It’s the big one, the meal we meticulously prep for, wait for and eat notoriously quickly! But, what REALLY makes it? We all have our favourite elements, but it’s a universal agreement that the sauces and accompaniments can really elevate a dry turkey or lacklustre sprouts! We may be biased, as some of our brands’ tasty products deliver just the magic and crowning glory your festive spread needs; let’s look at what the perfect moisture makers are for your turkey and trimmings.
No turkey without cranberry
It’s simply one of life’s great pairings and here’s why. Turkey has very little fat, which is why you may hear grumbles of being a dry meat after hours of roasting – it is notoriously difficult to keep them super moist! So, we seek out the perfect addition and sweet, yet occasionally tart cranberries are a perfect match.
Origins of cranberry sauce:
It is believed English settlers in New England were introduced to cranberries, which grow natively there, in the end of the 17th century. While sauces and meats were popular here, cranberries differed from the fruits we may have used to a company meat in Europe at that time, such as raspberries, so they became a popular, alternative staple.
Our obsession with a fruit and meat pairing continues to this day and in modern England in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, stores will sell a staggering 5.3 million jars of cranberry sauce* – that equates to around 40% of the annual sales volume.
It’s all gravy
There can be no roast or Christmas dinner without lashings of gravy and as a nation, we cannot get enough of it.
Origins of gravy:
Like many elements of a traditional feast, the early mentions of gravy or gravé were from as far back as the 14th century and literally referred to the meat juices that would be left when roasting meat. In these times utilising everything was the only way to cook, so it made sense to make the most of this and often thicken it to be eaten/enjoyed with the meat.
The question is how do you like yours? Some people like a splash of light gravy, while others want a dinner swimming in gravy you could stand a spoon in….what’s your gravy of choice?
Chutneys, while not just for the festive season, get a special look in at this time of year. Over 63% of us will present a Christmas cheese board to friends and family and as a nation we’ll buy a staggering 3.7 million jars of the stuff in the next four weeks – that’s around 25% of the annual volume sold in just a month!
Origins of chutney:
While a stark contrast to what we see today on our cheeseboards, chutneys were first used over 2000 years ago, traditionally on the Indian subcontinent and were sauces or pastes made from fresh ingredients. Chutney nowadays refers to anything preserved in sugar or vinegar.
Best thing since sliced bread – Bread sauce
Bread sauce is a Christmas staple and one many of us will enjoy on the big day. This tasty side is traditionally milk, breadcrumbs and delicate spices slowly combined to a porridge-like paste.
Origins of bread sauce:
Another medieval invention it is likely that bread sauce was one of the original thickening agents and a great use for leftover/stale bread in a waste-not, want-not world. It’s now become a dish almost on its own and rather than use it to thicken sauces, we love a big dollop alongside our festive meats.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list and if you’re having a different spread then your accompaniments may vary, but these are some of the nation’s favourites and we’re happy to be the people behind a lot of them. If you want to find out more about our brands and products, you can find out more at: https://billington-foods.com/ and https://www.englishprovendercorporate.com/
*Source: IRI, Kantar & M&S Data