Christmas presents for expert cooks

We've looked into some of the ultimate foodie gifts for experienced cooks this Christmas...

From cheese making, to patisserie, to pheasant plucking, we’ve looked into some of the ultimate foodie gifts for experienced and, most importantly, keen cooks this Christmas. Helping someone hone an existing skill or develop new cooking techniques is a gift that will stay with them long after the wrapping paper has been thrown away.

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The courses included in the food packages are luxurious but highly priced, so if you are not looking to splash out so big (you might want to totally spoil them after all) then the books and cooking equipment have been chosen to make lovely gifts together.

 

Pot-roasted pheasant

For the meat fan

River Cottage game cookery course, Devon

Up your game this Christmas by booking keen cooks into the River Cottage game cookery school. The day will be started with a tractor ride down to the farm and then you’ll meet River Cottage chef Tim Maddams for a hands-on introduction into the world of wild meat. From plucking to drawing, curing to smoking, you should gain all the confidence and techniques you need to make the most of seasonal and sustainable game ingredients.

After all those techniques you’ll be treated to a scrumptious lunch provided by River Cottage chefs, before you go on to hone your skills by creating dishes like game pâtè, rabbit burgers and duck curry.

River Cottage game course: from £180

Smoking set

This ProQ Frontier hot and cold smoker set provides 50Ibs food capacity over two levels and enables you to both hot and cold smoke. The set comes complete with wood chips and a fish hanger, and you will also receive handy step-by-step guides and ongoing customer support should you need it.

Hot & cold smoker: RRP £220 – The proQ frontier hot & cold smoker

Curved boning knifeDesigned for professional work environments, looked after properly, this curved boning knife should last your chef a lifetime.

Curved boning knife, Butchers Equipment: RRP £9.99 – Curved boning knife

Ginger Pig Meat book

From game to poultry, venison to rabbit this is a really well rounded meat book, with excellent photography, that is a failsafe for any aspiring butcher.

The Ginger Pig, £16.25 + p&p

Macaroons
For the sweet fan

Patisserie & dessert course at Le Manoir, Oxford If you fancy being fed platters of freshly baked éclairs and macaroons from your foodie friend or family member, them book them onto a lavish patisserie & desert course at Le Manoir.

After receiving a warm and friendly welcome from head tutor Mark Peregrine or head pastry Chef Benoit Blin, the hard work will commence. They will learn to create seasonal desserts from Maman Blanc’s and Le Manoir’s sumptuous repertoire; imagine desserts like French cake fraisier, petits fours such as macaroons, and Le Manoir’s famous lemon drizzle cake.

They will also acquire the skills needed to make soufflé, chocolate Marquise, ice cream and sorbet. To top it off, it is all set it in a beautiful hotel and grounds, and let’s not forget the goodie bag each patisserie-chef-in-waiting will be taking home with them.

Patisserie & Dessert course, Le Manoir: RRP £380 per person

Patisserie & Dessert course, Le Manoir

Macarons by Pierre HermeThis book is filled with 32 step-by-step photo-illustrated instructions for making shells and fillings, macaron flavours include lychee, rose and raspberry and Arabesque with apricot and pistachio.

Macarons, Pierre Herme, RRP £16 – Macarons, Pierre Herme

Silicone macaroon mould

This macaroon mould form Lakeland helps macaroons have a professional finish by ensuring they are all similarly shaped and sized.

Silicone macaroon mould, Lakeland: RRP £7.99 – Silicone macaroon mould

Cheese board
For the cheese fan

Artisan cheese making course, NottinghamDiscover how to make soft cheese, yogurt and butter with this one-day practical course dedicated to dairy products that can be made at home. By the end of the course the lucky recipient should be able to transform milk into a range of products in your own kitchen, time-and-time again.

They will learn about different milk types and their seasonality, discuss lactic and rennet set cheese and examine the role of cultures, their action, their flavouring and how they work with rennet. The course will also include lunch and refreshments.

Artisan cheese making course, School of Artisan Food: RRP £175 

Artisan cheese making course

Book – Artisan cheese making at home

With more than 80 recipes for a diverse range of cheese, this book covers cheeses like Saffron-Infused Manchego, Irish-Style Cheddar, and Bloomy Blue Log Chevre, as well as giving tips on technique and best equipment.

Cheese making at home
Artisan Cheese Making at Home, book depositry; RRP £16.20 – Artisan cheese making at home

Cheese making mould

Classic soft cheese making mould, so no excuses to not get started.

Lakeland soft cheese mould – Lakeland: RRP £3.99 – Lakeland soft cheese mould

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Are you an expert cook? What’s on your dream wish list?