With Christmas approaching, the sales and special offer notifications are crashing into my inbox on a daily basis and with that comes the temptation to buy things for myself and the loved ones of course.
While waking up on Christmas morning with lots of presents to open, might not be what the season is truly about, for me there is still an excitement attached to guessing what lies beneath the festive wrapping paper that never grows old.
Before we get to that stage though, buying gifts for family and friends can be stressful and rewarding in equal measure, and it never easy finding something that tops the previous year’s offering.
I think there is something really thoughtful about gifting food or alcohol at Christmas if you know it is something the person will appreciate. Socks might keep your feet warm, beauty products keep your skin looking nice, but during the festive season it is hard to beat some sugar and spice.
Last year, I received a beautiful hamper from my sister (good luck beating that one!) with lots of little treats, including her homemade truffles and creamy fudge that kept my taste buds entertained well past December 25th.
If you are all out of inspiration when it comes to choosing Christmas presents and don’t have time to create your own homemade delicacies, there are a wide range of artisan food and drink products available from producers across Northern Ireland that would make great gifts, here are a few of my top picks.
Sawers Belfast hamper, £59
When it comes to hampers, the Belfast hamper from the city’s oldest deli has a mix of Sawer’s own products including the award winning sweet chilli jam, breakfast preserves, ground coffee, speciality teas and a selection of chutneys.
Available while stocks last in their College Street deli or online from Sawers Belfast.
Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil Set, £20
Presented in a Jute gift bag, this set includes one 500ml and four 250ml bottles of infused rapeseed oils in a selection of flavours from one of Northern Ireland’s finest oil suppliers.
As a super fan, I can highly recommend both the chilli and basil infused oils.
RubyBlue Cranberry Liqueur, £15
For some an alcoholic based gift might be better appreciated and this RubyBlue Cranberry Liqueur, produced at the family owned Hughes Craft Distillery in Moira, Co. Down could be the perfect festive tipple.
Made with whole cranberries for a delicious natural flavour, the liqueur can be mixed with Prosecco to create a Cranberry Bellini or maybe to add a kick to dessert. This liqueur is available to purchase at Tesco NI stores or online from the Still House website.
Underground Artisan at Co Couture
- Handmade chocolates priced from £5 – £22 per box
- Biscuits for wine, £3.80 per pack
For those with a sweet tooth, a box of handcrafted, premium chocolates from Underground Artisan at Co Couture might be the perfect present.
Made with single origin Madagascan chocolate, this RaiseTrade product – described as a step above FairTrade – is of the highest quality.
These delicious chocolates come in a variety of flavours including honeycomb, salted caramel, caramelised hazelnut and toasted coconut. They are also gluten free, organic and have a low sugar content, which makes tucking into a box a practically guilt free experience – you can take that from someone who couldn’t hold out to Christmas to unwrap their box!
Underground Artisan at Co Couture on Chichester Street, just around the corner from Belfast City Hall, has been creating premium chocolates since 2008 and is ranked within the top 40 chocolateries in Europe. There are also plenty of other treats to choose from in store, including traditional Italian wine biscuits which come in a variety of flavours including lemon and almond, chocolate, mulled wine, rose and pistachio and espresso and walnut.