Christmas hampers reviewed including £310 Fortnum & Mason version

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Popular Christmas hampers have been put to the test this year – and one stood out so much, it’s been deemed better than those on offer at major supermarkets.

Hampers are great gifts for the festive season because they give the recipient some fancy treats they might not splurge on themselves. They’re mostly packed with consumables so there’s no concerns that the gift will take up lots of space.

Hampers are also the perfect way to show someone you’re thinking of them from a distance. If you can’t enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese or a cuppa and a big piece of cake together in person at least you can help a loved one enjoy one and think of you from afar.

This year there are more hamper options than ever, ranging from budget options like Aldi’s range , which sold out pretty much immediately, or a £15 Cartwright and Butler Christmas treats bag right the way through to Harrods £5,000 Ultimate Christmas Hamper.

The perfect Christmas hamper in many ways depends on who it’s being bought for though, Manchester Evening News reports.

But some of its reporters worked on the reviews together ahead of the festive period.

Snowdonia Cheese Luxury Cheese and Wine Hamper

Narin Flander’s has given this cheese and wine deluxe hamper a go…

Where: Available at Amazon or directly through the Snowdonia Cheese website for £65 including delivery.

What: A branded hamper packed full of five full-size truckles of the firm’s most popular award-winning cheeses, along with a box of buttermilk crackers, jars of balsamic caramelised red onion and pear, date and cognac chutneys and a bottle of red wine.

Why we liked it: In my experience, Christmas hampers tend to come at a premium the fancier the packaging you get so as soon as the wicker baskets come out prices seem to skyrocket.

This hamper is simply stunning and when it arrived looked fantastic – as a gift you’d be beyond chuffed with how it looked coming out of the box, but the real joy came from opening it up.

If you’re a fan of cheese then there is much to enjoy here, whether you’re a long-time lover of Snowdonia’s award-winning wares or coming to them for the first time.

While generally I like my cheeseboard to have a mixture of soft and hard textures and flavours, I didn’t feel that the five truckles included in the basket were too samey – although to make the perfect Christmas cheeseboard I’d definitely be adding a Camembert and some goat’s cheese to proceedings.

The box included two classics, the Black Bomber (extra mature cheddar) and Red Storm (vintage Red Leicester) and then three additional more unusual options. For me they were the absolute highlight. The smoked Beechwood is a regular in our fridge anyway as we love the flavour of Snowdonia’s smoked options but the final two were new to me and – if I’m honest – not normally options I’d have tried. I have to admit I’m not usually much of a fan of truffle, but the Truffle Trove was a delicious mature cheddar with a slight zing to it that went particularly well with the pear, date and cognac chutney. Meanwhile the cave aged Rock Star was one of the strongest cheddars I’ve ever had and was a big hit with everyone who tried it.

In our house, especially in those cheeseboards you pick up at Christmas which offer a bit of everything, Red Leicester is the cheese left once all the more tasty options have been snaffled up, but not this time.

If you’re buying for a cheese lover this year this is absolutely my top pick – so much so that I have ordered one to go to another cheese-loving member of my family who shall remain unnamed in order to keep the surprise.

What’s more, all the cheese sent out is guaranteed to have 2023 best before dates, given your recipient plenty of time to enjoy it all.

Hampers.com Christmas Eve Nibbles Gift Basket

Narin Flanders tries out the packed out Christmassy haul from Hampers.com…

Where: Hampers.com for £88

What: Perfect for a Christmas Eve picnic in front of the fire before the lunacy of Christmas Day kicks in, this gift basket comes packed with a bottle of Malbec, sourdough crackers, truffle crisps, Christmas chutney, red pepper stuffed olives, two truckles of Snowdonia Cheese Company cheddar, a pack of Dorset warmer salami and a jar of pulled pork. Basically it’s everything you need for an indulgent night in with someone you don’t mind sharing some high end snacks with.

Why we liked it: Family-run small business Hampers.com is based out of Oxfordshire and is proud to showcase other artisan foodie businesses in their gift baskets and hampers. This makes this Christmas Eve gift box packed with hidden gems of products you may not have tried before but are something special because the Hampers.com team have done the taste testing legwork to pick the best in advance. It’s a tough job but they’ve clearly embraced it well.

With so many gift boxes sticking with just wine and cheese and some chutney and biscuits on the side this felt like a wonderful and decadent way to sit in front of the TV with my husband and a Christmas movie. I loved the spicy salami and was a bit mind-blown by the pulled pork – I’ve never had it in a jar before and was a bit dubious about it, but it was delicious on the sourdough crackers, with a wonderful flavour and texture that was a welcome alternative to something like pate with a much nicer texture.

Meanwhile, the Malbec we washed it down with was full-bodied and complemented the richness of the rest of the meal real nicely without feeling too much.

Overall it was a wonderful collection of treats and a lovely, thoughtful gift with a bit of a nod to those who put in the work organising everything around Christmas but might sometimes need a nudge to take a moment and just relax and treat themselves with minimum additional effort.

The minorest quibble is that there was no sweet treat in there at all – even a couple of cubes of Christmassy fudge or something just to finish things off – but the quality of everything we tasted was sublime and there are several different companies we’ll now be keeping an eye out for to buy again (and I’ve already bought a second jar of Mrs Bridges’ Christmas Chutney for my Boxing Day leftover spread).

