Saturday, 10 December 2011

2011 Christmas Gift Guide and Chocolate Giveaway [CLOSED]

Green & Blacks Goodies

Christmas is something I've only begun to celebrate at home relatively recently - I'm technically a Buddhist and my family never went in for seasonal gifts.

Because of this, I have a tendency to buy presents whenever the whim takes me, so by the time December comes rolling round, I find I've already got a neat little stockpile of goods to hand out to my nearest and dearest.

So here's a selection of stuff from my stockpile that I think you will like too (and there's a giveaway at the bottom...)

Hotel Chocolat Rather Large Christmas Cracker

Hotel Chocolat Cracker

This was sent to me to review. It's big and well packaged, so home delivery is a safe option. Stuffed with 40 fine chocolates including truffles, pralines and Christmas Mess (sadly wrapped in dingy shades of brown paper), 12 gold paper crowns and some rubbish jokes, this would make a good Christmas party present.

Also, the explosion was so exciting that one of the chocolates flew under my sofa without me realising and so I got a bonus chocolate the next time I hoovered. Who can argue with bonus chocolate?
£38 from Hotel Chocolat online or instore.

Vom Fass Impabile Cream Liqueur Triple Set

Vom Fass Impabile Set

Being Rum Baba girl, the only booze I can really stomach is sweet sweet. I've bought this triple set of vanilla, chocolate and tiramisu liqueur before and it went down very nicely.

If you go to the concessions (eg in Selfridges), there's a wonderland of other spirits, oils and vinegars to try before you buy, and you can choose the bottle stopper. Around
£40 from Vom Fass online or instore.

Sparrow Serving Set

Sparrow Serving Set

I'm obsessed with birds at the moment - my clothes are covered in sparrow and dove prints - even flamingoes.

I really love the look of this utensil set - how gorgeous are they, perched on their branches? On special offer at
£27.99 at Find Me a Gift.
Last orders, standard delivery: 20 Dec, next day delivery: 22 Dec.

Babushka Carafe and Glass

Babushka Bedside Decanter

First came the adorable Matryoshka doll measuring cups - now they have picnic forks, egg timers, tupperware, cruet sets and this - the bedside decanter set.

I bought mine instore but you can order online too. £16.50 in Oliver Bonas
online or instore.

Hot-Headz Chilli Sauces

Hot Headz Chilli Sauces

I really, really want the gallon jug of Tabasco that you can get in Harvey Nichols at the moment, but chilli sauce generally gets me excited.

Hot-Headz have a vast range of sauces in stock ranging from the mild to the ludicrous and prices are very reasonable - £3.99 on average. They've sent me a few to try (not done so yet) but I'll be buying some more as stocking fillers and they have good-looking gift packs too.

Tete de Moine Cheese Set

I once went to Cellar Gascon and we were presented with a cheeseboard of various delights including a frilly, delicate one. I've since discovered that this cheese is called Tete De Moine, and the rosettes are achieved on a contraption called a girolle.

Hubbub can get the set delivered to you from La Fromagerie. £50 from Hubbub, certain London locations only.

Womersley Vinegars

Womersley Vinegars

Womersley Vinegars really are something special - the unusual flavours sing out eg Cherry, Blackberry, Strawberry and Mint.

My favourite are Golden Raspberry & Apache which is stunning in a salad, and Blackcurrant & Rosemary which makes a gorgeous Bramble cocktail.

They do jellies too - and all the packaging is beautiful - I love leaving the bottles out on display. Stockist list at Womersley Foods including Harrods.

Mr P Drip Lick Coffee Mug


How could you not adore this mug? I snapped up two - there's another in the same range which has a pink lipstick mark on it, but this one is my favourite.

I got them for £8 each instore at Urban Outfitters or you can get them for £5.99 at Find Me A Gift.

Larousse Gastronomique

Larousse Gastronomique

Seminal, authoritative, beautiful, and only £20 on the Book People.

Indoor Stovetop Smoker

Mini Smoker

I've just bought the mini indoor Camerons smoker which chef Mat Follas famously used when he won MasterChef in 2009.

It's simple to use (I saw it in service at the Wild Garlic) and works a treat. Woodchips included - £39.49 at Cream Supplies.

Duff Beer

Duff Beer

For the Homer in your life. A TV tie-in that is also quite cool. 24 cans for £24.99 from Firebox.

Camera Lens Mug

Camera Lens Mug

I don't even have an SLR but I can recognise how brilliant this is. The camera "lenscap" acts as a cover or as a coaster. £12.99 at I Want One of Those.



Tea liqueur. Luxurious bottles, enticing flavours. I want the Citrus, or the White Tea and Peach. From £24.99 at Firebox.

Gastronaut Kits

Gastronaut Tookit

If you're familiar with Stefan Gates, the Gastronaut, you'll know he has a few foodie tricks up his sleeve.

These kits (on special offer from only £3.95) will help you replicate the madness. Signed copies of his books are also available at the Gastronaut Shop.

Yummy Dough

Yummy Dough

I was the classic Tartrazine Kid, so I wasn't allowed to play with plasticine, so instead I'd spend ages making freaky sculptures out of real dough.

This is the same - but better, since you can actually bake your creations and eat them afterwards. £7.95 from Prezzybox.

Food Pod

Food Pod

I got this in Lakeland purely because it looks like the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and therefore makes me laugh. Apparently it functions well too - designed to save time when boiling, blanching or steaming foods.

Lakeland don't seem to stock it online anymore, but you can get it for £12.95 from Amazon.

Crispy Doughnut Maker

Doughnut Maker

Robert Dyas stocks all sorts of gadgets including this doughnut maker which is on special offer. It comes with a syringe to inject your doughnuts with jam etc, but I'm thinking savoury and will be using it to make takoyaki.
£19.99 at Robert Dyas online or instore.

Whisky Stones

Whisky Stones

Whisky connoisseurs would probably say you shouldn't drink it cold anyway, but I know a few people who like it on the rocks.

These make it literal - milled soapstone cubes which you freeze and use instead of ice so you don't end up diluting your drink. £12.50 from Whisky Galore for a pack of 9.

Herb Scissors

Herb Scissors

I like to snip foliage onto my meals - fresh herbs are essential in Burmese and other Asian cuisines. And my potato salad isn't right unless it's sprinkled with chives.

These scissors make the job easier - and you could also use them to shred paper. £13.50 from Cox and Cox.

Green & Blacks Selections

Green&Blacks Tasting Collection

Green & Blacks have brought out a range of gift boxes available online or in supermarkets such as the set pictured right at the top, as well as a new flavour Burnt Toffee which I have yet to try.

Their Organic Tasting Collection box contains 24 Miniature Bars - White Chocolate, Creamy Milk, Milk Chocolate, Butterscotch, Almond, Raisin & Hazelnut, Cherry, Ginger, Hazelnut & Currant, Hazelnut, Dark 70%, Dark 85%, plus Tasting Notes.


I'm giving away the Green & Blacks Tasting Collection box mentioned above - just leave a comment with your contact details by midnight Tuesday 13th December if you'd like to enter the random draw. UK readers only, sorry.

EDITED TO ADD: The winner is the Fastest Indian aka @ireenaribena! Thank you everyone for entering. And yes, Vom Fass is a ridiculous name but quite fun to shout.