No sooner than its mid-October there is a feeling of excitement and I can visualize the boutiques and stores with their spruced up window display embellished with Christmas decor, lights, gifting ideas and most of all the wicker baskets or hampers. London is one such place to walk down Oxford Street, Piccadilly or Knightsbridge taking in the fine flourish while selecting a few of the curated lists. Christmas Hampers have always been one of the most appreciated posts on the blog and this year I have made a list for you to create your own hamper from a preselected personal favorites. The traditional favorites are included and if you have been reading the blog for a while there is no guessing there. Let me begin with the bespoke list and then move on to the traditional favorites.
Bespoke Tea Hamper
The very thought of curating a bespoke hamper list made me visualize the hamper I would like to be gifted. Christmas always brings the sound of the crackling firewood, a cozy corner at home wrapped in a blanket sipping some hot tea and chomping on cookies and cakes. I am also a big afternoon tea aficionado (and this blog is a proof of that pudding) and immediately had Tea Forte, Cartwright & Butler in my mind. The luxury hampers of Cartwright & Butler are exceptionally lovely but I wanted to bunch their preserves, biscuits, and chutneys with the Tea Forte loose leaf assortments.
Among the sweet biscuits from Cartwright & Butler, I have selected Salted Caramel in Gift Tin, Butter Oat Crumbles, Chocolate Oat Crumbles and a savory Roquefort Cheese Melts that would be a perfect pairing with a hot cup of Bombay Chai by Tea Forte. An assortment of preserves and marmalades for the scones and toasts sounds like a spread of joy with tea. Choose from Three Fruit Marmalade, Rose Petal Jelly (made from roses in full bloom), Raspberry Preserve and Ginger Preserve for your hamper. It isn’t Christmas without a cake or hot chocolate in the hamper. The Oat and Walnut Cake in a tin and milk or dark chocolate in a jar would complete the tea hamper. Curate a set of 40 or 20 tea infuser pyramids from Tea Forte SELECT TEA CHEST. Choose from African Solstice, Black Currant Tea, Ginger Lemongrass, Bombay Chai, Chamomile Citron, Lemon Sorbetti, Moroccan Mint, Harvest Apple Spice, Green Mango Peach, Jasmine Green Tea and more. If your loved one is more of a rejuvenating herbal tea sipper, add the Sipscriptions Loose Tea assortment tins from Tea Forte.
One of the best things about Harrods in my personal opinion, they always foresee your needs. Take these hampers for instance, not only do they give you the usual delicacies but they make it convenient to know what’s in them on their website so you know at a glance what are the contents. All of Harrods hampers on my list are shipped worldwide. I have combed through these hampers and tried my best to match them with Fortnum’s (detailed further in the post) in terms of pricing only. The contents cannot be matched but the purchase value is around the same range as that of Fortnum’s. So if you want to find a different hamper at the same price range you can get either of these or make your own bespoke hamper from the one at the top.
The Grosvenor Hamper is a traditional wicker basket that comes with its own Christmas cuddles in form of Bertie- Harrods holiday toy. Beginning with spiced loose leaf tea and ground Arabica coffee with cinnamon, hazelnut, and chocolate flavors, the basket fills up with some honey mustard, mulled berry jam, orange and ginger marmalade, dark chocolate roasted hazelnut biscuits along with spiced chocolate almonds, cranberry and clementine fudge. The traditional recipes of organic mince pies with brandy and Christmas pudding complete the package.
The Knightsbridge is a more indulgent hamper with goodies included in The Grosvenor hamper and some more additions. The hamper adds a cognac-infused Christmas cake, a cranberry chutney with a hint of spice, and some brandy butter made with Courvoisier VS Cognac perfectly paired with mince pies. But it is not the end of this handsome hamper as it has three bottles of vino including Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs N.V, Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja Crianza and a selection of chocolates to go with it.
If you wish to gift multiple hampers instead of a few I recommend The Christmas Carol with a petite yet ample deliciousness wrapped in. This is a gift box that includes spiced black loose leaf tea from Sri Lanka, dark chocolate roasted hazelnut biscuits, mulled berry jam, some Belgian milk chocolate and to finish the festive day with a classic Christmas Pudding. For details about the hamper and shipping information visit Harrods.com
All images are courtesy of Harrods.
Fortnum and Mason
From the famous wicker hampers, I have selected four generous hampers. Two of these are available for shipping to North America and Europe while the other two are only available for the UK and European market. Let us start with the European shipping hampers.
