The most commonly asked question of the moment must be ‘have you started your Christmas shopping yet’. This year, I’m making gift baskets with a selection of hand picked items from some of the local food producers in my area. It’s a great way to support local business and avoids the over priced and over wrapped gifts available in the supermarkets and department stores.
There’s such a great selection of products available from small local producers and these can usually be found at Farmers markets and independent shops, with many also available on line from the producers websites.
In the first of a short series of posts, I’ll be writing about some of my favourite local producers and the quality products that will make great Christmas gifts.
Jams, preserves and chutneys make great gifts at any time of the year but are also ideal to give at Christmas. Perthshire based producer ‘Perthshire Preserves’ is well known at Scottish farmers markets and is one of my favourites. From their base in Callander, Iain McKenzie and Kate Thornhill a make wide range of products that are ideal to give as Christmas presents. Well recognised for their excellent quality, this year the Hot Banana Chutney was awarded one star at the Guild of Fine Foods ‘ Great Taste Awards’ and the Seedless Blackcurrant conserve won a gold medal at ‘The Jampionships’.
Handmade, and using only the finest ingredients, the impressive range includes preserves, jellies, marmalades and chutneys. Iain and Kate also make a range of flavoured gins and vodkas that are sold regularly at some of the farmers markets they attend.
Many of the products are seasonal and with Christmas fast approaching there are a few delicious festive flavours in the range. The Christmas Marmalade with the added flavour of cranberry and the lightly spiced Christmas Chutney, flavoured with cloves, cinnamon and a touch of rum, make an ideal pairing as a gift, or as part of a larger gift box or basket. Also in the festive range, there’s a Cranberry and Orange relish, a trio just perfect for serving with festive food.
For the spice lover there is Curried Tomato and Chilli Chutney and a fantastic award winning, Hot Banana chutney. Add to a gift box or basket with the Chilli oil, and again, another ideal gift. This spicy pair of chutneys are two of my favourites and I always serve them as an accompaniment with our Saturday night curry.
There’s a varied selection jams, preserves and conserves to choose from including, Strawberry and Pink Champagne Conserve, Raspberry liqueur Conserve, Plum and Lemon Conserve and Strawberry Conserve with Black Pepper.
The selection of marmalades includes, Three Fruit Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit and Ginger, and for the whisky lover, Deanston Whisky Marmalade.
Although the products can be bought individually, there is also the option to have a bespoke hamper, gift box or bag, filled with your own choice of products.
The full range of products and list of stockists is available from www.perthshirepreserves.co.uk.
As an alternative, orders can be emailed in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org and collected from the following farmers markets
Friday 6th December – Falkirk
Saturday 14th December – Crieff
Sunday 15th December -Stockbridge
Saturday 21st December – Perth
Sunday 22nd December – Clarkston
Sunday 22nd December – Stockbridge