Guides like this one are very easy to write… Because I would enjoy all of these gifts for myself! We have some fantastic foodie businesses offering experiences and gifts this year, you really are going to be spoilt for choice. In this gift guide, you’ll find gift ideas for the foodie in your life, from cooking classes to home kits to latte classes and at-home dining experiences. Bon appetit!
Foodie Gifts and Experiences
- Cindy’s Kitchen
- Frosts Garden Centre
- In Cucina Con Sofia
- Great Gelato
- Milk & Beans Coffee Roasters
- MK Cookery School
- Northampton Spice
- Now Now South African
- Practical Gift Box
- Paris House
- Saf’s Kitchen
- Tea Lab Company
- The Shack
This guide is part of Sophie etc.’s Independent Milton Keynes Christmas Gift Guide 2022. Businesses have paid to feature in the guides, but the guide has been entirely curated by Sophie. We hope it inspires you to shop small this Christmas! Every effort has been taken to ensure the information in this blog post is correct. Please refer directly to vendor websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information for Christmas delivery and products. If you do see an error, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cindy’s Kitchen UK is an Indonesian and Asian food specialist in Winslow, Buckinghamshire. Cindy moved to the UK in 2012 and saw that there was a lack of Indonesian food in restaurants and takeaways. People didn’t know enough about Indonesian food other than its iconic dishes such as satay, rendang (caramelized beef curry), and nasi goreng (fried rice). So she made it her mission to introduce Indonesian food to her friends and neighbour’s in the UK, and in 2016, Cindy’s Kitchen UK was founded.
Cindy only uses the freshest, natural ingredients, and is constantly working on creating more gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb/no refined sugar and vegan meals. Treat someone to tasty Indonesian and Asian food! Gift vouchers are in denominations of £25 and £50, and are valid for 24 months from the purchase date. Great present especially for those who love Indonesian and South East Asian food. You can try Cindy’s food when she does the fortnightly Winslow Friday Meal Takeaway.
Have you ever tried Pandan Chiffon Cake? This super soft, fluffy and fragrant pandan chiffon cake is perfect for Christmas dessert. Light and not sickly sweet. The whole pandan chiffon cake easily makes 12 – 16 slices. To be collected by 23rd December and good to keep until 26th December.
Other flavours are also available: Chocolate and Oreo. £35 per cake.
Frosts Garden Centre
Frosts Garden Centres are a family-run local business and has been in business for just over 75 years. With two stores based in Woburn Sands and Bedford, Frosts is known locally as the go-to Garden Centre offering a superb shopping destination, inspirational plant nurseries, great events calendar and beautiful restaurants.
To celebrate the launch of Frosts’ new ‘The Market & Eatery’ at Woburn Sands, they’ve created some wonderful hampers, jam-packed with independently sourced produce. Regardless of your recipient, we’ve got something for everyone, including the Italian food lover, the little Frosties treats lover or that family member that can be tempted by a tipple or two!
Great Gelato is a family owned and run ice cream shop and bakery on the Stony Stratford high street. They opened our shop because there was nowhere to take our four boys to get ice cream, moist deep-dish cookies or delicious hot chocolates. They serve gelato, milkshakes, sundaes, cookies, brownies, pizza slices, coffee and hot chocolates. They also have regular pop-ups with local food vendors and we have a popular weekly Friday Dessert Club.
Great Gelato has physical gift cards, starting at denominations of £5. They can be redeemed in the shop, all year around.
Buy in-store or visit Great Gelato’s website.
In Cucina Con Sofia
In Cucina con Sofia, based in Milton Keynes, was born with the core to create authentic Italian flavours for diners within 30 minutes of the location. Using the best seasonal produce, dishes and products will combine traditional methods and delicious flavour combinations.
With gift vouchers from Sofia, you are able to gift someone special, a private dining experience in the comfort of their home. Sofia will prepare a lovely three-course menu, personalised to their taste and current season. The voucher value is £35 and will be per person.
Milk & Beans Coffee Roasters
Milk & Beans Coffee Roasters is Milton Keynes’ first Speciality Coffee roaster. Carlo started Milk & Beans (previously Carlo’s Coffee Kitchen) when he worked for a nationwide chain of coffee shops. He knew coffee was so much better than what he had to serve there and was desperate to show Milton Keynes that was the case. Carlo now partners with importers and companies that pay producers more fairly.
