It might be hard to believe right now, but the summer is most definitely on its way. And when the warmer months arrive, what better time of year is there to get out there and enjoy the countryside in all its glory, complete with a fantastic hamper packed full of goodies? Or, if you are feeling generous, what better summer gift is there than a bespoke hamper, with products selected – or made – by you, to give to a loved one? The big question is, what, exactly, do you need to put in your hamper? Let’s take a look at some excellent ideas on how to create your own basket to enjoy alone, with a friend, or to give away as a gift. Read on to find out more.
When it comes to the perfect hamper food, it’s purely a matter of choice. Just bear in mind that when the summer is in full swing, it’s going to be hot, so make sure that anything perishable on the menu is protected by a coolbox and is kept well out of the hot, beating sun. As for the food itself, many people love the traditional hamper foods that have been so popular for centuries. Dainty little sandwiches with hams, or even a dash of watercress are a perennial favourite, of course. Cheeses and pickles are also an always welcomed choice – combine with some rustic bread and some basic salad veg for the perfect outdoors Ploughmans. Cocktail sausages, scotch eggs, and pork pies are also a viable choice, but again – make sure you are keeping them cool. Pork pies in the sun often tend to sweat, which isn’t going to go down well with your companions.
Looking for something a little different for your hamper? Why not try a curry hamper, with a range of different curries and flatbreads. Poppadoms are always popular, too, and you could go so far as making your own lime pickle, mango chutney, or even some onion bhajis. You could also look a little closer to home for some inspiration, and go for the continental hamper. French breads such as baguettes are a great idea – or brioche if you have a sweet tooth – and camembert, brie, and other soft French cesses are always welcome additions. Try making some French pate, too – it’s a lot easier than you think and incredibly cheap – chicken livers being a perfect example.
Wine, champagne, and beers are always a welcome addition to any hamper, of course. But bear in mind that gin is also making a comeback, and there are some incredible flavours out there that, although very strong in alcohol content, won’t need much in the way of mixers. That said, tonic waters are fairly inexpensive, and there are a lot more choices on the supermarket shelves than the basic Schweppes version most people plump for. For non-drinkers, why not try and make your own non-alcoholic drinks? The trusty Sodastream is making a big comeback, of course, so you can use it to add some fizz to almost anything, from fruit juices to home made elderflower cordials.
No hamper will be complete without a few naughty treats, either sweet or savoury. How about making some simple cheese straws for a snack, for example, or maybe try to create your own sweet potato crisps? Serve with a homemade guacamole and it’s a match made in heaven. Chocolates are also popular with hamper lovers, and if you find some hand made choccies the effect is so much nicer than your standard Cadburys fare.
Where to buy products for your hamper?
One of the best places to find artisan products to fill your hamper with is the Great Food Club. They curate all the best restaurants and lesser known food and drink suppliers to make it easy for you to find the very best!
If you really want to make your hamper one to remember, it is definitely worth buying luxury products that you will not find in your standard supermarket.
Finally, always make sure that your hamper presentation is perfect – it will really make the difference. It’s also a good idea to invest in some quality inserts to protect all the food, jars, and cutlery that will be inside your hamper. For a more rustic look, you could try clean hay or shredded, coloured paper.
Want something more luxurious? Just head to your local craft store and pick up some beautiful fabrics which you can use for the ultimate in presentation. If you are giving your hamper as a gift, make sure you add some ribbon around the outside, too – your local gift shop should be able to help you here if you struggle with making cute knots.