Gift hampers are an extra-special gesture for foodies, whether you're buying one for a Christmas or birthday gift, or another celebration. Read our review of top hampers, including food and drink, booze, cheese and much more.
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As a special gift all year round or a bounteous Christmas indulgence, hampers should be stuffed with exotic treats and taste sensations. For all-year-round deliveries, there’s plenty of choice, with confectionary, preserves and chutneys a real staple throughout the year.
The sky is the limit when hamper shopping, but as we see here, £20 gets you a lovely gift, £100 will please most party hosts and £500 will supply a showstopper of a basket.
Consider whether the recipient of this delivery will have room to store contents, especially in the run up to Christmas when fridge and freezer space is in demand. Many of the boxes here include jars and sealed items that can stay in the pantry for months, but each individual supplier should be able to fill you in on best-before dates.
Keep checking back here on the run-up to Christmas 2019 – we’ll be adding newly launched, fresh, pre-Christmas hampers with treats and top-quality ingredients for the festive table.
This time, we've thought about the special deliveries that work for the rest of the year, or those allowing you to prepare for the party season well in advance. So read on for the best ‘all killer, no filler’ baskets and boxes we’d certainly love to receive.
Best hampers to buy for Christmas
Abel & Cole hero Christmas hamper, £120
Best organic hamper
Abel & Cole can provide more than just the spuds and sprouts for the table this Christmas, delivering fresh ingredients that really are top quality. We tested the hero hamper, which is just right for an afternoon drinks party. The selection of included foods is more focused than many other hamper offerings.
Rather than a wide variety of treats, the items in this hamper all complemented one another well. The cheeses take centre stage: full marks for the waxed stilton from Cropwell Bishop Creamery and a Cenarth brie, plus Abel & Cole’s own vintage cheddar. The included Enebral organic Serrano ham is tender and top class.
Bring the prosecco and fruity red Côtes du Rhône to the table with the mince pies, honeycomb truffles and crumbly, buttery Island Bakery shortbread for an all-round perfect organic spread.
Selfridges classic alcohol-free hamper, £120
Best non-alcoholic hamper
Not everyone wants to booze their way through the festive period! Without alcohol, there's lots of free space for snacks, and this is packed with Selfridges’ own-brand delights, such as chocolate shortbread trees with golden shimmer, vegan Christmas pudding and cinnamon-coated almonds.
In place of fizz, there's a dark-milk hot chocolate, and lightly spiced tea and coffee for a festive touch. The sturdy basket comes with a cotton lining embroidered with the Selfridges logo, and faux-leather straps in its signature yellow.
Aldi exquisite hamper, £69.99
Best supermarket hamper
The exquisite selection from Aldi is a perfect present, with a green satin bow tied around the lid of the wicker hamper. There's not the same huge selection of storecupboard condiments that you might find in a traditional box, but with two quality red wines, a sauvignon blanc and a zingy champagne, this is a top-notch supermarket hamper.
The cute Christmas cake squares are brandy-, gin- or butter-flavoured and are individually decorated. All nine look great on the table with their nut, cherry and icing toppings.
The florentines are also divine and packed with white, milk and dark Belgian chocolate, and the hefty Christmas pudding is worthy of the poshest party table. Dense and sherry-infused, this wonderful pudding ranks with the best we've tasted. You won't find this hamper in your local store, though – it's available online only.
Liberty Lodden Christmas hamper, £250
Best variety hamper
Think of Liberty and you may imagine old-fashioned Christmas treats, but upon opening the Lodden hamper you'll be treated to a beautifully designed, modern-looking selection of indulgences. There's strawberry jam and marmalade and a Christmas pud, plus Liberty's own brown sauce, ketchup, ale chutney and piccalilli, all ready for Boxing Day sarnies. It's one of the more unusual selections we've seen, but we love the variety of the spread.
Sweetie lovers will appreciate the choice here, with both vanilla and sea salt caramel fudges included, plus a good selection of truffles. A tin of Liberty Blend tea is a treat too, and as it's grown in Tregothnan, Cornwall, you won't find a more English cuppa.
