Shop Local: Box up some Hertfordshire treats this Christmas

One of Katy's Gift Boxes. Picture: Stephanie Belton

One of Katy's Gift Boxes. Picture: Stephanie Belton - Credit: Archant

Your thoughts might be turning to Christmas gifts at the moment, and I have a brand-new business to tell you about, which might solve a few present dilemmas.

Katy Littlewood of Katy's Gift Boxes. Picture: Stephanie Belton

Katy Littlewood of Katy's Gift Boxes. Picture: Stephanie Belton - Credit: Archant

I know readers of this newspaper like to #ShopLocal, and it has been heart-warming this year to hear from our small indies how much you have done that in these difficult times. Katy’s Gift Boxes is a brand-new business that I think is very clever and gives you a really easy way to support local retailers.

You might know Katy Littlewood as the super busy manager at Carpenters Farm Shop. While working there she has got to know many of the outstanding local producers we have in Hertfordshire, and she has come up with the excellent idea to put those producers together in hamper boxes, and offer an affordable delivery business. Katy is now taking orders in time for pre-Christmas delivery, and I think one of these boxes will make a really thoughtful and interesting gift for a favourite client or colleague, parents-in-law, friends who have moved out of the county or of course, for yourself!

Katy has picked items that are all made or supplied in Herts, so they are a bit different from the usual hampers with unique items only from the county including St Albans, Harpenden, Hatfield, Tring, Hitchin and beyond.

To keep things simple there are just three box sizes, ranging from Small and Perfectly Formed to Whale of a Time. Each comes in a smart box, with a map inside showing where everything comes from. Delivery is included in the price, so it costs the same for hand delivery to the door in St Albans or somewhere else in the UK.

The Small and Perfectly Formed contains a Jen Roffe Hertfordshire tea towel, which you may recognise from her eye-catching designs sold in the museum. There is a box of chocolates from I am Cocoa who make decorative and delicious chocolates here in St Albans. I am intrigued to try Emmy’s Brigadeiros, which are Brazilian sweet treats made in Hatfield. A jar of Hibiscus Lily Seville Orange Marmalade with a hint of cinnamon and saffron will be perfect for toast on Christmas morning; I have bought this many times, and it is lovely.

Sawuchay Chilli garlic sauce is the winner of 2-star great taste awards (10p of the sale of the bottle goes to The Trussell Trust). Sawuchay, pronounced SA – WOO – CHAY, is a Hertfordshire-based artisan sauce company. The name was created in memory of the founder’s grandparents, who were from Cyprus, as they pronounced “sauce” as sawuchay. The producers say that they hate food waste and try to use surplus produce wherever possible, such as in their Fruity Brown Sawuchay which only uses surplus apples from Hertfordshire growers.The cost of this box is £34.99 with postage included.

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The Home Sweet Home box is £49.99 and as well as items from the suppliers listed, you also get Mortier’s Luxury Breakfast Leaf Tea, which is a company based in Hinxworth. You get a packet of the local legend Dizzy Bee Nutty Granola and Chiltern Oils Chilli Oil. Do check on the website for exact contents.

The Whale of a Time box is the largest and as well as products from the suppliers I have mentioned, it also contains a Spiced Cranberry candle from Handmade in Harpenden, who only use plant-based ingredients such as coconut and rapeseed. It also contains a copy of The Hertfordshire Cookbook, which contains 40 recipes from local independent cooks, such as Lussmanns fish cake, Baked Cookie Dough from The Pudding Stop and Chocolate Caramel Shortbread from Simmons. I have heard from so many people that they have discovered new places to shop from and visit after reading this book, and it is nice to be able to read through and celebrate the many indie places we have in the county. This box costs £99.99.

To place an order go to If you order before the end of Nov, delivery will be in time for Christmas.