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Food Lover's Gift Secrets

Gifts for Food Lovers

Hampers are the perfect gift for people who have everything or those you are unsure about purchasing for. Rather than buying a ready made hamper personalise one for that extra special thought.

Top tips for buying a Hamper
* Who is the Hamper for? Male or Female is it for a Couple, what age are they Young, Middleaged or older?
* Organic food or normal produce, more people are moving to organic produce for less interferance and keeping farming to the more traditional methods
* Does the gift receiver drink?
* Do you want to go savoury, sweet or a mix of the two
* Is your hamper a christmas hamper? If yes remember most people buy christmas pudding and other traditional christmas products themselves and may appreciate something different

Choosing your Hamper
The hamper basket itself can be reused so see this as an investment, dark wicker hamper baskets are traditional.
Fill your hamper basket with either rolled up tissue paper or for the more traditional filling use straw packing. Bubble wrap is not an option!

Wrapping your hamper
Use traditional tarten ribbon all around and create a large bow on the top. Then take a brown paper gift tag using black ink write your gift message

Top products to include in your Hamper

Drinks
Alcoholic to be considered for over 18's only -Red wines include Merlot or Shiraz, Whites we recommend are Chenin Blanc, Chablis or Sancere. Why not fill the Hamper with some Fizz, if you are on a budget some Cava is a cheaper fizzy but still full of flavour Condessa Blanca, Segura or freixent. Supermarkets have a good range of wines with recommendations pick a budget and read their reviews. Always go for something morelight than focusing on a specific flavour unless you know their tastes. Avoid Cherrys & ports these usually stay in peoples cupboards and collect dust!
Non Alcoholic - Cordials like elderflower are perfect however supermarkets now offer a range of non alcoholic drinks which are full of taste and flavour.

Savoury Hamper
Cheese - Brie, Camermbert, stilton are classic cheeses however as a balance why not put in a goats cheese, mozorella in a secure tin or speciality cheese like feta in olive oil which should come in a jar; remember that you need to buy these as late as possible and they should be wrapped in greaseproof paper so they can breathe. A good chutney is always good to accompany go for a traditional raison and fruit or perhaps a homemade picallilly.

Bread Products - Foccacia (italian bread), bread sticks or a olive or sundried tomato cibatta is perfect. Other dried biscutis work well try for rosemary and seasalt crispbreads or perhaps a chesse biscuit selection including oat cakes.

Meats - Hams have a longer shelflife consider purchasing a Parma or San Danielle ham or pancetta which are all cured to take on a richer flavour. Salamis, Chorizio and other sausages usually require more thought when eating so avoid unless the receive has a love for them.

Fish - You can get tinned anchovies or sardines are loved by some but not all. Somked salmon is perfect since it has a good shelf life, consider purchasing some gravlax with it and some dark rye bread.

Pasta & Rice - There are great varieties of dried pasta and perfect as a gift. Rice is not such a good option unless you got for a flavoured risotto version

Vegetables - Unless you are purchasing a few days before you cannot purchase fresh. Consider some more unusual flavours like dried porchinni mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers in a jar with oil a comination of all would work.

Fruits & Nuts - Dates are traditional at christmas, again avoid fresh fruit and go for dried or long lasting foods like dried apricots, mixed nuts, dried banana apricot & apple are tasty snacks

Oils - Olive Oil is a common kitchen cooking oil, however you can get flavoured oils such as rosemary, chilli & basil. You can make your own by purchasing a glass bottle with cork stopped fill with an extraq virgin olive oil and then simply drop the flavours in such as garlic and rosemary or my favourite fresh sundried tomatoes. Balsamic olive oil is another great dipping oil and a perfect compliment to this dish.

Non Food - Brown earthware or Tapas dishes are great to include in a hamper, if you have followed the above contents you might want to purchase 2 small dishes for the oils and 1 larger dish for the breads. You could always consider a small cookbook or food lover book which are available in good book stores.

Sweet Hamper

Biscuits - Your supermarket will have a range of biscuits but shortbread is an older favourite. Why not make some of your own for that extra special touch.

Fruits & Nuts - This is the same suggestion as the savoury hamper, but consider nuts which are chocolate dipped or perhaps suger coated almonds

Sweets & Chocolate - Consider a rich chocolate the majority of people prefer milk chocolate but if you are not sure include a small plain and milk to be on the safe side.

Jams & Preserves - You can now find speciality jams such as champagne & strawberry whic is a little different to the basic jams. I love to give honey a local variety

Non Food - Perhaps a chocolate fondue set or recipe/cook book

You can always mix the 2 hamper suggestions. With these simple suggestions you are sure to give someone a yummy festive feast! Enjoy!

About the Author

H Porter writes gift articles for www.sorrydarling.com , the home of the gift

H Porter