The booze content also flies the flag, and includes small-batch London Old Tom gin from Jensen's Distillery in Bermondsey, plus two bottles of Cornwall's Camel Valley sparkling wine, a fizz we think could rival any French competition.
Claridge's Mews hamper, £150
Best hamper for two
Someone you'd like to impress? Bring a touch of London luxe to Christmas with a finely curated box that’s just right for two. Once you've pulled the art deco-style crackers – filled with gold and silver crowns, of course – and poured that Chateau Truquet 2016 St Emilion, you're both certain to feel a fruity, festive glow.
Everything is presented in wonderful, must-keep packaging, from Claridge's shortbread biscuits and tea packed in gold-trimmed tins to a snap-close jar of indulgent strawberry preserve and matte black drum of champagne truffles.
It's an upper-class gift for a more discerning foodie or special someone, and is about as far away from tinsel as you can get.
Chococo giant assorted Christmas chocolate hamper, £100
Best chocolate hamper
Dorset-based Chococo uses almost entirely recycable, compostable or recycled packaging, and its card-wrapped treats arrive in a box with rope handles rather than a wicker hamper. It combines chocolate – fairtrade where possible – with interesting ingredients that are often locally sourced. Clusters made with cardamom, candied orange and pistachio feature alongside more traditional milk and white chocolate slabs, as well as a dark bar of smooth choc studded with crystallised ginger pieces.
Snowmen, a tree bauble and star-shaped sea salt caramels are more Christmassy, as are festive tawny port & fig dark chocolates and rose & lemon Turkish delight. The 70% Madagascan dark chocolate flakes make a sublime hot chocolate, and there are vegan-friendly options in the box too. If you've got no interest in savoury snacking, dive into this sweet treat of a hamper and overindulge in style.
Fortnum & Mason Christmas feast hamper, £1,000
Best blowout hamper
This is a showstopping budget blower (but still cheaper than buying the items individually), that is the daddy of them all – it's a hamper that would please even Santa himself. Beautifully presented in a deep wicker basket painted with the Fortnum & Mason logo – and packaged with cool packs for the perishables – inside is everything you'd want for a festive feast, from tiny nibbles to a delicately spiced whole ham weighing a hefty 5kg.
There are all manner of conserves and condiments included, plus a Christmas pudding with accompanying cognac and rum butters, and plenty of indulgent epicurean delights.
This isn't a supermarket sweep – you'll find stem ginger in syrup, spiced tea and smooth hot chocolate, olives, chutneys, sticky pruneaux d’Agen and marrons glacés, honey gin, superbly curated cheeses, wines and champagne in this brilliant hamper. But, you'd have to be a very, very good boy or girl to find this at the bottom of your chimney!
Harvey Nichols Boxing Day hamper, £150
Best stylish hamper
You may be cosying up in pyjamas and binge-watching your way through a hangover, or going in for round two of get-togethers with friends and family. Either way, this is the perfect hamper for an indulgent day at home.
With understated, stylish packaging, this isn't a blingy hamper. Items come in a dark, cotton-lined hamper and include a Christmas pudding, sweet and savoury biscuits, tea and coffee, various fabulous condiments, glamorous gold almond dragées and creamy raspberry ripple sweets.
Green olives stuffed with almonds and lemon are perfect with Harvey Nichols' own malbec or sauvignon blanc, and there's even a dinky 350ml damson gin for a small nightcap to finish off the festivities.
Keelham Farm Shop Yorkshire favourites hamper, £90
Best hamper for snack lovers
This was the hamper that scored highly with lovers of nibbles, rather than full-on gastro ingredients. We think it would make a nice gift for a weekend host, especially if your time together is more about chatting on the sofa than at a cordon bleu table. There are some familiar brands here, with some favourites – Taylor’s of Harrogate tea and a tub of salted Yorkshire Crisps.
Not so well known, and a delight to discover, were the likes of Yorkshire Heather Moorlands honey and a rich Proper Nutty peanut butter, which was a perfect balance of smooth and crunchy. Grandma Wilde’s shortbread melts were a more buttery, denser bite than the Scottish version and went down a storm, as did Lottie Shaw’s ginger parkin.
