iLoveMyGrub Christmas shopping list 2007
If you feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to your supermarket shopping list for Christmas, we’ve made things easier for you and recommended a clutch of products and producers that will make the festive period taste fabulous.
Whilst everyone else has bemoaned the lousy summer this year, Jo Hilditch has been revelling in the bumper harvest her blackcurrants yielded. The rain has lent a hand in producing her best year of British Cassis to date. Serve this up as an indulgent, berry aperitif to whet your guests’ appetites.
Available online at: http://www.britishcassis.co.uk/
Hidalgo Pedro Ximinez Sherry
This deeply rich sweet sherry is perfect for setting the mood at Christmas. It’s great for pouring over vanilla ice-cream too, but is best enjoyed unadulterated in a large wine glass. Available from Majestic.
Prosecco di Conegliano Carpene Malvolti
Dry and sophisticated, this sparkling wine makes mealtimes, gatherings and parties all the more exciting. It also makes a good partner for those Christmas turkey moments. Available from http://www.everywine.co.uk/
Starters & nibbles
Fudge’s wafers, straws and biscuitsThe people at Fudge’s never run out of good ideas: Rosemary biscuits, cheese straws, walnut wafers and even Marmite biscuits are included in their quite fabulous range of snacks to nibble on. Available from Waitrose.
Loch Fyne OystersWhy not give Christmas entertaining a luxurious start with some of the UK’s best oysters. Loch Fyne Oysters are still produced on the bed of Loch Fyne, using sustainable methods. Serve up naked, or adorn them with shallot vinaigrette.
Available online from: http://shop.lochfyne.com
Coppas TurkiesIf you’re after something a little bit special on the turkey front this year, Coppas Tradtitional Turkeys are big on quality. Each turkey is allowed to reach full adult maturity and the Coppas family only hand rear traditional breeds. When you order your Coppas turkey from Foodfullstop.com, it arrives wrapped in greaseproof paper, presented in a carry home box, along with a sprig of rosemary, vacuum-packed giblets, a recipe leaflet with cooking instructions and a pop-up cooking timer. Brilliant.
Available online from: http://www.foodfullstop.com
Abel & Cole Christmas fruit and veg boxDon’t stress yourself out, whirling around the supermarket at the last minute for those all-important vegetable buys. Order a veg box online from Abel & Cole, and take the hassle out of shopping. The clever people at Abel & Cole have even taken the hassle out of choosing your veg, with their organic Christmas Day fruit & veg box. Order it online, or make up your own box of veg.
Available online at: http://www.abel-cole.co.uk/
Highgrove Goose FatYour roast potatoes will revel in a bit of goose fat, and your guests will probably dribble over your finished product of fluffy potato with a wonderful, crispy finish. Highgrove Goose Fat is lower in saturated fats than butter and lard and high in healthy monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which can help to lower cholesterol. Available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose & Budgens.
Village Bakery Christmas PuddingThe Village Bakery’s luxurious Apricot and Brandy Christmas Pudding has been sweetened with juicy apricots, vine fruits, dates and cranberries, seasoned with festive spice and laced with brandy. It’s also wheat-free, which makes it a great pudding for Coeliacs. Available from selected supermarkets and online at: www.village-bakery.com.
Yeo Valley Extra Thick Organic Double CreamCrown your Christmas pudding with a huge dollop of Yeo Valley’s extra thick double cream. It contains no artificial preservatives or additives, so you have one less thing to worry about while you’re indulging over the festive season. Available from Waitrose.
Mrs Beeton’s Rediscovered Rum & Raisin Ice CreamThe ingredients are locally sourced for this traditional English hand churned ice cream. The double cream used in each recipe, comes from a free-range herd of five-hundred Guernsey cows in Yorkshire. Add a scoop to your Christmas pudding for a boozy finish. Available from Tesco.
Tiptree Brandy ButterMade purely from butter, sugar and French brandy, Tiptree’s brandy butter is something your fridge shouldn’t be without this Christmas. Add a spoonful to your Christmas pud, serve up with baked apples, or simply go all out and eat it straight out of the jar. Shamefully good. Available online from: http://www.pick-your-own.com/
Loison’s Classico PannettoneThis light, moreish Italian cake makes a great alternative to the heavier likes of Christmas cake and pudding. Loison’s pannettone is flecked with raisins and pieces of candy, with a hint of vanilla. It also comes in a beautiful vintage-style hatbox tin, making it a great present too. Available from Waitrose.
Coffee and petit fours
CafédirectThe people at Cafédirect work in partnership with small-scale growers around the world, giving them the pick of every crop and their growers a fair price for their harvest. Cafédirect’s Machu Picchu Organic Fresh Ground Coffee is full of body with a nutty flavour and a hint of chocolate. Perfect for serving up with some gorgeous chocolate truffles after Christmas lunch.
Available online at http://www.cafedirect.co.uk/
Prestat trufflesThis English chocolate company has been making truffles for over one-hundred years, so they know a thing or two about filled chocolates. Choose from their indulgent range, which includes Banoffee Truffles, Champagne & Rose Truffles, and Pink Chocolate Marc de Champagne Truffles. Available in Waitrose and online at: http://www.prestat.co.uk/.
CocktailsCîroc vodka is distilled from French grapes, giving it a fresh taste, crisp flavour and clean finish. Its smooth taste lends itself brilliantly to cocktails, especially the very easily created Grape Martini. Cîroc is available from Harrods and Harvey Nichols. To create your own Cîroc Grape Martinis, visit the recipe link below: http://www.ilovemygrub.com/recipes/2007/c-roc-grape-martini.html
BubblesIf you feel like splashing out, go vintage with your champagne this year. Dom Perignon’s Cuvée 1999 Vintage Champagne is rich and full of flavour – perfect for those sparkling occasions over the festive period.
Available online from: http://www.waitrosewine.com/
Alcohol-free drinksThere’s no need to miss out on bubbles this season, if you’re steering clear of alcoholic drinks. Shloer’s alcohol-free bucks fizz makes a great adult soft drink and is free from preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colours and flavours. A quite saintly alternative to the hard stuff. Available from Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Somerfield and Waitrose.
WineIf you’re after a red wine light enough not to overpower your roast turkey, but with enough depth to stand up to all the Christmas trimmings, then try Kumala’s Ruby Cabernet Merlot. It’s a great medium-bodied drinking partner for Christmas lunch and won’t have your reeling at the price tag. Available from Morrisons.
Love Food, Hate Waste
Christmas is a time when we enjoy indulging in treats and normally cater for bigger numbers, which can add to the issue of food waste – last Christmas we threw away 23,000 tonnes of food. The Love Food Hate Waste website has a selection of time-saving recipes, which can be created from leftovers. It also has an interactive portion calculator, showing you recommended portion sizes for certain numbers of children and adults.
For more information, visit: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
For tips on how to reduce food waste at Christmas, visit: http://www.ilovemygrub.com/features/2007/love-food-hate-waste.html