Homemade food gifts have been given and received for centuries. Indeed the proverb ‘it is better to give an apple than to eat it’ is said to originate from as early as the 14th century. For royalty, aristocrats and political leaders gifts of food and drink were most often exchanged as a means of laying the foundations for new relationships as well as building upon existing ones. Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I even sent high-profile dignitaries their likenesses in the form of gingerbread men. Edible gifts have grown from strength to strength ever since – and no wonder. Lovingly crafted, handmade gifts are brilliantly thoughtful presents that really show the time and effort spent in their creation. More than that, they are even more delicious when shared and enjoyed together with your loved ones.
When it comes to Christmas gift ideas, a batch of freshly-baked biscuits are sure to delight friends and family alike. Sally Abé’s recipes for festive Ginger Christmas biscuits and Nordic Vaniljekranse – Danish Christmas butter biscuits – take inspiration from Christmas in Europe. For a gluten-free twist try Howard Middleton’s recipe for Cranberry and white chocolate star biscuits, perfect to nibble on with a glass of mulled wine or cider in hand. Speaking of everyone’s favourite festive tipple, mulling spices delicately packaged in sachets and tied up with ribbon make wonderful homemade christmas gifts and are very easy to prepare, as Sally Abé demonstrates in her Mulled cider recipe. You can even take this idea one step further and try Karen Burns-Booths Christmas morning muffins in a jar recipe, adorning the jar with a carefully written set of cooking instructions and a wooden spoon to make a special Christmas baking gift. Still stuck on what to make for your family and friends at Christmas? Try our Top ten edible Christmas gift ideas, jam-packed with novel Christmas food gifts for your loved ones.
It’s not just DIY Christmas gifts you’ll find in this collection. Whether you’re looking for Easter treats or a birthday or anniversary gift, there’s plenty of inspiration for homemade gourmet treats fit for any occasion. Chocolate truffles are the ultimate romantic gift and perfect if you are in need of some unique Valentine’s Day ideas – try Martin Wishart’s alcoholic truffle recipe for a delicious grown-up present for chocoholics. For something a little more family-friendly (but equally chocolatey) have a go at making Simon Hulstone’s easy chocolate fudge recipe, made with rich dark chocolate. Want to try out your pâtisserie skills? Graham Hornigold's Mars macaron recipe is a refined take on the classic chocolate bar.
Time to plan ahead? Preserves and homemade liqueurs are great additions to gift baskets and hampers. Vivek Singh creates a cinnamon and orange infused sugar syrup for his Crimson spice recipe which is equally tasty in both cocktails and mocktails. Taking infusion one step further, Karen Burns-Booth imbues her easy raspberry jam recipe with the sweet and slightly musky notes of vanilla. After birthday gift ideas for the ardent cheese-lover in your life? Try Elly McCausland’s recipe for Apple jellies, made even more delicious when generously dolloped onto the Thyme and sea salt oatcakes recipe by Louise Robinson and topped with a sizeable chunk of cheese.