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10 best Christmas food gifts anyone will love to recieve

Whether its something for the host, to wrap up under the tree, or even for you, these will go down a treat

Emma Henderson
Wednesday 09 December 2020 09:25 GMT
Foom cookware to coffee subscriptions we’ve got it covered
Foom cookware to coffee subscriptions we’ve got it covered (The Independent/iStock)

This year, Christmas is going to look a little different. Whether you’re able to travel to spend it with family and friends or not, there will inevitably be less people celebrating together and it will likely be a much shorter amount of time that you spend with each other.  

For some, that’s a blessing in disguise if some of the extended family are not your first choice to spend time with. But regardless of who you’re with, where or for how long, it doesn't mean we can’t still go all out on the food.  

Aside from spending time with our loved ones at this time of year, for us, Christmas is all about those little extras that you wouldn’t normally buy, cook, or serve up.  

From the party food and countless bottles of prosecco, to the pigs in blankets and of course the sprouts, to the never evening puddings, cakes and desserts – and then there’s the cheese course. 

For the host it’s often endless trips to the supermarket, over buying and running out of space to store it all.  

So if you’re going to someone else’s for Christmas and are looking for the perfect food gift for them, or want something different to wrap up and place under the tree, or maybe you just want to treat yourself – 2020’s been a tough year, we all deserve it – these are the perfect gifts for the occasion that we’ve had the hard job of testing and tasting.

Our selection is made up of some of our favourite products we’ve returned to time and again this year, as well as recently discovered products too. We were looking for great taste, well designed products (and business models), good value and genuine things we’d like to recieve ourselves.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Manteca classico plus food box


This box is exceptional, and you’ll certainly feel like you’re having a restaurant meal at home. Coming from Manteca restaurant in central London, head chef Chris Leach creates incredible Italian inspired small plates, and has turned his hand to sharing it with the nation in true 2020 form. There’s three boxes to choose from, ranging in price from £60, £90 and £150. We tried the middle box, classico plus, which comes with a selection of cured meats inclduing a delightfully soft fennel salmi and a full-flavoured bresaola and four festive goose, cranberry and pistachio sausages that we’re now desperate to buy more of. There’s also pots of chicken liver parfait which is a smooth and silky delight that goes with a date jam, smoked cod’s roe, grape mostarda and a pear and date chutney. There’s more for afters too: a Christmas pudding and amaretti biscuits. Although obviously not for non-meat eaters, whether you have this yourself or gift it, it’s an absolutely stand out food box with extremely high quality produce and unforgettable flavours.  Available for nationwide delivery on the remaining Fridays of December.  

  1. £90 from Manteca
Prices may vary
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Darts Farm large festive hamper


If you’re a guest at someone else’s house, you’ll go down a storm if you turn up laden with this. Coming from Darts Farm in Devon, it’s full of locally sourced essentials and luxury items that will all help make this rather odd Christmas feel more special. One of our favourite items is the Willie’s Cacao sea salt chocolate truffles which are divine . We also likethe the brand as it practises direct trade which means it pays farmers more than the Faitrade price for their products. We also love the Four Elm apple juice, which will be great on Christmas morning for an alternative to orange juice. There’s also a small christmas pudding, mince pies, cookies, mulling spices, rose wine, crisps, crackers, Christmas jam and Boxing Day chutney - so plenty to get your feast well on its way. Some item may change in the hamper, but we're sure the quality will be just as good. Last orders are 18 December, at midday. 

  1. £85 from Darts Farm
Prices may vary
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Turtle Cup Wakey Wakey coffee, 250g


Good coffee is an essential, but you don't’ need to go to a coffee shop everyday to get it and any. This ethical coffee is some of the best we’ve ever tasted, so get up every day to Wakey Wakey. Made with beans from Duromina ​Farmers Cooperative in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia (which have been fairly traded) and roasted at Tate Coffee (one of the country’s most highly regarded roasters), it has gorgeous notes of apricot, jasmin and bergamot. It’s one of two coffees from the brand which also includes Jump Start for the afternoon slump and we’re so in love with the colour combinations. The whole bag is totally plastic free and compostable too, including the sticker which is made from vegetable inks, so you can compost it at home, or reuse it as you wish (they work well for plant seedlings). Choose from either whole bean or ground for your caffeine kick, and the coffee aficionado in your life will thank you.

  1. £8 from Turtle Cup
Prices may vary
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Jarvis Pickle, 12 pies by post


If you're unsure what to get the food lover in your life, you absolutely cannot go wrong with these beauties. Handmade in the Scottish borders, using quality ingredients these pies are our favourite food delivery find of this year. But don’t just take our word for it (although of course, we’re right). Its won 30 British Pie Awards, a whole host of Good Taste awards too, and are stocked in Fortnum & Mason. Of the 16 flavours, we’ve tried most of them, but our go-tos are the pork and blue cheese (which won best best meat pie Scotland 2018 and a Good Taste award), the Morocan lamb and the vegan curry.

