Okay so we've done the things that you can wrap and leave under the tree looking very impressive, but if you can't handle the shops and/or want to give the gift of an experience this Christmas (apparently it's what people really want anyway), here are some ideas to keep the food and drink lover in your life busy in 2020...
1) A Sourdough Making Class
If you, like us, spend a terrifying percentage of your weekly food budget on sourdough bread, it's probably time to learn to make your own - apparently it's quite easy - and buying it for you and a pal is a the ideal way to also give back to yourself this Christmas. There are some great classes around the city, but Bread 41 and Scéal Bakery would be at the top of our wish list. See details on Scéal classes here (currently booked out until the end of February) and on Bread 41's here (currently booked out until May).
2) A Trip To The Stella
The Press Up group get a lot of flack for their identikit restaurants, but a trip to The Stella cinema in Rathmines is pretty special. Where else can you cosy up on a couch, glass of wine in hand, food en route to your side table. The bill adds up quickly so it's an ideal gift. A €50 trip to the cinema is much more enjoyable when someone else has paid for it. Buy vouchers or book here.
3) Do The Dublin Wine Trail
Know someone who needs to broaden their horizons beyond Pinot Grigo and Rioja? Hop on board the Dublin Wine Trail. Guide Mari brings small groups of people around Dublin's wine hot spots stopping at places like Loose Canon, The Legal Eagle and Fallon & Byrne, for wine, snacks and chats, learning how to tell if a wine is good quality, and how to pair them with food. Another gift that you can easily buy for yourself also so that they don't have to go alone. Get a gift voucher for Dublin Wine Trails here.
4) A Baking Class At The Cake Café
Know someone who turns into a TV zombie every time GBBO rolls around? Send them on their own baking class. The Cake Café off Camden Street run evening classes several times a month, with all ingredients provided and four master recipes on the agenda, including cakes, pastry, cookies and bread. Classes are €60 and run from 18:00 - 21:00, and you get to take home what you've baked at the end of the evening. The next class is on Monday 27th January and you can book here.
5) A Poitin Masterclass
Despite being 'Ireland's native spirit', it's safe to say that not many of us are overly familiar with poitin. Dave Mulligan and Gillian Boyle are on a mission to change that, and two weeks ago their poitin focused Bar 1661 in Dublin 7 was named 'cocktail bar of the year' at the Irish Craft Cocktail awards. If you know someone who you think would appreciate an introduction, they run masterclasses for €25 per person, where you learn about the history of it right up until the modern day, and try four different types. See dates for poitin masterclasses here.
6) Send Them To Meet The Makers
More and more Irish food producers are coming together to put on tours and some are just a quick spin out of the city. Meet The Makers Wicklow picks you up on Nassau Street in the morning and drops you back that evening, full of food and drink (read more about that and how to book in our feature here), and a similar one takes place in Slane, but you'll need to drive yourself to that one. More details and how to book here.
7) Go On A Walking Food Tour Of Dublin
Fab Food Trails have been going for over 10 years, and their Dublin walking tour has been called the "the gold standard for urban food tours in Dublin". The three hour walking tour includes stops at 6 or 7 independent food and drink spots like Loose Canon, The Seafood Café or Temple Bar food market depending on the week, sampling food at each stop. Tours run most weekends and cost €60. For more details and how to book click here.
8) Book Them A Table At A Hard To Get Into Restaurant
Yes this will take planning, multiple alarms on phones and making sure your fingers are ready when the clock hits release, but if you can bag a table at Liath, Aimsir or Variety Jones for the New Year your love/friend/family member will be forever grateful for your persistence - and until then an IOU might suffice. Liath is booked out until February with tables for March released on February 1st at 10am, Aimsir is also booked out until the end of February with March tables becoming available on the 1st of January, and January/February bookings for Variety Jones are due to open in mid-December. Keep all eyes peeled. You might also want to include a voucher to at least pay for part of dinner. It's not always the thought that counts.