The Fortnum’s Christmas Hamper is the hamper brimming with yuletide goodies and holiday essentials to gift your most cherished relations. Be it your parents, children, best friends or for yourself. Begin the Christmas morning with the Royal Blend and Breakfast Blend Teas along with a choice of sweet and spiced biscuits from Fortnums tin boxes. Its Christmas and I make sure to spread a generous layer of marmalade or preserves on scones or muffins, or better still mix them up in yogurts to add wonderful flavors. There is that quintessential Fortnum’s Piccadilly mustard too just for a hint of pungent taste on your snack. This hamper really brings Christmas out to you wherever you are celebrating with St James Christmas Pudding ( will there ever be Christmas without a pudding? ) and wait for it Marc de Champagne Truffles. If you are a wine collector like me you’d love the fact that the hamper comes with one red, white and Brut bottles. Vinho Verde Adega de Monaco, Cotes du Rhone, Andre Brunel and Brut Reserve N.V Louis Roederer.
The Family Christmas Hamper is quite like its name suggests, it is for the family to enjoy a good day at home on Christmas. Laden with tins of loose leaf tea and coffee beans to go with Cognac butter, classic biscuits, harissa and salt lime nibbles, gold coins, and Marc de Champagne Truffles. St James Christmas Pudding and Marzipan Christmas Pudding are accompanied with Fortnum’s Beaujolais, Muscadet Sur Lie, Domaine Luneau, Brut Reserve N.V, Louis Roederer. There is a raspberry preserve and mulled cranberry and red onion marmalade to go with Christmas Reindeer bites. Sounds like a hamper worth shipping home or even better heading off to Piccadilly and purchasing it from the store for a lovely festive day with family.
To select the hampers available in Europe visit Fortnum and Mason.
Now for all the friends across the pond and in the eastern hemisphere. The two hampers I preferred were Fortnum’s Christmas Morning and Christmas Express hampers. Let’s begin with the Christmas Morning hamper, it is a breakfast hamper for those who’d like to treat their loved ones to a splendid Christmas morning. The basket includes two loose leaf tea tins one of which is a spiced tea great for the winter chill. You can steep these teas in a very famous Fortnum’s striped teapot ( honestly I’d take the hamper for this teapot), or sip a hot brew of a chocolate Christmas coffee with some strawberry truffles, cinnamon, and orange shortbread fingers. The hamper also includes an alcohol-free cranberry and orange fruit cake, pudding conserve, orange and cranberry curd, Sir Nigel’s Vintage Marmalade and dusted milk chocolate almonds.
Christmas Express Hamper – Ready for some lunch and afternoon tea treat in a hamper from London? This hamper supplies your loved ones with an afternoon of goodies like Fortnum’s Damson Apple and Blackberry chutney a condiment good to go with your lunch. There are some quintessential English tea time sweet and savouries like British seaweed and anchovy nibbles, Monarch full-bodied vintage marmalade, Fruit & Nut Flapjack biscuits, sea salted caramel truffles, blends of loose leaf teas and coffee.
To select the hampers available worldwide visit Fortnum and Mason
All images are courtesy of Fortnum and Mason.
Click on the images for larger view
All images are courtesy of Neuhaus Chocolates.
This Belgian chocolatier is one of my personal favorites and I only discovered them last October. I am especially fond of their assortments in the traditional and historic red Ballotin Box and even the Noble Nuts. The reason I bunch them together in the traditional category is not just for their historic and royal past but their inventive streak. Remember they invented the pralines we so enjoy every special occasion or festivity. It was the Ballotin Box originally designed for the Belgian Prince Albert hundred years ago. I have curated two options for this Christmas’ goodies.
Ultimate Luxury Christmas Gift is everything I would ever want to purchase from the Neuhaus stores and they have an abundance of stores in New York but also in Boston, D.C, San Francisco, Honolulu. Alabama, Virginia. In Europe, they have boutiques in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Munich, and Harrods in London. Circling back to the hamper, where there is plenty chocolates for the family in a chic Christmas gift box design. The hamper includes the half-pound ballotin box, Neuhaus Christmas Tree box with an assortment of 27 pieces of chocolates, ornaments and cube with 12 and 4 chocolates respectively, pralines, truffles, orangettes, the bear box with 8 pieces and selection of biscuits.
Alternatively, if you wish to gift a smaller gift selection of 24 pieces there is Noble Nuts Round Gift Box. Noble Nuts is a marriage of Belgian chocolate and highly graded nuts which are only available for the holiday season. Delicate Belgian chocolate cubes are filled with a perfectly balanced smooth praliné and enhanced with a whole superior origin nut on top. I have had the pleasure of tasting them and it was like parcels of heaven. The gift box includes flavors such as milk chocolate with California almonds, dark chocolate with Black Sea hazelnuts, milk chocolate with Texas pecans, and dark chocolate with walnuts from Périgord, France. For more details and shipping information visit Neuhaus Chocolates.