Season’s Eatings: 15 Heavenly Hampers for Foodies

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Corporate, customised or completely self-indulgent, here are some of the best hampers to gift this season …

Kylemore Abbey has a very special Christmas range of food items which this year can be ordered and sent to homes nationwide, with the option of creating your own hamper – a separate section on the website. All of the products are handmade to traditional recipes in the Kylemore kitchen including an iced Christmas cake and choice of puddings with brandy butter. Why not add in some soap, skincare or chocolate all handmade onsite by the Benedictine community as well as the iconic Kylemore Abbey Fuchsia pottery; www.kylemoreabbey.com/shop.

Chef Richard Corrigan has launched his luxury Christmas Day Hamper, available for collection from Virginia Park Lodge and delivery across counties Meath, Cavan and Dublin. The hamper, priced at €275, is sufficient for up to six people and comes in a beautiful wicker basket packed full of festive favourites. Inside recipients will find a feast – roast turkey Wellington, honey and English mustard glazed ham hock, duck fat potatoes and Corrigan’s Christmas pudding with brandy custard. One of the hampers will include a “Golden Ticket” giving guests a chance to win an overnight stay at the Gate Lodge Cottage, sleeping up to four guests. The hamper is available to pre-order from www.virginiaparklodge.com.

For those whose love of travel was put on hold this year, a hamper from the Cork-based family business Heart of Spain will transport the recipient to another place, specifically the historic region of Castilla y Leon in Spain, where much of the produce is sourced. There are three Christmas hampers to choose each priced at €100. Expect to find cured cheese with rosemary, sweet figs, tomato confit, artisan chorizo leon, Iberian ham, duck liver foie gras as well as condiments, oils and Do Rueda red wine as well as a guide to the Castilla Y Leon region and much more. There is also a very special New Year’s Eve hamper from €80 with a bottle of bubbles to toast to the start of 2021. Heart of Spain offers nationwide delivery or collection from their Cork shop. Orders can be placed up until December 21 for Christmas delivery and the last day for collection from the Cork shop is December 23. www.heartofspain.ie

Surely the crème de la crème of hampers (€395 plus post and package) is from Ballymaloe, packed with delicious goodies including JR’s Ballymaloe Christmas pudding, a bottle of exclusive Ballymaloe Garden Gin, olive oil, coffee, Ballymaloe bread mix, homemade fudge, oat biscuits, marmalade and so much more. The hamper is beautifully packaged and includes the unmistakably Ballymaloe blue and white gingham tablecloth and napkins. There’s also a “Golden Ticket” in every 20 hampers that are sold – the lucky recipient will win a special lunch for two at Ballymaloe House; www.ballymaloe.ie.

From December 1, the (renowned) Two Cooks in Sallins are selling a range of eight different hampers to suit all tastes and budgets, (pictured is their cheese hamper) and they also have a tempting Italian “wines and snack” hamper from €30. For the ultimate treat, if you fancy waking up on Christmas morning with the family breakfast and dinner at your fingertips, then their all-inclusive “Christmas Dinner & Breakfast” Hamper has everything you will need to spoil your family over Christmas; www.twocooks.ie.

The team at FX Buckley’s Victualler & Grocer has curated a selection of hampers including a Champagne and Chocolate hamper (€90) containing a bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne, Chez Emily chocolate and Skellings Chocolate brittle. Meanwhile the FX Buckley Victualler & Grocer gourmet hamper (€190) includes 16 festive treats. Taking centre stage is the FX Buckley Steakhouse Cookbook, two wines, including a bottle of Chateau Beaumont 2015 Haut Medoc and a Sancerre Paul Prieur, along with Egan’s organic smoked salmon. Savoury crackers as well as chutney from Sheridan’s pair brilliantly with a selection of cheeses (including Hegarty’s cheddar, Cashel blue, Gubbeen). For sweet treats, Dublin Honey Project honey and West Cork Baci Di Dama biscuits all make an appearance as doesThe Merrion Hotel’s Christmas pudding with brandy butter. A paired back version is also available priced at €100. www.fxbuckley.ie

Santina Kennedy is Powerscourt Distillery’s in-house Food Historian and beverage specialist. During the summer Kennedy spent time developing a unique food pairing experience, which showcases the best of Irish food and whiskey. Now available are Powerscourt Distillery’s Fercullen Irish Whiskey and Food Pairing hampers in Bronze, Silver and Gold, priced from €90 to €115. Offering an appreciation Fercullen Irish whiskey, it is paired with meats from the Wooded Pig, local honey courtesy of Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow Ban Cheese and Fercullen Whiskey Chocolates. Each hamper comes with a QR code giving the recipient a link to watch a pre-recorded presentation with Kennedy on how to enjoy the whiskey tasting and food pairing journey; www.powerscourtdistillery.com.

