A few years ago I decided I had enough ‘stuff’ (not including cook books – you can never have too many of those). And so I made a concerted effort to buy less stuff. At around the same time I thought other people must also be going through the same. And so I started to give the gift of food. It’s the best gift ever! It started with cheese, fish and meat hampers but then I started to make my own edible gifts like chocolates, cookies, fudge, cheese savouries and other confectionary. Edible gifts are so delicious and thoughtful. They’re rewarding to make and special to receive. I put lots of love into my treats which is surely the most valuable thing I have to give.
Here, I’ve put together my 6 top tips to help you achieve successful edible gift giving. As I don’t often get the chance to deliver delicious treats in person I don’t get to see the joy and delight on loved ones faces. At least, I hope that’s what I bring them! I’ve learnt a few valuable lessons on my gift giving journey. I hope they’ll help you avoid making the same mistakes as me.
1. Plan, plan and plan some more!
The aim of the game is to make something delicious and ensure it gets where it needs to be on time and intact. You can’t do any of this without planning. So plan what you’re going to make and when you’re going to make it and, if you can, maybe factor in a bit of time for dealing with disasters. If your first attempts go as well as mine or you’re as bad as me at planning, then trust me, you’ll need it.
2. Check last posting times
If you won’t need to post your gifts then, lucky you, skip to no. 3! If you’ll need to post then read on! Knowing the last posting times is absolutely crucial! Especially if it needs to get there on a Saturday. Weekend delivery is a bit tricky sometimes. Hands up if you’ve accidently missed last posting then, to avoid gifting something that would arrive past it’s best, had to eat what you’ve made and then made it again for posting on Monday……….And I did the decent thing and came clean. The second attempt was much better anyway so everyone came out a winner.
3. Get it there in one piece and in perfect condition
There’s no point spending time on creating something beautiful if you’re not going to transport it in something sturdy. Make sure the treats aren’t going to move around and pack lots of cushion material in to deal with any knocks on their journey. I pack gifts in cellophane bags decorated with a gift tag and ribbon and then put the bags in sturdy gift tins, with some bubble wrap. It’s also a good idea to wrap the tin in lots more bubble wrap and then put it in a box. The tins get sent back and forth. Some are a bit misshapen now but they certainly do the job!
4. Stick to familiar ground
It might be a good idea to make something you’ve made before, you know, just in case it doesn’t work out. Of course this doesn’t help you if you want to try new things. Make new things – but do it when there isn’t any pressure and you’ve time to make mistakes (and eat them!) and make changes if you need to. I made fudge for Christmas presents one year. I’d never made fudge before so started practicing in October to make sure I could get it right. We ate a lot of fudge! It took me seven attempts – seven! – to make something I was happy with. And even then every batch I gifted was different, I mean, special and unique. Each batch was delicious. I always ensure I personally check the quality of every single treat that leaves this house. It is my duty.
5. Consider the weather
The reason for this is two fold. Firstly, moisture is the enemy of confectionary so if it’s going to be torrential rain on the day you’ve scheduled to make your treats maybe change your day or your treat. Make sure you’ve got a Plan B up your sleeve (and maybe a Plan C). Secondly, chocolate doesn’t transport well in warm weather so wait for cooler weather before sending those luxurious chocolate truffles to your mum.
6. Pick something your loved ones will enjoy
It seems a bit obvious this one but I’m reminded of fudge-gate 2015. Mum informed me that she doesn’t eat fudge after I’d just handed her a box of the stuff. Dad got to eat the whole batch himself so he wasn’t complaining. It did mean mum missed out and I felt bad. Who doesn’t like fudge anyway?! It’s like saying you don’t like puppies. For optimum gifting success it’s best to make something your loved ones will actually enjoy.
Despite these excellent tips I still manage to make mistakes. Unfortunately, the cardamom and rosewater biscuity beauties in the picture did not arrive in the same condition in which they were packed. On a positive note, I heard the crumbs were particularly delicious sprinkled over ice cream. In this instance I’m thankful I wasn’t there to witness the face of dismay and disappointment. But I do hope I got points for effort. Happy gifting!