What festive foods will you be exploring over the Christmas period? I'm going with the following items, see what you think.
A meal is not a meal without crusty bread as either an accompaniment or a starter. Imagine crusty bread, balsamic vinegar and rich, fruity olive oil. I love dipping and swirling the bread, and the contrasting taste and textures is fantastic. There is no better olive oil than Filippo Berio with its rich, fruity taste and Italian heritage.This Christmas they have released a special, limited edition 1L tin which features one of Italy’s most iconic landmarks, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The unique, limited edition tin is stunning and going to be well used over the Christmas period along with crusty bread for dipping, on the roast potatoes and honey-roast parsnips, and along with some honey and lemon juice for salads.
Available for £6.49 (RRP)
Most cooked meals in this house during Winter are accompanied by cranberry sauce. I adore it, to the point where five years ago my dad bought me a picnic hamper packed full of jars of the red, fruity sauce and I managed to get through every jar before the expiry date!
At Christmas time, the humble cranberry deserves the special treatment and that is what Owen Potts has done:
This cranberry sauce has been blended with honey to create a sweet and delicious accompaniment to the traditional Christmas meal. Made with over 40% cranberries and over 10% honey, you know that you're going to be getting a quality sauce on your plate on Christmas day.
Available from main supermarkets for £1.89 RRP
As far as my dad is concerned, the Christmas Day buffet tea is not complete without a jar of pickled onions. He's not the only one now either. I thought I'd managed to not marry my father but Mr. TheBoyandMe and he agree on this requirement.
Garner's Pickled Onions are a tad more special than the regular jars on supermarket shelves. The traditional pickled onion is marinated in an exclusive new blend of rich spiced vinegar with whole mustard seeds, something that my dad will enjoy immensely. The spices make the onions more seasonal while the mustard seeds provide that additional burst of flavour to waken up tastebuds after the dullness of turkey and stuffing. All presented in a beautiful Kilner jar which helps to seal in the flavour and freshness during the Christmas period.
Available from most supermarkets.
I get a bit bored with the usual Christmas pudding, Stöllen cake, yule log etc. at Christmas time. I love cheesecakes and a New York style cheesecake is my most favourite. The English Cheesecake Company have a range of sumptuous cheesecakes which are a perfect addition to the Christmas dining table.
Feast your eyes on this baby:
This is a Brandy Snap Cheesecake. Isn't it a thing of beauty? Seriously! Look at the depth of that base and the curls of the brandy snaps! And trust me, they were gorgeous and crunchy, sweet and smooth. The thick vanilla, cream mix of the cheesecake is completely luxurious and laced with a hint of brandy butter. It is smooth and leaves the most amazing after-taste. All on a thick digestive base which is sweet and crunchy and a delicious contrast to the thick cream.
If you're after something different for a Christmas dessert, then you really should investigate their range. Why should the most important meal of the year be let down by a Value Christmas pudding?
Available for £26.50 from The English Cheesecake Company
Christmas is not Christmas in our family without a tub of biscuits, and which better biscuits to go for than Fox's? This Christmas, Vinnie the gangster panda has put together a selection in a Limited Edition tin.
It's got all the traditional favourites in there: Choc Fudge, Original Ambers, Party Rings, Jam & Cream Rings and Butter Crinkle? But if anyone goes anywhere near the Golden Crunch Creams, then I shall harness my inner Vinnie, and there will be a war!
Available for £8.00 in Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrison's
I'm not a fan of nuts, I think they taste like wood which amuses Mr. TheBoyandMe greatly. However, he adores nuts and every Christmas we have bowls of different types lying around on surfaces. His favourites are pistachios and this year he'll be trying these from Wonderful Pistachios.
With four flavours out (Roasted & Salted, Salt & Pepper, Sweet Chilli and No Salt) there is a flavour to suit everyone. As Mr. TheBoyandMe likes nuts and spicy flavours, I gave him the Sweet Chilli to try out. "Sweet Chili isn't precisely a traditional flavour, but it's not excessive; after the first mild kick, it settles into a very pleasant spicy feeling that lingers for a while afterwards and gives a certain more-ishness that makes it difficult to stop eating them!"
Available in most supermarkets now.
There's now't better to accompany a cheeseboard for Christmas Day supper than a lovely selection of pates.
These scrummy pates and terrines from Castle MacLellan in Scotland are divine and very high quality. Between the pair of us we've sampled the crab terrine, the salmon pate and the oven-roasted mushroom pate. There are some imaginative flavours which would suit the Christmas dinner table well.
Keep an eye out for these in supermarkets.
I was sent samples of these products to try for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are honest and unbiased.