Honeycomb chocolate, orange cremes and brandy snaps were top class too, and although Yorkshire is not renowned for its champagne production, we’d be foolish to question the option of a bottle of Lallier Grand Cru for an additional £25. Add to that Keelham’s handwritten card (just add your message online) and you have a very nice, homely hamper packed full of good things.
The Hungry Guest best of Sussex hamper, £445
Best fresh hamper
The Hungry Guest sells the cream of the crop from their shop, bakery and food production bases in West Sussex, and this hamper celebrates the very best the county has to offer. It's a hefty wedge to pay for a hamper, but this really is a box of delights.
Using gold-standard fresh ingredients, the range and class of content here is astounding, with every single treat emerging from the straw to ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. A side of Weald Smokery salmon, a giant, fresh pecan pie and an organic honey and mustard-glazed ham are big enough to cater to a house full of guests.
Gooey brownies, handmade chocolates and enormous cheeses from Goodwood drew noises of approval during testing, and there were delicious smoked venison and duck slices, too. Every single component in this hamper impressed. There’s a sizeable booze component to this selection, with wines (an Albourne Estate selection white, a Stopham Estate pinot grigio and a sparkler from Nyetimber) silencing anyone who didn’t rate English labels before the bottles were opened.
There are beers and ales, plus a strawberry liqueur to sample, but it’s the Chilgrove gin that’s a special treat; using grapes rather than grain in its distillation certainly makes for a silky smooth G&T.
Bettys Ilkley hamper, £100
Best traditional hamper for tea lovers
Pairing Yorkshire tradition with continental indulgence has been the hallmark of the famous institution since Swiss baker and chocolatier Fritz Bützer founded the first Bettys tearoom in Harrogate 100 years ago. There's no need to queue for a table with this classic all-year hamper – let it come to you.
You'll find plenty here that will delight lovers of elevenses and afternoon tea, including shortbread, stem gingerbread and a tart raspberry conserve. The real star of the show for us, though, is the fruitcake, full to bursting with juicy Yorkshire tea-soaked fruit and the crunch of sugar on top of each indulgent wedge.
If you don’t fancy a brew using the house blend tea or coffee, open the very agreeable bottle of easy-drinking, citrussy sauvignon blanc.
We loved the presentation of this gift – the hamper itself was deeper in dimension than the others we looked at and of great quality, packed with glossy, recycled ‘straw’.
An indulgent selection, this Bettys box will appeal to every generation, with classic cake for the oldies, Insta-worthy dipped florentines for and creamy milk chocolate Langue de Chats for children. Put the kettle on, someone!
Paxton & Whitfield Piccadilly hamper, £100
Best cheese hamper
This classy presentation box from the royal warranted cheesemonger arrives cool-packed, stuffed with a truly top-notch selection for laying out a showstopper of a board. Order this for a cheese lover and you will definitely be in the good books; as one of our testers commented, 'it's an absolute treat and screams quality.' Even those who can take or leave the cheese course were impressed with the range and grade of the delights pulled from the straw in this special delivery.
We particularly enjoyed the creamy, cloth-wrapped cheddar pounder and potted stilton, topped with clarified butter. Dorset goat's cheese, a celtic soft and a smoked cheddar truckle added to the spread, with the choice of crackers and bakes here boosting the flavour experience, rather than merely serving a base for the main event.
Adding some of the punchy apple and chilli jam to a bite of soft cheese was a taste sensation; alternate a tiny piece of the rich sloe, fig and almond slice with stilton and you may well reach cheesy nirvana.
Donald Russell ultimate Christmas box, £105
Best meat hamper
Feel overwhelmed by Christmas prep or want to send a very practical gift? Donald Russell has the answer. This box of frozen food festivities arrives with everything you need – bar the veg – for the perfect Christmas lunch. There are also versions of this delicious selection that come with pre-prepared veg, such as red cabbage and sprouts, but we saved freezer space and went for fresh.
