Top five presents for foodies and beer lovers

Buying presents can be a bit of a nightmare, particularly due to the amount of crap that floods the shops with panicked Christmas shoppers in mind - with row after row of celebrity endorsed Christmas recipe books and tv cooking show tie-ins making it almost impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One thing that makes things instantly easier is to avoid anything Christmas themed. There are loads of good Christmas recipes online and lets be honest, it's one day a year, how useful is 'Gordon Ramsey does Xmas' (or whatever it's called) going to be in the grand scheme of things?

That said, a great food or recipe book is for a foodie a perfect gift. Not least in the sense that it gives you something to read once all the presents are open.

Beer lovers are even harder to buy for, but once again, I'd say avoid anything Christmas themed for a start. With that in mind here are my top five Christmas presents for foodies and beer lovers, in no particular order.

Fuller's Vintage Ale

These make an excellent gift. Well packaged, attractive beers that just look special, and even have a slight Christmas feel with their rich red box. Buy two vintages - perhaps the oldest and newest ones available - and give to any budding beer geek and you'll be extremely popular. A delicious education.

PIE by Dean Brettschneider

This is just a fantastic recipe book, beautifully presented. By focussing on pies rather than a variety of dish types the book is actually given freedom to pull in obscure combinations you might not otherwise have heard of. So yes there's a cracking beef Wellington recipe, but there's also a delicious looking chorizo and monkfish pot-pie and a pear and fennel tarte tatin - recipes which in a less focused book might not have got a look in.

Truman's London Keeper Stout

This stunningly packaged 750ml champagne style bottle would make a perfect gift. Ivory wax dipped and with a letterpress label hand printed by a small London based company, this is truly a thing of beauty - never mind the fact it is the first beer produced from the new home of the recently resurrected Truman brewery. It's a very special beer that any beer lover would love to stow at the back of the cupboard.

Hamburger America

This book is so much more than a guide to the best burger joints in America, it's a poignant history of small town America combined with an at times heart breaking cross section of the changing nature of roadside USA. It genuinely knocked me sideways. So sweet, so personal, and with a genuinely touching story to tell of the mom and pop burger joints across America. So much more than a road guide.

A curated selection of beers

Any beer lover will like to receive interesting beer for Christmas, but it's hard to know what to buy. Though as a rule, nothing in a ' Christmas gift' package. There are lots of great online sellers and some worthwhile shops, so choose a curated, interesting selection, with a theme. The three beers shown are a British imperial stout (Harvey's) a smoked German Marzen (Schlenkerla) and a big, thick imperial stout from Denmark (Mikkeller Black). All big, strongly flavoured and perfect for winter. They fit well together, and I'd day a small considered selection with a theme makes a wonderful gift, as opposed to something a little less personal.

 

So there you have it. My top picks of presents that are sure to impress.

Merry Christmas!

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