Irish companies and businesses were more inventive than ever this year and there are lots of gifts that offer something extra.
From beautiful hampers with accompanying online how-to videos to virtual food and drink pairing masterclasses, these are presents with something more.
An expert hand
Éalú Experiences offers a diverse range of beautiful gift boxes, from a family baking masterclass with chef Kevin Dundon (from €60.50) to a classic wine and cheese box, complete with a wine tasting video with wine expert Brigid O’Hora (€66.55). Our pick, however, is the Irish coffee and macaroons experience from Michelin-starred Chapter One (€130). The box contains all the key ingredients to create this classic drink and there's a link to an online how-to with the Chapter One team. Ealuexperiences.com/shop
Whiskey and food pairing at home
Powerscourt Distillery has transformed its popular whiskey and food pairing experience into something that can be enjoyed at home. Along with a Fercullen whiskey Trilogy pack, the pairing hampers are packed with artisan Irish food including salamis from the Wooded Pig, Wicklow Bán cheese and Sheridan’s crackers. There’s also a 2-for-1 voucher for the distillery tour, a link to a Spotify playlist and a link to a food and whiskey presentation with Santina Kennedy, Powerscourt’s food specialist. Prices start at €90, Powerscourtdistillery.com
The gin experience
A great gift idea for the gin lover in your life, The Stillgarden Experience Box (€100) from Dublin’s Stillgarden Distillery is full of essentials, including Stillgarden Social Gin, two tall glasses, two reusable straws, a miniature Xmas Cake Gin and miniature Distillers’ Edition Gin as well as garnishes. It also contains two passes for the distillery’s cocktail masterclass and two garden tour gift cards. You can buy it online at www.stillgardendistillery.com and booking for the tours is essential.
(You can read our interview with Stillgarden co-founder Viki Baird here.)
A virtual tour (with real whiskey)
Teeling Whiskey has created some great experiences including one based around its acclaimed distillery tours, allowing whiskey fans to enjoy whiskeys at home - along with a virtual masterclass. The Trinity Virtual Tour & Tasting Pack (€25) comprises three mini bottles of the Teeling Trinity Range (Small Batch, Single Grain, Single Malt), a tasting mat from the distillery, a nosing whiskey glass and a link to a virtual Teeling Distillery walk-through and masterclass with a distillery tour guide. Teelingdistillery.com