Tis the Season

It was weeks before Christmas, and all through the aisles, the treats were all packaged and wrapped up in style…

When we last looked at the very first mentions of festive food back in summer, a few of the major high street retailers were hinting at some of the season’s specials, but it was still early days. With the nights drawing in and Very dropping the first Christmas TV ad of the year, it’s officially time to take a look at what our seasonal tables could be adorned with for 2021. 

Those initial glimpses showed some nods to festive food favourites, but also a lot of luxury and grandeur as we seek to recapture the magic of Christmases past, and a focus on helping us make this one more special than ever. 

Plant-based perfection

Before we get into the course-by-course breakdown, it’s important to shout out to the efforts that have gone into this year’s vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Gone are the days of a lacklustre nut roast in lieu of turkey. Every retailer has jumped on the opportunity to deliver some really tasty treats to ensure everyone’s Christmas is the best yet. We’ll get into the details as we work through this year’s best course-by-course picks. 

Start as you mean to go on

Part of the deal when luxury is top of the list is a proper multi-course dinner. So, with that in mind, we’re having a look at some of the nibbles and starters on offer from your favourite retailers. 

M&S Food has come in strong with a range of options from a king prawn and Scottish smoked salmon appetiser pack (serves six), Ricotta stacks, through to tantalising vegan duck croquettes. 

Asda has kept it pretty traditional with a range of pate, soups and prawns or salmon, but there’s always some show-stoppers so stay tuned for their supremely show off dessert offerings! 

Sainsbury’s has gone really big this year and includes plenty of plant-based goodies, especially for mains. But, for starters there’s a pork and cranberry wreath, baked mini camemberts or meat-free kievs. 

Tesco has some beautifully cheesy starter options that include baked brie and some incredible looking breadcrumbed truffle mac and cheese balls. 

Aldi has got some exceptional nibbles, like the baked camembert, while Iceland have launched their new mini fish and chip cones, which would make a novelty starter with a difference for any discerning festive table. 

Waitrose is never one to shy away from a luxury festive treat and is putting forward some exceptional starters this year, including salmon filet with clementine and cranberry and duck confit with mushroom and truffle centre. 

The main event 

Of course there’s lots of classic roasts to be had, some tasty turkey as standard, but we’re going to focus on the must haves, the extra special centrepieces that we think will make this Christmas one to remember. 

M&S never being one to be out-done, has offered up some incredible mains. Whether you’re ready to get your hands on their beef and bone marrow pie, or mix it up with a vegetarian main like the Collection mushroom, camembert and parsnip pie, you’ll love the menu for this year. In total, there are a whopping 41 items on the mains list, so you’re sure to find the one for you. 

Aldi may be bringing classic mains, but it’s serving us some fancy sides in the form of loaded yorkshire puddings and a brussel sprout gratin – sure to help convert even the most stubborn sprout hater! 

Waitrose won’t let you down for the classics, but will blow you away with some out of the box, decadent mains if you’re ready to shake things up a bit, including a stunning vegan jewelled roast with vegan no pigs in blankets. 

Sainsbury’s has plenty to choose from, but is really making sure there’s something for everyone with a range of vegan and veggie options including a Plant Pioneers turkey crown, and a miso-stuffed butternut squash. 

Tesco has gone all out with some amazing mains including duck with maple and orange glaze and an impressive tomahawk steak. Vegans can enjoy a plant-based dinner box for two, a mushroom wellington and much more. 

Sugar and spice 

It’s clear retailers are committed to making up for lost time and giving us a festive feast to remember, but it has to be said that the dessert offerings are coming out on top as the real stars of the show! 

The quest to make the most outlandish or impressive dessert might be starting to rival the race for the best Christmas advert! 

M&S’s chocolate pine cones are back, but joining the offering this year is a Collection golden blond chocolate Christmas star pudding, a Collection sticky toffee pudding crown and a truly wondrous night before Christmas smash cake (complete with chocolate dome that you smash to reveal a festive scene inside). 

Asda is focused on its sweet game this year with a truly impressive blood orange chocolate bauble – a dark chocolate shell filled with orange curd, chocolate sponge, chocolate mousse and chocolate-coated honeycomb and truffles. For the kids, there’s always Betty the brussel sprout cake.

Sainsbury’s has joined in the decadent dessert club with its salted caramel and chocolate star, which is a rich chocolate mousse with a salted caramel centre. 

Tesco is offering up a profiterole gateau and triple chocolate cheesecake. However, if you’re seeking something sweet but not to eat, there’s a gingerbread latte cream liquor, ideal for serving over ice or in a fresh coffee. 

Waitrose has announced its Heston range has created an espresso martini chocolate torte, as well as some fun additions such as the festive cake trio, the queen of trifles and 12 festive cupcakes. Also new is a chocolate giant jaffa cake dessert ensuring there’s surely something for everyone. 

Turns out our early predictions were pretty close and the luxury, not to be missed feel of the 2021 Christmas ranges is coming to fruition in stores near you over the next few weeks. There’s always something exciting about this time, writing the lists, working out which treats will adorn your festive table; even the idea of all that Christmas Day washing up isn’t so bad. So eat, drink and be merry! 

If you need any hints and advice on festive trends and products you can contact our team today.