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Connoisseur Chronicles

Alex

Food blogger based in Cambridge, UK. Passionate about trying out recipes from all over the world, tasting drinks of all sorts and dining out in England and beyond. Read More

Last Minute Foodie Gift Guide

Still looking for (Christmas) gifts? Make sure to check out my favourite independent producers in Cambridge, all of which came up with fantastic new ideas during these challenging months. Small local businesses need our support more than ever, so why not help them and spread the joy of food at the same time? More suggestions are more than welcome – please comment below the blog post! 

Jack’s Gelato Ice Cream Coins

The days of boring paper vouchers are over and digital ones just don’t feel right to me. With Jack’s Gelato coins, you can make a Cambs ice cream lover look forward to warmer days: The gold coin (£4.50) is exchangeable for a double scoop and the silver one (£2.50) for a single scoop of the best ice cream in town – anyone dares to disagree? Whatever happens with Brexit, this is a secure currency for sure!

Jack's Gelato Coins

Get them at one of the two Jack’s Gelato stores, located on Bene’t Street and All Saints Passage in Cambridge. You can also have them delivered by Foodstuff, Cambridge’s independent food delivery service – another great 2020 addition to the local food scene! Jack’s Gelato is open every day, sunshine or rain, and offers a wide range of exciting ice cream and sorbet flavours with a focus on seasonal and local ingredients.

Jack's Gelato Ice Cream

 

Orriss & Son Chilli Sauces

Right in time for a spiced up Christmas, the Orriss & Son chilli sauces are the perfect gift for everyone who loves that little extra kick in their food! With their vibrant colours and Cambridge maps on their bottles, the sauces are a true eye-catcher under the Christmas tree. The man behind this new exciting Cambridge indie is chef David Underwood, co-founder of Steak & Honour, Cambridge’s No.1 place for burgers.

Orriss and Son Chilli Sauces

Different from well-known market leaders, these sauces don’t come with an overpowering acidity. They are made to complement and elevate your dishes instead! Check their website for recipes or get creative like I did:

  • I paired the My Wave Piri-Piri Sauce with Sweet Potato Chorizo Oven Bake with Boiled Eggs and Aioli. The sauce comes with a hot red pepper taste, so Iberican cuisine feels like a perfect match!
  • A few dashes of Fresh Tendrils Jalapeño Nettle Sauce worked very well in a Tom Kha Kai-style Soup. The sauce feels like a spicy version of mint sauce to me, so it blends perfectly into soups and dressings, but should also be a wonderful add-on to your Sunday Roast.
  • The Even Flow Habanero Hot Sauce tasted great on Stir-fried Pork Noodles. A spot-on classic hot sauce with hints of oregano, so must be great in Mediterranean pasta sauces, too.

Orriss and Son Cooking

The sauces are available on their website (place Christmas orders by 17th December), and in the following shops that are worth a visit anyway:

Cambridge: Malloy’s Craft ButcheryMeadows Cambridge, Burwash Larder, Stir Bakery

Huntingdon: The Old Bridge Wine Shop

Saffron Walden: Sparrow End Farm Shop & Deli

 

La Petite Maison Chocolate

One of my favourite discoveries of 2020 was definitely the chocolate artwork handmade by lovely Anna from La Petite Maison. Her monthly changing seasonal chocolates are not only a feast for the eyes (and for Instagram posts!) – the tastes are truly wonderful! I tried the Christmas bonbons that combined all the festive flavours I love: Baileys & Coffee, Chocolate Orange, Hot Chocolate Cinnamon Marshmallow and Mulled Wine & Cranberry.

La Petite Maison

The arty chocolate bars are the perfect addition to Anna’s portfolio. They have a much longer shelf life than the bonbons, so I got six of them as Christmas gifts (hoping I will get to try all of them, too!). Having seen Elisa from Exploring Cambridge tasting one of the bars makes me regret that I didn’t get more for myself… Flavours are Cinnamon Caramel, Strawberry Pistachio, Hazelnut Gianduja and Caramelised White Chocolate.

Online shop orders are closed for Christmas at the time of writing, but make sure to check Anna’s Instagram account for pop-up market sales in Cambridge on selected dates:

 

 

For more inspiration, also check the extensive list compiled by Pina from one2culinarystew for Cambridge 105 Radio and the great overview of confectionary and baked goods gifts on the Elisha Eats blog.

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