Tunbridge Wells Foodie Gift Guide
Struggling to finish off your Christmas present list? Forget socks, vouchers and Frozen merchandise and think food, glorious food. You cannot go wrong with a food gift. A bottle of good wine or gin, pricey cheese or beautifully-packaged truffles will never end up in the charity shop. Food gifts are also an easy way of supporting local businesses. In Kent and East Sussex we’re lucky to have producers making some of these foods and drinks right on our doorstep. We’ve also got some great food and kitchenware stores in Tunbridge Wells, so here’s my pick of this year’s treats for foodies, with a few non-perishables thrown in for good measure. You can buy all of these items locally...
This heady gin is made with spring water from Tunbridge Wells. Don’t worry, it tastes nothing like the murky stuff from the Chalybeate Spring in the Pantiles that you trick visiting friends into trying. The small batch gin is available from Noble Wines, Fuller’s Farm Shop and other local stores.
Upgrade from Ferrero Rocher this Christmas. These organic truffles are made with just chocolate, cocoa powder, hazelnuts and coconut oil and are all kinds of fudgy and delicious. The packaging is beautiful too, plus they’re vegan, gluten-free and soya free. Get Booja Booja truffles from Chegworth Farm Shop or the Organic Health Shop on Tunbridge Wells High Street.
My favourite family cookbook. Thomson is a chef and mum of three from Bristol. This is modern food for the whole clan – no pizzas with smiley faces, just flavour-packed dishes to make for the kids’ tea, with plenty left over for the grown-ups to add more salt and chillies to for dinner. The broccoli pesto recipe is a game-changer for broccoli-hating nippers.
Bar carts are big news, ladies. This glass decanter with gold flecks from Oliver Bonas will look all kinds of classy on your drinks trolley. Or, if you’re the parent of small and curious humans, you might prefer a ‘very high drinks shelf’ instead.
Is this this ultimate middle-class, Tunbridge Wells toy? Not only is it wooden, and encourages ‘imaginative play’, but it’s a blimmin’ toy coffee machine. With barista-style levers! ‘Single-estate flat white with extra espresso shot, mummy?’ Available from JoJo Maman Bebe.
There are now lots of vineyards tucked away in the Kent and Sussex countryside. Chapel Down, near Tenterden is one of the best. If you were thinking of getting Champers for someone, why not treat them to Kent’s own sparkler, Chapel Down’s award-winning Blanc de Blancs 2013, instead.
Wylde and Shrub is a Tunbridge Wells-based company, which makes award-winning marmalades, preserves and chutneys with contemporary packaging. Its Kissmass chutney is a heady, festive mix of apples, sultanas, raisins and mixed spice. Add it to a DIY hamper, or keep a pot to have with the Christmas cheese. Wylde and Shrub is available from Hattons and Fromage & French.
If you’re looking for kitchen gadgets, pretty mugs, coffee makers, good knives or bakeware then treat yourself to a browse in this cookware shop on the Pantiles. It’s been open for more than 40 years, and its beautiful windows filled with copper moulds are a local institution. Top tip – don’t bring a pushchair, the aisles are very crowded and narrow.