He offers roasted coffee beans (whole or ground), coffee subscriptions, various bits of brewing equipment, coffee cups from the immensely talented Andrew Macdermott and now he is offering home Barista classes! A Home Barista Class would be the PERFECT gift for a coffee lover. From a Latte Art Class (£40 for 1 hour) to Espresso Classes (£50 for 1 hour), you’ll learn to improve your coffee skills.
Coffee gift subscriptions are also available, starting at £18.75 and range from 3 months to one year on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Coffee will be rotated throughout the subscription so that the recipient can try all the different coffees Carlo has to offer. Flexible options of having it delivered locally or delivered nationwide.
MK Cookery School
MK Cookery School is based in Broughton. The school hosts cookery classes for a range of different cuisines, as well as covering various techniques. It’s a great gift idea for a fellow foodie or budding cook. The classes are small so there’s ample opportunity to meet new people whilst learning tips and tricks on the way.
A group of Northampton-based female Food Entrepreneurs have come together to launch a brand new business “Northampton Spice.” Their artisan gift box business will feature a variety of products offering different options each season, making Northampton Spice the perfect gift for the discerning and curious chef. The four companies are Nakasero, Bite Me Spices, EHCO Foods and Vicky’s Kitchen.
Inside the box, you’ll find Nakasero’s award-winning Giardiniera Italian relish, Bite Me Spices’ award-winning Habanero & Red Onion Relish, Vicky’s Kitchen’s Great Taste award-winning Hot Pepper Sauce and Eh-Co’s Kekem Spice Rub.
Now Now South African Food
Now Now was born in 2013 after its founder, Jane, entered a National food competition and was encouraged by the judge that Bobotie was a necessity in the UK! She had longed to sell Bunny Chow and with the Street Food revolution beginning, she started selling Bunny Chow at her local market in Hitchin on Saturday mornings.
Not only does Jane create incredible South African food, but has created these amazing spice kit blends so that you can experience proper South African flavour at home. You can buy the kits individually (£4.50 each) or in a gift box for £18 which would make a great stocking filler. Inside, you’ll find a Bobotie Curry Spice Kit (South Africas National dish, this is a mild and slightly sweet flavour), a Durban Curry Spice Kit ( Durban is known for its spicy curries and this doesn’t disappoint. So flavourful with a spice kick, this is so delicious!) and a Cape Malay Curry Spice Kit (flavours from Cape Town. Medium spiced with deep African flavours, totally yummy!) The kits are suitable for vegans and are gluten-free.
Paris House is an elegant and truly unique restaurant set in the stunning 22-acre deer park of the Woburn Estate in Bedfordshire. It is the perfect setting to enjoy exciting food, fabulous wines and Great British Hospitality.
Executive Chef and Owner, Phil Fanning, bought Paris House with his wife, Claire, in 2013. They offer incredible seasonal tasting menus, which use top-class ingredients and fabulous flavour combinations to take you on a culinary journey that is unmatched in Herts, Beds & Bucks. Try sommelier, Howie’s, inventive wine pairing to bring out the very best in food and wine.
Paris House was originally built in 1878 as part of The Paris International Exhibition called ‘The Streets of Nations’ on the Rue des Nations in Paris. It was boarded on each side by 28 pavilions representing 28 countries. The 9th Duke of Bedford fell in love with the building, had it dismantled, shipped piece by piece and rebuilt in the stunning grounds of Woburn Abbey. On arrival at Woburn, its fascinating history continues – more information is available on request.
If you want to really treat one of your favourite foodies this Christmas, you could do worse than a gift voucher for Paris Hous! It is a truly special experience.
Read more: Returning to Paris House, Woburn
Practical Gift Box
Practical Gift Box is owned by Jill, a mum of 3, based in Olney. She started the business in 2020 from her kitchen table. The idea came after some close friends gave her a care package filled with personal, helpful gifts chosen specifically to comfort and be extremely useful during a stint in hospital. Practical Gift Box aims to make gift-giving convenient and fun but to also take the headache out of searching for thoughtful and relevant gifts.
