There is 61 day until Christmas! You might grumble and scorn the Christmas displays in shops, or you might rejoice in the festive atmosphere and join in the fun. I might be nodding my head wisely, talking to the other people "It's way too early to mention the C-word", but inside I am quite content at the sight of shelves of mince pies and Stollen. I love foodie gifts for Christmas, both as a recipient and as a gift giver. If you are looking for gifts and stocking fillers, The Bay Tree has it all covered, beautifully.
The company was set up by trained chef Emma Macdonald 20 years ago, so this year they are celebrating their 20th Christmas with a wide range of home-developed chutneys, jams, mustards, jellies and other preserves. This Somerset brand now boasts an impressive selection of almost 200 lines.
I have recently tasted and tested two lovely Christmas gift sets from The Bay Tree's Christmas assortment.
I do love making my own preserves, as you might have seen on my blog, but I also often buy them. I find it particularly difficult to resist those unusual artisan preserves or novelty sets which you discover in small shops like delis and farm shops.
Sweet Preserve Christmas House comes in a beautifully designed house box decorated with festive images of a Christmas stocking, wrapped gifts, branches of holly and Santa. My younger son has been enchanted with it, and once the jars were removed, it has become a new home for his Lego mini figures.
The Sweet Preserve Christmas House is a trio of traditional sweet preserves: raspberry jam, strawberry jam and a Seville orange marmalade. This classic combination of quality preserves is made according to The Bay Tree's home developed recipes.
|The Bay Tree raspberry jam|
I have invited a friend to a tasting session. I toasted a few slices of bread, brewed a pot of tea and we tucked into jars. We were in total agreement that all sweet preserves scored high points in the taste department. While raspberry and strawberry jams were well set (you could scoop them out of a jar, heaped), the marmalade was quite runny. When I make my own sweet preserves, it's usually the other way around, I make my jams softer and runnier, and my marmalade is more set. That's not a problem, of course.
In fact, the runny marmalade makes a great glaze for roast. I cooked the duck breasts for dinner, and spread the marmalade over them. The end result was delicious.
For a savoury Christmas treat I have chosen a duo of Boxing Day Chutney and Christmas pickle, which comes together in a plastic see-through container. Savoury Christmas pack would make a great accompaniment for a cheese platter, or Boxing Day cold meat platter. Dads and Grandpas would be thrilled with such a delicious gift (well, Mummies and Grannies too).
The Boxing Day Chutney is an apricot chutney with coriander, sultanas, orange juice, ginger and other ingredients. Great with cheese, it will also work perfectly with cold meats, and could be a great alternative to cranberry sauce in turkey sandwiches.
Fragrant and aromatic, this chutney could be added to curries as well. Or try blending it with cream cheese and walnuts for a scrummy spread for crackers.
Christmas Pickle is a fruity mix of cranberries, apples and currants. It is darker in colour and chunkier than the apricot chutney. Excellent with traditional fare, this could be another perfect filling for a turkey or stuffing sandwich. Open a jar, and smell all the festive Christmas aromas of spices, currants and cranberries.
It is sweet and tangy, great for a little something in between meals, when you are feeling peckish. Spread a tablespoon of chutney on a cracker or a small piece of chunky bread and add a bit of cheese.
So, if you are looking for Christmas foodie gifts, The Bay Tree offers a lovely range of festive foods.
To see a full range of products visit The Bay Tree.
Disclosure: I received The Bay Tree products for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.