Cheshire Life Taste Test - Local Christmas Food and Gifts

PUBLISHED: 19:57 29 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:27 20 February 2013

Chorlton cheese Blue Cheshire cheese

Chorlton cheese Blue Cheshire cheese

Tasty treats made in Cheshire and North Wales can make great Christmas gifts. We asked experts at Residence Restaurant and Bar in Nantwich to help us find the best of what's on offer.

Tasty treats made in Cheshire and North Wales can make great Christmas gifts. We asked experts at Residence Restaurant and Bar in Nantwich to help us find the best of whats on offer.

The managing director Ben Rafferty, head chef Matthew Piggott and general manager Joseph Edmunds tasted over 40 items to come up with this guide to gourmet gifts. We think youll like their selection and welcome their comments.

A little something

Best on test
Chorlton cheese
Blue Cheshire cheese

10 per kilo
Made in Malpas
01948 860210

With a lovely creamy texture, this cheese is well marbled and has excellent flavour without being overpowering. For an unforgettable present for a cheese lover, book them onto one of Chorltons bespoke cheesemaker for a day courses, (120 for one person or 180 for two).

Highly Recommended

Patchworks tomato and red pepper chutney
2.70 110g
Made in Ruthin
01824 705 832

Visually very attractive with good colour and fresh flavour. Chunky texture with a mellow sweetness from the roasted peppers and a gentle warmth from the cumin.

Highly Recommended

Mrs Darlington passionfruit curd
1.99 320g
Made in Crewe
01270 250 710

Perfect consistency, this just drops off a spoon. The passionfruit flavour is subtle but this honeyed curd is delicious would be lovely as a filling for sponge cake filling or as a sauce.

Highly Recommended

Kokonoir Belgian milk chocolate with vanilla & roasted cocoa nibsrs

3.25 100g
Made in Broughton
01244 534352

Rich and smooth milk chocolate which melts beautifully in the mouth. Has just the right amount of texture from the cocoa nibs. This is a luxurious chocolate bar for grown ups.

Perfect Presents

Best on test

Aballu chocolate pizza
12.99 25cm diameter
Made in Rossett
07918 882585

Really top quality chocolate and fabulous presentation in a tissue lined pizza box . We loved the chocolate orange chilli slice, but theres something for everyone in this quirky gift. Pair it with a voucher for Aballus chocolate making workshops (from 35 for children, 95 adults) for a truly indulgent present.

Highly Recommended

Cakes for a Date gingerbread tree
made in Ewloe, Flintshire
07545 115014

A 3-D edible Christmas tree made out of well-spiced ginger biscuits with an appealing chew to them.
This would look lovely on a Christmas tea table its almost a shame to start dismantling it to eat it.

Highly Recommended

Cheshire Chutney Co
Lemon curd & tayberry jam giftpack

9.95 2 x 350g
Made in Ellesmere Port
0151 357 3734

A very pretty gift box containing a lovely pairing of a rich lemon curd and a beautifully textured jam full of the blackberry and raspberry flavours of the locally grown tayberries. Just add scones for a perfect afternoon tea.

Highly Recommended

Christines Cheshire Preserves chilli lovers selection pack
9.95, 3 x 200g
Made in Alderley Edge
01625 251 753 perfect gift for a chilli fan, this pack covers all bases with a glossy chilli jam, a tangy spicy salsa and a red pepper and chilli relish that has a lovely mix of sweetness and heat.

Something Special

Best in Test

Cheshire Baskets
the Christmas pine basket

Packed in Nantwich
01270 756 496

The contents of this exquisitely packaged basket reads like a roll call of our previous taste test winners. Cheshire baskets fill a range of beautiful containers with the finest locally made foods. We particularly liked the wonderfully aromatic fruit cake from BerryFresh in Wrenbury and the crunchy biscotti from Pippo in Nantwich. If youre looking for a special present with a Cheshire flavour, you cant get better than this.

Highly Recommended

Cheshire Cooks
One and two day courses from 165
Based in Tarporley
01244 325 025

Fish and shellfish, no-fuss entertaining and tasty vegetarian cookery are just some of the courses on offer at Cheshire Cooks. Founded by Philip Martin, the Chef Patron of Chesters Green Bough hotel, you can buy gift vouchers from 25 to put towards a one or two day course here.

Highly Recommended

Brian Mellors cookery school
Half day courses 65
Full day courses from 115
Based in Tattenhall
01829 782097

Award-winning chef Brian Mellors cookery school runs half and full day courses on topics from French patisserie to Indian classics. If youve got budding chefs on your present buying list, there are courses aimed specifically at children and teenagers too (from 27)

Highly Recommended

Cheshire Cookery School
Half day courses 75
Day courses from 150
Based in Altrincham
0161 928 5120

You can learn to make everything from sticky toffee pudding to sushi at the Cheshire Cookery School. Gift vouchers are available from 10 upwards and prices range from 45 childrens sessions to 250 for a days course with celebrity chef Simon Rimmer.

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