13 best DIY food kits
From homemade halloumi to a kit which helps you turn water into wine (literally), these are for the adventurous foodies
These do-it-yourself kits cater to the most weird and wonderful food loves and cravings – whether hot sauce gets their heart racing or if they think cheese is the bees’ knees.
When selecting a kit, do make a note of what’s included and what fresh ingredients you’ll be expected to buy yourself. There’s nothing worse than opening a gift, only to find it’s not ready to use. Many include multiple portions and equipment that you can keep and re-use – perfect for developing your new found skills. And all the ones we’ve included come with easy-to-follow instructions, so you’ll make the most of them.
Some sets are so beautifully presented you won’t even need to wrap them, making this an easy gift that will win you serious brownie points. So whether you’re a complete novice in the kitchen or a culinary whizz kid, the team at food and drinks website Crummbs has found a kit for everyone to enjoy.
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M&S The Connoisseur Gin Mixing Gift Set: £25, Marks & Spencer
Gin has undoubtedly been the drink of the year. If you’ve already bought the gin lover in your life every specialist bottle under the sun, maybe it’s time to let them loose making their own. This kit from M&S contains a 20cl bottle of dry gin, along with little pots of whole cloves, star anise and cardamom – all presented in a beautiful box. Inside, there are instructions on how to flavour the gin to your liking and also two recipes for you to test out your creation. And once you’re all done, you’ll be left with a stainless steel jigger and stirrer for you to use again and again.
Ross & Ross Homemade Curing Kit… Bacon: £22, Not On The High Street
This bacon curing kit is one of the original players, and has won a whole host of awards. Why make your own? Well, shop-bought bacon is often pumped full of water and other additives, which can be off-putting. These dry cures, however, allow the water to occur naturally. There are three sachets of curing mix – original, sweet and smoky – and all the paraphernalia you’ll need to make the magic happen. You’ll have to wait about a week for the bacon to be “cured” but it only takes about 10 minutes of hands-on action. All you need to do is provide a piece of 500g pork belly for each 30g Curing Mix.
Espresso Mushroom Company Hot Pinks Kitchen Garden: £19.95, Amazon
Mushrooms tend to divide the nation – we bet you either love them or hate them. Having said that, we think even the haters will appreciate the hot pink hue of these edible fungi. Perfect for small homes that lack garden space, these mushrooms bloom as if by magic into magnificent coral-like creations. You don’t need particularly green fingers – just open up the packet, water and watch them grow (they should double in size each day). Two weeks later and they’ll be ready to eat. Each Kitchen Garden is perfectly eco too, grown on reused coffee grounds collected from local cafes.
The Ultimate Cheese Making Kit: £36.50, Trouva
Keep them busy for the foreseeable future with this whopping kit, containing all you’ll need to create 40 batches of cheese (but don’t worry, you don’t have to use it up all at once, with a shelf life of 12 months). In just one hour you could have homemade mozzarella, feta, halloumi or even Scottish crowdie (we had to look it up too – it’s soft and crumbly and slightly sour). Inside each kit are the ingredients you’ll need, including herbs and spices and three cheese moulds. All you need to add is the freshest whole milk you can find. There’s a recipe book, too, to help you use up the mountains of cheese you’ll accumulate. Even Mary Berry’s given it a whirl apparently, and if it’s good enough for Mary…
World of Zing Make Your Own Hot Sauce Kit: £29.95, Not On The High Street
World of Zing’s founder Pritesh Mody can often be found on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, waking up the taste buds of the presenters. He’s created this kit containing a selection of interesting chillies (think Chaotian Chinese, and Aji Amarillo Peruvian) for all the hot heads out there. Whether you like things hot, hot, hot or with just a little kick, you’ll be free to play around with different combinations to adjust the heat to your liking, but there are recipes to follow, too. There’s everything you need to create two separate hot sauces (including glass jars to store them in) and achilli oil.
Brewery Below Home Brew Kit: £39, Borough Wines
Forget the generic home brew kit – this one from wine and beer connoisseur Borough Wines (which boasts a nanobrewery in the basement of its Essex Road branch) is a much more sophisticated bet. You’ll have the ingredients and tools to make 5L of either a Citra Pale (an aromatic, citrusy beer with notes of melon, grapefruit and lychee) or a hoppy Steam Beer which is fermented at a higher temperature. You just have to add water and some thirsty friends – and you will also need a whopping 7-10L stock pot in order to make your concoction.
