Hello Dear Reader,
Do you ever find yourself in the situation I find myself in most Christmases? Your friends and family all know you are a food-lover. They put a lot of thought into your gift, buying or making up a food hamper. They wait with baited breath when you open their gift – you are delighted to see lots of food and they are delighted with your reaction. Then you start actually eating the products to find they are over-processed, full of additives, generally of inferior quality and not very nice at all.
The solution to this ever-recurring problem is to direct them to a new company called Darling Bites, who produce gift hampers and treat boxes full of fabulous food made by specialist British artisan-producers. Darling Bites actively seek out quality British craftsmanship and they screen every product personally checking for quality and taste.
I have to admit I hadn’t even heard of Darling Bites when they contacted me to see if I wanted to try one of their hampers. One line of their email had me hooked to investigate further “all of the products we stock in our boxes are artisan British made”.
I checked out their website and was delighted to find that their products included some of my favourite artisan producers, and some I had been wanting to try but hadn’t found anywhere, and some which were new to me. I was also very excited to find so many additive-free products in one place!
You can choose themed boxes, like breakfast or chocolate or fruity or spicy or savoury. Or you can do as I did and make up your own mix – I emailed a list of products I’d be interested in and waited for my hamper to arrive.
The box it came in was beautiful – I didn’t even know it was possibly to get such pretty packaging boxes suitable for posting!
I shall definitely be re-using this for posting some of my own Christmas gifts!
The hamper inside is another pretty box which I shall keep to store some of my baking or crafting supplies but which could easily be re-used as a gift box.
Inside everything had been carefully protected with bubble wrap…
and cushioned with sparkly tissue paper…
the products lovingly packed by hand, nestling in protective shredded paper…
It is very exciting to see such a lovely range of artisan products that haven’t required hours of hunting to source them all.
Over the next week Mr Vohn and I enjoy a little treat every night!
Mr Filbert’s Peruvian Pink Peppercorn Cashews and Peanuts are delicious, honey-sweet followed by the rich tang of quality black pepper with its distinctive smokey spice. It was a race between Mr Vohn and me to devour the last few crumbs!
I am a big fan of the chocolate ginger biscuits made by Island Bakery, who produce organic biscuits on the Scottish island of Mull, so was very excited to get the chance to try their chocolate limes. The crumbly shortbread has a delicate hint of lime, whilst the dark chocolate then enhances the lime flavour which seems to explode in the mouth. I love these so much that I am very reluctant to share them!
The disc of solid chocolate from artisan chocolatier Willie Harcourt-Cooze is a rich dark chocolate with little chunks of juicy ginger and a hint of lime. This is richly more-ish and addictive!
The fruit and nut bar by The Grown Up Chocolate Company is certainly, as its name suggests, hunky dory. The gianduja is rich and decadent. However the ingredients list isn’t quite so pure and clean as all the other products in my hamper and I leave this for others to finish.
Mr Vohn adores the Gnaw lemon meringue chocolate but the cocoa butter base is too light and creamy for my rich dark chocolatey tastes. I do love the natural lemon flavour and the little chunks of crunchy meringue which crumble off for me to “steal” from him.
I have never seen these hare and tortoise biscuits by Ashbourne before and instantly fall in love with them. The box is charming, with a short version of Aesop’s fable on the outside. The biscuits are rich and sweet with toffee, whilst the wheat flour gives them an unusual texture with a very nice crunch.
They are perfectly formed and have to be the cutest biscuits I’ve ever seen!
As a food-blogger I spend a lot of time throughout the year seeking out artisan products which are delicious, locally made, sustainable and distinctive. When the Taste awards come out each year it gives me real joy to find that a product I have been telling people about has won a Great Taste award from the Guild of Fine Food. These are quality products, which are not mass-produced and are often not found in supermarkets or on the high street.
How can my friends and family be expected to find these gems in the hectic rush before Christmas? They can’t, so I end up with the sorts of food I have spent the whole year trying to eliminate from my diet!
Not so any longer – I will simply direct them to Darling Bites and ask them to chose anything!
Easy for them, delicious for me!
Legalese: I was sent a Darling Bites hamper to review but was not told what to write in this blog post and all opinions are my own.