Christmas Hampers 2013.

This article was published with a very nice layout in the December issue of Echelon magazine. We recommend getting a copy, at supermarkets everywhere, or via subscription from echelon.lk

It’s Christmas, which means buttering people up for the New Year. In Sri Lankan corporate circles, that means hampers – goodie bags (cane baskets really) full of food and drink. We have nothing comparable to the £20,000 Harrod’s Christmas hamper (Rs. 4.2 million and change) but we do have some boozy hampers that push Rs. 100,000 and some thoughtful, organic ones for less than Rs. 10,000. Here’s a quick YAMU guide to the hamper scamper.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Best Posh Hamper – Cargills ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ (Rs. 60,000) is, in our opinion, the best value in its class. There are hampers with more original food and drink, but the Chairman’s (or woman’s) hamper needs to have booze. This hamper has a family-pleasing amount of food and a grown up amount of alcohol.

Best Cheap Hamper – The Snowflake (Rs. 4,500) from Arpico is our choice for best low-cost hamper. No booze, but they do have coffee, tea and a respectable amount of food. Lasts the longest (in its class) during a zombie apocalypse.

Best Hip Hamper – If your CEO wears jeans to work, go for a Trekurious/Good Market hamper. By far the most creative, the Best Of The Good Market (Rs. 8,000) actually shows off local Sri Lankan talent in terms of tea, spices, chutney, olives and pasta. High quality and high value, just no booze. Probably best to send over a bottle as well. Trekurious also offer a range of traditional and organic hampers ideal for more conservative or hippie types.

Best Christmas Hamper – Home baker Auntie Maureen offers the most traditional hamper, with mince pies, double the usual Christmas cake portion, coconut wine and more. It lacks savories, but is definitely the most seasonal. We haven’t tested her out yet so perhaps try a sample, but the selection is perfect. Costs Rs. 4,000 – 10,000.

Best Booze Hamper – The Laugfs Sensation (Rs. 72,499) cuts to the chase. It’s just seven bottle of liquor, wine, beer and some potato chips and Red Bull. And a carton of cigarettes. For the Director that gets a dozen hampers, this is the one they’ll remember for months, but it’s also the least family friendly.

Best Custom Hamper – Maybe you want to roll your own. We have to give the title to Kapruka.com here because they let you build a custom hamper online, with alcohol. Beema’s in Colpetty Market has good imports they can assemble for you, but Kapruka’s website and delivery expertise makes them easier to work with.


THE SUPER HAMPERS

Every big Sri Lankan supermarket has hampers. Keells has 14, Cargills has 12, Laugfs has 12 and Arpico has 10. We can’t go through each one so we just took the cheapest, the median and most expensive from each one.

We’ve analyzed them based on price, how long they would last a family of four during a zombie apocalypse, savories, sweets, drinks and booze.

As a quick cheat, here are the contacts for the various supermarkets and links to their brochures:

The Cheap Hampers

These cheap hampers are for corporates buying in bulk. If you’re looking at bottom-line “just give them a hamper”, Keells has the cheapest one. Cargills and Arpico are pretty much equal in price, we’d have to recommend spending an extra Rs. 500 and going with Arpico to give your employees some tea.

CHEAPEST KEELLS CARGILLS LAUGFS ARPICO
Name Snowflakes Let It Snow Moonstone Snowflake
Price Rs. 2,999 Rs. 4,000 Rs. 5,999 Rs. 4,500
Zombie Survival Time 2 days 4 days 2 weeks 5 days
Savories Crackers, Pringles, cheese and sauce Maggi noodles, meatballs, crackers, onion bites, chips, peanuts, cheese (2), and sauce. Canned fish, coconut oil, Kottu Mee, mayo, macaroni, crackers, chillie paste, cheese, sauce. Corned mutton, noodles, crackers, milk, baked beans, cheese, peanuts, chips and sauce.
Sweets Christmas cake, MD jam, and Kandos chocolate. Christmas cake, jelly, and Kandos chocolate Cookies, cornflakes, Ritzbury, jam Cornflakes, jelly, Christmas cake, and jam.
Drinks Apple juice Milk and Mango nectar Orange juice (1 ltr), Ovaltine, tea Coffee, tea, energy drink, Sunquick, and milk
Highlight Apple juice Meatballs Orange juice Coffee
Contact Any Keells, keellsuper.com or 112 303 500 Any Cargills or 773 992 287 / 2424263 Any Laugfs or 112 799 475 Any Arpico supercenter or 773 404 382

