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Food and drink gift guide 2016 for grandparents and older parents


By Kathy Lawrence, content director at When They Get Older

Choosing presents for older parents and grandparents gets harder as the years roll on. They’ve either got what they really want or they don’t want anything else. But edibles are always a good choice. So we’ve looked for gifts that would suit people with different outlooks, from those who’d love to learn a new culinary skill to those who don’t cook anymore.

Still stuck for ideas? Find more inspiration in our 2016 Christmas gift guide for parents and grandparents.

Learning home baking skills

Home Baking

For anyone suffering from the end of this year’s Bake Off competition, a course in learning to make bread might make an exciting gift. Courses tend to be run regionally, often by artisan bakers themselves. One option is the Bread Angels, offering training for tutors and courses for novices, currently in the south-east primarily but with the desire to expand. Prices start at £70/£75 for a half day. Give a voucher for Christmas and let the recipient choose when and where to attend.

Another taster of cookery classes available are those at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, where you can choose short and professional courses. One-day classes include patisserie, global cuisine and chocolate cookery. Gift vouchers start at £25. Prices of courses vary but one-day classes are generally £155.

Manna from Devon Cooking School offer gift vouchers for cooking courses from their Victorian home in Kingswear, South Devon. Courses include baking, fish, Mediterranean, wood-fired cooking and more. Prices vary according to length of class.

DIY curing

Home Curing

Here’s a nice idea from a Cotswold-based, award-winning food company. Ross and Ross offers a range of home curing kits for fish and meat. For those with an interest in developing their artisan cooking skills.

Christmas in a box

Donald Russell

For something a little special for those Christmas meals, it’s becoming increasingly easy to order much of Christmas in a box. Royal butcher Donald Russell is offering boxes of meats as well as puddings, canapes and patisserie.

Rhug Estate

Also promoting the theme of Christmas meat boxes is the field-to-plate organic farm in Denbighshire, Wales, the Rhug Estate.

Good food beyond Christmas


Farmison, an online heritage butcher, offers gift vouchers allowing keen cooks to make their own choices Hampers start at £18.95 for a full English breakfast box.

Meals delivered to the door

Beef Bourgignon

Not everyone wants to or can cook their own meals but that’s no reason to lose out on enjoyment of dining at home. Our sister company Joseph Pip offers home delivery of traditional hand-cooked meals ready to pop in the freezer and cook at any time. Just about to launch nationwide, the meals can be ordered online.

Nostalgic treats

1950s Sweets

This is one for the seriously sweet-toothed. We tried out the huge 1950s decade Sweets from your Childhood (£38.57) which is attractively packaged and full of old-style sweets like rhubarb and custards and Black Jacks. It’s quite heavy on the liquorice and aniseed though so if they’re not favourites you might prefer a jar of an old favourite, also available on the site.



Your probably can have too many mugs, but with the huge choice of shapes, sizes, colours, materials and slogans there’s always an entertaining new drinking vessel to be found.

We’re mentioning the new British Colour Standard mug collection because they’re made in Britain in fine bone china and they’ve got an interesting story. The design reflects the historical 1930’s colour matching system that dates back to when dyed strips of ribbon and wool were used to specify colours for products from uniforms to flags and even iconic objects such as post-boxes and battleships, these colour books were sent out across the British Empire. The collection from Designed in Colour includes mugs (£12) and espresso mugs (£10).

A nice cuppa

Steenbergs Tea

Talking of mugs, we can’t let a gift guide go by with mentioning tea at least once. Steenburgs is a small family-run company in North Yorkshire that specialises in ethical sourcing and hand blending of spices, teas and home baking ingredients. An interesting idea is the tea brick, a form originally used to transport tea along the Silk Road. Prices from £10. We’re currently enjoying some Assam leaf tea at £4.45 a tin.

Gin, gin and more gin

Gin is everywhere this year and the choices are astonishing. There’s something for everyone, whether they have traditional tastes, want to try something new, or fancy a slug as the base for a cocktail. Here are just a few we’ve been told about.

As novices in the world of G&T we tried several and enjoyed them all:

  • Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin – the number 2 everyday gin in the UK (£15.49 for 70cl www.greenallsgin.com)
  • Bloom floral London Dry Gin with a more delicate taste (£24 for 75cl from many supermarkets and Harvey Nichols)
  • Thomas Dakin Gin, distilled with 11 botanicals and winner of three awards in its first year (£29 for 75cl from Waitrose and Harvey Nichols)
  • Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin using exotic botanicals, herbs and spices including cumin and cardamom (£23 for 70cl from various supermarkets and Harvey Nichols)

Greenalls Gin

And finally, just because we like the sound of this cocktail. Pour 50ml Greenall's Sloe Gin into a flute glass. Top with Champagne or Prosecco. A warming drink for autumn and winter says the company. Available from: Amazon RRP: £20.23for 70cl.


We have updates on some new whiskies as well. No tastings here yet though.

The Rampur is an Indian Single Malt Whisky from the foothills of the Himalayas and described as a premium whisky. Price £40.95 and available from The Whisky Exchange.

The Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish single malt is traditional Glen Moray with added “rich and spicy sweetness”. Price £22 from Sainbury’s and Morrisons.


Billed as ideal for introducing Irish whiskey is the Irish Dubliners – a blend of single malt and grain whiskies. Price £22.50 and available from 31Dover.com.

For more gift ideas and recommendations take a look at other guides, with many ideas still available:

This article was published in November 2016.

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