Fortnum & Mason Gather Together Hamper

Laura Udall indulges in the Fortnum & Mason Hamper…

Where: Available at Fortnum & Mason for £310

What: A deluxe food and booze hamper that is packed full of treats that would blow the weekly shopping budget. Both delicious and highly desirable, this middle of the range offering from their swanky collection comes in a charming wicker basket that will take pride of place in any home.

Why we liked it: The luxury retailer creates iconic Christmas hampers that sell for a pretty penny. With prices starting from £70 for the mini afternoon tea in a huntsman wicker basket, through to the utterly indulgent, 56-piece £6000 Imperial basket, each basket comes with the brand’s comforting reassurance that the price of the hamper is always less than buying its contents and basket individually.

I was lucky enough to receive the 21-piece Gather Together hamper that retails online for an almost affordable £310.

Packed full of edible treats, teas and alcoholic beverages, I was delighted to find everything neatly tucked inside a desirable large wicker hamper that will look gorgeous in my home long after the contents have been devoured.

What’s in the wicker? In this collection, we found delicious Toffolossus biscuits, connoisseur blend ground coffee, a selection of F&M biscuits, biscuits for cheese selection and green tea with lemon all in absolutely stunning decorated metal tins that will definitely add a splash of flash to my kitchen. There was also a quince cheese relish, posh piccalilli, green tomato chutney, raspberry preserve, old English marmalade, stuffed almonds, cheese sables, chocolate and Ganache pralines and caramelised mixed nuts, along with a nice bottle of Merlot, a Gavi, a posh bottle of expensive fizz and two English Pilsners to wash it all down with.

In our household, we will devour all of the biscuits and chocolates without a second thought for the calorie count, then enjoy an indulgent cheese and wine evening with the chutneys, crackers and expensive libations.

But, ultimately, it is the incredibly beautifully decorated tins and amazing wicker basket than I am looking forward to the most – they will last for many years to come and add a touch of upper class country charm to my three-bed semi.

Moonpig’s Virginia Hayward Festive Fizz hamper

Gemma Sherlock get’s into the festive spirit with fizz and other treats…

Where: Available at Moonpig for £35

What: A festive fizz hamper in a decorate ‘season’s greetings’ sack containing a variety of sweet and savoury seasonal treats to accompany a crisp bottle of Roberts and Reeves prosecco.With gouda biscuits, mince pies, chocolate-covered marshmallows and peanuts, it’s the perfect way to send tasty Christmas wishes to those who mean the most to you.

Why we liked it: This Virginia Hayward Festive Fizz hamper really impressed due to the quality of the items you get for as little as £35. The hamper, which was originally priced at £45, includes Buiteman Gouda biscuits, Linden Lady decorated milk chocolate marshmallows, Maxwell & Franks four mince pies, Maxwell & Franks decorated chocolate decadence slice, Mr Filbert’s dry roasted peanut and a bottle of prosecco.

It’s all packaged in a decorated ‘season’s greetings’ sack which gives the hamper a nice, more gift-like feel. This hamper certainly has the most luxury appearance in my opinion, I think it’s partly down to the colouring of the packaging, the gifts and the sack are all white and gold tones.

The Linden Lady milk chocolate marshmallows are mouth-watering and they were the first to go. The R&R Robert & Reeves Italy prosecco also went down far too easily, and the dry, crisp apple notes does well to balance out the rich chocolate you get in this hamper, which is why the dry roasted peanuts are a good balance too.

My favourite in the hamper has to be the Buiteman Gouda biscuits. I’m a big lover of cheese and these were light, tasty and moreish, there wasn’t quite enough in the pack. There are a lot of items in here that can be bought cheaply but look like luxury items, and they are packaged together in their own stylish, festive sack. It’s £35 from Moonpig.

Muscle Food Luxury Beef Topside Christmas Hamper

Stacey Dutton tests the magnitude of the meat Muscle Food Christmas haul

Where : Available at Muscle Food for £65

What : A Christmas meat hamper including everything from the show stopping beef topside joint to sausages and bacon for a Boxing Day mega breakfast. The luxury hamper is packed with 15 meaty items (and luxury vegetables) to get you and your 6-8 guests through Christmas with ease.

Why we liked it : For me, ordering centrepieces for the Christmas spread and watching your family eat and chit chatter around the table on Christmas Day is the happiest time of year- so the food HAS to be right, doesn’t it?

This year I decided to broaden my horizons and look elsewhere for EVERYTHING I will need for Christmas Day at my mums house with the gang- the beef, pigs in blankets, veggies and the all important Boxing Day essentials for a monster breakfast with the best sausages and bacon I could find.

This is where ordering a meat hamper has changed my way of thinking for bulk buying for the festive period.

More often than not, in the past I have visited different stores for different items (i prefer Lidl’s veggies, M&S meats and Aldi’ and Asda’s bits for everything else including nibbles etc etc).

When comparing the price of the luxury hamper (which for £65 is a ridiculously good price, reduced from £73.24) to the likes of M&S meat offerings, you can almost guarantee that the meat packed into this one box will be a cash saving option compared to M&S- with a beef joint a similar size being £20.33 alone.

Inside the Muscle Food Hamper includes enough food to serve 6-8 hungry guests- meaning each serving costing just £8.13 per person. It’s a huge discounted offer which means that everybody gets the best of the Christmas spread- with pigs in blankets, sausages, bacon, rump steaks, stuffing balls, chipolatas and much more- and not forgetting luxury vegetables.

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