Last Minute Gifts for the Fickle Foodie

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The countdown to Christmas Day has well and truly begun but for those of us who are not as organised as we would like, there is still time to pick up the perfect present for those who appreciate the finer things in life, and by that, we mean food.

The Expert Gin Fusion Kit from The Kind Co

Containing five aluminium jars of botanicals, The Expert Gin Fusion Kit elevates the most mundane of gins to something sublime. With enough ingredients (including ginger root, cardamom pods, hibiscus flower, star anise and juniper) to make nearly 100 flavoursome gin and tonics, the gin lover in your life will certainly appreciate this gift set that comes complete with a stainless steel cocktail spoon and a measuring jigger. €40 from www.thekind.co.

Copper Coffee Set from Café Izz, Cork

Those lucky enough to be within travelling distance of Cork’s Café Izz will be familiar with their delicious Palestinian food (as enjoyed by Darina Allen), but their Copper Coffee Pots make a lovely inexpensive gift for coffee drinkers. The two person set comprises of a 250ml copper coffee pot, two espresso cups and saucers along with a 250g bag of freshly ground Palestinian coffee. €27 at www.izz.ie.

A Smoking Masterclass with Sally Barnes at Woodcock Smokery

A niche gift, this is one for those who enjoy (or have an interest in) smoking their own fish. A one day (or half day) masterclass with Sally Barnes will impart a wealth of knowledge that Sally has spent 35 years honing on both hot and cold smoking. The full day includes a delicious smoked fish lunch and various demos throughout the day including the ever important filleting and salt curing. From €165 at www.woodcocksmokery.com.

‘The ‘Ciambellone’ Cake and DIY Hamper goodies from Assassination Custard

If you were unlucky enough to miss out on The Aperitivo Box from Assassination Custard last week, then do not despair. The Ciambellone is an Italian breakfast cake, perfect for Christmas morning snacking, and comes with orange blossom yogurt and marmalade on the side while other hamper fillers available include pork ‘tuna’ (a pork dish with the texture of tuna), kasundi, piccalilli, pumpkin agro dolce, Sally Barnes smoked Pollock with horseradish crème fraiche and tarelli lard biscuits with almond and black pepper to name but a few. Given the season, of course there are also apple and mince pies with rose cream. For information see www.instagram.com/assassination_custard.

The Flavor Equation by Nik Sharma

Those who enjoyed Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat will appreciate this latest offering by Nik Sharma of ‘Seasons’ fame. Putting his background in molecular biology to good use, Nik goes beyond the usual components that result in taste and examines how our surrounding such as sound, texture and visuals can impact our taste. Oh, and the recipes are excellent too, the roasted cauliflower with turmeric kefir has January comfort food written all over it. €29 at www.shop.designist.ie.

A voucher for Ichigo Ichie, Cork

While Ichigo Ichie are sadly remaining closed for the remainder of 2020, 2021 will be a new year and a new beginning for them, like so many in the hospitality industry. The gift of a voucher for a meal in one of Ireland’s most revered restaurants is a win-win and would no doubt make both restaurant and recipient very happy indeed. Limited to just 18 guests at a time, dinner at Ichigo Ichie is a twelve-course celebration of Irish produce and Japanese cuisine. If Thornhill duck, cherry smoked hay leek, scallion, fig, dried rice, aonori, and Highbank organic orchard balsamic vinegar sounds like something your nearest and dearest would enjoy then this is bound to induce a smile of appreciation this Christmas. In the meantime, should you want to up your take away game, you know where to go. From €50 at www.ichigoichie.ie.

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