Where to stock up with food, drink and pressies this Christmas (brilliant local independents only)
Avoiding supermarkets can be tricky in the run-up to Christmas. But stocking up on festive food, drink and gifts at small local independents is well worth the effort: not only do you support the producers and entrepreneurs who make our culinary world so exciting, you also get your hands on the really good stuff – victuals that actually make Christmas more memorable, fun and delicious.
Here is a guide on where to stock up on Christmas food, drink and foodie gifts in the East Midlands – Great Food Club’s heartland. Spend some of your budget with the guys featured below and you won’t be disappointed…
Harker’s Farm Shop (Clipston on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire)
Where better to stock up this Christmas than Great Food Club’s Farm Shop of the Year 2018/19? The Harker family have been selling produce directly to the public from here for more than 50 years. Situated at the end of a country lane, surrounded by pastureland, it’s a friendly and fantastic farm shop, which also has its own petting farm and play area to keep the kids entertained. The fruit and veg section is well stocked, mostly sourced from just three miles away.
The high quality and reasonably priced beef, pork and lamb are produced by the Harker family on the farm, along with the farm-fresh turkeys.
Christmas orders are now being taken – click here for more information.
Tori & Ben’s Farm Butchery (Kings Newton, Melbourne, Derbyshire)
Tori & Ben’s Farm Butchery was recently named one of the Best 20 Farm Shops in Britain by The Telegraph. Longhorn beef sustainably raised on farmland near Melbourne and Diseworth is their speciality, closely followed by their prize-winning Jacob lamb. You can also order other meat in the shop, including Packington Free Range pork, chicken, turkey and more. The values behind this unique family business are simple: passion, provenance and responsible farming. Married couple Tori and Ben take incredible pride in their livestock and have won countless prizes.
Tori & Ben’s Farm are now offering three types of butchery course, too – ‘Beef Steak Night’, ‘Nose To Tail Pork’ and ‘Whole Lamb Carcass’. A gift voucher for one of these would make the perfect Christmas present for the meat lover in your life!
The Pickled Shop (Bulwick in Northamptonshire and online shop)
Based at Bulwick Village Shop in Northamptonshire (Great Food Club Deli of the Year 2017/18 and a Finalist in our 2018/19 Awards), The Pickled Shop is a website where you can order all sorts of glorious hampers and pickles. It was set up by Camille Ortega McLean, founder of The Pickled Village range of preserves, which have been sold in Fortnums, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
Ideal for festive meals and snacks, The Pickled Village’s creative, exciting jars include ‘The Christmas Spirit’– a plum & apricot chutney with brandy; and ‘The Christmas Cracker’ – a feisty festive chutney with a chilli kick. Then there’s the likes of ‘The Proper Piccalilli’ – a classic crunchy mustard pickle; and ‘The Boozy Dark Breakfast’ – an orange & lemon marmalade with treacle, spices & whisky.
Pickled Shop hampers include such pickles alongside crackers, membrillo and biscuits from The Fine Cheese Company (Bath), cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese Company (Wales), chocolate from Beeches Chocolates (Preston, Lancs), Southridge fizz (West Sussex), gins from Warner Edwards (Northamptonshire), vodka and gin from Blackdown Spirits (West Sussex) as well as Pukka Teas (Bristol).
Order your Pickled Shop Christmas hampers before November 30 and you’ll get 15% off with the code ‘WRAPPEDUP’. Order here.
Bat & Bottle (Oakham in Rutland and online shop)
If you want special wines with provenance sourced from small Italian vineyards this Christmas, speak to Ben and Emma Robson at Bat & Bottle in Oakham. They have two festive tastings coming up where you can try some real belters – at Oakham Castle on Friday November 30 (6.30pm – 8.30pm – £10 on the door), and at Lloyds Club, 42 Crutched Friars, London, EC3N 2AP on Thursday November 29 (5.30pm – 8.45pm – £10 on the door). They also hold tastings at their Oakham Enterprise Park outlet on the third Saturday of each month (so November 17 and December 15 – shop open 9.30am to 5pm).
The wines you’ll find at Bat & Bottle are not run of the mill. Expect rarities with a sense of terroir, and bottles that are unlikely to have been tasted outside their home country.
Bat & Bottle’s Wine Club was recently named national runner-up in the Wine Club of the Year competition, narrowly losing out to the mighty Wine Society – an amazing achievement.
Waterloo Cottage Farm Shop (one mile south of Market Harborough in Northamptonshire)
Waterloo Cottage Farm nurtures its own animals in high-welfare, eco-friendly conditions. The resulting meat has provenance and is of excellent quality. Meat in the shop not raised on Waterloo Cottage Farm is from other equally vigilant producers.
