Features

Virtual Christmas

by Crumbs

02 December 2013

"Christmas decorations just don’t get more beautiful than Tregothnan’s Incredible Edible range, or more environmentally friendly for that matter."

The countdown is on to the big day, so it’s time to start ticking those presents off your mounting Christmas shopping list. But this year, how about ditching the flustered crowds and settling down on the sofa with a brew for some one-click retail therapy? It is Cyber Monday after all – the busiest online shopping day of the year, and with thousands of retailers promising to reduce prices for the next 24 hours, it’s time you and your plastic journeyed into the World Wide Web. We've put together some of our favourite foodie finds that can all be bought online for a stress-free festive shop. See you on the other side…


Manfood pickles and chutney, £3.95/300g
You definitely don’t need to be a man to enjoy Andre Dang’s delicious range of handmade condiments. The bread and butter cucumber pickle makes a great cheat’s raita, while the smoked tomato sauce is the key to an ultimate posh bap. Serve the superbly chunky piccalilli or warming Malaysian achar pickles with sliced cuts of ham and a cheese board this Christmas, then sit back and await the applause.
www.welovemanfood.com

Mortimer's West African chocolate powder, £3.80/220g
For the ultimate in luxury hot chocolate powders, Mortimer Chocolate Company, founded in 2006, is one of a few UK chocolate producers. There’s no hidden milk powders or additives, just100% chocolate powder sourced from a blend of West African cocoas. Add a teaspoon to hot milk for a before-bed-time soother or use in your fave brownie recipe for a devilishly decadent pud.
www.mortimerchocolate.co.uk

Chocolate Society honeycomb gift box, £14.50
Whether you know it as honeycomb or hokey pokey, we cant get enough of this delicious bubbly treat. It’s handmade in small batches using the best quality sugar, honey from bees that live near the factory in Wincanton and enrobed in the finest milk or dark Valrhona chocolate. You’ll struggle to give it away as a gift.
www.chocolate.co.uk 

Carluccio’s pandoro, £16.95/700g
It may translate to ‘golden bread’ but pandoro is anything but your usual loaf. In Italy, it means Christmas is coming and with it’s eight-point star shape tower, it makes an ideal edible centerpiece. The light, soft sponge cake is best eaten warm, or even toasted but for a dessert with a real wow factor, hollow out the middle and fill with soft-scoop gelato then let everyone tuck in!
www.carluccios.com

South Devon Chilli Farm chilli jam, £7.50/670g
This versatile jar has been the farm’s bestseller since its Great Taste Gold Award in 2010. Spread it on cheese on toast, use it to make a sticky marinade for meat or fish or whisk it with rapeseed oil, lime and Dijon mustard for the ultimate Boxing Day vinaigrette. It’s the one thing our larder is never without.
www.southdevonchillifarm.co.uk 

Jelly Belly range, from £3.60/65g
With over 50 flavours to fight over, a hamper of sweeties will surely keep the hordes occupied while you watch the Queen’s speech. Kiddies will love the bean dispensers and the adults can tell themselves they’re far too grown up, while secretly diving in when the poppets are asleep.
www.jellybelly-uk.com

Ringtons classic biscuit selection wrap box, £15.99
Know a biscuit fiend? Rington’s classic selection has them covered with sultana cookies, fruit and lemon biscuits, ginger snaps, brazil nuts and all-butter shortbread rounds. Then of course no biccie is complete without a good brew dunking –that’s where the vintage caddy with 40 Kenyan Gold tea bags comes in. A hamper for under £20? Bargain.
www.ringtons.co.uk

Swift Russian doll ceramic measuring cup set, £18.00
We can’t be the only one who thinks utensils needn’t be ugly. If your kitchen is the heart of the home then it deserves the best accessories, right? Thankfully this nifty ceramic measuring cup set is both practical and lovely. Plus it means you don’t have to convert those awkward cup-measurement American recipes. What’s not to love?
www.redcandy.co.uk

