The Spectator

The perfect Christmas hamper

The Spectator team pick the choicest ingredients from this year’s crop of festive baskets

The perfect Christmas hamper
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Savoury

Rich olives salted à la Grecque with herbs Provence Waitrose family hamper: Not Provencal or Greek but Moroccan, these black Beldi olives, sprinkled with dried herbs, are plump, soft and not too salty. — Clare Asquith

Mini crocq salami bites Harrods Montpelier hamper: Little parcels of meaty joy to go with cheese and wine. A snack to gorge on. — Sebastian Payne

Parmesan, rosemary and chilli crackers Ottolenghi hamper: I’d eat a beer mat fried with Parmesan and chilli, and rose-mary gilds the lily. My mother-in-law would have scoffed the lot. If I hadn’t. — Sam Leith

Salami Fattoria La Vialla hamper: Salami can be so chewy you wonder what the meat is. But this is impeccable; succulent and not too peppery.

James Forsyth

Lizzy’s goat’s cheese Greys cheeses hamper: Cheeses by Lizzy adorn many a Spectator lunch. Her Valençay unpasteurised goats’ cheese is smooth and gooey.

Camilla Swift

Sugo di carne della Toscana and Calamari pasta Fattoria La Vialla hamper: The sauce is better than homemade, the pasta rugged and wholewheat. An antidote to seasonal pâté and cheese fatigue.

Victoria Lane

Hickory smoked almonds and cashews Waitrose family: I love the taste of smoked meat, but now that’s officially carcinogenic I need a replacement. These nuts are the perfect methadone for recovering bacon junkies.

Fraser Nelson

Sweet

Mince pies Ottolenghi: I’m picky about mince pies but no more disgusting mouthfuls spat into festive napkins — I’ll only eat Ottolenghi’s. The pastry is flaky not floury, the mincemeat sweet with plump raisins and a whiff of brandy.

Mary Wakefield

Lemon & Pistachio Cake Forman & Field hamper: A rare combo with African and Middle Eastern influences. Sharp lemon and sweet pistachio melt into a moist mouthful.

Brian Hancill

Fruit cake Ottolenghi: Lighter than traditional cake but just as flavoursome, and with a decent amount of marzipan on top.

Laura Atkins

Dark chocolate, raspberry and pistachio brittle Ottolenghi: Rich chocolate studded with intense raspberries dried to the point of crunchiness, and with a generous balance of pistachios. A grown-up treat.

Peter Robins

All butter ground coffee shortbread Waitrose family: So soft and buttery and richly coffee-flavoured that I’d put a few packs in my hamper.

Isabel Hardman

Drink

Brut Reserve N.V, Louis Roederer Fortnum & Mason classic hamper: Own-brand fizz can leave you feeling flat. But Fortnums do things well and this is as good as a Laurent-Perrier or a Veuve Clicquot.

Freddy Gray

Organic sparkling apple juice Daylesford: This frothy juice will soothe the sorest head. Or you could leave it for younger family members on Christmas Day.

Lara Prendergast

Pinot Grigio Alto Mincio Harrods Montpelier hamper:

Michael Heath

Claret Harrods Montpelier: Light fruit with a short finish and it tastes (in a delicious way) like someone’s put a cigarette out in it.

John O’Neill

Christmas Spiced Tea Fortnum & Mason classic: An aromatic blend with spices, clementine and cacao nibs to warm even the most Scrooge-like heart.

Katy Balls