Molecular Gastronomy Kit: £39.99, Prezzybox
Move over Heston, there’s a new chef in town. Resembling a school chemistry kit, this compact box contains a DVD with 50 wacky recipes for you to try out at home. They say you shouldn’t play with your food but this kit positively encourages it. With 20 sachets of additives and six kitchen tools to help you create these experimental dishes, you’ll be making bubbles burst, creating colourful foams and sculpting gels before you know it. One for the keen chef looking to up the ante and impress their companions.
MySecco Kit: £19.99, Firebox
If turning water into wine sounds too good to be true, prepare to be amazed. The next best thing to buying them their own vineyard, this kit comes with the syrup sachets and “fizz tablets”, which, as if by magic, will turn water into sparkling wine in just 14 days. It’s all presented in a giftable box containing a 75ml wine bottle, just waiting to be filled up with their hand-crafted fizz. Once you’ve added the required warm water and stopper provided, there’s really very little to do but sit back and wait (although after 12 days you’ll need to turn the bottle upside down for a further 24 hours). The fizz tablets are added on the last day, which is when you’ll need to put it into to the fridge to chill. And hey presto – your homemade wine is ready to drink. Chin, chin.
Olive Branch Marinate Your Own Olive Kit: £24.99, Selfridges
Though we’re probably more likely to gift a bottle of Olive Branch’s delicious extra virgin oil to the foodie in our life, this kit presents a new way of appreciating the Mediterranean savoury snack. Each pack contains 500g of both Greek Kalamata olives (the large black ones) and green Chalkidiki olives, along with seven individual 10g sachets of herbs and spices (think oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, chilli, garlic and mustard seeds). You’ll transform the humble olive into new flavour vessels which can be eaten alone or used in the recipes suggested.
Naked Marshmallow Marshmallow Toasting Kit: £20, Not On The High Street
We love the thought of toasting marshmallows over an open flame but, unless you’re camping, the opportunity rarely arises. But worry not, as this kit comes with a non-toxic, smokeless and odourless gel “toaster” which you ignite with a regular match. If you don’t want to use it all up at once, just extinguish the flame and re-light when you’re ready. The marshmallows are of the gourmet variety – big, fluffy and decadent – and come in a range of flavours. You get to choose your favourite two from vanilla bean, candy floss, strawberry cream, choc orange and salted caramel. Or you can get creative and take a leaf out of our American counterparts’ book and construct a s’more (a camping favourite made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate between a cracker).
Sandy Leaf Farm Bubble Tea Kit: £7.99, Sandy Leaf Farm
This Taiwanese tea-based drink has gained popularity over the past few years, with dedicated shops springing up across the country. Normally made by blending a tea base with either milk or fruit juice, the “bubbles” are actually tapioca pearls which burst in your mouth as you drink. If you or someone you know is hooked on this particular beverage, this is the kit for them. It contains four fat bubble tea straws (essential for slurping up those pearls), black and green tea blends and the ingredients and instructions to make your own bubbles from scratch.
Fudge Kitchen Classic Make Fudge at Home Kit: £30, Fudge Kitchen
Fudge Kitchen has built up quite the reputation for producing award-winning artisan confectionery, so it seems only fitting we’d trust it to teach us the ropes. Making fudge is quite the art – you’ll need a bit of patience to get the kind of results you’re used to eating – but this kit includes a sugar thermometer, helping you to heat ingredients to optimum temperature, spatulas for shaping and instructions for precision. You’ll have the ingredients to make plain, toffee and chocolate fudge – all you need to add is fresh cream.
T2 For the Love of Matcha: £85, Amazon
The most luxurious kit we tested, T2’s For The Love of Matcha includes everything you need to create your own tea ceremony at home, complete with a beautiful glazed matcha bowl, traditional bamboo whisk, measuring scoop, and, of course, a 30g tub of matcha. The beauty of this kit is you’ll have the individual, quality pieces to keep forever – all you’ll need to replenish is the Japanese green tea. Luckily, T2 has a great selection of high-grade, 100 per cent organic matcha in a variety of flavours, so once you master the whisk, you’ll be able to play around with new blends.
The Verdict: DIY food kits
We love a kit from a brand we can trust, that’s why the Marks & Spencer gin set gets our Best Buy. It contains everything you need to get started (no need to make an emergency trip to the shops) and you’ll have the accessories to keep for future cocktail experimentation. It’s presented in a beautiful box, so is perfect for gifting, and the base gin is such good quality that you can’t go far wrong, no matter your taste.
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