Ground Coffee Gift Set (£22.90) is a really thoughtful gift for a coffee enthusiast. Packed full of coffee, biscuits, fun mints and a useful coffee scoop and clip, this hamper is both interesting and considerate and makes a great gift choice for any coffee lover. Supporting social, economic, and environmental sustainability, each coffee pouch is Rain Forest Alliance certified. All coffees are single origin and come with tasting notes and information regarding the coffee beans, coffee growers and much more. This gift box is ready to give or can be mailed directly to the special person in your life.
Learn how to cook amazing Punjabi food from the comfort of your own home with MK’s award-winning street food vendor Saf’s Kitchen. Once again, Saf will be doing virtual cooking classes. These classes make a great gift because you can do them at home with your friends and family and enjoy a meal you’ve cooked straight away. Saf will provide all the ingredients you need, as well as a beautiful masala dhaba to keep your spices in.
Choose from a Beginner’s Class (£125) where you’ll make pakoras, onion bhajis, a traditional chicken curry, seasonal veg curry and chapati; an Intermediate Class (£150) where you’ll make Aloo Tikki, chana dal with Tarka, traditional lamb curry, mutter pilau rice and green chutney; Or a Samosa class (£135) where you’ll make 25+ of Saf’s signature samosas and two fillings. I’ve done all three classes and they are so much fun!
Price is per household. To order a gift voucher for Christmas and find out dates, text Saf on 07790 382944.
Tea Lab Company
Tea Lab is an independent, family-owned, premium tea brand based in Northamptonshire. Their core values are focused on sustainable, natural and organic products with great taste and innovation. From product to packaging, sustainability is at the core of their business. Tea Lab is a passionate supporter of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a conservation and elephant rehabilitation charity, by donating 10% of proceeds from sales of their African rooibos tea range.
They offer a wide range of organic and natural teas, accessories and thoughtfully curated gifting. Their test tube gift sets of loose-leaf tea come with a pack of fillable tea bags and a gift note, each test tube makes 2-3 cups of tea. Choose a seasonal Christmas box of warming festive teas or make your own personalised gift box by choosing your own teas online.
The Shack is Milton Keynes’ one-stop shop for everything BBQ and outdoor cooking. Based in Bletchley, The Shack has been trading for just over a year now but their passion for outdoor cooking started a long time before that – Food has always played a big part in their lives! They sell everything from rubs and seasonings up to full-size catering BBQ equipment.
The Shack’s BBQ classes would be the ultimate gift for any foodie or anyone wanting to learn the drops of cooking with fire. Dan and I have done one of the classes and it was one of the most valuable cooking classes we have ever done, and we still use our skills on our own Kamado Grill. The Shack’s BBQ classes have become very popular over the last year and offer a great insight into the different styles of BBQ and the dishes you can cook on them. These classes are great for all occasions from birthdays to a couples day out. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting new additions for 2023!
Buy vouchers or book a BBQ class on The Shack’s website. You can also stop by their store in Bletchley: Unit 4B, 10 First Avenue Denbigh, Milton Keynes MK1 1DN.
YMCA Milton Keynes
As part of their winter fundraising initiative, YMCA has released a recipe book just in time for Christmas. SoupFest is a collection of 24 nourishing, delicious soup recipes contributed by businesses and community groups across the City. The book is just £5 and will help support their work. This makes an ideal stocking filler for a foodie!
YMCA is the only provider of supported housing dedicated to young adults aged 18-35 in Milton Keynes. Since 1981, it has supported more than 10,000 young people. It provides practical, emotional and employment support to help our residents belong, contribute and thrive. Its state-of-the-art campus and move on accommodation provide homes for up to 242 young adults. Its social enterprises – such as its café, HomeGround – offers work experience, training and employment opportunities for its residents.
You can buy SoupFest online. It’s also available from HomeGround MK or from The Brasserie at MK College.
I hope this Christmas Gift Guide has inspired you to shop small this Christmas. If you do decide to support these businesses please let them know who sent you their way and share your purchases with my Facebook Community Group, Eat & Explore MK. You can also share your local finds on Instagram with the hashtag #EatandExploreMiltonKeynes.
Explore the other gift guides:
What foodie gifts and experiences will you buy for Christmas?