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

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?