Enjoy a cosy night in or delight your loved ones with these scrummy cheese gift baskets
If you are a lover of fine and gourmet cheeses and are looking for a perfect gift to send to friends and family, to celebrate an event, or if you are just looking for an excuse to make a night in just a little more luxurious, a cheese hamper may very well be what you are looking for.
Beautifully packaged, filled with curated selections of gourmet cheeses and carefully paired with a mouth-watering variety of accompaniments, there is just something so exciting about receiving and carefully unpacking a fine cheese hamper.
With so many companies offering cheese hampers these days, however, it can be a bit tricky to find the best option out there. That is why we have put together our list of companies that we think are the best in the UK at delivering high quality and beautiful cheese hampers, as well as hamper selections that are as delicious as they are delightful.
Cheese hampers starting at: about £29
Oxfordshire-based company Clearwater Hampers (and their website Hampers.com) has been delivering tasty food gift baskets by mail since 1979, and their experience certainly shows. The company offers an excellent selection of hampers, ranging from the chocolate-centric to vegan, and has earned a stellar reputation for their customer service and delivery.
In fact, they offer free standard delivery to most of the UK, making them a great option if you or someone you love lives a bit out of the way.
In terms of cheese hampers, they do have a fine selection, ranging from an affordable but delectable wine and cheese (£29) to a more all-out, cheese, chocolate, gin and wine stocked hampers for those grand occasions that are worth a splurge (£335).
From sweet and sharp extra matures to aromatic and creamy traditionally smoked, there are cheeses to fit almost every taste preference. The portions are also quite generous compared to many competitors (200g), so you will be able to enjoy your cheese for longer. With that said, the company does seem to have a bias towards that traditional hamper staple- cheddar.
Paired with these cheeses is an assortment of gourmet accompaniments that go well beyond typical hamper fare, ranging from cognac-infused liver pâtes to spiced brandy jams. As with their cheese, most of the paired foods are from UK companies with the exception of their wines, which are typically fine selections from France and Portugal.
We recommend you check out their
For Beer and Cheese Lovers
There’s nothing quite like the timeless, wholesome and filling ploughman’s lunch,
Each hamper contains three full sized beers from traditional Bristol based brewer, Butcombe – a bitter, an IPA and a golden ale.
All are of excellent quality and their flavours pair superbly with the rich and tangy taste of the award-winning extra mature cheddar (Snowdonia Black Bomber) that perhaps forms the heart of the ploughman’s lunch.
Also included are a caramelised red onion pickle, some pickled and peeled onions and savoury, textured Ale crackers made from hops, wheat, barley, malt and ale. The sweet and savory notes of the pairings go well with the strong cheese and hoppy beer and are even a treat on their own if you would rather keep them for later.
All told, with hoppy beers, strong cheddar and delectable and savoury pairings, the Ploughman’s Beer Hamper is a perfect way to recreate that iconic picnic staple and will certainly tickle the fancy of beer and cheese lovers everywhere.
Cheese hampers starting at: £34.50
A family owned business located in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Hampergifts has been sending out beautifully decorated and filled hampers since 2005.
Hampergifts offers a truly impressive selection of hampers, from artisanal chocolate hampers to scotch whiskey hampers to spa treatment-filled pamper hampers, the company offers gifts that suit pretty much every taste and occasion.
In fact, there is very little you won’t find at Hampergifts.
There is a good selection of cheese hampers on offer, from the essential cheese and pâté to cheese, chocolate and wine filled extravaganzas that are perfect for a crowd (or a very opulent night in).
In terms of cheeses, they do include more variety than many other competitors- from red leicesters to stiltons to traditional cheddars. The hampers are filled with suitably luxurious pairings, as well, with savoury pâtés, fine Belgian chocolates, high quality fruits and nuts and far more to tickle the senses and delight the taste buds.
While the company sadly does not offer free shipping on its gifts, they do offer flat rate shipping across the UK (£6.95 UK mainland / £12 Northern Ireland), which is helpful as these hampers can get quite bulky.
Finally, Hampergifts does invest quite a bit of time and effort in presentation. Hampers typically come in nice wicker baskets and are decorated with ribbon and other trimming that make receiving and opening them almost as much of a delight as eating them.
We recommend you check out their
For lovers of Port and Cheese
When it comes to cheese and wine, there is almost no more iconic a pairing than a full-bodied port and a creamy stilton.
Presented in an eyecatching white wicker basket, this cheese and wine hamper centers around an award winning, 150g wedge of traditional Blue Stilton. Handmade from Nottinghamshire milk using a vegetarian rennet (making it vegetarian friendly), this is an aged, crumbly cheese with a distinctive and marble-like blue streaking and an intense, creamy and somewhat salty flavour.
