Eat, drink and be merry

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 December, 2011, 12:00am


With less than 10 days to go before the big day, chances are you haven't crossed every name off your Christmas shopping list. Have no fear - there's still plenty of time to pick up the perfect present for everyone, from your closest colleagues to your significant other. We've made the task easier by sorting through the season's offerings to bring you the best.

Overflowing with gourmet goodies, hampers are always a popular choice. But why not surprise your loved ones with something a little out of the ordinary? This year's selections include a number of organic and fair trade options that not only taste great but are good for recipients and the environment too.

World Wildlife Fund's Fair & Green hampers (HK$538 to HK$1,888) feature handmade cookies, organic coffee, cornstarch pens and wine produced on agrochemical-free farms. They also use minimal packaging and cards made from 100 per cent recyclable paper and printed with soy-based ink. Half the proceeds go to WWF-Hong Kong's conservation efforts and the rest to support fair trade and sustainable development in Hong Kong. Natural foods store ThreeSixty also has three organic-filled hampers (HK$598 to HK$988) with items such as Cocoa Farm organic dark chocolate, Made in Nature Turkish apricots and Equal Exchange fair trade Earl Grey tea bags - all wrapped up in a stylish yet faux leather hamper.

For even more all-natural selections, head to international delicatessen Oliver's for its Organic Christmas hamper (HK$890) featuring everything from organic oats and raisins to chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon in a reusable canvas bag.

Or go straight to the source: Homegrown Foods has arguably the freshest hampers (HK$888 and HK$1,688) around, bursting with organic root vegetables grown at local farms in the northern New Territories. Home cooks and locavores alike will love the pesticide-free flavour, not to mention the addition of sparkling wine or Champagne and premium La Colombe coffee.

For friends and family with a taste for adventure, you can't go wrong with an international-themed hamper. Choices include all-Italian delicacies, wonders from Down Under and over-the-top Chinese concoctions.

Purveyors of Italian fine food, Il Bel Paese, can help you wish someone a buon natale with one of four ready-made hampers (HK$888 to HK$1,888). Bianco Natale (White Christmas, HK$988) features panettone, artisanal pasta and grissini, and liqueur-filled chocolates and a bottle of Italian wine. Tailor-made hampers are also available.

Bringing even more of Europe to Hong Kong, popular caf?chain Classified has got into the spirit with its pop-up Christmas market in the basement of The Landmark. Besides mince pies and mulled wine, it offers a range of hampers (HK$550 to HK$2,500), including a French-themed selection with three mini-terrines, sausage, an apron and bottles of burgundy and bordeaux.

Homesick Aussies, meanwhile, will no doubt enjoy Great Food Hall's Delights from Down Under. The teatime set (HK$750) includes Waterthins organic crackers and Rubra roasted coffee beans.

Closer to home, the Deluxe Chinese Hamper (HK$6,388) from Island Shangri-La is a treasure trove of abalone, fish maw, dried mushrooms, bird's nest, premium Chinese tea and Summer Palace X.O. sauce. The hotel is supporting Heep Hong Society for children with disabilities through a HK$100 raffle (ticket included in the hamper) that could win a weekend in a luxurious hotel suite or a Mercedes-Benz C 180 saloon.

Directory of shops

Classified Christmas Market 2522 3444

Great Food Hall 2918 9986

Homegrown Foods 2671 2771

Il Bel Paese 2528 2200

Island Shangri-La 2820 8372

Oliver's 2810 7710

ThreeSixty 2111 4480

WWF-Hong Kong 2526 1011

WWF hampers do good and taste good.