Heavenly Hampers: Guide to Top Pressie Picks this Christmas

Make up the perfect Christmas hamper with all Isle of Wight produced goodies for the perfect gift. We have so many wonderful island-produced drinks, foods and crafts that you’ll be spoiled for choice. 

Local Tipples

Isle of Wight Distillery makes the award winning Mermaid Gin and Navy Strength Rum, along with Rock Sea Vodka and if you’re lucky, as stock is limited, you might be able to acquire their newly matured single malt whisky.

Tipsy Wight produce fruit flavoured vodkas in quirky sloping bottles, made from berries and honey produced on their Island farm.

We have two vineyards producing local wine – Rosemary Vineyard and Adgestone Vineyard – and you can buy their wines from their on-site shops or various outlets around the Island.

And there are three local breweries that all produce bottled beers: Goddards Brewery, Island Ales and Yates Brewery. Ventnor Botanic Garden has ales made from their home grown hops. 

Award Winning Cheese

We have two award winning cheese producers on the Island; Briddlesford Lodge Farm Cheese and The Isle of Wight Cheese Company. Briddlesford have just been awarded a gold medal for their cheddar at the World Cheese Awards and also produce a Gouda, Caerphilly, Feta and Hallumi, all made from their creamy Guernsey herd of cows.

Soft cheeses are the speciality of the IOW Cheese Company and are famous for their Soft Cheese and Soft Blue, along with the newer Blue Slipper cheese with its blue rind and Isle of Wight Brie. And they produce a cheddar style cheese called Gallybagger, after the local name for a scarecrow, which is delicious. Biscuits and cakes

You’re going to need some nice biscuits for all of that cheese and again you have quite a choice. We love the hexagonal poppy seed and celery biscuits made by the Isle of Wight Biscuit Company, who have a wide range that includes sweet biscuits and shortbreads.

The Little Town Kitchen produce moist, mouth-watering cakes from traditional recipes and Scarrotts Lane Bakery make great traditional tarts, along with biscuits and cakes. Calbourne Classics make all kinds of pies, savoury and sweet, various cakes including fruit cakes and for Christmas they have mince pies and Christmas puddings.

Culinary Condiments

There’s a huge range of chutneys, sauces, oils and vinegars to choose from that are made on the Island. Pink’s are based here and specialise in pestos, peanut butters, chutneys and chilli jellies, all with an historical theme but a modern twist – try beetroot and horseradish pesto or Empire Chutney.

Island Mustards have a wide range of locally produced mustards and you can now buy Isle of Wight sea salt from Wight Salt. Wild Island Dressings have a delicious range of oils and vinegars – we love their raspberry balsamic vinegar and dressing but their spiced fig version is more seasonal.

Borneo Pantry in Godshill is a must include with their Great Taste Award winning Proper Picalilli and Pickled Watermelon, all hand made by the lovely Helen based on recipes developed while living in Borneo - yum! 

Fresh Produce

No hamper would be complete without a few bulbs of garlic from the Garlic Farm – choose from a wide range that includes smoked garlic and even black garlic.

The Tomato Stall has every type of tomato imaginable but their mixed small tomatoes are great for colourful salads, with yellow, orange, red and even black tomatoes. If you’re lucky you can find local sprouts on the stem, which make a welcome addition to any Christmas hamper, and keep longer.

Something Special

We love Sophie Honeybourne’s individual jewellery pieces that she designs and makes in her Ventnor shop. Theodosia in Newport have more Island-based jewellers’ work that will make ideal gifts.

Quay Arts shop has a wide range of ceramics, scarves, jewellery and other hand-crafted items but not all are from the island, so ask if you’re not sure.

Where to Buy

Isle of Wight produce is stocked in some of the supermarkets on the Island such as Waitrose, Asda and the Co Ops, but for the widest range shop at one of our farm shops or delis.

Farmer Jacks in Arreton and Briddlesford Lodge Farm in Wootton are 90% Island produce and both of these have on-site butchers if you want to add a turkey or ham to your hamper.  

You’ll find Island goods at the Yarmouth Deli, The Farm Shop in Bembridge, The Village Shop in Brighstone, The Pantry in Godshill, Brownriggs just outside Godshill and Chale Green Country Stores.

Hampers are available from most of these shops, and you can usually choose the items you’d like to make up your own personal hamper.

Jo Macaulay

5 November 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles