How to create a gourmet hamper for Christmas

If you choose to gift a Christmas hamper to someone, what a great idea, as it is always a gift that is very appreciated.

Gastronomic specialties are a way to participate symbolically in conviviality moments and avoid wastage, since, most of the time, the selection inside the hampers can satisfy every taste.

Also, a gourmet hamper is a type of homage that is geared towards people of all ages and with whom we have different kind of relationships: clients, relatives, friends, employers, and so on.

If that wasn’t enough, Christmas hampers can be bought already packed or personalized: meaning that they are created according to one’s budget and the nutritional preferences of the recipients.

But, how do you create a gourmet hamper for Christmas without making mistakes and going down a lame route?

Let’s find out together in this practical guide!

How to create a Christmas hamper

Creating a gourmet hamper for Christmas on your own can turn out to be a wise choice, both because this option allows you to choose a single product and because it is possible to save a lot of money.

First of all, it is advised to choose a theme to follow the logic in the composition. For example, regional specialties to gift to people who live in a different place from their place of origin, to make them feel more at home.

Instead, it’s not forbidden to opt for ethnic products usually not found in supermarkets if you like experimenting. Poking around in specific shops will, in fact, be a pleasant surprise for both parties.

Does the recipient love chocolate? There is no better occasion to wrap up a hamper rich in food with a base of cocoa such as pasta, bars, cookies, stuffed panettone, spreadable creams, and a lot more.

People who know their way around an oven can also enrich the cadeaux (present) with sweets, liquors, and little delicacies, all made at home, to add a touch of hand craftiness.

Suppose you may not know the other person’s taste (just think of your employer). In that case, it is better to opt for more traditional and classic products, which will pleasantly satisfy anybody, regardless of their preferences.

What to put inside the hamper

Unless you opt for a theme-based Christmas hamper, tradition demands that it contains all the necessary ingredients to make a complete meal.

So, you can start with a form of seasoned cheese, ideal to be served as a starter or an aperitif.

Together with the cheese, an excellent piece of cured meat or delicious bresaola is what you need to tease one’s appetite, as they are perfect to be sliced with a knife or with a slicer before being served at the table.

Another component that cannot be left out from the Christmas hamper is undoubtedly a bottle of wine, suitable to accompany the aperitif, lunch/dinner, or a dessert.

In this last scenario, it is best to opt for a muscat, a sweet sparkling wine, or a passito.

If the gift recipient is a connoisseur in wines, it will be a fantastic idea to create a hamper dedicated to Bacchus’ nectar and confide in a certified cellar that can suggest the best pairings.

Distillates and digestive bitter are two valid alternatives to wine, as their bottles often have a captivating design. However, you must pay maximum attention to the quality, which must be more than reasonable to avoid embarrassment, especially if you are not too close to the person consuming the drinks.

Don’t forget a pack of pasta. It’s better if it’s a regional and organic.

If you opt for rice, instead, choose creative packaging. For example, a glass jar or a reusable canvas bag may be paired with dried porcini mushrooms.

Finally, you must add a touch of sweetness and class, like a mixture of coffee, herbal or infusion, to be enjoyed with cookies or pieces of chocolate.

What already packed Christmas hamper can you find for sale?

For consumers who don’t have the time or desire to create a hamper with their own hands, there are many versions available for sale, among which:

  • Classic Christmas hamper: it contains all the products that are usually consumed during the Christmas period (cotechino/trotter, panettone/pandoro, nougat, and dried fruits);
  • Regional Christmas hamper: it is indeed a gastronomic summary of a region since it contains different typical specialties.

In this case, it is advised to avoid oil products or those with a strong aroma and does not have a dedicated wrapping.

In the first case, they would stain the rest of the content, while in the second case, they would alter the taste of every other food;

  • Theme based Christmas hamper: This last version is recommended only to people who know the exact taste of the recipient, as this hamper selectively contains foods belonging to one unique category, which could be chocolate, cookies, wines, or particular ingredients like pistachio, nuts, truffle, and so on.

How to choose the right Christmas hamper

Before buying an already packed Christmas hamper, you must consider essential elements.

Packing design

Since it is a Christmas hamper, the chances are that it will be placed under the Christmas tree. For this reason, it is important to choose a thoughtful design that can surprise the recipient and decorate their house.

Speaking of the material, it is possible to opt for simple cardboard boxes, classic wicker hampers, wood boxes, or canvas bags.

Undoubtedly, the last three options can be reused in a domestic setting, once they have been emptied, to hold toys, everyday objects, and much more.

Canvas bags, however, have a chance to be transformed into amazing clothes hangers for change of seasons, to be folded with few and simple movements when they are not needed.

Whatever type you choose, remember to add a handwritten wish card in order to make everything even more heartfelt and personal.

Budget

To meet the expectations and pocket size of the consumers, various companies offer Christmas hampers of every size and price.

Therefore, even if your budget is tight, you can always find the perfect package to show your affection and appreciation towards someone.

You can make an excellent impression by choosing even a box containing just a bottle of sparkling wine and a pandoro, so long as they are of supreme quality.

Origin of the products, list of ingredients and expiration dates

Any respectable Christmas present has a tag that contains the list of the ingredients of all the products, their respective origin, and the expiration date, which must be sufficiently far away to allow for the products to be consumed without a rush.

Always double-check all these elements to avoid making a poor purchase and be “blacklisted” by the recipient.

Taste and habits of the recipient

If you know the taste and culinary habits of the recipient, you will have a head start because it will shorten the time you will spend choosing the most appropriate Christmas hamper.

In case you don’t know the taste and culinary habits of the recipient, it is better to aim towards simple and classic packages, just to remain on the safe side.

Type and time of consumption

You guessed right; there are different types of Christmas hampers, specifically studied for various times of use. Just think of New Year’s dinner or Christmas lunch.

All you need to do is visit a physical or online shop to see it.

To make sure that you don’t end up shopping at the last minute, it is advised that you take all the time that you need to choose the perfect hamper or to make it on your own.

Luckily, it is possible to order these articles starting in October.

History of Christmas hampers

The usage of gifting a Christmas hamper has very ancient origins, as it goes back to the Roman Empire when people would usually pay homage to people dear to them with the sportula. This wicker hamper contained dried figs, olives, bay leaves, and other types of food.

Christmas was not the only occasion during which one could offer the sportula as a gift. Still, they could also do so during the pagan festivities of Saturnalia, which were also held in December and were celebrated to honor the god Saturn, protector of farming and harvest.

The purpose of these hampers, rich in homage, was to endear the gods in order to obtain fertile soil, fertility, and prosperity.

When Christianity came about, the presents became associated with the Three Wise Men, who offered incense, myrrh, and gold to baby Jesus.

After the Industrial Revolution and World War II, the more affluent middle-class families would often gift the poorer ones hampers containing essential foods needed in the kitchen as a sign of charity and solidarity.

Today, however, it has become a passepartout suitable for everybody, since you are certain that the present will not end up in a dusty corner of the house.

Don’t fear that a certain product might not be appreciated since it will likely be shared with the other guests.

Unlike those of our present days, the Christmas hampers of the past days did not include sweets, but cheese, wines, and cured meat. This is because the cost of these products was pretty high, and the lower classes could not afford them.

Therefore, a substantial financial commitment was required to gift those kinds of articles and, as a result, that only reinforced the value of the present.