Christmas is all about giving (and a little indulgence), and what could be a better gift for the foodies on your list than a hand-crafted hamper filled with Kentish goodies? With this in mind, we've asked our friends at Macknade Fine Foods to provide you with their top hints and tips for creating the ultimate Christmas hamper.
A hamper is an excellent gift for that person in your life who has everything. Here we give you our top tips for building the perfect hamper and choosing what to include…
We always think the best hampers have a successful balance of sweet & savoury, so we’ll be following this rule below. We also think it’s important to consider storage. Can you store the hamper at room temperature or will it need to be kept chilled before you give it to your lucky recipient?
If chilling your hamper isn’t a problem, we’d certainly suggest including a selection of different cheeses. The Cheesemakers of Canterbury (based in Dargate) make some amazing cheeses including their famous Ashmore Cheddar, and Kingcott Dairy (based in Staplehurst) make Kentish Blue – a personal favourite of ours and great for pairing with Local Kent Honey (which we’d also recommend including).
It’s now time to think about adding your accompaniments. The Captain’s Crackers from The Zingiberi Bakery in Herne Bay are always a winner, as are our own-label chutney & piccalilli.
Moving onto something sweet, we’d definitely recommend Goupie – another Kentish producer making triangles of extremely moreish chocolates in a variety of exciting flavours (including a Boozy Christmas special, which we always look forward to!). We also stock a wide variety of Kentish fudge and biscuits (featuring famous Kentish cobnuts!), which are always a special treat.
And you mustn’t forget something to wash it all down with. We’d suggest either a Kentish apple juice (our favourite is the Winter Warmer – a spiced version from Chegworth Valley) or a bottle of Kentish wine, cider or beer. For something sparkly, we love Westwell Wines Special Cuvee or if it’s a red you’re after, try our Chapel Down Union Red and pair it with cheese.
If you’re sending a hamper for people to share, you can’t go wrong with tea & coffee. For coffee, we love Garage Roasted in Canterbury and for tea, our Macknade No.1 Blend - our strongest black tea from the range, perfect for waking you up in the morning.
When it comes to packaging, think about how you’re getting your hamper to its lucky recipient. Does it need to be posted or are you hand-delivering?
If you are able to hand-deliver, then you should definitely consider a wicker basket for impact – dressing the items on display under cellophane. Always make sure the larger, heavier items are at the back or bottom, so that fragile items don’t get crushed.
What’s most important is that you pick items you know your recipient will truly love. We love to support local, but also know how popular our German stollen, Italian panettone & Turkish delight is. It’s really up to you – just make sure you have fun doing it!