You can never start your Christmas shopping too early!
Picking the perfect present for your loved ones can be a challenge, especially this year. Luckily, our talented Taste of Orkney producers have been working hard over recent months to make sure there are plenty of unique, delicious and exciting gift ideas on offer.
Our makers need your support more than ever at the moment, so shop local if you can and get a taste of the islands.
No-one will blame you for relaxing with a glass of something special over the festive period after everything 2020 has thrown at us, and Orkney has plenty of options for anyone looking for a tasty tipple to celebrate with this Christmas. Our three local gin producers have been pulling out all the stops this year, sending bottles of their award-winning gins all over the world.
The Deerness Distillery has just launched its latest product, Vára, a pink gin with citrus and cardamom undertones and a sweet pink rose finish. It is bursting with botanicals including elderflower, lemongrass, red grapefruit and vanilla – a perfect taste of spring in the middle of winter. Order your bottle online from the official website. There are some fantastic hampers on offer too, complete with a mix of gins, tonics and other goodies.
The Orkney Gin Company also has luxury hampers on offer this Christmas, exclusively available via the official website. They come with your chosen bottle of spirit, plus tonics and two Orkney Gin Company glasses. The full range is also available online – including Scotland’s only Akvavit, which claimed three stars at the Great Taste Awards. It’s a Scandinavian spirit traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, so there’s no time like the present.
Kirkwall-based Orkney Distilling has its fantastic Fjórir Gift Sets on offer again this year, featuring four gins from the distillery's popular range. You’ll definitely find the perfect gin for you. The distillery also has plenty of other gift ideas – including t-shirts, hats, glasses and much more. And, if you’re a master mixologist, check out this cocktail inspiration guide from On the Sauce, focusing on the full Orkney Distillery range.
If you’re a craft beer fan then Orkney’s Swannay Brewery has you covered. As well as the full award-winning range, the brewery will be taking advantage of its newly-installed canning line to launch a special festive beer. Merry Dancer is a 3.8% session pale ale that will be available online at the end of November. The brewery also has plans to release some of its aged Orkney Porter – be quick as there is bound to be a rush for this one!
Orkney is famous for its single malt whiskies, and the Scapa Distillery could have the perfect present for you this year. Its Reserve Edition range features cask strength whiskies from 10 to 25-year-old. If you’re looking for a festive special then the 13-year-old Single Cask might be the one – it has blackcurrants, cinnamon and cloves on the nose, with a forest fruits, Christmas spice and baked orange taste.
The Orkney larder is full of fantastic foods to give your Christmas menu an island flavour. Orkney Craft Vinegar’s latest product, Smoked Dulse Vinegar, is made with a mix of handpicked seaweed from Orkney’s west coast and organic dulse from Mara Seaweed in Fife. It's perfect for enhancing your gravy, for seafood or even your pan-fried sprouts. Buy your bottle directly from the official website, complete with free UK shipping. The team also has gift boxes available, featuring the flagship Bere Malt Vinegar, Rosehip Vinegar and the versatile seaweed Sugar Kelp Vinegar.
Seafood from the islands is always a winner at this time of year and Humes Orkney offers a delicious range of smoked mackerel that would be welcome at any table. The oak smoked fillets claimed three stars at the 2020 Great Taste Awards, and the range also includes cayenne, paprika and peppered versions. Also on offer are hampers featuring selected products from the full range, including smoked mackerel, cheese, olives and more. Visit the official website to order yours now.
JP Orkney have been building quite the reputation locally, partly due to their incredible honesty box in Birsay which is full of their delicious homemade products. For Christmas, they’re offering you the chance to get your own taste of Orkney with a selection box of items from the full JP range – including chutneys, jams, piccalilli, tablet and more. Check out the website for to see the complete gift box range, which are all available this festive season with free delivery over £15 in the UK.
Finally, Orkney’s Barony Mill has a very special gift idea on offer this year. You can pick up two bags of the mill’s ancient grain, beremeal, with a copy of food writer Liz Ashowrth’s ‘Book of Bere’ included. Bere has been grown in Orkney for centuries and is milled at the Barony Mill, which features the only working water wheel in the islands. You can use beremeal in almost any baking – from bread to biscuits and pizza to pastry. Order online via the official website.
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The Promoting Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020