Food Gifts on James Martin's Saturday Morning

James Martin invited me to share my top gift tips again this year.

Watch James Martin's Saturday Morning on ITV from 9.30am on 17th December, or head over to ITV online to watch the replay. 

Here’s a few of my favourite things! From pasta making to handmade fermenting crocks, these are the gifts every chef and food-lover would love to find under the tree. 

Find more Food and Cooking gifts.

Happy Cooking! 

Nicola, Sous Chef Founder

Ps. For those who've asked, these are the very jolly shrimp earrings I'm wearing on the show! 

Tree decorations & baubles

These beautiful Christmas tree decorations make a great stocking filler or small gift on their own, or mix and match with other food tree decorations. You could even tie them to your Christmas presents as a fun little decoration!

Bacon Rasher Bauble Tree Decoration

The bacon rasher bauble is perfect for the bacon lovers in your life! Now they can decorate with their favourite breakfast food - hang on the Christmas tree or in your kitchen year-round! 


The stick of butter bauble tree decoration will delight chefs, bakers and foodies alike. This fun food tree decoration is perfect to remind you all festive season that there really is no such thing as too much butter!  

Jewelled Pomegranate Bauble Tree Decoration

Add the jewelled pomegranate bauble tree decoration to your Christmas tree for an elegant touch. This beautiful pomegranate food decoration is embellished with crystals.The gems catch the lights on your tree to reveal this colourful and unique ornament. 


There are 5 ways you can tell a great panettone from something mediocre: 

  1. Country it’s made in- Italy!
  2. Weight - it should feel heavy to hold so you know it is full of great ingredients. The butter percentage is actually higher in the more premium panettone.
  3. Aroma - when you unwrap you should be able to smell it straight away;
  4. Fruit: studded with plentiful and juicy fruit; 
  5. It’ll be tender and tear, like a ‘mozzarella ball’ rather than have a cake-like crumb - that’s from the sourdough mother yeast. 

Browse the best panettone

Sous Chef Milano Panettone, 1kg

Made exclusively for Sous Chef, based on years of expertise and tasting. We have selected the very best panettone to put our name to. Made using the finest ingredients - rich butter, free-range eggs and huge jewels of candied citrus fruits. 

Before being wrapped in luxury printed paper, inspired by the architecture of Milan, the traditional home of panettone.

But what makes it so special? The rich dough is made from a closely-guarded ‘mother’ yeast, the secret to the most flavoursome and lightest sourdough cake. That ‘mother’ is a sourdough starter fed daily to ensure the freshest and lightest texture that has the cakes their signature ‘tear’.

The mother is panettoni producers’ secret to their signature texture - the iconic tearable strips. 

The mother baked into this panettone is close to 100 years old. It is only allowed three authorised visitors. The grandmother is secured in a bank vault. Nothing is left to chance.

Fiasconaro x Dolce & Gabbana Citrus & Saffron Panettone 1kg - £46.50

The limited edition Fiasconaro x Dolce & Gabbana citrus & saffron panettone is a Christmas treat to remember. The panettones are packed with large pieces of candied Sicilian lemon, orange and mandarin peels, with a hint of exotic saffron. Each panettone is presented in a hatbox-style tin adorned with Dolce & Gabbana’s vibrant designs. 


Corzetti Pasta Stamp Star

Corzetti (sometimes called croxetti or curzetti) are round pasta discs stamped with ornate designs. Not only are they decorative, but help the sauce coat the pasta better for fullest flavours of your dish in every bite.

They are made of sustainable beechwood in Milan, Italy, just a stone’s throw away from Lake Maggiore in Northwest Italy, where Corzetti pasta originates.

Pasta is ultra regional in Italy - and these pasta stamps are typical of Liguria - in the northwest. They even date back to the middle ages. There’s a record of them back to 1300 - in “Liber de coquina” - one of the oldest Medieval cookbooks. 

Corzetti Pasta Stamp Lily

Ligurian noble families would have their coats of arms engraved on the wooden moulds - in the 1400-1500s. A very cool way to serve dinner! And at weddings the bride and groom might have their initials stamped on them.

