By Jacob Robinson and lucygiles2
With the countdown to Christmas on, it’s time to think about food for the big day. From turkey to nut roasts, mince pies to Christmas pudding, it really is the season to eat well. Each year supermarkets try to outdo each other with ever more luxurious and extravagant options. Have a read of some of our picks from Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland, Waitrose, and M&S.
This year Sainsbury’s is offering a range of traditional sweet baked goods. Each comes with a twist or differentiation of flavour from the original.
First on this year’s list is the Cherry and Kirsch Stollen Bites with glacé cherries. Stollen is a Christmas German sweet bread, often made with dried fruit and nuts, and spices. The ‘bites’ are mouth-sized cubes that come in a pack of nine. They are soft and fluffy yet also a bit dense as expected with stollen, they are filled with marzipan and finished with a sweet dusting. These festive flavours are subtle and would make a good accompaniment on a Christmas dessert table.
To continue the theme of re-vamped traditional Christmas sweets, Sainsbury’s is also selling Ecclefechan Tarts, sometimes known as Butter Tarts. These are typically made from a mixture of sugar and dried fruit in a buttery shortcrust pastry, this year’s edition is filled with currants, almonds, and cherries. It can be eaten straight from the packet or alternatively heated to make a gooey and soft pudding.
The last of Sainsbury’s festive foods is Blood Orange Curd, less of a Christmas treat, but a special edition for the Christmas period nonetheless. Blood Orange Curd is a flavoursome twist on the classic lemon curd, an English spread that is sweet and tangy and great on fruit cakes or toast.
Lidl: the holy grail for students. But don’t discount the supermarket for its festive treats, especially in the freezer section. This year Lidl have a great range of vegetarian and vegan party food, so keep an eye out for these especially.
For something a little bit different, check out their Palmiers. Palmiers are thin brittle pastries from France, whilst typically a sweet treat, Lidl has taken a savoury turn, making theirs with butter and parmesan pesto. They are a nice snack to have at the table for a Christmas celebration offering a decadent flavour that combats the undoubtable sugar overload that comes this time of year.
Lidl, like Sainsbury’s, are offering twists on classic treats. Speculoos Almond Mince Tarts are another take on a traditional Mince Pie. These Mince ‘tarts’ are made with shortcrust pastry. The lattice top encases the mince and almond paste, finished off with a generous sprinkling of flaked almonds. These really elevate the humble Mince Pie, taking it to the next level.
Aldi is certainly competing well with other Supermarket Christmas selections. One product that stands out the most is their great Florentines. These are thin, crispy biscuits with a base of nuts and fruits, then half dipped in chocolate, leaving one side smooth and the other displaying the collage-like arrangement on the other side.
Have a browse of the puddings whilst you’re at it. Let’s be honest – not everyone is the greatest fan of Christmas pudding. After a big dinner, a Christmas pudding isn’t the most appealing option. Their Marbled Toffee and Pecan Roulade is the perfect swap, remaining a crowd-pleasing and equally festive alternative. With a soft meringue outside, a crisp interior, and a smooth toffee sauce, this one from Aldi is bound to get your guests asking for seconds.
Iceland doesn’t seem to be doing anything too special this year but do keep an eye out for their Luxury Festive Roast. A vegetarian or vegan Christmas is never complete without a nut roast. This take on the classic dish has something for everyone, even for the most adamant of turkey lovers. Combined with rich gravy and all the trimmings, take the effort out of making it yourself with this one from Iceland. And ignore the calls of “it’s boring,” with a top layer of cranberry and onion chutney to round it all off.
Waitrose always impresses with its Christmas range. They seem to come out with something even more extravagant each year, their Limoncello Pandoro being one of them. After all, a pandoro just screams Christmas. Originating in Italy, this sweet bread is slightly more special than your typical French pastries, making it the ideal breakfast item during the festive season. Complimented by the sharp tangy taste of limoncello, it’s the perfect start to a Christmas Day morning.
You’ve also got to try their Sweet Potato Katsu Bites. Don’t question what a Katsu curry has anything to do with Christmas – just accept it. Sometimes the typical Christmas canapés can get a bit boring, but you can definitely keep your guests excited with these Sweet Potato Katsu Bites. If you’re a fan of Wagamama’s Katsu Curry, you’re bound to enjoy these. Fried breaded sweet potato wedges with that classic Katsu sauce – what’s not to like?
Like Waitrose, M&S always have an amazing array of festive food to keep everyone happy. Their Garlic Butter Brioche & Camembert Wreath should be going in your basket. This centrepiece is made for sharing. A soft wreath surrounds a melting cheese middle, a rich and indulgent savoury treat. Topped with semi-dried tomatoes, this gooey cheese is screaming to be dipped into with those garlic dough balls – the perfect combination of flavours and textures. Trust us, this will be gone quickly.
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