Christmas in a wicker box

Christmas in a wicker box

For those looking for a change from the traditional gifts, how about a cheeseboard, ice cream or coffee hamper?

The traditional Christmas hamper has withstood the test of time. It carries the spirit of the season in it, with cake, stollen, wine, ginger bread cookies and pies. In 2020, hampers, however, are becoming bigger and better — veritable works of art. Some stand for a concept, some stick to a colour code, but all are expressions of creativity. Here are a few that caught our attention.

Seeds, nuts and chocolates

Chennai-based Aasha Duseja has curated a hamper for the festival season, called ‘Soulful to Sinful’. Known for her Happy Crunch brand of seeds- and nuts-based sugar and gluten-free energy bars, as well as trail mix (a medley of roasted seeds), Aasha has expanded her product range. “We have the classic salted caramel, which can be eaten as it is or as topping for ice cream or cake. I have also made artisanal chocolates, using Belgian cocoa beans of fine quality, that are available in Rasberry, caramel and hazelnut flavours,” says Aasha. Her hamper also has atte ke laddoo, made with wheat flour, organic brown sugar and ghee with pistachios and almonds.

Hampers are customisable; priced at ₹900 and upwards; couriered across the country. For details, call: 9790960631

You scream, ice cream for Christmas

Shwey’s artisanal ice creams have come out with an ice cream hamper, which contains three much-loved Christmas flavours. The first is an eggnog drink, made of organic milk, country egg yolks and hand-pound spices such as dried ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Then comes a chocolate and marshmallow ice cream called ‘A Bumpy Ride to Santa’. “It contains marshmallow, so the texture isn’t smooth,” says Shweta Mathew, co-founder of Shwey’s, that was born as a lockdown experiment in Kochi. She runs it with her husband Abhner Mathew Pauly, who makes the ice creams.

The third component in the hamper is a cream cheese-plum cake ice cream, called ‘Shwey’s Old Monk’. “This one is an ode to Kerala’s favourite spirit. We decided to make a fusion of our usual blueberry cream-cheese ice cream with the fruits I had soaked in rum for a plum cake,” says Shweta.

To order (in Kochi) head to @shwey’s_tin on Instagram.

A cheesy gift

Burrata, cheddar, pickled feta, herb cheese… artisanal cheese-maker Casaro Creamery from Irinjalakuda near Kochi has put together a ‘Santa’s Cheese Box’ of cheese, with a variety of accompaniments such as a gourmet jar of preserve, pesto, apricots, cranberries, dry fruits, olives, baguettes and more.

“We had informal orders last year, but this year we decided to launch these two hampers for the season. We have put these together with a choice of cheese, seasonal fruit and things that go with it,” says Freddy George of Casaro. The hampers have two options — five-cheese and three-cheese — which can be customised.

The hampers cost ₹3000 and ₹2000 for the two options. Those wanting to put together a cheeseboard can get handmade Canadian pine wood cheeseboard for ₹500. The orders are delivered within Kerala, contact 9645522242.

End the year with coffee

How about a fresh brew of coffee, from Araku’s range of Arabica coffee beans? Choose from seven variations of gift boxes launched for the festival season. The boxes come with a selection of coffee such as ‘Signature Coffee’ and ‘Grand Reserve Coffee’. One can also choose from a range of ‘accessories’ such as cappuccino cups, espresso cups or coffee mugs and also the Araku Moka Pot, designed by Norwegian designer duo, Anderssen & Voll.

Prices begin from ₹2200. Log on to www.arakucoffee.in

Compiled by Anasuya Menon, Chitradeepa Anantharam, and Shilpa Nair Anand

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