Although the idea of partnering cranberry sauce with Christmas turkey is an American conceit, it is one that has caught on this side of the Atlantic. Fortunately, the elegant label on the jar of Wilkin & Sons organic wild cranberry sauce is sufficiently retro to reassure even picky, old-fashioned cooks. This sauce has a good colour and texture and is not too sweet. As with all their products, it is produced in the Essex countryside, from where the Wilkin family has been fruit growing since early Victorian times. Quality is, and always has been, paramount: every single fruit is hand-sorted before it reaches the boiling pans.
Wilkin & Sons Organic Wild Cranberry Sauce, £1.65 (210g) from independent grocers (stockists 01621 815407)
Breaking new ground
In the past, Holmfirth's main claim to fame was as a location for the television series Last of the Summer Wine; now nearby Meltham wants to become the coffee capital of south Yorkshire. The Grumpy Mule Company claims to sell "distinctive coffee", something the company seems to live up to. For roughly the same price as the better supermarket coffees, you could sample Sumatra Takengon, a semi-washed Arabica coffee from the PPKGO Co-operative - it's Fairtrade and organic with a velvety, chocolaty finish. Or there's the smooth and fruity Guatemala from Finca Santa Isabel which is Rainforest Certified.
Sumatran Arabica, £2.85 per 227g; Guatemalan, £2.75 per 227g, from The Grumpy Mule (01484 852601; www.grumpymule.co.uk)
The first thing to note about Giorgio Locatelli's monster new Italian cookery book is that it really is a monster - it weighed 2,665g on the kitchen scales (nearly 6lbs), so if you're lining it up for bedtime reading, you might want to start thinking about embarking on a weight-lifting regime now. But do not let the size daunt you; this is a cracking book which combines lyrical and enthralling family stories with cogent and practical recipes. Look out for the essay on minestrone, as well as the section on risotto, and before long you won't be able to resist getting out the pans and trying one of the recipes. The cover may be dull, but the contents are not, and there is a profusion of great colour photos by Dan Lepard. A book to savour.
'Made in Italy - Food and Stories' by Giorgio Locatelli with Sheila Keating, published by Fourth Estate, £27.99
The daily grind
Pre-ground nutmeg is a million miles away from the real, freshly-grated, thing. You'll never grate your fingers again when making cheese sauces, soufflés, mashed potatoes or cheese toppings. The William Bounds Company was started in the 1960s and has carved out a niche as America's foremost maker of salt and pepper grinders. Their compact nutmeg mill is a splendid bit of kit and comes in an attractive gift box. It stores five nutmegs in the top and allows you to mill one of them to a fine powder with the minimum of fuss or effort. The milling mechanism works well and if you find the chrome version a bit flashy, you could always choose the black one.
The Nutmeg Mill is available from the Richmond Cookshop ( www.richmondcookshop.co.uk) at a reduced price of £22 until ChristmasReuse content