The Mancunion

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Ethical Gifts

All these lists in the national papers of gifts for foodies are great, but if we’re honest who really needs a £50 apron or £250…

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All these lists in the national papers of gifts for foodies are great, but if we’re honest who really needs a £50 apron or £250 knife? Sometimes it’s nice to think of things that are not only useful, practical gifts but also make you feel good about giving or receiving them. Sure, it’s a bit of a cliche in 2013 to talk about locally-produced food, box-ticking for the latest trendy cafe in Northern Quarter that wants to create a certain image for itself, but what if you knew your purchases were really ethical and local, as well as being useful things that someone will really appreciate and enjoy? I’ve been looking for great gifts produced in and around Manchester, and here are my top 3:

No 1:

A cookbook that is so rooted in the North West you should read it aloud in a Mancunian accent

‘Crispy Squirrel and Vimto Trifle’ by Rob Owen Brown, £11.99

Rob is one of my favourite chefs. Northern to his core, he cooks at the Mark Addy – a fabulous pub in Salford, down by the canal opposite the People’s History Museum. His book is the first from a new publishing company which wants to profile local people, and is full of beautiful photography, mouth-watering recipes (with a few slightly challenging-sounding ones using tripe thrown in as well) and really funny anecdotes. It’s a wonderful way to feel connected to the food heritage of the area and also supporting a great new publishing business which is raising the cultural profile of the North West.

No 2:

The Christmas hamper for the animal lover

Black Dog Deli’s Hamper, £45

We’ve all heard of Black Dog Ballroom, perhaps even gone bowling at Dog Bowl, but did you know that this mini-empire now have a deli as well? Their hamper provides a lovely selection of luxuries to excite any foodie, including delicious, grassy spanish olive oil, piquant olives and flavoursome risotto kits. Best of all, £5 from each hamper goes to a dog charity, making it an ethical as well as gastronomic gift.

No 3:

The veg box for the eco-foodie, £6 p/w

A lovely gift for someone who wants to turn each week into a muddy version of the Masterchef invention test. The Food Co-op has been running for over a year now, providing students with locally-sourced, organic veg boxes that contain more veggies than you could possibly get through in a week (although I’m sure it would be very good for you to try)! This gift could not only fend off hunger pangs during the last few weeks of term when loans are running out, but also supports a brilliant student-run society. Win-win!