Christmas gift guide: Six great food and drink presents from York

A gift to tuck into… Photograph: York Cocoa House
A gift to tuck into… Photograph: York Cocoa House
A gift to tuck into… Photograph: York Cocoa House

mix-six-logo-rightLocal shops and producers offer some unique and fabulous gifts, say Apples For Eggs’ Sue Jewitt and Vicky Swift

After a busy year growing, baking, preserving, foraging and swapping we’ve been making some last minute preparations for our Christmas gift list and luckily for us we haven’t had to look far for some great local winter treats…

Chocs away

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First up is a delicious chocolate treat in the form of a chocolate workshop from York Cocoa House. Alongside the chocolate café the Cocoa House team run regular chocolate workshops. We went along to a chocolate bar making workshop last year and spent an enjoyable hour and a half tempering chocolate and creating our own flavours. Needless to say we were delighted with the results (above).

Workshop gift vouchers are £17.50 and you can choose from chocolate model making, chocolate bar making and truffle making.

Say cheese

Photo © Alpha on Flickr
Photo © Alpha on Flickr

From chocolate to cheese… If you enjoy a cheeseboard amongst your festive fare it’s well worth a visit to Love Cheese on Gillygate. As well as stocking the continental classics such as brie de meaux and manchego they stock a wide range of British produced cheese, amongst them a range of local cheeses from Yorkshire cheddars and Yorkshire Blue to Ribblesdale Goats Cheese. Gift vouchers start from £10 and cheese hampers are also available.

Full of beans

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Next up is one for the coffee lovers in your life: the online coffee bean supplier, York Coffee Emporium. They offer more than 20 varieties of coffee beans, roasted to order here in York, as well as stocking a variety of loose leaf teas. For festive beverages they have a Christmas blend coffee and a mulled spice tea in store. Selection packs are available from £20.

Beer cheer

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For those who might require something a little stronger to drink it’s worth checking out the variety of vegetarian / vegan friendly beers on offer at the award winning nanobrewery Brass Castle Brewery based in Pocklington. All their beers are brewed locally in Pocklington and at a brewhouse on the Garrowby estate.

Besides producing the beer they aim to make good use of the by- products of the brewing process by giving the nutritious spent grains to farm animals that are looked after by the C-A-L-F vegan café in Scarborough, as well as donating leaf hops to allotments in Pocklington to make mulch. And they also recycle the cooling water for cleaning purposes. We’re planning on gifting a few bottles of their award winning beer, Bad Kitty. For York stockists click here.

Café culture

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For a Christmas meal treat head on over to Ambience Café Bistro on Gillygate . We’ve held all our York Apples for Eggs Food Swaps in the garden at the back of the cafe and can guarantee you a warm welcome and some local tasty fare.

Ambience has a Christmas menu with a twist available in the bistro on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings between 6 and 830pm. In the New Year they have a variety of themed evenings in store ranging from Japanese evenings to wine tasting and live music. And to start the year off they have a Vegetarian evening planned for January 5th 2014. Gift vouchers available.

Growing for gold

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And lastly, our list would not be complete without a little something for garden and allotment lovers. With little to do on the allotment this time of year’s a good time to start planning next year’s crops.

A great place to gather some inspiration is Stormy Hall Seeds, a small scale biodynamic and organic vegetable, herb and flower seed supplier, based near Whitby. With a commitment to providing seeds grown as locally as possible their catalogue tells you where the seed for each plant comes from – most are produced in the UK and three of their suppliers are based in Yorkshire.