Somerset Secret Santa

Rather than throwing your money at a last minute box of chocolates from the supermarket, why not make this year’s gift-giving extra special by shopping local. Not only does your pound go straight to the producers – rather than the superchains – you’re likely to reduce your carbon footprint, and even better give a gift that comes with a story.

I’ve been having some fun with stop-motion videos, 2 little mice and some delicious Somerset produced foodie gifts, all under £20. You can read on to discover my Secret Santa suggestions and to see the accompanying videos, follow me on The Tale of a Teaspoon.

Godminster Cheese

I would challenge you to find a Brit who hasn’t eaten cheddar cheese. We suffer criticism from our European neighbours who think Cheddar is all we produce. I know this all too well being married to an Italian! However, what most people don’t appreciate is the breadth of variety under the cheddar category. Somerset is of course home to the village and more famous “gorge” where Cheddar gets its name, but it’s slightly further South, in the village of Bruton that we find Godminster Cheese.

Richard Hollingbery bought Godminster Farm in 1993 and has pursued an environmentally friendly and ethical approach to farming that gives it a huge thumbs up from me. The whole process from cow to cheese counter happens within a few miles of each other and the brand boasts the motto that “nature repays those who treat her kindly”. This is reflected in the delicate, soft, creaminess of the cheese – nothing like it’s rubbery, budget supermarket brothers. Whilst the lucky receiver of this gift unwraps the beautifully presented cheeses, you can tell them with pride that Godminster cows come from an historic pedigree that is recorded as far back as the Doomsday Book of 1086.

If you can, get yourself to Bruton to visit their shop where the 200g Vintage Organic Cheddar costs £5.60 and the Black Truffle Vintage Organic Cheddar costs £6.80. Online you can get a 400g vintage organic Cheddar in a gift box for £14, perfect for a standard Secret Santa budget, or upgrade to the Cheddar and Black Truffle signature selection box for £20. It’s worth it as the Black Truffle stops you in your tracks and makes you say “mmmm” whilst nodding away any critics of this fine and famous British staple.

Click here to visit their website
See the video

Rawlins Family Cider

I’d be doing a disservice to Somerset if for Secret Santa suggestions I didn’t include a cider! Now of course I was spoilt for choice as the number of local cider producers is as abundant as this year’s apple yield. So why Rawlins Family Cider? I like that it’s a family business and that the apples (and pears for Perry) are handpicked from local Somerset orchards. Furthermore you might notice that I’ve linked to their Instagram page rather than a website and that’s because they don’t have one yet. If you want to grab yourself a bottle you’ll have to reach out to them directly; a little shopping adventure to tell your gift receiver about, you honestly don’t get more grassroots and authentic than that.

A 750ml bottle (bigger than a can of Strongbow!) of their sweet Keeved Yarlington will cost you £10.

Click here to visit their Instagram page and message them for orders

See the video


Pavla, the founder of Hejgro, has taken what she learnt as a young girl growing up in Czechoslovakia and brought it to the beautiful meadows & woods of the West country. Back home, “Nettle soup in spring wasn’t a quirky adventure, it was common.” She was familiar with herbs whether growing wild or cultivated, and it’s this ingrained knowledge that has enabled her to build the Hejgro brand of plant based foraged foods and balms. If you want to meet Pavla in person and learn more about her passion and trade, she runs local foraging workshops which will be starting up again in the Spring and she has gift cards for these available too.

In the meantime Hejgro products make for great gifts for your foodie friends as not only do they use local ingredients that maybe aren’t as popular on the supermarket shelves – wild garlic, hawthorn, dandy root and nettle – they also all cost not much more than a fiver. You could go a little wild yourself and get a selection!

Click here to visit their website

Wraxall Vineyard

Wraxall vineyard is one of the oldest and largest vineyards in Somerset (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024) and has for the last two years been nurtured by David Bailey and Lexa Hunt who are bringing new life to the estate. In 2022 they planted three thousand new vines and have also built a brand new tasting space “The View@Wraxall” which, with views of over 25 miles over the Somerset countryside, will be hosting tastings, dinners, events and parties. I’ll not lie, with my food experiences hat on, all of that gets me very excited!

Having had two babies in quick succession my taste in wine has changed dramatically; I can no longer enjoy a full bodied red like I used to and I’m surprised to find myself drinking white again. What better excuse to start drinking more English wines. I can attest that the Wraxall Bacchus wine is floral and fruity in perfect balance and whilst I’m no sommelier I’d say it rolls happily around on the tongue, bouncing joy into the corner of your subsequent smile. Maybe I’ll stick to the day job. It went very well with a poached salmon dinner shared with an old friend.

The Bacchus is £18, the Rosé is £16 or if you’re feeling a little more generous their Sparkling wine is £25.

Click here to visit their website

Get Pickled Somerset

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of foraging with Get Pickled’s founder, the self-proclaimed “Brazilian super-cook and globetrotting uber-feeder”, Paula. Whilst gathered round her kitchen table eating chocolate sauerkraut cupcakes I learnt about how she turns local food surplus into vegan-friendly fermented foods, condiments and pickles. “Our aim is to be completely zero-waste and to have a minimal carbon footprint by using seasonal produce and any surplus we can get our little green fingers on.”

