Christmas, for many of us, has been the main thing to look forward to this year and despite it being a somewhat restricted one, nonetheless we’ll hopefully still be able to share it with loved ones. And the best part of Christmas is the food and drink, so here’s our guide to the luxury additions to inspire you.
Our standout bottle for Christmas this year can be found at Harrods or online with Ocado. The 2018 Escudo Rojo Gran Reserva is the result of the encounter between Chilean terroirs and the French know-how of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The Gran Reserva is the latest addition to the Escudo Rojo range and an evolution of the blend; 2018 was the first Gran Reserva vintage. The wine is an example of the art of blending, since it’s made with a variety of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. It’s distinctive, bursting with character, complex and boasts a rich nose full of juicy fruit. Allow the wine to breathe for a minute in the glass and you’ll notice the Carmenere come through with a hint of smoky black pepper. The perfectly balanced oak provides a toasty note of vanilla and coffee bean, which wraps nicely around a core of cassis and black cherry.
Sorrel restaurant in Dorking boasts one Michelin Star, four AA Rosettes, Surrey Life’s Restaurant of the Year, Good Food Guide 2020, Runner up in GQ’s Restaurant of the year 2019 and Square Meals Top 100. So when we heard the Sorrel Wine Team, led by Sommelier Alex, had created a selection of wines to enjoy at home reflecting the best of the restaurant’s cellar, we were naturally very excited. Selection One (£120 + £12 delivery) features six carefully chosen bottles including a very smooth Burgundy from Mâcon-Charnay and a rich Massaya from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Selection Two (£200 + £12 delivery) also comes with six bottles including a Classic Cuvée from Surrey, as well as Miso Fudge from Chef Steve Drake, a Sorrel jute wine carrier and Difference Coffee, which is considered amongst the world’s best. Selection Three (£280 + £12 delivery) also comes with the wine carrier, miso fudge and Difference coffee, as well as six bottles which stars the fantastic vintage Colheita Port, 1999 and Philipponnat’s Champagne, only the second vintage of this wine ever created by this legendary house.
What better way to celebrate than with Christmas in a bottle? Thanks to the infusion specialists over at Bottle Bar and Shop in south east London, they’ve expertly managed to blend a perfectly festive recipe and bottled it by hand for you. All cocktails are created, mixed and bottled by Xhulio and Natalie, husband and wife team at their shop in Catford. Xhulio is a mixologist and has worked in the industry for the last 20 years. He has managed all the bars at Sketch, The Royal Opera House and South Bank Centre, to name a few. The vodka-based Christmas In A Bottle Cocktail is available from £17 and can be delivered nationwide. The spirit has been infused with festive spices for more than eight weeks and the result is a deliciously warming, wintery and utterly indulgent flavour. There are no additives here or anything fancy, just simple ingredients expertly and lovingly blended together.
Chef and restaurateur Adam Handling has launched a new offering to his wildly
popular Hame home delivery service – a pre-batched bottled cocktail range from his
award-winning and 100% zero-waste Eve Bar. The bottling and packaging is impressive, making for a nice gift or display at home. Available for nationwide delivery, the specially curated ‘prepared by us and poured by you’ menu allows customers to enjoy some of Eve’s signature cocktails from the comfort of their own home. Awarded ‘Cocktail List of the Year’ at the 2019 National Restaurant Awards, Eve’s signature favourites include the likes of the No ‘X’ in Espresso coffee martini (which is superb) and the Pandan Old Fashioned (a fantastic winter warmer). They’re available alongside some brand-new concoctions, such as the refreshing and refined Lemon BonBon and exclusive Eve ‘Grounded’ Negroni. There is a non-alcoholic Maple Salted Negroni available too.
