Five Christmas hampers – and a wildcard too…

From cheese and wine to dried Iranian limes and even a gingerbread village

Fortnum & Mason The Imperial Hamper, £6,000
Fortnum & Mason The Imperial Hamper, £6,000

In the 1730s Fortnum & Mason created hampers for well-heeled customers journeying to their country estates, because the food served at coaching inns was not up to their standards. Centuries later a hamper is the ultimate gift at Christmas – here are five of the best, with a tempting wildcard to tempt too…

Yotam Ottolenghi Desert Island Recipe Booklet and Ingredients Hamper, £100
Yotam Ottolenghi Desert Island Recipe Booklet and Ingredients Hamper, £100

1. New this year at Fortnum & Mason, The Imperial Hamper (£6,000) is packed with foods designed to last the entire festive period. A whole shoulder of ham, a game pie and a selection of tasty cheeses with a multitude of preserves and range of wines from Fortnum’s own cellar will make for a cheerful time, along with three types of chocolate truffle, glacé marrons, peppermint creams, Fortnum’s famous chocolossus biscuits, cinder toffee, Florentines and cream & strawberry biscuits. How the food is to be served has also been considered, with the centrepiece a glass-domed cheese board and a “table bomb” – an indoor firework display that explodes with confetti, streamers and a big bang. www.fortnumandmason.com

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2. The Yotam Ottolenghi Desert Island Recipe Booklet and Ingredients Hamper (£100) contains all the elements of cooking the chef would never be without, but can be difficult and time-consuming for his acolytes to source. The ingredients include arak, a Levantine anise spirit; Palestinian za’atar, a traditional mix of herbs; crushed freekeh, green wheat and the chef’s trademark dried Iranian limes. The booklet of 16 exclusive new recipes, none found in any of Ottelenghi’s books, includes baked whole sea bass with tomatoes, tahini and pine nuts as well as cauliflower, barberry salad and, of course, dried Iranian lime. www.ottolenghi.co.uk

Berry Bros & Rudd Chef’s Pantry Hamper, £100
Berry Bros & Rudd Chef’s Pantry Hamper, £100

3. With a natural nod to drinks, the Berry Bros & Rudd Chef’s Pantry Hamper (£100) contains a bottle of Berry Bros & Rudd Champagne Mailly Grand Cru, and a bottle of both red and white Berry Bros & Rudd Collovray & Terrier Pays d’Oc Reserve. White truffle and porcini sauce, sapori truffles, olive oil and balsamic vinegar are tucked among the bottles, as well as Pommery mustard and Himalayan pink gourmet salt – a perfect rub for the turkey. www.bbr.com

Paxton & Whitfield St James with Wine Deluxe Hamper, £300
Paxton & Whitfield St James with Wine Deluxe Hamper, £300

4. Cheesemakers to the Queen, Paxton & Whitfield’s St James with Wine Deluxe Hamper (£300) contains cheddar pounder, Caradon blue, camembert de Normandie and a jar of English Stilton to be served with white truffle honey and apricot, date and sunflower cracker breads – using the slate cheese-markers and Paxton & Whitfield cheese knife. To accompany all the dairy, shredded pork with sloe gin, Wiltshire fruit loaf and bottles of red and white Côtes de Duras, Champagne Grand Cru, vintage port and Monbazillac desert wine will keep the party going. www.paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

Harvey Nichols Beauty Sleep Hamper, £150
Harvey Nichols Beauty Sleep Hamper, £150

5. The Harvey Nichols Beauty Sleep Hamper (£150) is inspired for the time of year when sleep deprivation abounds. The package includes a Harvey Nichols sleeping candle, Nuxe handcream, This Works hair elixir to help the brain slow down with the aid of aromatherapy, camomile tea and a Silkskin pillowcase to help prevent wrinkles. www.harveynichols.com

Peggy Porschen Gingerbread Winter Village, £395-£650
Peggy Porschen Gingerbread Winter Village, £395-£650

And the wildcard…

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Peggy Porschen has designed a Gingerbread Winter Village (£395-£650, delivery only in central London, wheat-free options available) inspired by her family visits to traditional Christmas markets in a medieval snow-covered mountain village in Germany. Created around a tiered Christmas cake covered with marzipan and royal icing, the gingerbread releases the scent of sugar and spice and all things nice. www.peggyporschen.com

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