Paula is a fountain of knowledge which she shares at her workshops and events so make sure you check those out too, you’ll come away having learnt more than you can remember! The Alt Kimchi is one for anyone that likes a bit of heat. I ate it straight out of the jar and tasted the sweetness of the carrots, the garlic, the ginger and then the heat came. I’ve mixed this into rice and plan to experiment with it in Buddha bowl style lunches. All her beautifully presented jars are £8 making them a fantastic gift for your Secret Santa.

Click here to visit their website

Still Sisters

As the name suggests, this Frome based Gin company was founded by two sisters with a family infused passion for simple, high quality products. Their store is tucked away just around the corner from Sainsburys in Frome so there really is no excuse to be defaulting to a Gordon’s or a Bombay Sapphire. And why would you want to when you see the Still Sister’s stunning packaging! Plus they source as many of their botanicals as they possibly can from small, local businesses like themselves. Cornish seaweed, Louise Bee’s honey, roses grown in Chard, Lavender from Warminster and Somerset Cider Apples from Perry’s Orchard, just to name a few.

Their dapper distillery isn’t just where the gin is made, but where you can have a go at making it yourself. I mean I know this is a Secret Santa suggestions blog but I’m going to go all out and suggest maybe booking this for your Christmas party. Tasting and nibbles, wreath making, they have it all going on down there.

Now of course if you want the biggest bottle then you’re going to blow your budget but for £13.50 you can get a 100ml bottle of gin of your choice with 2 tonics making a perfect Secret Santa gift.

Click here to visit their website

Drinks Kitchen

I discovered Drinks Kitchen at the much loved Frome Independent, a booming market that takes over the entire centre of Frome on the first Sunday of every month. With the Christmas season approaching it was refreshing to find what I describe as a “grown up soft drink” or as they more eloquently put it “non-alcoholic aperitif”. A few months ago my sister sat in my kitchen having a good old rant about how the only soft drink options hosts often think to stock is sparkling water, elderflower, or elderflower with sparkling water. And it’s true!

We Brits have a horrible drinking culture; if you’re not boozing it up there will be an interrogation and if you don’t have an acceptable excuse such as being pregnant or on antibiotics, then you really are in for it. I’ve tried saying that I simply don’t feel like drinking and have had people buy me a GnT in the next round because “come on, you have to have a proper drink”. I think that says a lot more about them than me but hey ho, time to get off my soap box. All to say that it’s fantastic to see a rise, in recent years, in grown up looking, grown up tasting alternatives to alcohol and having tasted this offering from Weston Super Mare, I had to include it in my Somerset Secret Santa list.

A bottle will cost you £18 – £22 depending on the size, and my favourite is the Spiced Rhubarb.

Click here to visit their website

Sharpham Park

Probably the largest producer on my list and certainly not one that you can boast is being foraged, pickled, bottled and labelled all by one person, but I’m for some reason really drawn to Sharpham Park. I’m not sure what it is that interests me most about this brand, the revival of an ancient grain, spelt, or the fact that Roger Saul, Sharpham Park’s founder also has his name to another, perhaps better known Somerset brand, Mulberry.

As well as spelt, Sharpham Park sells other homegrown produce such as their £10 beautifully boxed walnuts. For me walnuts at Christmas conjures up images of me as a small child trying to master a simple nutcracker with the enthusiastic guidance of my Dad. Food is woven into memory and whilst taste, like pain, can’t actually be remembered, the experience of it can last a lifetime.

Click here to visit their website

Choc et al

In the same way that any Somerset gift list needs Cheddar and Cider, all Christmas foodie gift lists need Chocolate. Choc et al was started by a young entrepreneur, Emily, and has a prime spot in Frome’s retail, on Cheap Street. Right next to the jewellers where I had my wedding ring made; chocolate and gold, happy girl.

There are loads of options for the £5 Secret Santa budget and of course you can buy multiple items if you have more to spend. The Peanut ‘n’ Smooth Caramel Salami is indulgently sweet and incredibly moreish and if you go into the shop I’d recommend treating yourself to a shake or a hot chocolate… it is Christmas after all.

Click here to visit their website

So there you have it, a bunch of locally produced gifts to fill your stockings with and all of them under £20. If you do buy any of the above please let them know I sent you their way. Somerset is a fantastic source of ingredients and I’m so excited to be surrounded by the talented people here, taking plant to plate, field to fork and even grape to glass! I have to give a shout out to Hugh founder of The Wallfish Journal and Frome Food Network, as well as Nicky from Fromie Gifts (If you can’t make your mind up on a specific gift why not buy a Fromie gift card and let the receiver decide) both of whom have helped me get to know local businesses, bounce ideas around and have generally been great people to know.

If you like this article and my Instagram Reels then please do get in touch. I’m exploring the future of the Tale of a Teaspoon as a brand and am open to conversations 🙂

To all the small food businesses in Somerset, I know that times are tough, especially for small batch premium products facing strong competition and shrinking disposable income, but hang on in there, let’s all support each other the best we can and let’s hope for a very Happy Christmas all round.

Somerset Secret Santa
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