Median Hampers

When it comes to midrange hampers, there’s a range. The Keells one is again the cheapest, but pretty paltry. They offer very little in terms of food, making this the weakest apocalypse package. Nor do they make up for it with booze.

Cargills has the best variety and a decent alcohol selection. Toblerone and Marmite make their hamper a standout, and they have a nice range of desserts and savories. At Rs. 17,000 you get a pretty good value for money.

MEDIAN KEELLS CARGILLS LAUGFS ARPICO
Name Silver Bells Sleigh Ride Cat’s Eye Christmas Punch
Price Rs. 14,599 Rs. 17,000 Rs. 21,199 Rs. 15,000
Zombie Survival Time 1 week 12 days 2 weeks 2 weeks
Savories Cheese, baked beans, ketchup, Pringles, instant noodles (3). Marmite, corned beef, chicken meatballs, baked beans, spaghetti sauce, chili sauce, cheese, crackers and chips. Canned fish, chick bits, Pringles, vegetable oil, mayo, macaroni, ketchup, cream corn, mushrooms, cheese, and baked beans. Spaghetti, beans, corned mutton, cheese, soup, peanuts, chips, biscuits, and sauce.
Sweets Christmas cake, jam, fruit salad, caramel mix Christmas cake, Chocos, lemon puff, lemon wafers, jam, Mandarin oranges, jelly, Toblerone Cookies, cornflakes, Ferrero Rocher Jagro jam, cornflakes, butter cookies, Christmas cake, and Kandos
Drinks Ginger beer (2 cans), energy drink, coffee, tea, Coke (2 cans) Milk, apple juice, mango nectar, and coffee Tea, apple juice (1 ltr), coffee, Sunquick, fruit cocktail, Red Bull. Apple juice, and coffee
Booze Red Label, Ritz Brandy, Carlsberg (2 cans) Absolut Blue Vodka, Famous Grouse Whisky, Three Coins (3 cans) Red Label, Ritz Brandy, Carlsberg (2 cans) Grants Whisky, Kerev Vodka, Martini Rosso, 2 Carlsberg cans.
Highlight Ginger beer, Red Label Toblerone, Marmite, Absolut Ferrero Rocher, Red Label Royal Dansk Butter Cookies

Expensive Hampers

We honestly don’t understand what’s going on with the Keells hamper here. It’s a solid lakh and we just don’t see where the money is going. Blue Label, Courvoisier, fine, but Arpico has Gold Label and a lot more whiskey for just Rs. 65,000.

The Cargills hamper is the most family friendly and best for waiting out hordes of the undead. It has vegetables, grains, sweets and a good alcohol selection, all for Rs. 60,000. Well balanced offering, our recommendation for this category.

