by NICK ROSEN on NOVEMBER 25, 2004 - 0 Comments in food
1. Heal Farm
Good value for money. Farmhouse produce that’s home-reared or made in the farm’s kitchen. Multibird roasts include duck filled with goose breast and orange and walnut stuffing (38.75, serves eight) and turkey with chicken breast and cranberry stuffing (52.85, serves 10). Christmas in a basket is its biggest hamper (465 including delivery). Last orders Dec 9; 01769 574341, www.healfarm.co.uk.
2. Eversfield Manor
Organic farm rearing Aberdeen Angus and Romney Marsh sheep, pigs, free-range chicken and game. Its Christmas hamper (185.25 for orders placed in November) includes all you’ll need for a gourmet meal, such as goose or turkey, beef or lamb joint, brace of pheasant, smoked salmon and gammon, plus a Devon blue cheese, Christmas pudding, chestnuts and fresh herbs. Last orders Dec 15; 01837 871400, www.eversfieldmanor.co.uk.
Expensive gourmet farm shop.From bronze turkey, smoked salmon, award-winning cheddar, bread, organic veg and herbs to home-made mince pies and Christmas pud. Buy everything here, says Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens. Offers include a turkey box with a bronze turkey, chipolatas, bacon and sausage meat, all organic, for 67.50, including delivery, from sister estate, Wootton Organic; 0800 652 9469. Last orders Dec 17; 01608 731700, www.daylesfordorganic.com.
The Christmas Dinner Company
The best produce in one lavish delivery, it includes a Kelly bronze turkey, Duchy Originals stuffings, Joubre gravy, bread sauce, veg peeled and chopped, with sauces, plus Mrs Ray’s Christmas pud and mince pies, along with a roasting tin, apron and instruction booklet (395, serves 6-8, or 595, serves 10-12). Delivered on Dec 23; 0845 607 2512, www.christmasdinnercompany.co.uk.
The Food Ferry
If, on December 23, you realise you’ve forgotten the food, the Food Ferry can come to your rescue: it sources food from London’s speciality delicatessens and shops for a gourmet dinner. The more organised can order treats such as decorated loaves from the Polane bakery, or the Comptoir Gascon’s foie gras hampers. Call 020 7498 0827, www.foodferrybypost.com (outside London) or www.foodferry.com.
PUDDINGS AND PIES
People drive for miles for these handmade Christmas puds, so get your order in early. The fruit is marinated in Guinness, barley wine and brandy, then mixed with a secret combination of spices and steamed for eight hours. A lot of people who don’t like Christmas pud enjoy ours, says Michele Ray. One to feed up to 16 costs 8.50 plus p&p. Also, try her light mince pies with star-shaped tops and delicious pastry. Order by end Nov; 0151 426 6148, www.mrsrays.com.
The Carved Angel
Its light and flavoursome Christmas puddings have been made to recipes by the Victorian domestic goddess Eliza Acton for the past 30 years. Now available to go in two sizes: 165g (9.95, serves 2-3), or 675g (15.95, serves 6-8). The puddings come hand-tied with muslin cloth and ribbon. Orders by Dec 17; 01752 770026, www.thecarvedangel.com
The Village Bakery
There’s everything for the sweet-toothed gastronome at this organic bakery: Christmas pud and cake, mince pies in sweet, dark pastry, marzipan-heavy stollen and rich brandy butter. Hampers (31.50-71.50) and a wide range of products for people on exclusion diets are available. Last orders Dec 9; 01768 881811, www.village-bakery.com.
She has been making Sir Paul McCartney’s cake for about 15 years. Her traditional-tasting cakes are decorated with a twist from her past as a graphic designer, with hydrangeas or cinnamon sticks and marzipan apples. Available from Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Selfridges, or call 0116 240 2888.
For those who don’t like Christmas cake, opt for a spectacular alternative Christmas cake: a rich chocolate cake studded with brandy-soaked prunes, topped with black cherries, chocolate icing and dark and white chocolate leaves. Or, choose a white chocolate ganache, adorned with snowmen, all made by hand in Jackson’s Devon farmhouse kitchen. A 9in alternative Christmas cake costs 22, plus 8 for mail order. Last orders Dec 10; 01647 441141, www.millwardjackson.co.uk.
One for the fruit and nut lovers. There is only just enough cake to hold the brandy-soaked fruit and nuts together, all glazed with a wine jelly. A 1kg cake costs 14.95. Cranberry, almond and black-cherry cake, as well as Christmas puddings with walnuts and brandy butter, is also on offer. Last orders Dec 18; 01525 381621, www.mrshuddleston.com.
Award-winning classic Christmas cake, heavily impregnated with brandy, covered in almond paste and iced with a robin on top. Recipes can be altered to suit tastes. A 7in cake costs 28 plus delivery. Order by Dec 6; 01476 870150.