On sale in the build-up to Christmas, you’ll find delicious turkeys and poultry from Fosse Meadows Farm (shortlisted in our 2018/19 Awards); Waterloo Cottage bread sauce and pasture-fed gravy; Waterloo Cottage charcuterie, duck paté, game paté, ham hock terrine and traditional corned beef. Also available are fruit, vegetables and salad; milk, cream, bread, cakes and mince pies; eco-friendly cleaning products made with organic essential oils; plus door wreaths; local wines, gins and vodkas.
Waterloo Cottage Farm’s annual Open House Christmas Fair takes place on November 16 & 17, 9am-5pm. Alongside the farm shop’s excellent food and drink selection, you’ll find some brilliant gifts such as No. 34 Boutique clothing, cards, jewellery, handbags and gifts for men. In fact, you could potentially wrap up all your Christmas shopping in one go at this event!
For more information on Christmas at Waterloo Cottage Farm, click here.
Everards (Leicester and online shop)
Why not enjoy your favourite Everards beers at home this Christmas? Available to order are Beacon Hill, Sunchaser, Tiger and Old Original – so there is something to delight the ale lover in your life’s taste buds. Everards’ handy five-litre minikegs, which hold 8.8 pints, are perfect to give, share or savour every drop yourself. The beer will stay fresh for 30 days once opened. Simply chill, pour and enjoy for just £19.50 plus postage and packing, or pick one up from the pop-up Burleighs shop at Fosse Park, Leicester (located in the food court).
You can order a case of Everards beers online or why not personalise a bottle as a gift for that someone special? It makes a wonderful alternative to a Christmas card and a great stocking filler or secret Santa gift! (case of ale £14.50, personalised gift £9.95).
Farndon Fields Farm Shop (Market Harborough in Leicestershire)
Shortlisted in the Great Food Club Awards 2018/19, our judge said of Farndon Fields Farm Shop: “Spectacular! A real celebration of locally grown fare with a great deal produced on the farm and a high-end feel to the whole store.” It’s a great place, therefore, to do your Christmas shopping! Alongside the own-farm produce, this shop offers lots of great quality locally sourced produce.
The recently refitted butchery and deli sections in particular present shoppers with a feast of choice – everything you could possible need for a luxurious, locally sourced Christmas, from dry-aged steaks to local free range turkeys to farmhouse cheeses and tempting charcuterie.
Farndon Fields’ special Christmas Shopping Evening takes place on Wednesday November 28, 5-8pm.
Spring Lane Farm Shop (Mapperley, Nottinghamshire)
Spring Lane Farm Shop is a spacious, traditional farm shop, owned by the Spencer family since 1939. Bread is baked on-site daily – including their award-winning “Dinky” rolls. The shop also has a butchery offering a great selection of beef, lamb, pork and game, plus a huge variety of hand-made sausages and home-cured meats. The well-stocked cheese and deli counters feature a host of local cheeses, included three varieties of Stilton, three types of pork pie and a range of cooked meats.
This shop is all about quality, with an excellent selection of produce in a bright and airy setting. It is easily accessible and has plenty of parking, and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
Christmas orders are being taken from now until December 9.
Gonalston Farm Shop (near Lowdham, Nottinghamshire)
Gonalston Farm Shop has recently had a major refit. The shop now stocks a large convenience range, although 80% of the mainly locally sourced pre-refit range remains. The butchery counter has not changed at all, offering high-provenance Gonalston Farm-produced meat, plus cuts from local farms. The fresh fruit and vegetable section is as strong as ever, with plenty of locally sourced produce. Bread from Hambleton Bakery is still available, too.
Gonalston Farm Shop is now taking Christmas orders. You can stock up with the likes of Gonalston Farm’s own 21-day-aged chateaubriand, six bird roasts, apple-fed cockerel, venison and Argyll Smokery salmon. A nicely produced Christmas brochure is available here.
Burleighs Gin (Nanpantan in Leicestershire, Leicester and online)
Every household needs at least one bottle of gin in the booze cabinet during Yuletide. Distilled in Leicestershire with 11 botanicals – including silver birch, dandelion, burdock and elderberries – Burleighs is a great local option. Available to order online or from one of many stockists, including the pop-up Burleighs shop at Fosse Park in Leicester (located in the food court), a bottle of Burleighs also makes a great gift – especially the Leicester Tigers, Leicester City or Pink varieties.
Bottles of Burleighs are also available to purchase directly from the distillery and they have a variety of Christmas hampers available, too!
Important information: This is a promoted feature and contains some advertisements. However, as always, every business we feature has been vetted by Great Food Club’s writing team. We only feature businesses we recommend. For more information, click here.