We are letting the cat out of the bag by revealing that famous London store Fortnum & Mason have chosen Dick Whittington as their theme for Christmas 2012. You can expect exquisite windows telling the tale of Dick, thrice Lord Mayor of London and his rat-catching cat. So imagine streets paved with chocolate truffle gold, mayoral procession carriages, merry-go-rounds and Bow Bells a-ringing. Pin your Gingerbread Lord Mayors on the tree (£3) dust down the Christmas Collection by Matthew Rice for Emma Bridgewater (from £20) load up your plates with organic mince pies and wish yourselves a very Merry Christmas.
This year’s table is laden with artisan produce from old skills for luxuriant celebratory foods. Bourbon Red Turkeys are on order from October for delivery on 20 or 21 December, prices starting at £95. For your savoury table there is hand-raised Game Pie (440g for £5.95) and Traditional Potted Stilton (£12.95). A decent bottle of champagne is the Fortnum & Mason Vintage, Roederer 2002 (£37.50). If you want someone else to put it all together for you then Fortnum’s is world renowned for their hampers such as the Champagne Tea Box (£50) in a beautiful eau-de-nil gift box, The Merry Gentleman’s Hamper with rum marmalade, port and peppermint (£110) and The Jubilee Christmas Hamper with champagne, truffles and a tea towel (£200). There are also hampers from Highgrove with the Royal Christmas Hamper (£150) made up with Christmas Pudding, Brandy Butter, Highgrove Cuvee Champagne, Cotes du Rhone, Ginger & Spice biscuits, Preserve, Macon Davya White Wine, Christmas Cake, Prince of Wales Tea, Duke of Rothesay Marmalade and a Truffle & Chocolate Assortment.
The Merry Go Round Musical Tin has home-made style biscuits – crisp and chunky with pistachio nuts; ideal for dunking with a lovely lilting melody to stir your tea by (500g biscuits an tin for £25). There are some fabulous teapots based on the grand hotels of the world – we’re sure we spotted some Ritz and Savoy shapes.
For a winter morning breakfast try some colourful decorative sugars (£5.95 – £8.45) and a rich jam on your crumpets of Christmas Mulled Wine and Gold Leaf Preserve (340g at 6.95) made with claret, cinnamon and mandarin oil and gold leaf – a glittering start to the day. For a real tipple try the Mulled Wine 6 Muslin wrapped Spice Bags (£5) made by bringing half a litre of water and one spice bag to the boil and simmered for 15 minutes, then adding a litre of red wine, orange juice and a measure of brandy and sugar, heating this before serving with slices of orange and lemon.
The Christmas Range will start appearing in store in late Autumn. Sign up to the Fortnum & Mason newsletter
If you are still planning a summer picnic check out these F&M hampers.
Address: 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER. The closest tube stations are Green Park and Piccadilly Circus.