Give your family a real taste of Andalucía this holiday season with a DIY Andalucian Christmas hamper. By gathering together a few traditional foodie things, you can create a really special gift set for those back at home. Here are some ideas of things to include in your Christmas hamper. Tip: This idea is really great for those actually flying back this Christmas. All you have to do is book a suitcase and fill it with your Andalucian Christmas hampers to save on expensive shipping. Aceite de oliva extra virgen Andalucian olive oil is famous for being one of the most delicious in the world, so why not get a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil from your local press? In December the shelves will be freshly stocked with new bottles from this September's harvest. Manchego Curado
Manchego curado[/caption] Manchego cheese is the Spanish version of cheddar, a hard cheese that melts amazingly and is fantastic just sliced and eaten as tapas with a bit of olive oil drizzled over it. You can buy eighths, quarters, halves or even full cheeses at all supermarkets all vacuum-sealed for freshness. Fino There is nothing more perfect than a glass of sherry accompanied by a tapas of jamón serrano. Instead of a bottle of wine, fino would make a lovely addition to your Christmas hamper. Chorizo I don't know ANYONE who doesn't like Chorizo. The smokey Spanish sausage is a Christmas hamper essential and they are many varieties to chose from that are readily available (sweet, smokey, spicy etc.). You could also include other types of Spanish sausage like salchichon or lomo. Turrón Stemming from the Moorish occupation, Turrón is a sweet nougat-like bar traditional around the holiday period. There are two mains types, a soft turrón or turrón blando that's smooth and peanut butter-like and my personal favourite hard turrón or turrón duro, which is a thick, crunchy nougat candy, studded traditionally with almonds. Jamón Serrano This one's a classic and an absolute must-have in a Spanish themed hamper. Your friends and family will love you for introducing them to Jamón Iberico.
Other ideas: honey with almonds, olives, a jar of roasted and skinned red peppers, polvorones etc. Have I missed anything out? What are you going to include in your Andalucian Christmas hamper?