Last-minute gift-giving can be a stressful exercise. If you haven't secured a present for a loved one yet, or are invited for a spur-of-the-moment party, consider going the edible route with your gift.
Festive packages stuffed with delicious goodies are sure to appeal to most and there's a slew on offer every year, from boutique artisans to multi-chain brands. The latter are readily available in shops and malls across the UAE, and most can also be ordered online with minimal delivery time.
Here are our favourites this season.
German stollen from Risen Cafe
The home-grown cafe and bakery has put together a festive hamper with classic Christmas-themed treats, including a traditional German stollen, fruit cake, mince pie, cinnamon star Christmas cookies and spiced Cajun cashew nuts.
The hamper is available at all of the brand's locations throughout December and is priced at Dh225.
Snowfall set from Bateel
Saudi gourmet chocolate and dates retailer Bateel has several festive-themed gift boxes as part of its Snowfall collection. Our favourite is the assorted truffles gift set enclosed in a tree-shaped box. The vibrantly hued packaging, covered with gold, silver and green snowflakes, looks truly festive.
There are three size options available, with prices starting at Dh250 per box on bateel.com.
Choco Cones from IGP
Cone-shaped chocolates inside a box adorned with a rose gold glitter ribbon makes for an ideal gift for cocoa lovers. The cones are rich and crunchy, and on the more affordable side at Dh130 per box on ae.igp.com.
The online gift delivery portal also has a Dh200 Festive Elegance hamper, which comes with a floral arrangement of baby's breath and pearl petals in a ceramic vase; Masqa Nutty Nibbles; and a photo frame with the words Merry Christmas.
Macarons from Laduree
French patisserie Laduree is stocking festive-decorated macaron boxes this season, inclusive of its classic flavours plus two limited-edition options. The Lotus biscuit version is made with muscovado sugar cream, caramelised white chocolate and subtle festive spices. The nougat macaron has a nut filling and chestnut honey nougat cream.
The boxes are priced from Dh150 and contain eight, 12 or 18 pieces. You can also opt for macarons with gold or silver garnish, at Dh20 each, all available at laduree.ae.
Bonbons from Sugargram
Mini cupcake company Sugargram has put together a festive bonbon box with assorted seasonal flavours, including hazelnut snowman, peppermint Santa hat, toffee reindeer, cinnamon snowflakes and lotus cheesecake. The bonbons are boxed in a colourful tree packaging, priced at Dh160 and available from order.chatfood.io/sugargram.
Flavours of Britain from Jones the Grocer
Jones the Grocer calls this “flavours of Britain wrapped in a wicker basket”. The hamper includes Shropshire blue cheese, quince preserve, sea salted caramel oat crunches, milk chocolate hazelnut pralines, mango and papaya chilli sauce, and black truffle and porcini rapeseed oil.
The hamper costs Dh699 and is available at jonesthegrocer.com.
Espresso Lovers hamper from Lime Tree Cafe
A perfect gift for coffee connoisseurs, this hamper from The Lime Tree Cafe includes 11 items such as single-origin organic Fair Trade filter coffee, fruit biscotti, cranberry coconut and white chocolate Florentines as well as dark chocolate and white chocolate cranberry truffles. It also comes with two Middle Eastern-themed mugs and a matching tea towel.
It costs Dh685 and is available at thelimetreecafe.com.
Personalised hampers from Waitrose and M&S
If you want to curate your own gift hamper, look to the Christmas goodies selection from Waitrose or M&S.
The former offers sweet treats such as Cadbury stockings (Dh35), Walkers dark chocolate mint sticks (Dh17.5) and Grandma Wild's snowy robin biscuit tin (Dh39.5). Waitrose also has self-branded festive products, including mince pies, sugared almonds, fudge and non-alcoholic Christmas pudding.
Over at M&S, choose from Belgian milk chocolate truffles (Dh38), fruit cake with marzipan (Dh69), butter gingerbread biscuits in a musical tin (Dh59) or the classic M&S mincemeat in a jar (Dh29).
Personalised hampers can be selected in-store or ordered via Instashop.