It’s the holiday season once again at Rocket HQ and we’re busier than ever hosting the most fabulous parties across London’s iconic venues. And although the days seem to fly by quicker nearer the holidays, don’t miss the wonderful opportunity to say thank you to all your friends and family who’ve made the past year so memorable through the art of Christmas giving. When it comes to festive gifting, what’s more thoughtful than a Christmas hamper that’s been especially curated by you? From charcuterie to bubbles, Rocket has compiled an essential guide to building your own luxury holiday basket filled with foodie presents from our favourite suppliers.
A luxury Christmas hamper always starts with a selection of the best cured meats – Cobble Lane Cured is a specialist butcher based in Islington that prides itself in using higher-welfare British beef. We recommend adding to your hamper their Signature Selection that includes a fantastic array of charcuterie like coppa, bresaola and salami, which they cure and smoke themselves in small batches.
Another local delicacy that you can add to your list is Secret Smokehouse’s London Oak-Smoked Salmon, which uses salmon that are sustainably harvested from the cold tidal waters off Scotland. Secret Smokehouse supplies to many of London’s restaurants, from Michelin-starred places to trendy eateries, and is all about using traditional smoking techniques rather than taking shortcuts. While you’re at it, why not order some leafy Amalfi lemons from Natoora to go with the salmon – not only does it go hand-in-hand with your fish, but it gives your hamper a beautiful pop of colour and freshness, too.
A fantastic cheese selection is a must in any hamper but La Fromagerie’s cheese varieties can easily elevate the ordinary holiday gift basket to new heights. A mainstay in some of London’s busiest neighbourhoods, the artisan cheesemonger is most well-known for their award-winning cheeses. Go for their British Classics Board, featuring three types of British cheeses perfect for any type of occasion: smooth and earthy Waterloo, nutty Montgomery’s Cheddar, and a complex Colston Basset stilton. Pair your cheese and charcuterie with The Fine Cheese Co.’s Heritage Range Crackers Selection, which includes their signature bath squares, charcoal squares, and wheat rounds, all in one box.
Add in a Netherend Farm Butter Roll to spread on crackers or bread, which are traditionally churned in small batches using only the finest and freshest local cream from grass-fed cows from Gloucestershire. A pinch of Blackthorn Scottish Sea Salt flakes for that salty kick and crunch can also go a long way.
The rule of thumb for creating a memorable festive hamper is to include at least two kinds of preserves and some sort of pickle for additional flavour and sweetness to balance out the dry and salty cured meats and rich cheeses. Rosebud Preserves’ Pear & Somerset Brandy Jam and Gooseberry & Elderflower Jam are good places to start, while their piquant and crisp Sweet Cucumber Pickles will excellently complement the smoked salmon perfectly. For something cheffy, Belazu’s Balsamic Pearls are tiny jellied balsamic vinegar spheres that give an exciting burst of acidity and sweetness to any bite.
Any holiday gift basket won’t be complete without pudding. The family-run Lismore Food Company is well-loved for their broad assortment of biscuits, but we think their Caraway with Irish Seaweed Biscuits take the cake for its distinctive subtle sweetness laced with a hint of umami wakame. When it comes to chocolate, don’t miss the opportunity to grab a box of Artisan du Chocolat’s Gourmet No1 Salted Caramel truffles, or deeply indulgent milk chocolate confections made from silky ganache. For something more classic, Suffolk-based artisan chocolatiers Pump Street creates the most luscious single-origin chocolate perfect as a light non-savoury snack. Their Hacienda Limon dark chocolate is made from pure heirloom cacao beans from Samuel von Rutte’s Hacienda Limon farm on the Guantupi River in Ecuador.
We all know that no party or celebration is complete without proper drinks. Begin with a bottle of Gattertop Drinks Co.’s Damson No12, an award-winning and deliciously fragrant British craft vodka liqueur that’s steeped in small batches of home-grown organic damsons for a minimum of 12 months. You can serve the Damson No12 as an after-supper digestif to go with the cheese or use it as a base for a seasonal twist on a Negroni. Its deep, fruity, and versatile qualities makes it the perfect base for an invigorating spritz, too. Inspired by Mediterranean-style aperitifs, Belvoir’s Bitter Orange Spritz botanical soda is made with luscious Sicilian blood oranges, rhubarb, bitter gentian root and cinchona bark extracts to provide an exciting bitter and bright sparkling drink.
Finally, another worthwhile addition to your luxury hamper is Gusbourne’s Blanc de Blancs 2018, a refreshing sparkling Chardonnay that has an elegant and fresh finish. It’s a fantastic all-rounder and a fail-safe drink if you want to impress. Bring on the bubbles – it is Christmas after all!