A hamper is a classic gift, which can work for just about any person and any occasion. While you can buy a hamper already full of amazing gifts, some people prefer to put one together so they can give it a more personal touch. Before you start thinking about the presentation of your hamper, you need to decide the things you are going to put in it. There are so many choices, from the classic cheese and wine to more contemporary choices, such as bath products. Try some of these ideas to put together the perfect hamper.
Classic Cheese Gifts
When you put together a traditional hamper, cheese and biscuits are bound to be some of the first things you think of. They’re ideal choices for a few different reasons. Firstly, they can be enjoyed as snacks or at the beginning or end of a meal. They can last quite a while, so they don’t need to be enjoyed right away, and people of all ages like cheese and biscuits. You also have a huge variety of products to choose from, ranging from classic British cheeses like Stilton to something more continental, like a good camembert or parmesan. You could even branch out to American cheeses. And there’s there’s the biscuits and cracks, which help to add more texture and flavour.
Recommended Cheese Brands
- The Fine Cheese Co. – for a large selection of fine cheeses, choose this brand. You can buy quality British cheeses, as well as others from France, Italy, and beyond.
- House of Cheese – this shop based in Tetbury in the Cotswolds also has an online shop so you can order the best cheeses online. Their cheese is sourced from local farms.
- Stag Stornoway – we love Stag Stornoway for biscuits and oatcakes to pair perfectly with cheese.
- Vivia Crumps – you can’t forget your pickles, relishes, and chutneys, and that’s where Vivia Crumps comes in. Their rich and interesting flavours will finish off your hamper to make sure the contents is finished off too.
Wine is another classic choice to include in a gift hamper. It’s a grown-up choice that offers you a wide range of possibilities. Whether the person you’re gifting like white, red, rosé, or even a cheeky bottle of Prosecco or Champagne, you can find something that they’ll love. You might even want to branch out to a sherry or port for something a little stronger. Wine gives you lots of possibilities when it comes to price range too, so you can easily set a sensible limit for how much you want to spend.
Recommended Wine Brands
- Murphy Vineyards – we use Australian wines from Murphy Vineyards in our wine hampers. We recommend them for both traditional hampers and something more contemporary, like a curry hamper.
- Castello 4357 – if you want to put some Prosecco in your hamper, the Castello 4357 label is one of our favourites.
- Camel Valley – English wine might not immediately come to mind, but this label from Cornwall is regarded as one of the best in the country.
- Quevedo – for something a little stronger, try a bottle of port from a hundred-year-old vineyard.
Beer and Spirits
Wine might be the traditional choice for gift hampers, but other alcoholic drinks can also work well. If you know someone who isn’t a big wine drinker but loves another drink, consider swapping out wine for beer or perhaps a spirit like gin, whisky or brandy. Beer lovers will often appreciate some craft beers or real ales. The benefit of a spirit is that it will often last longer – unless someone has a party! If you know someone who loves a tipple now and then, search for a new label they can try out.
Recommended Beer & Spirit Brands
- Potbelly Brewery – small and local producers are often best when searching for new real ales and craft beers. We love Potbelly Brewery from Northamptonshire, especially for their Beijing Black dark mild.
- Fierce – this craft beer brewery in Aberdeen has some great choices for anyone who loves an experimental beer, like their peanut porter and raspberry oat pale ale.
- Warner Edwards – gin is all the rage at the moment, so it’s a great choice of spirit for a hamper. The Warner Edwards distillery in Northamptonshire produces a range of products, from a dry gin to rhubarb gin.
Tea and Coffee
If you know someone who wouldn’t appreciate a hamper with alcohol in it (or is perhaps too young), there are other options if you want to include something to drink. Artisan teas and coffees are great choices for anyone who loves a hot drink to get them going in the morning, the last thing at night, or just to perk them up during the day. Tea is the national drink in the UK, but coffee is hugely popular too, and you’re sure to know a few coffee lovers. There are so many different flavours to enjoy if you like either tea or coffee, with different forms to buy it in too, from teabags and loose leaf tea to fresh coffee beans and freshly ground coffee.
- English Tea Shop – English Tea Shop is our choice for quality pyramid tea bags that offer a convenient way to make a great pot of tea.
- Teafields – if you know any loose leaf tea lovers, Teafields sources the best loose teas from around the world.
- Paddy & Scotts – we include Paddy & Scotts Chit Chat Coffee in our Afternoon Tea Hamper and recommend its rich flavour.
- Artisan Roast – discover artisan coffees from Rwanda, Malawi, Colombia and more from this boutique brand.
Other Non-alcoholic Drinks
Coffee and tea aren’t for everyone – in fact, some people don’t like hot drinks at all. But if you’re going for non-alcoholic additions to your hamper, there are other options you can explore. A gourmet hot chocolate might be a good choice or, if you want some cold drinks, you can find artisan soft drinks, from cordials to smoothies. A drink doesn’t need to have alcohol in it to be enjoyable. It could be a non-alcoholic cocktail or even a fancy water. Some fantastic boutique companies are making delicious soft drinks around the UK and beyond.
