I don’t know why but Christmas is very much about food, isn’t it? Much more so than any other day of the year. We plan for ages in advance what we are going to eat, we do mountains of food shopping and we give and receive hampers. I love all of that, but I think I enjoy the hamper making best – all the decisions of what to make, wondering which combinations to give people and how o decorate it all.
Back in my student days I worked in Magill’s delicatessen in Dublin and used to put together dozens of hampers in the run up to Christmas. The days were long and the shop was cold and by Christmas I was sick of the sight of cellophane and sticky tape, but I never tired of the food. Chutneys, relishes, jams, cheese crackers, spice mixes, Stollen, pasta, Pannetone and beautiful marzipan creations passed through my hands into the baskets and made their way under other people’s Christmas trees.
The inspiration I gathered in Magills has contributed to my love of making homemade food gifts for friends at Christmas. It is such a satisfying thing to do – to take a jar and fill it with lots of good things, seal it, pretty it up with a ribbon and a label and bring it to a friend.
If you’re not a jam-maker or a chutney lover, fear not. There are plenty of other options – from homeamde chocolates to spice mixes and crackers. I’ll be posintg tips, tricks and recipes for homemade food gifts over the next few days. I’ve even made a little video for you of some of my favourite quick and easy edible gifts. Maybe some the of inspiration I gathered will pass over to you!