RELISHES AND JAMS
The English Provender Company
Excellent relishes including wild cranberry sauces with tiny, sharp fruits such as redcurrants. Choose organic wild-cranberry sauce (from Waitrose, Tesco and Booths), or a richer wild-cranberry sauce with burgundy (from Budgens), both from 1.49.
These chutneys, jams and preserves, which have won hundreds of awards, are prepared and cooked by hand. Christmas fruit chutney with stem ginger is fab with stilton; 3.25. Order by Dec 18; 01525 381621, www.mrshuddleston.com.
The Davies family at Garden House
Damson cheese, made from the fruit of the family’s own orchard, is beautifully presented in a stoneware pot. They suggest dousing it in port and cream, but its rich, tart plumpness makes it equally delicious with turkey, duck or cheese. Order now. 15 per pot including p&p; 01748 884188.
The Fine Cheese Company
Has a vast range, including themed selections at about 25, such as the Classics Lesson, with the holy trinity of Colston Bassett stilton, Keen’s cheddar and hand-ladled Camembert. Order by Dec 12; 01225 448748, www.finecheese.co.uk
Home of the strong and creamy, award-winning Dorset Drum cheddar. Comes cloth-wrapped in a box; 18 for 2kg. Last orders Dec 10; 01308 458963/422770, www.denhay.co.uk
Cropwell Bishop Creamery
A traditional 8kg, award-winning, creamy Cropwell Bishop Stilton, wrapped in wax paper, costs 67.50. Last orders Dec 12; 0115 989 2350, www.cropwellbishopstilton.com
FRUIT, NUTS AND CHOCOLATE
The Walnut Tree
The best dried fruits and nuts from around the world are sourced, then stylishly packaged (from 10). There are also chocolate crackers packets of chocolate discs studded with dried fruit and nuts (4 each). And, on offer to readers, for 20 plus p&p, is 1kg of dried fruit (apricot, cranberry, prune, pear, pineapple, date and fig), plus a milk and a plain chocolate cracker. Order by Dec 3; 020 8959 5346, www.the-walnut-tree.co.uk.
The Chocolate Society
The renowned chocolatiers produce seasonal scrumptiousness, including chocs flavoured with Christmas pud or prune and cognac (6.50 per 100g), and organic chocolate bars flavoured with prunes, saffron, cardamom and orange (2.75 each); 020 7495 0302, www.chocolate.co.uk.
Organic chocolate from single-origin cocoa beans. Snowmen, freestanding chocolate Christmas trees, candied oranges dipped in chocolate, truffles and bergamot-flavoured thins (26.50 plus delivery). Last orders Dec 22; 01243 537385, www.montezumas.co.uk.
Black turkeys Peele saved this turkey from extinction. It has a tight-grained flesh like pheasant and, as the plumage has a high oil content, the flesh is moist. The birds roam organic meadowland, are fed on home-grown feed, then hand-plucked and hung for up to two and a half weeks. A 4kg turkey costs 48.50, 10kg, 77.50, carriage inclusive. Order by Dec 10; 01362 850237 or 01953 860294. Free-range geese also available.
The Kelly bronze turkey won the industry award for the best oven-ready turkey and is recommended by Delia, Nigella and Rick Stein. Fed on local cereals, in the day the birds roam free and at night they snuggle in straw in open-sided barns. Hand-plucked and hung for at least 10 days, this leads to a tasty, succulent bird. From 51.38 for a 4kg bird, delivery included. Order by Dec 17; 01245 223581, www.kelly-turkeys.com.
Its specialities are boned and stuffed turkeys and ready-to-cook casseroles and stews. Bronze free-range turkeys are hung for two and a half weeks, then boned and stuffed with apricot, hazelnut, onion, apple, ham, fresh herbs and lemon juice. They cost 19.02 per kg. Order by Dec 17; 01392 881380, www.pipersfarm.com.
Clerkes Farm geese
These geese are reared in a way that Charles Dickens would have recognised. Completely free-range, they live in fields all summer and gorge on grass and home-grown corn. They are hand-waxed and plucked. From 4.5kg (45) to 6kg (56) including delivery. Order by Dec 15; 01799 586248, www.clerkesfarmgeese.co.uk.
Seldom Seen Farm
Home to free-range geese raised on corn and potatoes. Its speciality is the three-bird roast: a boned goose, stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a pheasant, with a layer of pork and orange stuffing between each. These cost 5.90 per pound plus 14 delivery charge; a 4.5-5.4kg roast will feed up to 15 people. Order as soon as possible; 0116 259 6742.
Geese have been raised here for 20 years in extensive free-range paddocks and on all-natural foods. They are hand-plucked and matured for at least 10 days for a full flavour and come recommended by Delia. Order by Nov 30; 01299 896272, www.goodmansgeese.co.uk.
