A Gold

www.agold.co.uk

If you're craving the kind of ingredients you got in the days when men wore braces and women wore winning smiles (according to the movies, at least), then head straight to A Gold. Describing itself as a village shop based in the heart of London, it stocks all sorts of old-fashioned favourites, from sugar mice to Cornish pilchards and artisan cheeses.

020-7247 2487

Betty's By Post

www.bettysbypost.com

With its homely packaging and reassuringly high prices, sending someone a Betty's cake is like giving them a hug through the post. We like the straightforward Yorkshire tea loaf and the advent cakes, but Betty's bakers get creative at this time of year, so there are lots of other variations to choose from.

01423 814 008

Blas Ar Fwyd

www.blasarfwyd.com

This Welsh deli has a good online range, with stock covering plenty of local specialities as well as more globally sourced produce. Look out for Welsh Lady Preserves, Snowdonia cheeses and Welsh oatcakes. It also sells Penderyn whisky, a single malt from Wales's only distillery.

01492 640 215

Caleyco

www.caleyco.com

Short for Caledonian Connoisseur, this is a one-stop shop for some of the best Scottish produce. Fancy some fresh smoked salmon? Simple Simon's pies? Gourmet venison burgers? Vegetarian haggis? It's all here, along with Scottish cheeses and cakes.

01573 227 310

Coco of Bruntsfield

www.cocochocolate.co.uk

This artisan chocolate shop specialises in fine organic chocolate, beautifully presented in bars, boxes and bags. The only thing you won't find at the online shop is the free hot liqueur chocolate that customers to the street-side version get over the festive season.

0131-228 4526

Daylesford Organic

www.daylesfordorganic.com

What sets this upmarket farm shop apart from similar stores is the standard of presentation - goods from here are packaged as deliciously as they taste. If you can't choose between them, it also sells some very decadent Christmas hampers online.

08000 831 233

Divertimenti

www.divertimenti.co.uk

Divertimenti is known for its cookware, but it does a good range of foodie treats. Perfect for sourcing gifts for gourmets; buy them, say, a Steenberg Spices baking kit and then throw in some designer bakeware while you're at it.

08701 295 026

The Fine Cheese Company

www.finecheese.co.uk

A paradise for cheese-lovers, this friendly Bath-based company sells individual cheeses and some imaginative Christmas boxes. Who wouldn't want a Little Red Riding Hood basket, filled to its woven brim with cheeses, port, crackers, chocolate, almonds and pickles?

01225 473 257

Forman and Field

www.formanandfield.com

With its emphasis on natural, seasonal British foods, artisan culinary skills and age-old recipes, this online store's produce reads like a gastronomic history lesson, albeit one with fresh ingredients. Not a place to start shopping on an empty stomach; it includes everything from pies, quiches and preserves to hams, shellfish and even a three-bird roast.

020-8221 3939

Fortnum & Mason

www.fortnumandmason.com

This old chestnut of a fine-food store at 181 Piccadilly - it's been there for almost 300 years - sells lavishly packaged biscuits, caviar and whole hams, as well as wine and whatever top-end tableware you're looking to serve it all up with. Look out for Fortnum's Curiosities, a range of pickles and preserves with a spicy story behind them.

020-7734 8040

Gorgeous Food

www.gorgeous-food.co.uk

There's nothing more dull than a foodie droning on about some exotic ingredient that was last produced in 1983. This store puts a stop to culinary snobbishness. Only the prettiest - and most modern - of store-cupboard favourites make it on to the shelves of this Bristol-based company.

05600 434 230

Hotel Chocolat

www.hotelchocolat.co.uk

Hotel Chocolat was founded as an antidote to the bland, mediocre offerings of many high-street confectioners. It started out 10 years ago as a mail-order business with its own West Indian cocoa plantation, but the company has now made it on to the high street itself. Don't be fooled, though; the products it sells are still among the classiest in the UK. Just ask the members of its Chocolate Tasting Club.

08704 428 282

Just Mustard

www.justmustard.com

Doing what it says on the tin, this speciality mustard supplier is based in the foodie Spaghetti Junction of Ludlow. Its stock ranges from fiery powdered blends to classic Dijon and, for the adventurous, a blackcurrant variety. If you want more than a bit of stuff on the side, follow a link to its sister deli site.

01584 877 353

Meg Rivers

www.megrivers.co.uk

A mail-order bakery based in the Cotswolds, this is the cheat's way to provide home-baked cakes. Varieties range from classic fruit and chocolate cakes to the Starving Student, a collection of 44 brownies, bakewell slices, flapjacks and lemon cookies.

01608 682 858

Melt Chocolates

www.meltchocolates.com

Chocoholics beware. Once you've been introduced to this designer chocolate shop in west London (it looks more like a sharp interiors store than a cutesy food outlet, with gift wrapping to match) there's no going back. The chocolates are so fresh they need to be eaten within a week.

020-7727 5030

Natoora

www.natoora.co.uk

Billed as an online farmer's market, this store sells classic gourmet items from across Britain, France and Italy. From cheeses and truffles to oysters and pots of sardines packed with samphire, it's all available online for home delivery.

020-7627 1600

Papadeli

www.papadeli.co.uk

Another online deli, Papadeli boasts one of the largest ranges of stock in the UK, much of it supplied from the company's shop in Bristol. There can't be many other places where you could find tinned laver bread for sale alongside Prestat chocolates and jars of spicy anchovies.

Paxton & Whitfield

www.paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

Another great cheese specialist, especially if you're looking for a gift. Paxton & Whitfield does a good range of ready-made cheeseboards that come with wooden boards, cheeses, biscuits and, in some cases, carefully chosen wines. All you have to do is pay.

08702 642 101

Rococo

www.rococochocolates.com

For the truly dedicated, Rococo is to chocolate what Tiffany is to jewellery. If its favourite truffles don't come wrapped up in ribbon, with the Rococo sticker slapped proudly on the front, they just won't do. Find out what all the fuss is about with a flutter at the online store.

020-7352 5857

Valvona & Crolla

www.valvonacrolla.co.uk

Going strong at its Edinburgh store since 1934, this family-run deli has stuck to its roots, specialising in Italian produce and wine. Christmas favourites include vin santo and cantucci, foil-wrapped panettones and well-chosen Italian wine boxes, though there's much more available online.

0131-556 6066

Fine chocolates at Fortnum & Mason, from £8; everything a kitchen could need, including this Gaggia Evolution coffee machine, £179.99, from Divertimenti

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