You probably know someone who loves hot food. The hotter the better. They order the hottest curry on the menu and insist on adding extra chillies to anything you make them.
Marc is one of these people. I used to get offended when he immediately tipped a pile of chilli flakes over any of my creations, without trying it first but these days I just accept it. In fact, I think I like my food spicier as a result of living with a chilli-head!
There are loads of chilli related presents out there, so this Christmas present suggestion is actually three-in-one.
1. First up, chilli chocolate. Yes, it's becoming ubiquitous among artisan producers but it really is good and makes a great stocking filler. One of my faves is Montezuma's They do chilli chocolate by the bar, in various flavour combinations. It's an independent British company, so worth supporting. There are a few shops in London and the South-East but they also do mail-order.
2. I grew chillies for the first time this year and can vouch for the fact that it's pretty fool-proof and actually quite rewarding. For someone who loves chilli, I think a grow-your-own-chillies kit is a fab pressie. There's plenty of them around, try Amazon.
Some good tips on growing them in this article
3. Now, the only problem with growing your own is that it does take aaaagges. So, if you're looking for a more instant hit, check out Capsicana This online shop sells all manner of dried chillies, including the World's hottest chilli, Bhut Jolokia - guaranteed to spice up your Christmas dinner! My favourite is the chipotle, which has a lovely smoky flavour. I've used it to make patatas bravas very successfully in the past. Prices at Capsicana are reasonable, so why not put together a selection pack. Guaranteed to be more popular than your standard chocolate one!
Best Christmas presents for foodie friends:
#1 For Japanese food lovers:
Hashi: A Japanese Cookery Course
#2 For those who like an unusual tipple:
#3 For those who like the finer things in life:
White Alba truffle