Pigs are reared on home-made feed, with the emphasis on welfare. The result is rich and flavoursome. The Christmas Essential pack includes piggy products and a choice of stuffings, plus a 1.8kg boned gammon joint (21.95 plus 10 carriage). Order by Dec 7; 01778 342344, www.grasmere-farm.co.uk.
Forman & Field
This catalogue is a one-stop shop for a gourmet Christmas. Aside from the geese, turkeys and three-bird roasts, you will find whole Alderton hams (baked with a marmalade glaze, 39.95 for half, 69.95 for whole) and everything you need for a properly dressed turkey in a Gourmet Trimmings Pack (including Musks sausage meat and chipolatas and chestnut and sage stuffing), for 14.95; 020 8221 3939, www.formanandfield.com.
The Ginger Pig
Famous for succulent hams. Sadly, mail order is not available, but its worth a trek to London’s Borough Market (Fridays and Saturdays) for a whole ham, glazed with golden syrup, sugar and mustard (14.50 per kg). Also available at 10 Moxon Street, W1; 020 7935 7788.
This family has been preparing hams to the same recipe for two centuries. Whole hams can be cooked or uncooked, boneless or on the bone. A whole ham, on the bone, cooked overnight, skinned, sprinkled with demerara sugar and flash-roasted costs 11.45 per kg (approximate weight 6kg) plus carriage, and will keep for a month. Order by Dec 6; 01229 717237, www.richardwoodall.co.uk.
The Festive Box includes a wide selection of wild game including a brace each of pheasant, partridge and mallard, plus venison steaks and a mix of diced game seasonal stews (69.50 including delivery). Rare-breed lamb and Iron Age pork also available. Order by Dec 17; 01387 730326, www.blackface.co.uk.
All the meat I’ve bought from this online butcher has been succulent and delicious. It specialises in grass-fed, naturally reared beef and lamb, but do a wonderfully Christmassy game bird Supreme Box of filleted, frozen wild game, 49 for 18 servings. Order by Dec 13; 01467 629666, www.donaldrussell.com.
These award winners offer flavoursome, lean, naturally reared lamb, pork and beef from Cumbrian farmers. Innovative ideas for Christmas include a sirloin of beef on the rib (11.40 per kg) and a haunch of venison on the bone (14.98 per 1.5kg). A brace of pheasant costs 9.95. Order by Dec 23; 01524 411611, www.fellbred.co.uk.
Forman & Field
The London-cure smoked salmon from H Forman & Son is justly famous. The best wild Scottish salmon is gutted, cleaned and filleted by hand, then cured in dry rock salt and hung out to dry in oak-wood smoke. The result is gamey, firm and creamy, worlds away from the flabby, carrot-orange stuff you can buy in supermarkets. A whole, unsliced side of genuine wild smoked Scottish Salmon
costs 99.95 for 1.4kg. Last orders Dec 10, as before.
The Millionaires Hamper (1,000) is the ultimate gift for any gastronome. Supremely luxurious, it contains half a kilo of caviar, an entire pata negra ham on the bone, a whole side of wild smoked salmon and foie gras with truffles. The caviar comes out alongside wild beluga in blind tastings and the foie gras is hand-cooked in Strasbourg. The hamper is delivered by Securicor. Order by tomorrow. Cornucopia is also good for indulgent goodies such as goose fat for roasting potatoes (4.99 for 730g); 0845 063 3699, www.cornucopiafoods.co.uk.
Organics There are two hampers on offer: the Gourmet (69.99), which includes organic smoked salmon, Christmas cakes and pudding, brandy butter, chutney, cheeses and biscuits, as well as a bottle of red and a bottle of white organic wine; and the Luxury (132.99), which also contains organic coffee, oatcakes, honeycomb, a local Caerphilly cheese and a gorgeous port. Scrooges will appreciate the turkey ready meal for one. Free delivery on produce over 45 to most of the UK. Order as soon as possible to avoid disappointment; 01597 851655, www.graigfarm.co.uk.
BEST FOR VEG
Abel & Cole
Award-winning company known for fresh, earthy organic veg. Comprehensive Christmas box costs about 18, with delivery the week before Christmas; 0845 262 6262, www.abel-cole.co.uk
Rod and Bens
These farmers grow 60 different organic crops that are delivered within 18 hours of leaving the farm. The Christmas box is full of all the traditional favourites (from 12 including delivery), or choose what you want online. Last orders Dec 15; 01392 833833, www.rodandbens.com
This Christmas box contains just about every veg and feeds about six. 29 plus 4 for nationwide delivery. Last orders Dec 15; 01945 773374, www.organic-connections.co.uk
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