Tina Nielsen picks 12 must-haves for a perfect Christmas hamper
1. Vine romance
The stylish chablis from Domaine Seguinot-Bordet is the perfect companion to the exemplary St Emilion from Château de Fonbel, making these two classic wines the ideal partnership for any Christmas festivities. The two-bottle gift pack (£34) from wine specialists Berry Bros & Rudd, includes one 2008 chablis from Domaine Seguinot-Bordet and one bottle of 2006 Château de Fonbel.
2. Perfect cuppa
The explorer kit from JING Tea (£12) contains 10g samples chosen by type. They're wonderful for those who are new to the drink. Or try the more complete JING Tea Explorer, covering the whole spectrum of JING teas, from fresh spring greens to rich oolongs and delicate whites.
3. Sherry amour
Claiming to be the oldest bodega in Jerez, Valdespino produces the classic Inocente Fino sherry (£7.29/375ml bottle). Dry and bursting with freshness, it is packed with classic flavours. Complex, refreshing and nicely balanced, it is perfect for a pre-dinner apéritif.
4. Big cheese
No Christmas is complete without an indulgent cheeseboard. Compile your own with a selection from Paxton & Whitfield. Choose blue, hard and soft cheeses and one non-cow milk cheese. Among British offerings the Baltic (£25/kg) and Windrush (£4.95 each) are popular choices.
5. Choc treatment
Chococo prides itself on making hand-made chocolates from ethically sourced Venezuela bean chocolate and Dorset cream, with no preservatives or additives. The seasonal medium Christmas selection box (£18.50) includes mint, gingerbread and honeycomb as well as new concepts such as cranachan (drambuie and raspberry coulis) and cinnamon-spiced praline in milk chocolate.
6. Succulent salmon
Inverawe, the family-run smokehouse on the west coast of Scotland, insists on using traditional smoking methods. This more time-consuming method pays off, as the salmon the family produces is succulent, full of flavour with the perfect balance of oak smoke.
7. A toast to cognac
The Courvoisier XO Imperial (£95.78) is crafted from a blend of 40 fine cognacs, aged for up to 35 years. Described by the makers as intensely aromatic and flavourful, it is rich and complex with aromas of chocolate, vanilla and amber. It arrives in a good-looking bottle, too.
8. Mighty mince pies
Mince pies from Konditor & Cook were once proclaimed "the best in Britain—worth travelling to London for", but you no longer have to visit the capital as the pies are now available from the bakery's website. Konditor & Cook is also selling moreish cinnamon stars, a spiced, wheat-free, German Christmas cookie. Try a gift box of six mince pies (£6.40) or a bag of nine cinnamon stars (£5).
9. Mumm's the word
Mumm de Cramant, made exclusively with chardonnay grapes from the Cramant terroir, was originally reserved for the directors of the champagne house but has been available to the public since 1960. Grapes are used from just one harvest to ensure the final product is fresh and delicate. An elegant and light drink with crisp lime flavours and soft bubbles (£50.99).
10. Proof in the pudding
Bettys of Harrogate produces superb Christmas puddings, all made to exact family recipes. The vintage pudding (£19.95) is the pick of the bunch. Sold in a ceramic bowl, this dessert is given a year to mature providing a deep, rich flavour.
11. Panettone with punch
Tuck into an Italian treat with a tasty panettone. Light and fresh, the 1kg Machiavelli panettone (£24.99) is stylishly packaged in a hat box, making it perfect as a gift.
12. Nordic nosh
Be inspired by René Redzepi, co-founder and head chef of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, who has been credited with reinventing Nordic cuisine, serving only food that is seasonal and local to the region. Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine (£35) is a stunning collection of colour photographs alongside Redzepi's diary from the time leading up to the opening of Noma and stories about his suppliers.