Adam Handling and his team have created a show-stopping festive menu to take the stress out of Christmas lunch this year, because 2020 has been stressful enough. Hame’s boxes are perfect to be shared in your Christmas bubbles (the meal kits are available for up to four people) and come with every aspect pre-prepared so all you need to do is finish off the dishes at home. Chef Adam Handling has also created some exclusive step-by-step videos accessed via a QR code available with each Hame kit, to help ensure the cooking runs smoothly on the day. The Hame Christmas menu kicks off in signature fashion with sourdough, chicken butter and Adam’s legendary cheese doughnuts. Then for the ‘Main Event’, it’s your choice of a stuffed turkey crown or Beef Wellington, each served with all the trimmings. Or there’s the option of adding a vegetarian pumpkin pie with all the trimmings for any non-meat eaters. For dessert, it’ll be a tough decision between an Adam Handling Christmas pudding, or a deliciously spiced Tarte Tatin. And for the many of us partial to a cheese board at Christmas, there’s the option of adding an incredible Truffle Tunworth Whole Cheese with apricot and apple chutney, and a homemade fruit and nut loaf. The Christmas kit comes complete with a celebratory bottle of Adam Handling Own Label English Sparkling Wine. Adam and his team have also put together a set of fantastic wine pairing recommendations for each course, taken from the award-winning wine list at Frog by Adam Handling, which are available via the website to be ordered alongside your kit. The Christmas Hame kit is £250 and serves three to four people. Final delivery date before Christmas will be 23rd December.
Another option for Christmas Day is Aktar Islam’s premium Christmas Box from Birmingham’s Michelin starred Opheem, adding to their already existing Aktar at Home delivery service. Aktar’s premium Christmas Box, available for nationwide delivery, features three very indulgent courses. Expect a cornucopia of Yuletide favourites, with the starters – designed to be shared – including: Jamón Ibérico with marinated figs; wild boar Paté; beef fat Parker-house rolls served with whipped beef fat and garlic butter; chicken, ham hock and fine duck liver terrine with pickles; smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraiche; and marinated olives. For the main event, enjoy rib of beef with herbs incased in beef tallow (for either up to four people, or 6-8 people), along with the all the festive trimmings. Decadent sides are also in abundance, such as: truffled cauliflower cheese, Hispi cabbage with Pommery mustard, and lashings of gloriously rich bone marrow and Malbec gravy. And to round off this luxurious spread, save space for a selection of cheese with crackers, truffle honey and quince jelly; Choux buns with festive crème pâtissier chocolate sauce, and a selection of petit four. The hard work has been done for you, all you need to do is simply reheat in the oven, assemble and enjoy the festivities. The Christmas Day Feast (£250-£350) is available to order until Sunday 20th December.
Melted Inside have also done well to take the stress out of Christmas this year by introducing ‘pamper-demic’. It’s about taking time out and diarising a few indulgent hours for yourself or with your family, or even with friends over Zoom. Book the date that suits you best, find the right location in your house, make it special by creating the right ambience and decorating the room or table, and decide what you’re going to eat. Our recommendation is The French Comte Raymond Blanc platter. This free range, fair trade and cruelty free selection offers a mouthwatering choice of cheeses: 24 months comte, 150g morbier, 1 val de lou, 200g tomme du jura, 200g bleu de gex. These strong and powerful cheeses from the Franche-Comte region are a great mix of famous and lesser known cheeses. Found at London’s Borough Market and delivering nationwide, the highlights from this outstanding platter include the comte, which is matured wonderfully and has a slight nutty taste (goes amazingly well with The French Comte’s onion chutney), and the creamy val de lou, which is perfect with grapes. Available from £30.
New Year’s Eve
Newly launched at the beginning of December, Ceru’s ‘Cook at Home Range’ is now available for home delivery nationwide. This Kensington-based restaurant brings the flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean region to your kitchen. The delivery service will transport food lovers to a warmer climate with cuisine from the sun-soaked shores
of the Levant. The ‘Cook at Home Range’ is beautifully presented, wrapped in a beautiful slick cloth for customers to reuse as a tablecloth, fashion accessory of gift. All packaging is made with 100% recyclable bioplastic and has been designed with the environment in mind, focusing on serving local and sustainably sourced produce. The new delivery service offers four unique DIY kits, including chicken shish, lamb shoulder, beef fillet and a vegan feast. The range has been designed to be prepared and on the table in under half an hour and will include easy-to-follow recipe cards and instructions alongside video tutorials for those who would like a helping hand from the Ceru kitchen. We recommend the slow roasted lamb shoulder. It’s beautifully tender and has a gorgeous flavour of Shawarma spices that’s brought to life with pomegranate, fresh mint and pistachio. This is accompanied by zucchini & feta fritters, spice roasted potatoes, houmous dip served with Greek pita or seasonal crudites and a homemade Baklava to finish. Prices start at £40 for two people.