5 food experiences to gift this Christmas
What to buy the foodie who eats everything? More food? Well, yes precisely that
If you're still doing your Christmas shopping — less than a week until the big day — a quick fix of inspiration may come in handy. Especially if you're stuck on that tricky to buy for foodie friend.
Don't be tempted in your last minute smash and grab to settle on a selection box (no really, you shouldn't have). Think bigger! According to recent research by finder.com, 1 in 7 of us in the UK (that's 15%, if you're interested) are giving experience gifts this year.
Whether your pal considers themselves a cheese nerd and wants a qualification to prove it, would like to learn how to bake bread or master the art of the perfect Sunday roast: we have the experiences, all within the UK, for them. You never know they might even invite you along!
Bread baking for beginners
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A day trip to this cookery school, run by chef Ben Taylor, inside the idyllic grounds of Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa near Bath is a treat in itself. Expect a casual affair, a full day covering everything from kneading techniques to flavour combinations and how to work with different doughs, plus some recipes to take home. Perfect for occasional home-bakers who want their skills in baking, to well, rise. The cost includes lunch, plus cookery school bag.
Cost: £140 for a full-day course, lucknampark.co.uk
The Academy of Cheese
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A one-day course on the stinky stuff your friend loves held at Paxton & Whitfield, an established cheesemonger since 1797 and in the heart of London. The history of cheesemaking is covered first, then you'll be guided through tasting across 25 different types of fromage. It's fun and informative and perfect for those who want their cheese knowledge to, you know, mature. Participants will receive an Academy of Cheese delegate pack, plus access to an online exam in case they want to up their Gorgonzola game further. Just too Gouda to miss!
Cost: £195 including a buffet lunch, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Wild Food Foraging
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A day spent discovering the difference between hogweed and hemlock while exploring hedgerows and fields — a dream day for any modern foodie, surely! Add into the mix Masterchef winner Mat Follas as your head guide and you have a truly unique experience.
The day starts at Mat's cafe near Chesil beach and unfolds onto the beautiful Dorset coastline where he'll help you collect edible seashore plants, herbs and seaweed to cook up into a three course lunch. Delights include wild garlic Peston and Hogweed and Citrus brownies. Mat has over 30 years experience teaching survival skills and food foraging, combined with over 10 years as a professional chef, three cookbooks and a Science degree. Good hands, indeed.
Cost: £145, matfollas.com
The perfect roast beef
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Who doesn't want a friend who can cook the perfect Sunday roast? We're not saying you have an agenda, but Leith’s prestigious school of food and wine is on hand with a class on mastering just that: the perfect roast with all the trimmings (roasties, Yorkshire puddings, Horseradish cream...). Working in pairs students prepare, cook and then eat (that's where you come in, lunch guests are encouraged) their roast beef followed by a traditional British dessert such as apple crumble and vanilla custard.
Cost: £155, leiths.com
West Coast Whisky trail
What's this you ask — a liquid foodie experience? That's exactly what it is. Stretching from Scotland's beautiful Campbeltown to the Isle of Skye and Fort William the West Coast Whisky trail is a whisky-lover’s dream road trip. It takes in major distilleries such as the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye and budding whisky connoisseurs will get a warm welcome with a ‘wee dram’ at each stop, as well as lessons in the centuries-old techniques used in the art of whisky making. Add to this a backdrop of stunning Scottish scenery.
Cost: varies, visitscotland.com