Christmas is coming, be prepared for a little indulgence

By Lee-J Walker, joint managing director of


I do make time to enjoy a little indulgence in recent years. I’m endeavouring to appreciate the finer things in life you could say.

It hasn’t always been the case, thanks to an upbringing where I didn’t have access to such luxuries. My gourmand lifestyle has been acquired over recent years. You could say it started with me residing in Dubai for a few years and then having the pleasure to work with TheBusinessDesk for 14 years, which for some reason allows many long-lunches and exquisite dining invitations.

I am determined to be an expert and thus putting the effort in to learn and enjoy as much as possible.

Playing catch up as I am, I’m unsure about becoming Jay Rayner’ arch rival but I do dine out regularly and enjoy good wines, cognacs and fine menus as often as I can.

And when the pandemic broke out, within the first few weeks I had a wine cellar built under the stairs. Perfect planning prevents poor performance and all that!

So, when I was asked to sample a beautiful, eclectic selection of goods from the Luxury Food Collective to assist with the launch of their Corporate Gifting, of course I obliged and accepted the challenge.

With well known Leeds business executive Peter Ahye at the helm of the company, The Luxury Food Collective, established in 2023, brings an array of the finest foods direct to your door. They have launched an amazing corporate gifting service which includes everything from selections of quality European wines to chocolate bon bons and even non-alcoholic bubbly.

It’s a treasure trove of wonders for budding bon viveurs like myself but also really great for gifting clients or rewarding employees.

My hamper included: Scorzette Ricoperte, a rich Chocolatte from Lavoratti with a soft sugar candy filling; a box of Fauchon mini-cheddar crepes that melted in the mouth; a bottle of Domina Sabinae 2020 Rosso DOC, a medium textured Italian from Colli della Sabina; a jar of rich Black truffle pate; some hazelnut caramels; Cipolla confettura extra and some crema al pistacchio.

I did say this hamper was eclectic.

All amazing and all taste great but let’s focus on my two favourites here: Onion Jam (The Cipolla confettura extra) and the Italian Black Truffle pate. These are the types of goodies that I live for.

Cipolla confettura extra is something that is to be enjoyed in the warmth of home, preferably next to an open fire, on crackers with quality rich Yorkshire cheddar and with a glass of the Domina Sabinae. Which is what I’m actually doing right now.

This is a delicately sweet soft jam of onions, golden in colour with a mild flavour that would lift many good cheeses or cold meats.

Generally, I’m a straight cheese man, I don’t enjoy damaging the flavours of cheese with the overpowering tastes of your average chutneys, therefore I usually give them a miss but this enhances and adds to the cheese.

I have a new friend it seems. I feel we may meet again soon, possibly on a Sunday with baked Camembert.

The La Rustichella Black truffle paté was enjoyed earlier for lunch as bruschetta toasted with a generous layer of the black truffle pate spread across with a layer of courgettes that had been cooked until slightly crispy in olive oil with slices of locally sourced pork loin pan fried in black garlic butter on top. Just perfect.

It was so perfect that my only food posts heckler on Facebook actually liked the post for once, without leaving a negative comment. It must have been good. But hey, what does he know, Marcello Distefano, managing director of the San Carlo group of restaurants? OK…maybe he knows a little about fine Italian food.

But who doesn’t like truffles? I mean come on, the dark rich deep tastes scream with flavour and makes many dishes luxurious. This of course isn’t fresh truffle but it still does a fine job should you not have some big black truffles hanging around in the pantry.

This bruschetta or pork or toast was simple and most certainly very good. Please do try.

I am looking forward to combining the truffle pate this week with some mushroom pasta. It seems I am limbering up for winter.

I’m more than satisfied with all the products and highly recommend visiting the Luxury Food Collective to view their offering of luxury products.

They are bringing the perfect Christmas presents to you and now have the perfect solution for any corporate gifting needs. To see more, visit: