It’s always difficult trying to decide which treats to put into a foodie friend or family member’s Christmas stocking, so I’ve done a bit of research for you. Hopefully it will inspire you with some fresh ideas.
Chocolate Orange Spread
A change from the ubiquitous chocolate orange this year could be a jar of Bonne Maman’s latest spread.
Rich and smooth, Chocolate & Orange Spread is made with 39% crushed oranges and orange zest stirred into melted dark chocolate. It’s delicious, and available from Waitrose or Sainsburys for around £2 a jar.
Chocolate Orange Popcorn Bites
Or try Joe & Seph’s new Milk Chocolate Orange Popcorn Bites. These are a zesty infusion of chocolate orange popcorn pieces nestled in a milk chocolate cup. Available to purchase directly from Joe & Seph’s, the 63g pouch will cost just £3.50 here.
Or you can buy the milk or dark choc ones from Ocado.
On Christmas morning you’ll be wanting a good coffee to set you up for the day.
So pop in a pack of Crosta & Mollica’s new Caffè Torinese. Roasted in Italy, it even smells like a proper Italian coffee shop! It’s available to purchase exclusively from Waitrose at £3.99.
Kew Beyond the Leaf?
Or if tea is more to their liking, how about one or two of these gorgeous baubles from Kew Beyond the Leaf?
Great Taste Award winning loose leaf teas from Ahmad Tea’s collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in a stylish Christmas bauble. Choose from Majestic Breakfast, Splendid Ceylon, and Elegant Earl Grey. 25g loose leaf tea bauble caddy. RRP £3.99
Tracklements’ new embossed gift jars are vegan and gluten free and make a perfect stocking-filler for food-loving family and friends.
Buy all four, or take your pick from: Particularly British Piccalilli, 315g; Caramelised Onion Marmalade, 400g; Cranberry, Port & Orange Sauce, 370g or Christmas Spiced Chutney, 370g,
Available from delis and garden centres at around £6.80 a jar or online here
Vines in a Cold Climate
English wine has seen a remarkable rise in quality and popularity and a fabulous stocking filler for a wine aficionado is Vines in a Cold Climate.
It tells how a small group of determined people transformed English wine from the butt of jokes, to world class in 30 years.
It’s about changing climate and technology, but also it’s about men and women with vision and determination. It’s a fascinating, highly readable story. £16.99 for a hardback and published by Allen & Unwin UK
Little Book of Wine
Packed with a wealth of information on the world of wine, this miscellany is the perfect gift for any wine fan, from the seasoned expert to the casual drinker.
Pinot, Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling… There are so many delicious varieties of wine to delight both the nose and palate – and no other beverage has ever created such excitement and emotion over its vast history. It’s also a subject whose complexities can be baffling and mysterious to the uninitiated. Luckily, this small but full-bodied pocket guide is here to unveil all the secrets of this most marvellous drink.
Whether you favour red or white, dry or sweet, sparkling or still, indulge your inner sommelier and celebrate the gift of the grape with The Little Book of Wine by Jai Breitnauer. £6.99 paperback
Great English Sparkling from Louis Pommery
Putting a bottle of good English sparkling wine with the book makes a lovely Christmas morning find. I’d recommend the Louis Pommery England Brut.
Featuring Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris, the Louis Pommery England team’s worked hard to maintain and improve soil health and biodiversity richness at its Pinglestone, Hampshire, vineyard. Since the creation of the estate, between 2017 and 2022. no herbicides have been used, to protect the water resource. The wine has a freshness and citrus aromas initially. Then notes of white fruit – mainly pear and a touch of peach.
Easy Cocktails with Mixologist’s Garden Garnish
Another fun stocking gift is a pack or two from the Mixologist’s Garden range of convenient freeze-dried fruit garnishes.
The Lemon, Lime, Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry garnishes mean you don’t have to remember to buy, store, prepare and potentially waste, fresh fruit for your festive drinks. With a resealable pack and no need to refrigerate, they’re a quick and easy way to elevate your drinks.
Available in selected Asda and Co-op stores (RRP £2.75 per 10g pouch).
Christmas Tasting Pack of Ethical Chocolate
Chocolate goodies are an essential part of the stocking filling.
Tony’s Chocolonely has a great range, for all age groups. I rather like this Christmas Tasting pack – ideal for folk like me who can’t choose!
This company works hard to highlight, and end, modern slavery at chocolate farms.
The pack contains 6 small bars in classic flavours £9.99 from Waitrose, the Coop, Ocado, independents and online from Tony’s
Seriously Grown up Chocolate
A grown up chocolate connoisseur will really appreciate a small, but highly indulgent, gift from Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, who’s London shops are in Marylebone, Harrods and Selfridges.
I’d suggest treating them to a box of Dark Chocolate Croustillants at £11.90 or this small box of Mini Malline Christmas Flower bites in cashew nut praline with gingerbread truffle at £12.
Stollen in a Tin from Niederegger
Some years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Niederegger in Lubeck, and it changed my view on marzipan. You can read about it here
This traditional marzipan stollen from Niederegger is now available in an elegant tin and is perfect for Christmas morning.
Niederegger marzipan stollen is famous, a German Christmas cake with a bread-like texture, flavoured with spices and cinnamon, filled with Niederegger marzipan, chopped almonds, raisins and sultanas. £20 from John Lewis
A Grate Idea
A ‘grate’ stocking filler that will prove very useful is the Microplane Master Series Large Shaver.
With a non-slip rubber foot for comfort and stability, it has an impressive five elongated, ultra-sharp blades for extremely fine shaving.
You can effortlessly shave thin slices of Parmesan for salads and pasta, chocolate and coconut for cakes, puddings and ice cream, as well as truffle for chef-style garnishes.
You can even create super thin slices of potatoes and sweet potatoes for crisps. RRP £39.95
Not Half Baked – a Cookware Treat
One of the most useful kitchen items I have is this glazed stoneware baking dish with a bamboo lid, from KitchenAid.
It’s high-quality glazed stoneware for even heat distribution – microwave and oven safe (up to 260°c).
This makes it ideal for a wide range of Christmas recipes and for reheating leftovers.
What’s more, the small size even fits perfectly into the drawer of my air fryer! Combining style and performance, they’re good for taking straight from the oven or countertop to the table and then, for storing leftovers in the fridge using the bamboo lids.
Small baker 24.1 x 14.5 x 5 cm RRP £25; Medium baker 31.2 x 18.5 x 6 cm RRP £45 Large baker 38.7 x 23.5 x 7.5 cm RRP £50. You could even fill the large one with a selection of Christmas goodies and use it instead of a stocking.
I’m saving up for the whole set! Both this and the large shaver above are available from hartsofstur.com
Whatever you decide to fill a stocking, or perhaps a pillow slip with, I’m sure it will be well received!