The Taittinger story begins with a Château – the glorious 18th century Château de la Marquetterie at Pierry in Champagne. Pierre Taittinger was stationed here during the First World War and fell in love with the region and the house. He vowed to return after the war and, in the 1930s, he went back to Champagne, bought the Chateau and founded Taittinger, the iconic Champagne House. This sumptuous cuvée is made in his memory from the grapes grown in ‘Les Folies’, the vineyard that surrounds the Château. A Chardonnay, Pinot Noir blend, Taittinger is made only in tiny amounts from the first pressings. Depth and finesse are enhanced by a small proportion of the blend being fermented in large oak casks and from extended ageing on its lees. Unusual in that it is a single vineyard Champagne, it oozes style and panache with a little extra weight – made with foodies in mind. Taittinger was awarded Gold medals in both the Decanter World Wine Awards and International Wine Challenge awards last year.
Salted caramel panettone
A gorgeously sticky, luxurious salted caramel version of the more familiar citrus peel and raisin panettone. It’s made in Northern Italy by the Filippi family and comes tied up in yellow ribbon thus making it an excellent instant present.
Salted caramel panettone, £24.99/1kg from selfridges.com
In case you need to lug your bottle of champagne with you to Glyndebourne or similar… the pampeano champagne cooler comes with handmade buffalo-hide leather straps for easy carrying. pampeano, inspired by the leatherwork found in the wild Argentinian pampas, also specialize in leather bags, belts, polo equipment (inc customized saddles and stick bags) and dog accessories (classy leads and collars).
pampeano leather champagne holder and nickel bucket, £175 from pampeano.co.uk
Five of the best… Christmas hampers
Charcuterie selection box inc Iberico Bellota jamon, chorizo loop, salchicon Iberico Belotta slices, olives, Marconi almonds and Picos de Pan breadsticks, £50 from Brindisa www.brindisa.com
Nama Artisan Raw Foods
Deluxe hamper inc organic champagne, raw chocolate-making kit, mince pies, Christmas cake, herbal tea, raw sprouted crackers, £140 from namafoods.com
Christmas gift bag for dogs inc red cotton tote bag, advent calendar for dogs, tin of three-bird feast, festive biscuits, £22 from lilyskitchen.co.uk
Fortnum and Mason
The Boxing Day Hamper inc pate, stilton, mini Christmas ham, Boxing Day chutney and Christmas mustard and a bottle of Fleurie, £125 from fortnumandmason.com
The Cotswold Crate, inc a bottle of Leoube red, quince liqueur, a trio of cheeses, smoked salmon, ham, organic Christmas pudding, brandy butter, mince pies, in a wooden crate, £195 from daylesford.com (delivery only on Tues 20 Dec)