. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 403 4030

This gleaming bucket of finest Dijon mustard contains enough of the hot stuff to complement the most gigantic platter of Boxing Day cold meats. The 450g tin costs pounds 5.95 (plus p&p) from Bluebird, 350 King's Road, London SW3. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 559 1153

This gargantuan pot of Welsh-hedgerow honey has a large honeycomb submerged in its luscious, golden depths. Welsh Chunk Comb Honey, pounds 12.95 for 908g (plus p&p) from Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1. Mail-order enquiries: 0845 300 1707

These light, crumbly, exceedingly more-ish crackers from Fortnum & Mason's Biscuits for Cheese selection are made with wheat flour, rye flour, potato flour and poppy seeds, and they come in a pretty duck-egg- blue tin. pounds 8.95 for 440g (plus p&p), from Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1. Mail-order enquiries: 0845 300 1707

The 200-year-old Paxton & Whitfield cheese-shop has a mouth-watering array of splendid cheeses, including these on the left. Clockwise from top right: Cerney, a British goat's cheese coated in ash, pounds 4.75 for 250g; Langres, soft cow's-milk cheese from the Champagne region of France, pounds 3.75 for 200g; Frais de Brebis, French sheep's-milk cheese rolled in mixed herbs, pounds 4.95 for 240g; and Boulette d'Avesnes, a fiery French soft cow's- milk cheese rolled in crushed chillis, pounds 3.75 for 150g (all plus p&p). Paxton & Whitfield is at 93 Jermyn Street, London SW1. Mail-order enquiries: 0207 930 0259. There are other branches in Bath (01225 466 403) and Stratford- upon-Avon (01789 415 544)

Rich, velvety dark chocolate enrobes Rococo's Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh truffles. With their hint of orange and the delicate essence of frankincense and myrrh oil, eating these comes close to being a religious experience. Or you could give them away, if you can bear to. They cost pounds 4.60 for 100g (plus p&p), from Rococo, 321 King's Road London SW3. Mail- order enquiries: 0171 352 5857

At Butler's Wharf Gastrodrome is Le Pont de la Tour restaurant and its accompanying food store. Among the treats that line the shop's walls is this Victor Guedes Portuguese olive oil in its stylish tin (above). pounds 3.95 for 500ml (plus p&p) from Le Pont de la Tour Food Shop, 36 Shad Thames, London SE1. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 403 4030

This ceramic jar of Patum Peperium, the classic spicy anchovy relish, is a limited-edition special. The watercolour on its lid is by Michael Dillon, the artist commissioned to paint frescoes on the ceilings of Fortnum & Mason. A 42.5g jar costs pounds 12.95 (plus p&p), from Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1. Mail-order enquiries: 0845 300 1707

Although they will never become fast food, buying a tin of Bizac snails (from Brive in central France) will be a lot quicker than collecting them from the garden. A 125g tin costs pounds 14.95 (plus p&p) from Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 235 5000

Devilishly hot Zulu Fire Sauce was discovered by a traveller visiting a small village in Zululand. Made with chillis, vinegar, sweet potato, carrots and spices, the marinade dispenses a mule's kick to all meats and is especially good mixed with yoghurt and fresh ginger and for basting a roast chicken. A 490ml bottle costs pounds 6.95 (plus p&p) from Bluebird, 350 King's Road, London, SW3. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 559 1153

This selection of Spanish chocolates from Enric Rovira, Barcelona's renowned chocolatier, is strictly for purists. The "Rajoles", which are modelled on the paving stones of Barcelona, have a cocoa content of more than 70 per cent. pounds 2.95 for a 100g bar (plus p&p) from Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 235 5000

Worth more than its weight in gold, this bright, exquisitely flavoured Mancha Saffron has been hand-picked in Spain and packaged in this decorative tin. pounds 6.30 for 2g (plus p&p) from Bluebird, 350 King's Road, London SW3. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 559 1153

Succulent and juicy, these sun-ripened cherry tomatoes (preserved in salted water) are perfect in salads, sauces or straight from the jar. pounds 2.95 for 750g (plus p&p) from Carluccio's, 28a Neal Street, London WC2.Mail-order enquiries:0171 240 5710

For 13 years, Oronzo the baker has been wowing the inhabitants of the village in the deep south of Italy where he makes his bread and biscuits. All of his goods are made using locally-grown grain, and these delicious crumbly Trecce con Mandorle (almond biscuits) are baked in his wood oven. A 450g packet costs pounds 5.85 (plus p&p) from Limoncello, 402 St John Street, London EC1. Mail-order enquiries: 0171 713 1678

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