Complimenting the cheese is a 75 cl bottle of Dow’s highly rated and enjoyable Ruby Port. This is a full bodied fortified wine whose bright, fruity flavor balances the stout and bold flavour of the blue stilton.
The accompaniments go well with the port and cheese combination, particularly pairing with the blue stilton by adding more essential sweetness to the hamper. There is a small jar of cheese makers pickle, a tomato chutney, pralines, and coconut & hazelnut biscuits.
With a decent amount of cheese, a fine port and a good selection of food pairings to go with them, we think this port and cheese hamper offers excellent good value for money and would definitely be a luxurious way to spend an evening.
Cheese hampers starting at: £25.97
Located in Perth, the Gateway to the Highlands, Highland Fayre showcases some of the best of Scottish fare at very reasonable prices.
From Cheese and Wine to Chocolate to Scottish treat-filled hampers, there is a great deal to choose from. and that helpfully includes vegan, gluten-free and diabetic-friendly offerings.
Where possible, the food and drink selections are sourced from Scottish companies and are suitably high quality, with delectable assortments of moreish cakes, biscuits, jams, puddings and even unique venison and game pâtes on offer.
Similarly, Highland Fayre’s cheese hampers are stocked with hearty portions (usually 200g) of fine Scottish cheeses, typically cheddars and blue stiltons, and accompanied by luxurious local and fairly artisanal pairings, such as handmade oatcakes, filled chocolates, chutneys, pâtes and more. As of writing, there are only wine and craft beer cheese hampers, and sadly no Scottish whiskey and cheese hampers available.
Hampers come nicely and decoratively presented, with aesthetically pleasing choices such as natural seagrass containers, fluted trays and even paper rope/cross thatched picnic style hampers.
Delivery, while not free, is available for a flat fee (£7.80 UK mainland / £18 UK islands), which is useful as these packages can get quite heavy for post.
We recommend you check out their
A delightful cheese and chutney hamper
If cheese and chutney is more to your taste, you should strongly consider Highland Fayre’s Cheese and Chutney Gift Tray.
The hamper includes three kinds of Scottish cheddars – a subtle mustard cheddar, an oak smoked cheddar and a whiskey-infused Kilbride – each with their own distinct, smooth and rich flavour.
The complex and often savoury flavour of these Scottish cheddars is further complemented by a selection of locally produced tasty and tangy chutneys, notably jars of pear, apple & ginger and tomato and red pepper.
The hamper also includes handmade chilli oatcakes, a traditional cheese accompaniment whose mildly spicy nature adds a touch of heat to the experience and goes perfectly with a chilled cheese and chutney spread.
Nicely presented in a Red Fluted Gift Tray, the Cheese and Chutney Gift Tray makes for an affordable and delectable cheese experience straight from the Gateway to the Highlands.
What to Look for in a Cheese Hamper
Introduced to England from France way back in the 11th century, hampers have become a traditional and highly popular treat for just about any occasion.
Luxurious and gourmet, cheese hampers can be sent as a gift to delight friends and loved ones or ordered as an indulgent treat to compliment an exquisite dinner or quiet night at home.
Broadly speaking, there are three things you should look for in a quality cheese hamper.
Cheese selection is perhaps the most critical part of the cheese hamper (after all, it is in the name).
Forming the heart of the hamper, look for hampers that include cheeses with a bold, strong flavor to them. Now is not the time for mild and subtle hints.
The cheese flavour is the star of the show, to speak, and you will want a cheese whose taste will stand out.
Cheddar is often a popular choice, and you typically won’t go wrong as it is one of the most popular and iconic cheeses in the UK. Other popular choices include siltons and red leicesters. All three of these cheeses typically become stronger in flavour as they age, so look for mature cheeses.
You may also consider cheeses that have been smoked or infused with interesting additives, such as port or brandy, which can give them a bolder and more enjoyable profile that is perfect for nibbling.
Ranging from the traditionally seasonal to the uniquely quirky, from fine mulled wine and mince pies to hot chutneys and squid ink pasta, if properly selected cheese hamper accompaniments can set the theme for your entire cheese hamper.
Included Items should pair well with the central cheeses and provide much needed balance. For instance, salty cheeses contrast well with sweet fruits or a port while aged hard cheeses may go well with a Merlot or Prosciutto.
You also should look for hampers that contain a good degree of quality and diversity in accompaniments, as you typically want a good range of items to sample.
As cheese hampers are typically given as a gift, kept for a sophisticated evening or taken out for a picnic.
Wicker is a popular and traditional choice, being flexible, lightweight yet sturdy. There are any number of other aesthetically pleasing options, as well, such as fluted cardboard, but in general you will typically want to order a hamper that is sturdy enough for transport through the mail but pleasing enough to look at when it arrives.