Who doesn't love a good hamper? Every Christmas we pick out some of our favourite on offer in London.
For the ultimate hamper
Your first stop should be the department stores which have some extra special offerings this year. At the top end of Selfridges range - there's a £350 'Dazzling and Delicious' hamper, full of everything your storecupboard could possibly want, from champagne, wine and chocolates to sweet and savoury biscuits, a Christmas pudding, olives and chutney. They've got more bespoke hampers for chocolate or cheese lovers, too.
Harvey Nichols has a vast range, including a partnership with some of the world's top mixologists from Amsterdam to New York - to put together everything you need to get the party going, from a cocktail shaker and jigger to bottles of gin and vodka - all for £150. Or for the booze-free option, there's an Italian twist on afternoon tea, with espresso coffee, panforte, Baci di Dama and salted caramel truffles.
For the home cook
Stuck finding all the ingredients for that Ottolenghi dish you've been longing to make? Happily, they've got a special hamper including some exclusive new recipes and all the kit you'll need to make them. Plus this year he's produced his own Xmas pudding for the first time, packed full of suitably exotic things from Lebanese arak to dates and ginger.
Paxton and Whitfield's Belgravia hamper - at £285 - has all sorts of goodies, not just fine cheese (although there's plenty of that, including a Stilton and a Camembert de Normandie) - along with it, a smoked ham, black truffle mustard, spiced blackcurrant jam, a Wiltshire fruit loaf, and a couple of bottles of wine and port to keep you going. Even an apron for whoever gets landed with the washing up.
For the sweet toothed
Pump Street bakery are offering the ultimate chocolate treat - the Library Collection contains ten bars complete with tasting notes, including the multi award winning Madagascar Milk, and their very special sourdough and sea salt, Eccles and Rye crumb milk and sea salt. They've also made some Father Christmas figurines out of Ecuadorean dark milk. Try saving those on the tree till Boxing Day!
Cutter and Squidge have put together a range of cake-based gifts, including special festive Biskies, from mince pie flavour to coconut snowball with a dulce de leche centre. They've even gone full gingerbread with an entire 'magical town' centrepiece, with a spiced gingerbread sponge layered with plenty of buttercream.
Available instore from 7 November
For the meat lover
Cannon and Cannon's various hampers start from £24.95, including some of the UK’s best artisan cured meat producers, like Trealy Farm, Marsh Pig and Capreolus. Or if you fancy a bit of this curing lark yourself, there's a curing kit allowing you to make your own bacon at home.
If it's great local food you're after - try the Very Best of London hamper by Social Pantry. They've packed in some great produce, from Sipsmith's damson vodka to East London Union's small batch roasted coffee and Blackwood Gracewood cheese from south-east London. Plus a bag of their own handmade granola and you're good for the whole holiday weekend. You can order it direct from the team at £105.
To order, call Social Pantry on 020 8871 1949 or email: email@example.com.
For another eclectic selection, the team at Sourced Market have a luxury hamper on offer at £100 - there's prosecco, Cornish charcuterie, chocolate from Willies Cacao, mulled fig jam - plus some spicier options from Belazu and Dalston Chilli.
For a more Italian flavour to your Christmas - head to Soho's Lina Stores: priced between £35 and £100, they're offering some wonderful hampers this year, from traditional panettone to pasta, green olive pate and white truffle oil, all as beautifully packaged as you'd expect.
Vallebona is also offering a range of Italian based gifts: the Taste of Tuscany box caught our eye - at £200, it includes wild thistle pate, white truffle butter, octopus in olive oil and a rather nice Chianti.
For when everything stops
Gails Bakery are making sure you'll be well looked after with their "survival kits for when everything stops". The ultimate ration pack, for £65, includes a 2 kg Sourdough - toast and turkey sandwiches for DAYS - plus delicious fig and Clementine jams, almond butter and speculoos butter, granola, coffee and - of course - mince pies. We've actually tried this one already (that's ours above) and it's a mighty hamper - that loaf is HUGE.
Or you can opt for the more DIY approach with a bake your own bread kit - Dutch oven included - or coffee beans and a state of the art grinder. Whatever you do, though, don't forget to stock up on Gails mince pies - always our favourite of the season.
They're available to order in all Gail's Bakeries.
For the morning after
The Rare Tea Company's £25 Breakfast in Bed box for two includes a hand-blown glass tea pot, strainer and a tin of Speedy Breakfast tea to get you going - or go for the full on Matcha Made in Heaven box at £75 - which comes with a specially designed ceramic bowl, a wooden whisk and scoop handmade in Japan, and ceremonial-grade matcha powder which promises a drink "of great depth and intensity, smooth and mellow".
And Marks and Spencer has put together a £40 box of breakfast favourites, with Bucks Fizz, Christmas tea and coffee, blinis and smoked salmon, and a chocolate and orange brioche loaf to share. Or to eat all by yourself when no-one is looking.
Everything you'll ever need, from Christmas specials, where to eat on Christmas day, the best Christmas hampers, Advent Calendars, gifts and what to do for New Year.