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Monday 5 December 2022

The Gourmet on the Road guide to great Christmas gifts

Whether you are after a nifty tech gadget, a delicious drink, something special or a sweet treat for under the tree, the Gourmet on the Road team has you covered.

Kobo Clara 2E e-reader

Avid readers can finish at least three or four books during a week away, which can mean extra luggage or lugging around a heavy laptop. This new-release e-reader is light as a feather and is billed as being perfect for eco-conscious readers who want to read on the go. Made from ocean-bound and recycled plastic it is waterproof and has heaps more storage and battery life than previous models and can carry up to 12,000 eBooks with 16GB of storage. It is claimed you can read for weeks on a single charge. You can also download library books. This is one I will keep on using every time I travel. $229. 

Grey Goose Gift Pack

The French vodka brand Grey Goose is world famous, and Santa has a limited supply of special gift packs containing a 700ml bottle and a special steel spritz cooler that is designed to keep your vodka cocktails chilled even on the warmest of summer days. This premium vodka is made winter wheat from Picardy and spring water from Gensac in the Cognac region. Disturbingly delicious. Available at Dan Murphy’s and select independent stores. $70.

Victorinox Foldable Paring Knife

Looking for an ideal knife for shaving some ham off the bone, or cutting some cheese when on a picnic? This one comes up trumps. This Swiss Classic Foldable Paring Knife is a multipurpose tool that is ideal for anyone on the move. This "take-anywhere blade" has a wavy edge and is extremely versatile. It comes in six colourful handle options and has a reputation for endurance whether it hits the road with you or lives next to the fruit bowl. And it folds away to fit in your pocket when you are on the road. $39.95.

Wild Nectar Honey

Wild Nectar are the biggest honey producer in Australia but have an artisan approach. Their honey is raw, cold extracted straight from the hive to the bottle, and they have a certified organic range. Wild Nectar keep their processing minimal, only straining it to simply strain it to remove wax and any hive or plant debris. Sourced from hives ranging from northern Victoria through northern NSW, and a delicious addition to many dinner recipes or drizzled onto some goat cheese. Choose from a squeeze bottle for $7.50 to a 450-gram jar for $8.50.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro Ear Buds

A lot of noise-cancelling headphones are big and bulky and not ideal travelling companions. These Danish designed buds offer adjustable noise cancelling (ANC) ideal for use on planes or noisy environments, along with powerful sound and an ultra-compact design. There is eight hours of battery life for longer journeys, and they can be used with iPhone or Android devices. They look smart; and sound smarter.  The ANC allows wearers to cut out any outside noise while HearThrough means that the press of a button means you can hear outside noise without removing the earbuds. They retail for U$299, are rainproof and available in three colours.

Pommery 2005 Cuvée Louise Parcelles Champagne

This is a gift perfect for Champagne connoisseurs who would appreciate something old and rare. A new-release vintage Champagne closing in on two decades of age, this comes in a special gift box.  From an excellent year, this is a blend of grapes sourced from three Grand Cru regions: Ay, Avize and Cramant, and has excellent body as well as elegance on the palate. One for special occasions, or special friends. $380.

New Thermos Products

So, you know someone who loves camping, boating, or fishing, and needs to keep drinks cold in summer and warm in winter? Thermos has two new products that would make idea presents: the 350ml Thermos Vacuum Insulated Tumbler (34.95 from MatchBox, Myer, Lil Treasures) that keeps contents hot for up to nine hours and cold for up to 12 hours and has a leak-resistant travel cover seal; and the 770ml Vacuum Insulated Hydration Bottle ($59.99 from Officeworks, Myer) that boasts a hygienic screw-top lid and can keep water cool for up to 18 hours. Perfect for adventurous types. 

Loving Earth Chocolate Bonbons

Here is the perfect mini treat for under the Christmas tree or to surprise a chocolate-loving friend. These plant-based taste treats (which happen to pair well with red wines). The non-dairy bonbons are chunky mylk chocolate balls available in three different flavours: dark chocolate Gianduja, mylk chocolate berry and dark chocolate orange, come in two different sizes, with a choice of four-piece bonbon packs or 10-piece packs available. They tick all the hipster boxes: vegan-friendly, gluten free, certified organic, kosher and made from minimally processed ingredients. From $9.95.

Coravin Gemstone Collection

Leading global wine preservation company Coravin has just launched its new Gemstone Collection, the perfect present for any wine lover who wants to keep a special bottle fresh for more than a couple of days after opening. Available in three jewel-toned colours (Anthracite, Dark Amethyst, and Deep Emerald) it is a luxury item – and looks the part. Part of Coravin’s Timeless Six+ wine by the glass line, the new range lets wine lovers pour a glass from any bottle (even screw caps), anytime, while preserving the remaining wine for several months if required. This is far less fiddly than previous versions and looks better than ever. $699 – but look out for special offers.  


Freixenet Minis

Sparkling winemakers Freixenet have launched two limited-edition Christmas bon bons that make an ideal gift. Wrapped in a gift box disguised as a Christmas cracker, each bon bon packet contains a 200ml piccolo-sized bottle of Freixenet Italian sparkling rosé and a 200ml Piccolo bottle of Freixenet Prosecco. Available exclusively through Dan Murphy’s and BWS for $13 each. 

Scarborough Keepers of the Flame

Calling all wine lovers. Following in the footsteps of their parents Ian and Merralea Scarborough, the next generation of the Scarborough family has launched a new range called Keepers of the Flame, with a three-bottle pack of 2019, 2020 and 2021 Keepers of the Flame Chardonnay available as a trio of the 2019-2021 vintage releases, as well as being sold individually for $100 per bottle.

Levantine Hill Wine Adventures

Got an adventurous friend who would love a special experience for Christmas?  The Yarra Valley winery Levantine Hill has a “Perfection Winemaking Experience” from $1095 per person.  This fly-and-dine experience includes return helicopter transfer from the Melbourne CBD to Levantine Hill with a winery tour including an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Levantine Hill winemaking process, underground barrel store, and grounds. A tutored tasting experience featuring the premium Family Paddock wines is then followed by an exclusive lunch experience at the restaurant and cellar door.

Lark Whisky

Lark is the distillery that started the Tasmanian whisky boom, and the Hobart company has a wide range of gifts to suit any budget. The range starts with the 100ml Christmas Cask gift pack that retails for $80. This single malt taster comes in a gift pack with a Lark-engraved Glencairn whisky glass and can be personalised with the name of the lucky recipient. From there the sky is the limit.

# This story in an edited version of one that appears in Ciao Magazine. 

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