Thursday 20 November 2014

Hampers of happiness

How's your Christmas shopping going so far? Got it all wrapped up or are you yet to start? I love the season of giving but finding great gifts to suit everyone you know and love can be hard.

That's why I love the idea of hampers and have put together my own in the past as way of creating something special for someone special. With a hamper, you can collect together lots of bits and pieces you think they might like into a gift just for them. I've had these made for me by others, including beauty treats and a bundle of summer bits and bobs including popcorn, chocolates and a bottle of Pimms, and I've put together a food basket for my Dad in the past, full of things he likes so he could enjoy them over the festive season.

But what if there was a company who could put together a food hamper to suit someone you know, taking care of it all for you? That would make life a bit easier, wouldn't it?!

That's why I was so excited to be introduced to Darling Bites.

Specialising in 'Great British Treats', this is a fab online company that has a tempting range of hampers and treat boxes offering a fantastic range of food fayre. Prices start from £17 and there is something to tickle every tastebud, from the Sweet Dreams hamper for those with a sweet tooth to a Late Breakfast hamper of brilliant brunchtime delicacies, everyone is catered for and every hamper and box is bursting with award-winning British artisan products.

Sounds great, right? Now you can see why I was so keen to give Darling Bites a go!

The question is, which hamper or box did I choose? Hmm, decisions, decisions.

Chocolate. Brilliant stuff, isn't it? I'm pretty sure that you'll agree with the majority of the population and have a fondness for chocolate treats and being the season and all, I just had to plump for the Darling Bites Perfect Chocolate Indulgence Hamper (RRP: £37.99). 

Filled with care and choc full (sorry) of chocolatey goodness, this hamper is rather special indeed. I love finding and trying new brands or discovering niche or artisan foodie treats, which is why I'm a little bit in love with the whole thinking behind Darling Bites. A selection of nibbles and treats, all different and unique, selected and packaged to bring joy to your, or your friend or family member's face - what could be better?

So, what was in my hamper of chocolate delights? Nine different chocolate treats, that's what! 

Here's a detailed list of all the products included in this hamper - try not to drool too much:

1. Island Bakery Organics Chocolate Limes (150g)
Enticingly different, these organic biscuits are made on the Isle of Mull, right at the edge of Scotland. The unique zestiness of lime merges perfectly with the richness of the chocolate to produce a truly delightful sensation.
2. Lir Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Truffle Bar (100g)
Created by the Irish luxury chocolate company Lir, the truffle bar is made from original Bailey’s Irish cream Liquor  and rich milk chocolate.
3. Jaz and Juls Chilli con Choccy Hot Chocolate (60g)
Made by chirpy hot chocolate specialists Jaz and Juls, this hot chocolate consists of 71% cocoa solids with nutmeg, vanilla and chilli, and each pack is serves two full mugs. The chocolate is organically grown by a workers’ co-operative on the Caribbean island of Grenada (even using solar energy to power their equipment!).
4. Artisan Du Chocolate Caffe e Latte Bar (45g)Direct from their atelier in Kent, this gorgeous chocolate bar combines Columbian coffee with locally sourced milk, resulting in a rich, full-bodied chocolate with a wonderful silky texture.
5. Root & Wings Organic Chocolate Coated Orange Biscuits (130g)
These crisp orange biscuits are thickly coated in delicious organic milk chocolate. They not only taste good, the DO good: Root & wings committed to donating 10% of its profits to charities concerning the needs of children
6. Seed and Bean Organic Cornish Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate Bar (85g)Made from rare Ecuadorian ‘nacional cocoa’ beans and blended with smoked sea salt harvested from the clearest of Cornwall’s 'Grade A' classified waters. The chocolate is 100% ethically sourced, and tastes 100% heavenly.
7. The Grown Up Chocolate Company Crunchy Praline Wonder Bars (65g)
Developed by luxury chocolate maker James Ecclestone, these twin bars are made of caramelised wafer enticingly packed with sumptuous praline and encased in rich milk chocolate.
8. Willie's Cacao Ginger and Lime (50g)
Crafted in England from beans discovered in Sierra Leone. The chocolate has rich, deep flavours, and is therefore well complemented with the tangy bite of ginger and lime. It is part of a series created by Artisan chocolatier Willie Harcourt-Cooze, inspired by his travels in search of great cocoa beans.
9.Berry Scrumptious Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Fudge (70g)The Handmade gourmet dark chocolate fudge, is topped with a coating made of raspberries are grown in the family farm in Aberdeenshire (on the north east coast of Scotland). It tastes divine, and quite literally - miles away from mass-produced goods.

I found the website easy to navigate and there's a great selection of hampers to choose from. When my chosen hamper arrived, it was well packaged and I was impressed by the presentation and the variety and quality of the contents. Each boxed or wrapped item made my mouth water and it was exciting to take each item out in turn to see what chocolatey goodness would be next.

The Darling Bites Chocolate Indulgence Hamper is a great gift to give someone who's a bit of a choc consoure and there's plenty of other really interesting options for foodies. I think the hampers represent good value, as the brand range is varied and different to what you will find in the supermarket, and for that reason, and the quality of the presentation, I can thoroughly recommend them as brilliant Christmas gift ideas. 

If you order any hamper or box from Darling Bites before 1st January 2015, you can receive free delivery by using the code WINTER2014.

* Note: I was lucky enough to receive my chosen chocolate hamper for the purposes of this review but my opinions are all my own.

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