The pasta is a fine dough made using 00 flour and egg pasta.

Sauces might be Genovese basil pesto - the region is the home of great basil - in fact the area has a regional designation for basil growing!  Or a white agliata sauce - with garlic, breadcrumbs, milk and olive oil  - plus walnuts or pine nuts - blended together to make a white sauce.

Chitarra Pasta Cutter, 24x48cm

In contrast, from central / southern Italy there’s the Chitarra - Strung like a guitar, it’s a way to cut fine strips of pasta, rather than extruding them (spaghetti) or hand slicing like you might with tagliatelle.

You’d use semola flour - finely milled durum wheat semolina - and eggs which gives a different flavour, a yellower pasta, and has a springy ‘bite’. That’s used in central or southern Italy - where the temperatures are hotter, and the higher protein wheat can grow.

In the north you’ll only see 00 flour - it needs eggs to hold together as pasta. Whereas in the south pasta durum wheat pasta is made with eggs or with water. 

The shape is very simlar to tonarelli - roman pasta famous for serving with cacio pepe sauce. The final pasta shapes end up square rather than round like spaghetti.

Typical Abruzzo recipes would to serve this with would be olive oil, tomatoes and chilli - or perhaps a meat ragu from pork or lamb.


Fermenting Crocks

These pots are handmade by a Dutch potter, in a pottery started over 70 years ago. 

They mainly make sauerkraut pots but have recently created a pot specially for kimchi. They use toxic free glazes and the finest clay. Then all pots are fired at 1220 °C / 2228 °F in electric kilns and in gas kilns.

The key thing for fermentation is a salty environment, and absence of air. Therefore a way of keeping the ingredients submerged is really helpful. So both pots have innovative ways of expelling the air.

Handmade Stoneware Fermenting Crock in Green 2 litre

The classic pot - with a rim for pouring water into that creates a ‘water seal’.

As the bacteria multiply they create carbon dioxide and you’ll see it fizzing. Over time the pot will fill with carbon dioxide, displacing the air.

The pot they call the ‘kimchi pot’

It’s really innovative!

The glazed weight means it won’t pick up odours of garlic or fish sauce, nor stain with the red chilli pepper

The elastic band is unique - it presses down continually to keep any vegetables cabbage submerged

All you need to ferment with the pot is vegetables of choice, salt, sugar and gochugaru (Korean chilli powder); kimchi from this pot takes as little as 4 days to ferment and lasts 10 days in the fridge. 

Food in Tubes

Leone Gianduja Hazelnut Chocolate Spread Tube, 115g

Made from the finest DOP Piemonte hazelnuts (world-renowned) and rich Gianduja cocoa, this is the ultimate indulgent chocolate hazelnut spread

It's also palm oil-free, unlike Nutella, and completely vegan! It's delicious squeezed straight onto toast.

Gochujang Tube - £5.45

One of Korea’s most famous condiments - fermented soy beans and chilli. Often used as an ingredient, but also a dipping sauce stirred with lemon juice, vinegar or sugar.

Perfect for on-the-go, for adding rich umami spiciness in a simple squeeze

Olive oils

It’s currently a very busy time across Europe, as the olive harvest is well underway - as olives are harvested and pressed throughout November and December.

And so it’s currently our last chance to enjoy this year’s harvest before the new season oil starts to arrive in the UK from late Jan through to March.

Oils vary hugely by region and country - with the varieties grown reflecting the type of food that is typical in that area. Provencale oils from France tends to be more delicate and smooth; in Northern Italy again it’s delicate as fish is one of the main dishes in the region; yet further south in central Tuscany - you’ll find heavy bold oils.

These oils all span different flavour profiles, and some oils that are packaged in an interesting way or fun flavours for a bit of fun as Christmas presents. 

A blend of three olives to make a good Italian oil , again from Abruzzo.

I love the idea of really treating an ingredient with love - brushing it over the fish or meat, or over tomatoes. 

Puglian Olive Oil with Basil in Terracotta Bottle, 250ml

People now want to gift olive oil in bottles they can reuse, and so terracotta is hugely popular. 

Find more Food and Cooking gifts.


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