If you’re hosting, you can have them on hand over Christmas for when you’re not sure what to cook, or just can’t face rustling up anything from scratch in the odd time between Christmas and New Year. You can store them in the freezer and then whip them into the oven. Each little wrapper is compostable too. Boxes come in four, eight, 12 and 16, but it’s not just a great gift either, as Jarvis Pickle will donate one pie to FareShare, a charity relieving food poverty, for every four pies by post bought. Prices start from £18, but if you buy 12 or 16, you’ll get free postage.  

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Le Creuset toughened non-stick frying pan, 26cm


For anyone who loves whipping up a stir-fry, they need a solid, reliable pan. As there’s nothing worse than a cheap pan losing it’s non-stick early on. This Le Creuset pan is just the opposite and, if looked after properly, will last beyond a lifetime, making it more than worth its price tag.  

Made from forged aluminium, it’s not as heavy as it looks and thanks to the “helper handle” it’s easy to move from the cooker to the table, or the sink. It’s been finished with what the brand calls its “best every non-stick” which it says is now four times stronger, and we’ve never had an issue with it in the few months we’ve been using it. Plus the non-stick is PFOA-free so you won't be cooking with any nasty chemicals. And lastly, it’s simple to clean - although we’ve kept it out of the dishwasher. They’ll surely thank you for something as well made as this.  

  1. £139 from Le Creuset
Prices may vary
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‘Jikoni: Proudly inauthentic recipes from an immigrant kitchen’ by Ravinder Bhogal. Published by Bloomsbury


This is chef and food writer Ravinda Bhogal’s second cookbook, named after her Marylebone restaurant, which means “kitchen” in Kiswahili. The book and its recipes encapusalte her hertiage: she was born in Kenya to Indian parents and then grew up in London.  Her cooking brings together all of these influences, but is her own refreshing take, which she describes as being “without borders". Highlight recipes include her prawn toast Scotch eggs with banana ketchup, to the cauliflower popcorn with black vinegar dipping sauce. The book is seperated into sections on brunch, nibbles, seafood, meat and sweet things, with plenty more exciting and innovative recipes. For any fans of the restuarant, this is the perfect gift as they can recreate their favourite recipes at home, or for budding cooks who are constantly looking to expand their culinary horizons. We’re also obsessed with the cover too.

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Harvey Nichols mulled wine


For a smaller gift, this is our favourite mulled wine that we’ve been buying for years. Not only is its taste far smoother than any other mulled wine you’ll likely to buy in a supermarket, its sleek white ceramic bottle with its flip top bottle looks far more luxurious as a gift too. Plus, it’s great to use pop long red candles in to burn after you’ve enjoyed the delights of the contents too.  

Made from wine from the German regions of Zellertal and Pfalz and mixed with traditional festive spices, it’s also vegan friendly and organic, so great if your host is vegan too. So all you need to do is gently let it simmer in a pan, and service with a slice of orange.  

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The Cheese Bar santa baby selection


For us, Christmas food is not complete without the cheese. The Cheese Bar specialises in championing British cheeses and cheeseboxes online and has a physical cheese bar, as the name suggest in Camden, London.  

This box, named santa baby, is a great sized offering for three or four people and comes with three 250g pieces of traditional raw cow’s milk cheeses: Westcombe cheddar, a smooth farmhouse cheddar, a creamy blue Cropwell Bishop stilton that needs little introduction, a Baron’s Bigord brie-style cheese from Suffolk and a yoghurty, almost whipped like Sinodun Hill. It also comes with some little extras too to ensure you’re ready with a full cheeseboard: Rosebud piccalilli, a jar of pickled onions (should never be forgotten!) and Millers damson crackers. 

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Flour & Grape 12 piece tortellini pasta kit


Food boxes and deliveries were the food thing of 2020, and thus make perfect gifts for this year too. Although it essentially came from a make or break issue where restaurants and food producers needed to quickly diversify in order to stay afloat, it’s become a lifeline for many. Here, Bermondsey based Flour & Grape did just that during the first lockdown, sending out its wonderful pasta to those within a five mile radius of the restaurant Tues-Fri, or you can pick it up the day after ordering (just order by 9pm), although sadly it’s not available for nationwide delivery.

The pasta kits come with everything you need to make the dish. The homemade pasta is delicate, beautifully made and simple, but oh-so impressive. We loved the pork shoulder and sage butter tortellini, where the “mmmm” sounds seemingly never ended when we were eating it. Coming in clever packaging more akin to a box of chocolates, each little tortellini sits in its little compartment, so it travels well too. Then all you need to do is quickly cook it, following the instructions, then add the cheese. We know any pasta receiving one of these will not be disappointed. Bon appetit!  

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The verdict: Christmas food gifts

Whether you’re looking for something to offer your host as a thanks, or to wrap up under the treat for keen cooks, each one of these gifts will be warmly welcomed, but we know anyone will absolutely love to recoeve the Manteca classico plus food box. The quality of food is excellent and the flavours are outstanding. Yes it’s a lot to spend, but you won’t hear the end of thanks from the lucky recipient, we’re sure of it. For something smaller coffee fans will love Turtle Cup’s Wakey Wakey blend in their stocking, or a token gift of mulled wine from Harvey Nichols is sure to please too. 

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