There’s no compromise on quality, thanks to the calibre of turkey included. The bird is 5kg of French Loué Free Range perfection, which can be cooked from frozen in around three hours and 15 minutes. Do make sure you have a working thermometer or probe to ensure this turkey reaches the recommended 74 degrees, before leaving to rest for 30 minutes. We followed to the letter and found it moist, gamey and everything you'd want from the big bird on Christmas Day.
The trimmings are traditional – a quality, no-shrink streaky bacon, sausagemeat and ready-rolled pigs in blankets. The box is topped off with a Mosimann's Christmas pudding, which was so rich and unctuous with fruit we had some leftover for a late night fridge raid.
This Donald Russell deal is a beauty of a gift to send to a stressed-out party planner, pre Christmas, or to contribute to your host's supplies over the festive season. Worth noting, though, is that it'll arrive in a giant polystyrene box rather than a pretty hamper. We can forgive that, as it’s packed so expertly with ice bags, insulation and full instructions on how to cook everything.
The Goodness Project organic red wine wicker hamper, £75
Best hamper for healthy eaters
It's a relief to be presented with a hamper full of goodies that aren't bad for you. If you rate quality over quantity, then this organic-only box is worth considering. The small wicker hamper comes wrapped in a glossy ribbon, with a full and flavoursome bottle of San Vito organic chianti inside as its centrepiece.
The accompanying organic sweet and savoury snacks are perfect to nibble on as you drink – the lemon and rosemary olives and the dark chocolate almonds were our favourites. Ingredients here were more varied in theme than in other hampers. It had everything from sea salt caramels and roasted soya bites with chilli, to green tea with orange blossom and even a humble pack of wholemeal digestives.
The Thursday Cottage strawberry jam got rave reviews, compared to other conserves in our line-up, as did the Booja Booja organic truffles with almond and sea salt. A really good selection for those mindful about food ingredients or who want a good variety in their hamper.
Sous Chef best of Italy hamper, £95
Best hamper for pasta lovers
The perfect present for a food lover who knows the importance of high-quality ingredients and how much they can do to elevate even a simple plate of pasta. We love Sous Chef for their gastro gifts (everything from Middle Eastern pantry essentials to Korean cooking kits).
Now, they deliver traditional hampers with not-so-traditional contents. Choose between ingredients from France, Spain and – our favourite – Italy. We particularly loved the packaging of the enclosed items, like the Acquerello risotto rice in a tin, a bright rainbow container of Frantoio Muraglia extra virgin olive oil, and a boxed glass decanter of rich 8-year-aged Defrutum balsamic vinegar.
The mainstay of our basket was two generous portions of egg Pasta di Aldo. We cooked the cuttlefish chitarrine with our own simple vegetable broth, serving with prawns in garlic. The saffron tagliatelle needed nothing more than a glug of the aforementioned oil and a twist of pepper to hit the spot, but we also tried some with the enclosed jar of tomato sauce with Taggiasca olives, which made for a full-on flavour hit.
There was something for sweet lovers too; Sicilian pistachio appearing in both a cream (amazing smeared on panetonne) and creamy, bite-sized chocolate Pariani Pistacchiotto.
Lakeland teacup and saucer wicker hamper, £19.99
Best budget hamper
Surprisingly, much-loved kitchen gadget shop Lakeland also stocks a range of food hampers and gifts, with lots of lovely jam selections and Christmas indulgences, which is great for long-distance gift sending. Lakeland's customer service is exceptional, so for a fiver you can ask for this to be gift-wrapped with a personalised note.
This is a cute little hamper that will hang around the table long after the ingredients have gone – we’d use the cup and saucer as a breadbasket or tray for scones and jam. It has only four treats to offer, but that’s just enough for a solo recipient.
There's raspberry jam (just add scones), crumbly lemon biscuits and a fantastically moreish Bramble House fruitcake that’s stuffed with glace cherries and sprinkled with chopped almonds. As for your accompanying cuppa, that’s from New English Teas, with English Breakfast bags included. If you're not familiar with the company, they're known for their fancy tins and caddies, but the product itself is excellent.
Foodie gift guides
This page was last updated in December 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.