EXPENSIVE KEELLS CARGILLS LAUGFS ARPICO
Name Glitter Of Gold Here Comes Santa Claus Sensation Santa’s Suprise
Price Rs. 103,599 Rs. 60,000 Rs. 72,499 Rs. 65,000
Zombie Survival Time 2 glorious weeks 4 weeks 1 crazy day 2 glorious weeks
Savories Mayo, pasta sauce, chips, cheese, pickles, corned mutton Cheese, cream crackers, corned beef, baked beans, beets, lima beans, potatoes, mushroom, cous cous, olive oil, mayo, BBQ sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, chips. Pringles (2) Cheese, spaghetti, crackers, soup, chips, baked beans, cashew, pasta sauce, sandwich tuna, corned mutton
Sweets Chocolate syrup, Chocos, Christmas cake, jam, Ferrero Rocher, fruit salad, Nutella, butter cookies Quaker Oats, bran flakes, Christmas cake, butter cookies, jam, fruit salad, prunes, peach slices, devil’s food cake, Ferrero Rocher Christmas cake Cadbury, Cornflakes, Christmas cake, Jagro jam, Nutella, jelly, butter cookies, choco pie
Drinks Apple juice (1 ltr), coffee, Red Bull (2), Sunquick, tea Milk, apple juice, fruit cordial, mango nectar, tea, cocoa, Red Bull Red Bull Apple juice (1 ltr), coffee
Booze Blue Label, Courvoisier, Brut, Baileys, Absolut Blue, Bacardi, San Miguel (3 bottles) Chivas, Martell VSOP, Bombay Gin, Grey Goose, Bacardi, red wine, white wine, Irish dark beer (3), Three Coins (3) Remy Martin VSOP, Glenfiddich, Black Label, Red Label, Absolut, Beefeater, Bacardi, red wine, white wine, Corona (4) Gold Label, Chivas, Double Black, Black Label, Grants, Absolut Blue, Martini Asti, Bailey’s, red wine, Carlsberg (2 cans)
Highlight Kumar Sangakkara autograph Vegetables Lotsa booze Lotsa whiskey

Alternatives

Of course, you’re not limited to the supermarkets. Here we highlight hampers from four more independent providers.

Trekurious is working with the Good Market to market a range of healthier, more organic hampers. They’re really good, the only catch is that they don’t include alcohol. Brana’s (which, along with Beema’s, is the place to get imported rarities) has a conventional but reasonable hamper, again without alcohol.

Home baker Auntie Maureen (who we haven’t tried) has the most Christmasy hamper by far, with mince pies, double the usual Christmas cake size and coconut wine. Finally, Kapruka offers a direct competitor to the supermarket hampers, whiskey included.

EXPENSIVE TREKURIOUS BRANA’S MAUREEN’S KAPRUKA
Name Best Of Good Market 2 Silver Deluxe
Price Rs. 8,000 Rs. 6,990 Rs. 7,000 Rs. 12,937
Zombie Survival Time 1 week 2 weeks 3 days 1 week
Savories Organic rice, sundried tomatos, olives, cinnamon, spices, pineapple/ginger chutney, granola, pasta, cheese (gift voucher) Almarai cheese, Heinz ketchup, mayo, baked beans, Krisco, Pringles, pasta, Skipper tuna, sunflower oil Mango chutney, Pickles (2, Sinhala, Polos or Malay) Cashew nuts, Pringles (large), Happy Cow cheese
Sweets Christmas cake, chocopie, Kandos, cornflakes, lychee, MD jam, peach halves, rambutan Love cake (1 kg), Christmas cake (1 kg), mince pies (6), cake pops (6), milk toffee (12), cupcakes (6) Jelly, choco pie, Ferrero Rocher
Drinks Ayu tea, Hansa coffee Nescafe, Nestamalt, apple juice, Sunquick Grape juice
Booze King coconut wine Red Label
Highlight Spices Tinned fruit Cake pops, coconut wine Whiskey, Ferrero Rocher
Contact www.trekurious.com, 117 788 778 Colpetty Market, 112 421 675 fb.com/auntiemaureenscakes, 718 100 663 kapruka.com, 715 551 111

Note that all of these independent hamper providers have a range of offerings. We’ve selected a few to highlight, but they have different packages. With Kapruka you can use their shopping cart and make your own hamper, and you can do the same at Brana’s or the next door Beema’s (117 205 458).

The Hamper Spirit

In conclusion, there’s a lot of options out there. Getting all the information together isn’t easy (you have to email, call, visit) but we hope the details and contacts here help. If you want more detail check out www.yamu.lk or the Echelon Facebook page.

Even when they’re sent by a corporate machine, there’s still a thrill to receiving a hamper around Christmas. Whether you buy them in bulk, just for one person or cook and send your own, food (and drink) sharing help keep connections and the holiday spirit alive. Seasons greeting to you and yours, and enjoy the hamper scamper.

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