From spices to selection boxes, the top independent shops for Christmas

Thursday, 9th December 2021 — By Tom Moggach

panettone 24-Eating out

Lina Stores – ‘your best bet for panettone’


Show your support for our wonderful local shops this December. Here’s a round-up of gift ideas for food and drink – pop in or order online:

Kitchen Provisions
This classy shop has an outlet in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross. Kitchen Provisions has built a reputation for its vast range of kitchen knives and esoteric Japanese gadgets. Stocking fillers include cartoon chopsticks, chilli shakers and red cedar incense.

Lina Stores
This much-loved Soho delicatessen has been trading for nearly 80 years and recently expanded into restaurants and online sales. It’s a one-stop shop for Italian produce and your best bet for panettone and pandoro. Flavours range from chocolate and Amarena cherry to pistachio and limoncello. Vegan and gluten-free options also available.

Plentiful Foods Indian Spice
Drummond Street in Euston has been badly impacted by construction works for HS2. At the far end, the legendary spice shop is still trading (numbers 115-119) and offers an unparalleled range of Asian ingredients – such as jaggery, dried methi and millet flour. A clever choice for the adventurous cook. You will need to visit in person as they currently do not trade online.

Situated opposite the Spice Shop, Gupta’s opened back in 1965. It specialises in Indian sweets and savouries such as mithai and sev, with a sideline in own-brand chutneys and tamarind sauce. Everything can be stylishly gift wrapped.

Cobble Lane Cured
This specialist butchery in Islington makes terrific British charcuterie. The team cut, cure, smoke and hang the meat. Favourites include their Islington Saucisson and N1 Soppressata. This month, Cobble Lane have put together a range of Christmas selection boxes, such as the “Home Alone” and “Elf”.

The Ottolenghi empire has deep roots in Islington and Camden Town. The chef’s online shop is a treasure trove of obscure foodie ingredients such as Ajwain seeds and dried black limes. Festive gift ideas include hampers, crackers and stunning linen for the kitchen.

A temple to cheese and wine in Holloway Road. Their “Wonders of England” hamper is packed with three cheeses, a craft beer, Cornish crackers, jam and a champagne-method sparkling wine made in Battersea. Provisions also runs subscriptions services for both natural wines and cheeses.

Bottle Apostle
This wine shop has a branch in Primrose Hill. Staff are highly knowledgeable – so put them through their paces if you want buy someone a special bottle. You will find their Christmas selections online, including cocktail kits, and they offer a wide range of sake rice wine.

Borough Kitchen
This cook shop trades in Hampstead and the new Islington Square development, tucked behind Upper Street. The company is a strong backer of British artisans and ceramicists. The online shop has an extensive range of guides to make life easy, such as “Gifts for the Coffee & Tea Lover”. Borough Kitchen also hosts cookery classes – Japanese Shojin Vegan and Sushi are lined up soon.

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