Hedgeroe introduced Daylesford products earlier this year and has teamed up with the organic producer on an enviable Christmas hamper. Rebecca Roe, creative director at Hedgeroe, says, “I have worked closely with the Daylesford team hand picking my favourite Christmas goodies, including the most wonderful lavender and rosemary hand wash for busy Christmas cooks, truffle salt for some extra Christmas luxury, the ultimate Christmas cake in a reusable tin, and much more!” Priced at €220, there’s also organic coffee, chocolates, panforte and a limited edition Christmas candle, all presented beautifully in a white wicker hamper with leather straps and lined with linen. www.hedgeroe.com

Irish online shopping site Gifts Direct was started by entrepreneur Lulu O’Sullivan over 30 years ago, and it specialises in Irish gifting both for Ireland and globally. O’Sullivan says an Irish hamper is a failsafe crowd pleaser. The Grand Irish Gourmet Hamper, €175.50, is a best seller and is a good option to send abroad or to those unable to get home. Including Bewley’s, Butlers, McCambridge’s bread and Keogh’s crisps as well as the Irish Pantry range of gourmet eats, there is no sign of Scrooge here; www.giftsdirect.com.

In lieu of a hotel stay, why not enjoy a five-star experience with the Dromoland Castle Christmas Box 2020. Each year the hotel reinvents the traditional Christmas hamper and this year’s version is full of favourites from the Dromoland Estate. There’s a selection of Christmas pudding, chocolate truffles, preserves and chutneys, as well as the famous Dromoland Brown Bread. Also included is the Dromoland Castle cookbook – a collection of some of executive chef Davis McCann’s favourite recipes. Other gifts included are an elegant mug, dish towel and teddy bear. The hamper is available to purchase for €195 at www.dromoland.ie.

Farmhouse Café, Long Mile Road, Dublin is synonymous with superior Irish food, and has launched gift boxes ranging from €65 to €265. “Our aim is to offer Irish quality produce for that special festive occasion,” explains owner Susan O’Sullivan, who is a keen supporter of small Irish businesses. The hampers are stocked with products sourced from the Farmhouse Café farm in Enfield to Ariosa coffee, Nutshed peanut butter, handmade Abernethy butter, and a selection of Skellig-made items. The gift boxes are available to purchase in store or via email and a click and collect option on www.farmhousecafe.ie.

Brimming with the very best food, drinks and gifts, this year’s selection of hampers at Avoca is “wonderfilled”. The range of hampers start from as little as €20 for a simple festive celebration or date night in, such as the Bubble & Chocolates Hamper which features artisan chocolates and a bottle of bubbles. Top of the range is the All Avoca Christmas with an assortment of Avoca festive goodies – an iced Christmas cake, pudding and brandy butter, and a selection of jams and chutneys, €100. One of my favourites is the Recipes & Raspberries hamper, €60 which includes A Year At Avoca Cookbook, a selection of mini jam favourites and a raspberry jam teatowel. Available in store and online at www.avoca.com.

With 30 years’ experience behind them, Butler’s Pantry has finessed its range of hampers, which come in five versions ranging in price from €75 – €400, and come beautifully packed. The selection of artisan crackers, chutneys and sauces, chocolates, cookies and condiments, wines and fudge will see you through the twelve days of Christmas for sure. For other Butler’s Pantry gift ideas see here.

Shells, the seaside cafe and bakery in Strandhill, Sligo, is now offering a Deluxe Shells Christmas Box, €60, available nationwide, which includes festive favourites with a mixture of sweet and savoury treats, all homemade. For corporate gifting, owners of Shells, Jane and Myles Lambert and their team are also tailoring the Shells Treat Boxes, €48 for employee wellness boxes; www.shellscafe.com.

A quirky option for those with a good sense of humour are the new Hen’s Teeth hampers. These come in two sizes, the smaller one is called “You’ve Played a Blinder” which is priced at €65, while the larger “I Love You More Than Life Itself” hamper is €195. This includes a bottle of natural wine, cheese biscuits and olive oil from Yia Yia & Friends, Hen’s Teeth own blend coffee, Sheridan’s jam, a Clean Slate candle, lots of chocolate, a Peanuts mug and much more; www.hensteethstore.com.

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