- Belvoir – Belvoir makes some delicious drinks that can be enjoyed on their own or used as mixers. We like their elderflower cordial.
- Fever-Tree – this brand is quite well-known for its tonic water, but they also make a selection of other artisan drinks. Try their flavoured tonic waters, Madagascan Cola or ginger beer and ginger ale.
- Five Valleys Cordials – these cordials from the Cotswolds come in a range of delightful flavours, from apricot and ginger to lemon and mint.
- Lovely Drinks – try this company for sparkling waters and fruit juices made using only natural ingredients.
Cooking Kits and Ingredients
If you want to put together a food and drink hamper but you’re unsure about the traditional cheese and biscuits, there are other options. One great idea is to put together everything someone would need to make a meal. For example, our curry hampers offer a choice of hampers for creating a delicious curry, along with snacks and drinks. You could also think beyond curries and considers other cuisines people might enjoy. You could put together a hamper with Mexican food, Italian, Spanish, and more. Maybe even include some ingredients to make something like fresh pasta or bread.
- Punjaban – we love Punjaban’s products for our curry hampers, from their curry bases to their naan bread and chutneys.
- The Artisan Smokehouse – this small smokehouse in Suffolk produces smoked meats, fish, garlic and even olive oil to use in a range of cuisines.
- Kwan’s Kitchen – put together a kit for a top-notch stir-fry with ingredients from this company.
- Al’fez – North African and Middle Eastern food is a breeze with ingredients from this boutique brand. Put together a kit with their Ras El Hanout or tahini.
Everyone loves something a little sweet now and then. If you don’t think that cheese and biscuits are right for your hamper, maybe you’d prefer to stick to just biscuits – as in, the ones you can dunk in your tea. You might regularly enjoy a packet of rich teas, but it’s not often you splash out on some special biscuits. If you want to give someone a special gift, it’s worth buying them the best biscuits your money can buy. And then there are the other sweet treats to enjoy, such as cakes and chocolates.
- Thomas J. Fudge’s – Thomas J. Fudge’s beautiful biscuits are ideal for an afternoon tea hamper for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or celebrating another special occasion. While we like their Florentines, they also have flapjacks and chocolate-dipped stem ginger “blisscuits”.
- Biscuiteers – luxury biscuit boutique Biscuiteers have boxes of stunningly designed biscuits, and they can even personalise them for you. Try their super cute Beatrix Potter biscuits or maybe their Jewish celebration biscuits for an upcoming bat mitzvah.
- Holdsworth Chocolates – Holdsworth Chocolates are our favourites for our hampers. From Venezuelan milk chocolate buttons to fudge bonbons, they offer a mouthwatering selection of handmade English chocolates.
Many people suffer from food intolerances and allergies, or just might have made a dietary choice, who might be unable to have a lot of traditional hamper fillers. If you know someone like this, a hamper filled only with things they can eat can be a delightful surprise. If you’re careful when you pick out what to include, you can put together the perfect hamper for someone who’s vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, or allergic to peanuts. To make it easier, it’s best to choose from brands that make special products just for these dietary needs.
- Nairns – Nairns oatcakes are a favourite product for many people to put in hampers. We love their gluten free option for anyone who can’t have gluten in their diet.
- Ballancourt – Ballancourt offers a range of fresh pates and terrines, including many gluten-free options, like their chicken liver pate with cognac.
- Hotel Chocolat – being diabetic or having blood sugar issues doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate. Hotel Chocolat’s range of low sugar chocolate is a great choice for people who need to moderate their sugar intake.
- Nut Free Chocolate People – finding chocolate that is completely nut free can be tough, yet nut allergies are relatively common. This independent English company has nut-free products, from boxed chocolates to fudge and even marshmallows.
Making Pamper Hampers
Hampers don’t only have to have food and drink in them. You can think outside the box (or the basket) and consider some other options for a brilliant gift experience. Making up the perfect pampering hamper is one possibility, and an excellent choice for anyone who loves to sit back and relax in the evening. It’s easy to put together one of these hampers because there’s so much you can put in them. Think about bubble baths, bath bombs, hand creams, and some accessories and extras, like candles. But don’t just put anything in – think about the personality and tastes of the person you’re choosing for.
- Seascape – British brand Seascape uses ingredients from the island of Jersey to make their excellent bath products. We love their hand wash and hand lotion for keeping palms soft, as well as their Uplift and Unwind body washes.
- The Natural Sea Sponge Company – you can include items other than lotions and potions, such as natural sea sponges from this aptly named brand.
- Grace Cole – select bath and body products, fragrances and hand and nail care from this boutique bath products label.
- Isle of Skye Candle Company – a candle is always a good thing to add to a pamper hamper. This Scottish boutique candle maker has beautiful boxed 3-wick candles in a range of scents, from pomegranate and plum to vanilla and fig.
You have a huge choice of products you can include in a hand-picked hamper. When you’re looking for the right things, don’t just choose any old products you can get anywhere. Look for something special, perhaps from a boutique producer or manufacturer.