Friday 13 December 2013

FFID's Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas Gifts for Francophiles

1. French cheese and crackers gift box, €16.50, Sheridans cheesemongers (Comté, camembert and crackers): the perfect gift for your French friend who can't make it home for Christmas or a French cheese lover. I have never met anyone who doesn't like Comté cheese, so this a safe bet.
2. Ladurée macarons gift boxes, €15.80, Ladurée: I have a big crush on these boxes, especially the red one, it’s classy, looks like Christmas and of course contains 6 macarons. The macaron eater in your life would love it, I'm sure!
3. The French Kitchen, Michel Roux Jr,  RRP €36.50, (in any good book store): Get this book for people who enjoy watching Michel Roux Jr on Masterchef and love to cook French cuisine. You might even be lucky enough to sample the recipes.
4. French Food Tour Gift vouchers, €45.50, (ahem... by yours truly): Sorry for the shameless self-promotion but I believe a voucher for one of my French Food tour could be a lovely gift for Francophiles. Ah go on...
5. My Litte French Kitchen, Rachel Khoo, RRP €28.99 (in any good book store): Mr. FFID got me this book as I'm a big fan of Rachel Khoo. It features recipes from a few foodie French regions (Brittany, Lyon, Provence...). The design and pictures are beautiful and Rachel always adds a great twist to French cooking.
6. Mastering the art of French eating, Ann Mah, The story of journalist Ann Mah, who followed her diplomat husband to Paris and found herself alone after he is sent to Iraq. She then starts a journey of discovering French food to fight her loneliness. Ann writes about many classics of French cuisine and you find a recipe at the end of each chapter. 
7. The Paris Gourmet, Trish Deseine, RRP €32.50, (in any good book store): The locals always have the best recommendations when it comes to visiting a city. Irish woman Trish Deseine gives all her foodie recommendations in this book. From markets to shops, form restaurants to her little tips, this is the must have for a great food experience in the French capital.
8. Macarons, Pierre Hermé, Macarons are tricky to make but Pierre Hermé is the master of French macarons, so get this book for anyone who'd like to become a macaron expert. 
9. Moët & Chandon champagne bottle, €46.99, O'Briens: I think Champagne is always a good idea. Nothing like a bottle of bubbly under the Christmas tree, it can be enjoyed then on Christmas Day or to celebrate the new year.
10. La France hamper, €125, Terroirs: This hamper may be something to offer to a foodie couple that love French food. Wine, nougat, rillettes, cornichons and many more delights are to be found in a hat box. What a gift! (Order only, not ready to pick up in the shop). 

My little tips: 
- Make your own French food hamper: Places like Fallon and Byrne, Chez Max Epicerie, Paris Bakery, Donnybrook Fair, Terroirs sell lots of French food. Get a selection of products and put them in a beautiful basket.
-Buy your macarons at the last minute: Macarons last 3 days in the fridge, buy them at the last minute in Cocoa Atelier or Ladurée.
-Buy kitchenware: I personally think that TK Maxx is a great place to find Le Creuset products or even baking tins/moulds at reasonable prices. 
- Chester Library Gift shop: Because of the Costumes Parisiens exhibition in the Chester Beatty Library you'll find quite a few French themed books like Paris Gourmet for example in the gift shop. I bought a cute note book there myself a few weeks ago.
- Weekend to Paris/France: check prices for flights on Ryanair or Aer Lingus, they're not too bad usually in January and book a nice hotel. A little surprise trip is always a great idea!

Buy Irish

1. Irish Artisan Food box, €65, Sheridans cheesemongers: This hamper is full of great Irish products like Durrus cheese, Gubbeen salami, Cashel blue... Lovely pressie for someone who loves Irish food!
2. The Night before Christmas hamper, €31.95, Pandora Bell: This gift box contains some lovely Pandora Bell goodies: Honey Nougat with Orange and Almonds and Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios a bag of Salted Butter Caramel's with Fleur de Sel and a bag of Pandora Bell's Crumbly Butter Fudge. 
3. Magazine subscription: If someone you know likes to keep up with all the Irish foodie news why not offer them a magazine subscription to Food & Wine (€41.80) or Easy Food (€30).
4. Irish craft beer mixed case, €49, O'Briens: Now this is some present for Irish craft beer lovers. Give them 20 bottles of some of the finest Irish craft beers and they'll be delighted.
5. Chocolate baubles, €17.95, Cocoa Atelier: Those baubles look incredible! They're available in white, milk or dark chocolate and filled with marshmallows covered with chocolate. Yum!
6. Smorgasboard, €34.99, Smorgasboard: I recommend it because I was given one last Christmas. Smorgasboard is a board game for foodies made in Ireland. It's great fun especially if you play after a dinner party with your food loving friends!
7. Cheeseboard gift box, €45, Slated: Get this elegant gift for that cheese eater in your life, this gift box containes an elegant Slated Cheeseboard and a Stainless Steel Cheese Knife. 

My little tips:

-Make your own hamper: Irish farmhouse cheeses, Irish craft beer, Irish chocolates, Irish spirits...
- Afternoon tea gift voucher: I got a voucher for the Merrion Hotel Art tea last year for my in-laws and they loved it. Places like the Merrion, the Shelbourne, the Westbury and the Westin are great for an afternoon tea. I think a voucher is a good idea for the mammies, daughters, besties...
- Restaurant gift voucher: If you know someone's favourite restaurant, it will make them happy for sure.
- Cooking classes: For all the future masterchefs out there, get a voucher for a cooking class in Cooks academy or Donnybrook Fair for example.
- Visit Bord Bia Christmas market this weekend if you can to get a few products for your loved ones.
- Kat from The Purple Page has a great foodie gift list on her blog here if you need a different perspective and more ideas.

Happy Christmas shopping!

In this article I compiled a list of things I own or I'd like to get for Christmas (I hope you're reading this Mr. FFID!). I've not been asked to promote any of these products on my blog and opinions are my own as always.

Pictures:I used pictures from Amazon's website for the books and for the gifts I took them from each business' website.