The Foodies Larder, £30
The concept is simple enough; a monthly subscription to the best artisanal Spanish produce, delivered straight to your door. The best bit? Long after the Christmas snaffling is over, when everyone is meekly nibbling on celery sticks, we’ll be tucking into January’s box of goodies. Previous gourmet medleys have included organic milk chocolate with almonds and honey, turron de jijona (nougat to you and me!), black grape jam, fig bread with walnuts and aged sheep’s cheese. It’s unique, delicious and there are even top tips and recipes to get the most out of your supplies. The best post ever. (Order January’s box by December 31st.)
www.thefoodieslarder.co.uk

Tregothnan’s Incredible Edible range, from £12.95
Christmas decorations just don’t get more beautiful than Tregothnan’s Incredible Edible range, or more environmentally friendly for that matter. Choose from an edible bouquet, garden trug, garland, wreath or table decoration, all featuring Tregothnan-grown chillies and fragrant herbs (bay, sage, rosemary and spicy pepperleaf) from the estate in Cornwall. Use them fresh, or let them dry throughout the festive season and dip into your supply of herbs and chillies for winter cooking. We can’t think of a better present for a passionate cook.
(Crumbs readers can get a 5% discount on all online Tregothan products by using the discount code CRUMBS.)
www.tregothnan.co.uk

Timmy’s Chillies Quincefire, £4.95 
Hot heads can get their fix with this delicious jar of locally sourced ingredients including seasonal quince, sugar, fresh ginger, Naga and mixed chillies, apple pectin, nutmeg and cinnamon. The fiery jelly will surely come into it’s own during the cheese board season. Get it quick though, those quinces aren’t around for long!
www.timmyschillies.com

Richard Bertinet for Tala range, from £9.95
We can’t help but love it when two of our favourite things come together, so when we heard that renowned French pastry chef and fellow neighbour to Crumbs Towers, Richard Bertinet, had joined forces with British bakeware brand Tala to bring out a new woodware range of utensils, we were a little bit excited to say the least. The solid beech range includes a baker’s peel, rolling pin and French tapered pin so whichever weapon you choose, bread making will become a doddle.  (And if all else fails, you can wave it around like a flour-dusted light saber. Just us?)
www.talacooking.com

The East India Company spice-infused chocolate selection, £15/10 chocolates
Perfectly timed for Christmas, this sublime range of spice-infused ganache, caramel and praline may be the prettiest packaged box of deliciousness we’ve seen all year. The delicately infused chocolates include Thai green chilli, ginger, cinnamon, rose and cardamom, poppy and almond and roasted coriander and are all presented in a collector’s book box, so there’s no need for extra fiddly wrapping. This is what all Advent calendar should have behind their doors.
www.eicfinefoods.com

Toot Sweets Christmas wreath, from £5/75g
Owned by Shropshire chocolatier Julia Wenlock, Toot Sweets is the place to go to for familiar festive treats. Julia’s passion for chocolate comes into its own during the Yuletide season with edible wreaths made from tempered Amedei bars and generously topped with nuts, stemmed ginger, candied orange, cranberries and chunks of toffee. Who wants a satsuma in the bottom of the stocking when you’ve found these? Beautiful and delicious.
www.tootsweetschocolate.co.uk     

Tea cup and utensil bookends, £19 each
What with the glut of cookery books you’re sure to buy in the January sales, you’ll be needing these nifty wartime-insprired bookends to keep everything looking spic span. We love the patriotic red and blue tones, which will help freshen up neglected shelves.
www.iwmshop.org.uk 

Figgy’s Christmas puddings, from £10/350g
Husband and wife team Jo and Richard Evans are passionate about producing luxury, authentic puddings. So it’s no surprise that these fruit-filled artisanal handmade offerings include the legendary ten-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy and are prepared to a time-honoured method, maturing for several months in Mason Cash ceramic basins and wrapped in the classic ‘rabbit-ears’ pudding cloth. No Christmas feast would be complete without one.
www.figgys.co.uk

Words by Sophie Rae

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