I adore Christmas. I love the lights, I love huddling by my parent's’ fireplace in Devon drinking red wine, and oh how I love the food. The mince pies, the honey roast ham, the glorious array of stuffing, sausages wrapped in bacon, and sprouts with pancetta. And all washed down with lashings of booze - which, for a few outrageously decadent days each year, is perfectly socially acceptable at 10am.
But, come January, we wrap up the Christmas lights, throw out the final dregs of turkey and focus our resolute gaze on the year ahead. And I don't know about you, but I’ve always found this rather depressing. I don't like giving up things that make me happy, and am therefore a big fan of any pleasure that can be enjoyed all year round; those small joys that get us through a rainy Monday morning, or brighten an otherwise dull Wednesday evening.
So that is my Christmas present to you. A roundup of my five foodie favourites, that you’ll love from December to December - and don't need to give up in January.
Glorious granola from Spoon Cereal
The antidote to every grey morning: a breakfast to look forward to. Brother and sister-in-law team Annie and Jonny understand this so well they gave up their day-jobs and threw themselves headlong into creating a granola that would ‘give everyone a good reason to jump out of bed in the morning’. And they did it. Spoon Cereal granola is simple, nourishing and delicious, made with pure maple syrup, and packed full of nutty nutrients and general goodness. Just the thing to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step, every day of the week.
Mind-blowing marmalade from Radnor Preserves
In my mind, every weekend is worthy of celebration. And a dollop of Radnor Preserves’ smoky campfire marmalade on your bacon and eggs is a little piece of Christmas morning you can keep with you all year round.
It all began when Radnor Preserves founder Joanna Morgan found herself in a candlelit kitchen, pouring over her grandmother’s cookbooks, learning how to make preserves in order to save a bumper crop of vegetables. Today she is known as the ‘alchemist of preservers’ and has been judged as one of the best artisan makers of marmalade in the world. Yes, the world. So, spoon that on your cheese and eat it.
Bombastic bubbles from Yearlstone Vineyard
Bubbles for Christmas, bubbles for birthdays, bubbles because you made it through Tuesday… there is always an occasion for bubbles. And the husband and wife team in charge of Yearlston, Devon’s oldest vineyard, certainly know what they are doing. Even the French can’t fault their vintage bruts, which are grown on the steep slopes of the Exe Valley, giving them a gentle climate and lots of light. Keep a bottle in your fridge and enjoy a fizz of festivity, whether you can think of a good reason or not.
Champion chocolate from South Devon Chilli Farm
A piece of this a day will definitely keep the winter blues at bay. Lifelong chilli fans Steve Waters and Jason Nickels decided to ditch their 9-to-5 jobs to devote themselves to growing chillies. And I’m certainly glad they did. Their chilli chocolate is nothing short of sensational. And to top it off, it is certified as ‘Raise Trade’, which makes it about as fair as it can be. So gorge yourself guilt-free, you’re helping to save the world with every bite.
Tremendous tea from Tregothan
Ahh tea, the poster-child of Life’s Little Pleasures. And closing your hands round a mug of Tregothan’s classic brew in the morning will certainly make the world feel a better place. Unlike your average English breakfast tea, this tea truly is English; born and bred in Cornwall which, as it turns out, has rather similar weather conditions to the plantations in Darjeeling. It has a clean, dry flavour, and makes for one hell of a cuppa.
You can find all of these delights, and more, in the Artisan Provender Christmas brunch hamper, which I’ve put together to keep you smiling, long after the tree’s down.