Orcadian Christmas Gift Guide for Foodies

Thursday 26 November 2020
Post in collaboration with Orkney.com

This Christmas why not shop for a Taste of Orkney online? Treat yourself or someone special to something from the Orcadian larder (or drinks cabinet!) all from the comfort of your own home. Foodie gifts from the Island's many artisan producers and retailers include beer, cheese, gin, oatcakes, fudge, fish, coffee, whisky and more. Or why not combine them all in a Christmas Hamper that's sure to bring festive joy to any recipient. 

Sadly for most of us a trip to Orkney hasn't been possible this year however you can still spread some Orcadian joy this Christmas by sending a gift from the islands to a loved one or by treating yourself. If you have visited Orkney in the past or are planning to visit next year once travel restrictions are lifted why not shop for a taste of Orkney online and support the local businesses that are still producing and creating products in what has been a tough year for the Islands and their inhabitants.

To provide some inspiration I've chosen 10 Orcadian foodie goodies that I would love to find in my stocking on December 25th from the listings within the Food & Drink section of the Orkney.com website. Please do take the time to browse all that these artisan producers and retailers have on offer as there is so much more than my own personal favourites. (Although I have been told - only this morning - that I am the best gift giver ever and missed my calling as a personal shopper!)


Having visited the distillery and visitor centre on both of my recent trips to Orkney in 2018 and 2019, I'm a huge fan of Kirkjuvar. For those new to this particular gin I'd suggest their Fjórir gift set at £22.99. However if you are happy to take my considered opinion on what makes a cracking Scottish gin, go straight for a 70cl bottle of Kirkjuvar Orkney Gin at £35.99. (However  if Santa is listening what I really, really want and have coveted since I first saw it is the hand crafted gin tap).
Orkney is spoiled for choice when it comes to gin with Deerness Distillery and Orkney Gin Company providing further juniper infused offerings.

Another producer that I've visited (this is going to be a recurring theme...) and whilst I do enjoy a beer this is one gift I'd probably have to share with Foodie Loon. I've gone for the Modern classics taster pack at £35.40 containing six bottles each of Island Hopping and Orkney IPA. Who could resist a 'beer from Orkney with love' brown paper package (even if it's not tied up with string). Was also tempted by the name and the contents of The Peedie Taster Box. £35 for a mystery selection of 11 assorted beers and a branded glass. (For those unfamiliar 'peedie' is the most commonly used dialect word in Orkney and means little or small)

I'm a sucker for all things smoky and fell head over heels in love with Humes smoked mussels and olives whilst on an Edible Orcadian Adventure press trip back in 2018. Their full range includes smoked cheeses, queenies, salmon and mackerel. You could opt for a Peedie Taster for £20 but I'm all for 'go big or go home' so the full size Taster Hamper at £40 would ideally suit my festive nibbling needs.

I discovered the delight that is Strubarb (£22.95) on my very first visit to Orkney back in 2009. A strawberry and rhubarb liqueur matured in an Orkney Bere Barley Whisky Cask. What's not to like?! Delightful on the rocks or in a Prosecco cocktail. Their shop is right next to the Italian Chapel and both are must dos on any visit to the Orkneys. Their full range of fruit wine and liqueurs are sulphur free, vegan friendly, and produced at 58.8° North in the classic way using 100% natural ingredients.

Until a magnificent picnic on the beach at Skaill with Orkney based food writer Rosemary Moon I had never even heard of Fatty Cutties let alone eaten one. I described them as the lovechild of a girdle scone and a Garibaldi biscuit! JP Orkney say that it's the Orkney butter and being cooked on a griddle that makes them so special and moreish. Priced at £2.50 their award winning Fatty Cutties would definitely need to be in my order of goodies in a beautifully wrapped and labeled Six Item Christmas Gift Box (£22). Take your pick from their mouthwatering selection of jam, chutney, relish, pickles and tablet.

The Orkney Roastery
Yup I've visited these guys too and drunk the coffee! But I'll tell you what's better than finding a bag of coffee beans in your Christmas stocking. The gift of a 6 month subscription for 2 x 250g bags of delicious Orkney Aria coffees each month (£70). Choose whole beans or a specific grind and around the middle of the month a different duo of 'roasters' choice' will arrive in letterbox friendly packaging to you or your giftee. The coffee is roasted in small frequent batches with love and care giving every bean its chance to shine. I've seen first hand that production at Scotland's most northerly roastery is very hands-on with great attention to detail. It's a big thumbs up for Orcadian caffenation.

On a visit to Highland Park distillery and visitor centre I was delighted to discover that the barley used in making their whisky like me, hails from The Black Isle. A sure sign of quality! With proud viking roots their range of whiskies stretches to bottles costing thousands of pounds should Santa be feeling generous. As an ideal gift I'm opting for the 12 Year Old Viking Honour Hitchhiker Pack (£37) This gives you the chance to enjoy two great single malts. A 700ml bottle of 12 Year Old Viking Honour is accompanied by a 50ml bottle of 18 Year Old Viking Pride.
The viking spirit lives on - Sláinte!

These days vinegar is about so much more than what you put on your fish and chips as the appetite for artisan vinegar as an ingredient grows. Orkney Craft Vinegar offers a genuine taste of Orkney – foraged, brewed, acidulated, aged in wood, and bottled. Both the Smoked Dulse and Rhubarb variants instantly appealed to me and lovely to see a local collaboration with Highland Park. The OCV Gift Box – Bere Malt, Rosehip, Kelp (£30) would make an ideal introduction to these raw, unpasteurised, unfiltered, living vinegars for any foodie.

If you can't decide between the suggestions above or whish to give a larger selection including foodie goodies from some of the producers already mentioned then an Orcadian Hamper is an ideal option. Jolly's offer an extensive range of which I'm sharing the extremities of pricing options but there's plenty to choose from in between to suit all tastes and budgets. They also have a build your own option where you can fill a hamper with exactly what you want buy adding all the component elements to the cart.

Judith Glue Orkney Hampers
I have to confess that I've saved the best till last. Judith Glue is one of my favourite shops in Orkney and their range of Orkney Boxes and Hampers has me absolutely smitten. For those with a sweet tooth Orkney Fudge is a must. The Famous Orkney Fudge Christmas Selection Box (£33.95) would absolutely hit the spot. Those with a more savoury tooth will love the Christmas Orkney Cheese and Chutney Savoury Box (£36.95). When it comes to more traditional hamper contents their range extends from peedie, to smorgasbord and right up to a large deluxe selection hamper which would last you right through until 2021. They also offer a choose your own items hamper where you can select everything from peedie tatties and seagulls eggs to beremeal flour and whisky cake. Last date to place orders to ensure Christmas delivery is 11th December 2020. 


Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Orkney.com As always, all views expressed are my own.
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