Chew on these gifts

Chew on these gifts

In Singapore, where life centres on food especially during the festive season, nothing says Christmas quite like an edible food gift.

Shoppers are spoilt for choice this year, with a record number of home-grown companies making and selling artisanal food that include bubor cha cha nougat, coffee kaya, smoky artisanal chilli and spicy kimchi.

There is also Speculoos cookie butter - a spread made with a type of European biscuit that includes spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg; tropical fruit marmalades and jams; and wine-inspired tea blends.

Most are made in small batches in commercial kitchens here, or overseas - to the companies' specifications.

Although there are just four days to Christmas, it is still possible to place online orders or visit shops to pick up some lastminute presents and gift boxes.

Some companies have come up with Christmas offerings, including Christmas Cake Granola by Eastern Granola, The Edible Company's Almost Perfect Granola Christmas Special and Strictly Pastry's candy cane meringues.

One-stop shops have also popped up online and in bricks and mortar.

There is Crateful, which has a pop-up shop in Yong Siak Street until February; Naiise, another online shop with a pop-up in Dunlop Street until Christmas Eve; and online artisanal food and kitchenware shop Batch.

Naiise was launched in January last year. Its marketing director, Ms Amanda Eng, 29, says: "We look for brands which are meaningful, driven by a passion or a cause, and which have unique product offerings.

Their products should be carefully designed and crafted for the community and we work closely with each of them to tell and share their story with our consumers."

Naiise stocks about 150 products from around 30 brands, of which about 20 are local artisan producers.

Ms Debbie Yong, 29, founder of monthold online shop Batch, says: "The focus is on creating a platform to give the small guys a fighting chance against the big industrial foodmakers. You won't find any commercially produced labels that you usually see in supermarkets on Batch."

Purveyors say they stock their wares with such companies because, as smallbatch producers, it not only gives them more time to focus on food production, but it also helps to raise awareness because of the high traffic these sites receive.

Cookbook author and chef Devagi Sanmugam, 59, who launched her range of sambals and sauces last month, recently started selling items such as her Apple Chilli Chutney on Naiise and Batch.

She says: "This way, I am able to reach a variety of foodie customers, some of whom may never have heard of me."

Ms Chin Hui Wen, 26, founder of Eastern Granola, which started in March, says: "The increase in the number of websites and shops that sell a range of brands is definitely a good thing. It gives small-batch producers like me a good platform to raise awareness and helps to keep costs of delivery and packaging down."

Shoppers say food is a great way to make friends and family feel special.

Bank executive Tanya Ong, 38, likes the idea of giving people edible presents because that way, they do not go to waste.

She says: "Loose leaf teas in various blends, speciality granola or just a jar of jam, can be wonderful and meaningful. It is also a bonus that by buying these items, we are helping local small-batch producers and not helping fast-moving consumer conglomerates get richer."

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